clergy-msg - 3/31/13
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 15:06:28 -0400
From: Hank Harwell <cleireac at juno.com>
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Fighting Clergy
On Wed, 21 Jun 2000 22:06:15 -0700 Tim Bray <tbray at mcn.org> writes:
>> I was curious to know if someone could point me to references about
>> ordained priests serving as warriors during the middle ages.
> Individual priests are easier to document. Bishop Odo of Bayeaux went into
> battle with his brother William the Bastard. The latest crusade book I
> read listed several priests that went with their Lords on crusade (The
> First Crusaders - excellent book with lots of great stories about
> I think you'll have better luck looking at the earlier end of the
> medieval period than the later.
> We thought about it and neither of us can actually think of an ordained
> priest that was written about as actually fighting. Odo is depicted with
> the baton of a leader although he is armored for battle but no
> weapon is shown.
This is taken from an online version of Bllfinch's Legends of Charlemagne
"Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims, the friend and secretary of Charles the
Great, excellently skilled in sacred and profane literature, of a genius
equally adapted to prose and verse, the advocate of the poor, beloved of
God in his life and conversation, who often fought the Saracens, hand to
hand, by the Emperor's side, he relates the acts of Charles the Great in
one book, and flourished under Charles and his son Louis, to the year of
our Lord eight hundred and thirty."
Brother Cleireac of Inisliath
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 22:59:48 -0700
From: "G. Shaver" <shaverman at mindspring.com>
To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Re: Fighting Clergy/Knts of Malta
----- Original Message -----
From: <aodhfionn at unforgettable.com>
To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 12:23 PM
Subject: Re: Fighting Clergy
On Wed, 21 Jun 2000 22:06:15 -0700, I read the following on a monolith
signed by you:
>I think you'll have better luck looking at the earlier end of the medieval
>period than the later.
Hmm, actually, the purpose of this is for later period...
Aedh Finn Mac Cormaic, AoA(Tiarna)
M'Lord Aedh- |
A noble, if only arguably a "godly" endeavour ;-]>
One of my favorite books may shed light on another avenue you might
pursue. The Great Siege by Ernle (yes, Ernle) Bradford, specifically about
the seige of Malta ca 1565 but generally about the Knights of St. John of
Jerusalem aka the Knights of Malta, the last of the 3 great religo-military
organizations which survived past the crusades. I could extoll this book at
length but here cite a few relevant passages (the book is OOPrint, but
available via ALibris at alibris.com). The passages selected indicate that,
altho' the European warrior priest was uncommon, the eclesiastic warrior was
not at all unheard of :
"...Gibbon's remark that "the Knights neglected to live, but were
prepared to die, in the service of Christ" was not entirely untrue. By the
mid 16th century this militatnt Christian order was beginning to be
something of an anachronism... (another historian says) "By the time the
Knights came to Malta, the religious elelment in their foundation had fallen
into decay. Their monastic vows were USUALLY (emphasis mine) regarded as
mere form, and they were remarkable for their haughty bearing and worldly
(refering to the post-crusade orders...) "The most powerful of the 3,
the Templars, had been suppressed in the early 14th century. The second,
the Teutonic order, had never really recovered from the defeat inflicted
upon it at Tannenberg in 1410. It was only the Order of St. John of
Jerusalem that preserved, into the renascent Europe of the 16th century,
something of the fire and ardor that had existed in the great era of the
crusades. The Order stemmed from a Benedictine hospital for pilgrims...
established in Jerusalem in the 11th C.... Unlike the Templars, who were a
purely military order dedicated to fighting the Moslem infidel, the Knights
of St. John were primarliy a nursing brotherhood..."
"... daughter houses were maintained in a number of European cities
lying on the pilgrim's way to Palestine. Part of order's function was also
the defense of pilgrims. It was this that led to the ememgrgence of its
military side... yet even in the 16th Cent., when the aggressive policies of
the Turkish sultans had forced the military side of the Order to become
predominate, it still continued its original duty." (i.e. founding of
"...It was in Rhodes, too (1310-1522), that the Knights had perfected
the form of their Order... (to become) "the most remerkable body of
religious warriors that the world has ever seen..." The eight pointed cross
they bore...was smbolic of the 8 beatitudes. Its 4 arms were held to
represent the 4 virtues..."
"...The men of who formed this unique body were divided into 5 distinct
groups, yet all- whether fighting man or serving priest- were united by the
same vows of chastity and obedience... Military Knights,...Conventual
Chaplains,...serving brothers (non-noble soldiers), " (...and 2 honorary
divisions.)..."At the head of the Order came the sacro consiglio, the grand
council, presided over by the Grand Master- a Knight himself, ... the
bishop, the prior of the church, the pilleirs or deans of each national
language (*see below), the priors, the conventual bailiffs, and the knights
grand cross, who were the senior members of their langues. .... It was a
council that combined the wisdom and experience of ... both aspects of the
order, the temporal and the ecclesiastical..."
*- the Order was further divided into the eight langues, or "tongues", of
the dominant Western European world, from whom the knights were primarily
requited: Auvergne, Provence, France, Aragon, Castile, Germany, Italy, and
England, although, at the time of the Seige, 1565, the latter was recently
almost entirely absent, having withdrawn from the Order, something about a
recent religious disagreement between England and the Catholic church.
Note that altho' these passages indicate a largely military focus, the
language consistanly qualifies itself as generalizing, and not absolutely
defining. There is some evidence that during the great seige itself, in a
beseiged and hopeless fort, some of the chaplains, despite prohibitions
specifically against bearing arms, had wielded swords against the Turks at
the door of the castle chapel. And in all the language, there is implied a
warrior's knowledge and understanding of their religion that would surpass
the average casual scholar.
Good luck in your research, I look forward to reading your book.