The Peaceful Liberation of the Holy Places in the XIV Century

I - 7 First Crusader Period (1099-1187)

When the Crusaders took possession of Jerusalem and the Holy Land they also took possession of the Holy Places, in accord with the rights of conquerors. Some of the sites were restored or enlarged. Others were reconstructed. After a brief dissension with the clergy of the Greek and Syrian Rites (*7), the Latin clergy was supported in their argument against these Eastern Rites and certain altars in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre were given to them. In Bethlehem, at the Basilica of the Nativity, the joint functioning of the Latin and Greek (native Arab) clergy was restored. The Syrians probably shared in this arrangement also. (*8)
It is important to note the mood of the conquering Crusaders. They did not tolerate the idea that the sanctuaries belonged either to the Emperor of Constantinople and the clergy of the Greek Rite or to any Oriental Rite. The Holy Places had been taken from the Turks and the Egyptian Arabs. In their minds, by right of conquest, the sites belonged to the Latins.


*7 - R. Grousset, Histoire des Croisades, I, Paris 1934, 312. Theodoricus, De Locis Sanctis, c. 7 (S. De Sandoli, Itinera Hierosolymitana Crucesignatorum, II, Jerusalem 1980, 327).

*8 - Fulcherius Carnotensis, Historia Hierosolymitana, 1. I, c. 25 (S. De Sandoli, Itinera Hierosolymitana Crucesignatorum, I, Jerusalem 1978, 108): [At Bethlehem] "Christiani, qui inibi conversabantur... Graeci videlicet et Syri... flendo et pie cantando processerunt eis". That is, they went out to meet the first Crusader knights. At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem the priests of the Eastern Rites were united with the Patriarch and the Latin clergy; cf. Anonimus, 1095-1108, Gesta Francorum expugnantium Iherusalem, c. 47 (De Sandoli, Itinera, I, 162): "Tunc Graeci et Syri in lamentatione prorumpentes" (for the holy fire to descend from heaven) "Patriarcha Daimbertus, reserato sepulchri ostio" and from chapter 49 (p. 164): "Graecis interim et Syriis atque Armeniis ad sepulchrum orantibus". Iohannes Wirzburgensis, Descriptio Terrae Sanctae, 1165 (De Sandoli, Itinera, II, 290): amongst the various groups present he names the Georgians, the Armenians, the Jacobites, the Syrians, the Nestorians, the Indians, the Copts, the Maronites. Theodoricus, De Locis, A.D. 1172, c. 7 (De Sandoli, Itinera, II, 326): "Ante ostium ipsius chori altare non mediocre habetur, quod ad Surianorum tantummodo spectat officium. Denique peractis a Latinis quotidie divinis officiis (for the precedence they had over the other rites) Suriani vel ibidem ante chorum sive in aliqua ecclesiae abside divinos decantare solent hymnos, qui etiam plura in ipsa ecclesia (of the Holy Sepulchre) habent altariola nullorumque nisi suis usibus apta vel concessa. Hae sunt professiones sive sectae quae in ecclesia Hierosolymitana divina peragunt officia, scilicet Latini, Suriani, Armenii, Graeci, Iacobini, Nubiani". From chapter 9 (p. 328): "Ab occidentali fere enim parte in exitu ecclesiae ipsius... ante ipsum exitum capella in honore beatae Mariae habetur, cui praesunt Armenii. Item ad sinistram ecclesiae a septemtrionali parte capella in honore sanctae Crucis existit... quae sub Surianorum custodia consistit". Ernoult, L'estat de la cité de Iherusalem, A.D. 1228, c. 7, (S. De Sandoli, Itinera Hierosolymitana Crucesignatorum, III, Jerusalem 1983, 400): "Entre le coeur (of the Holy Sepulchre), là où li canoine sont et le Monument, a un autel où li Griu cantent".

Return to The Peaceful Liberation of the Holy Places