miércoles, 15 de julio de 2015

July 15, 1099 Siege of Jerusalem.


Today marks one of the feast days of the Order of the Noble Companions of the Swan, the final victory of the knights of the First Crusade in the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099. 

After arriving before the walls of the Holy City in June, the Crusaders found themselves short of food and water. They attempted a direct assault on June 13th, which was repulsed by the Muslim defenders with heavy losses. Both men and animals began to die of thirst and starvation, and the Crusaders knew that time was not on their side. By the end of June, they learned a Fatimid army from Egypt was marching north to break the siege. 

Facing impossible odds, they received hope from a priest named Peter Desiderius, who had a vision of the late Bishop Adhemar, the papal legate who had died on the Crusade a few months earlier. The spirit of Bishop Adhemar stated that God had withheld victory from the Crusaders because of their sinfulness and penance was required. The Crusaders were instructed to fast for three days and then march in procession barefoot around the walls of Jerusalem, just as Joshua's army had done before the walls of Jericho. 

Although they were already starving, the Crusaders fasted for three days as Adhemar's spirit had bade them. On July 8th, they made the procession around the Holy City, with clergy blowing trumpets and singing hymns, while the Muslim defenders mocked them by committing vile sacrileges against crucifixes. 

On the night of July 14th, the Crusaders rolled up siege towers they had built. The day of July 15th, the tower of Godfrey de Bouillon advanced to the wall near the northeast corner gate and soon Godfrey and his men crossed over the walls into the city. After fierce fighting the city was once again in Christian hands and a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 

As Comander of our most noble Order, I call upon all of our knights and dames to pray for the souls of those knights who made the ultimate sacrifice for the Faith so many centuries ago and to rededicate ourselves to our knightly vocation.

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