The Story Of The German King Fredrick II’s Acceptance Of Islam, And The Decline And Fall Of Christendom

Frederick II

By Theodore Shoebat

For years I have been deeply fascinated by the history of the fall of Christendom. How did it happen? What were the events and the ideas and who were the people that led to her decline and destruction? There is a parallel between the life of Israel and the life of Christendom. Israel was once united under a monarchy. But this broke apart, and Israel eventually imploded into a civil war between the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. This fragmentation of Israel was preceded by a pervasion of paganism, homosexuality, satanic rituals like human sacrifice, a schismatic priesthood, and nationalism. On homosexuality being in ancient Israel, the Book of Kinds recounts: “And there were also sodomites in the land” (1 Kings 14:29). On a schismatic priesthood, one can see this during the civil war between Israel and Judah. Right before a battle between the armies of Israel and the armies of Judah, Abijha, king of Judah, declares to the Israelites:

“Have you not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made for yourselves priests, like the peoples of other lands, so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may be a priest of things that are not gods?” (2 Chronicles 13:9)

So we here we see deterioration into schism and paganism, and this rift within Israel polarized her to the point that it led to a very violent civil war. As far as nationalism in ancient Israel goes, one can see indications of this in the story of King Saul in which he commits a genocide on the Gibeonites (a people of Canaan) “in his zeal for the children of Israel and Judah.” (2 Samuel 21:2) One can see how pervasive this ethno-nationalism was in Israel, since even going to the time of Christ, there was a rift between those who wanted to focus on race and those who focused on grace. Hence St. John the Baptist tells the Pharisees and the Sadducees: “do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” (Matthew 3:9)

As Israel rejected the priesthood of the Levites (which had its succession from Aaron onwards), so the Protestant Reformation rejected the Apostolic succession of the Catholic priesthood. Protestantism also had a focus on regionalism, since it promoted the idea of having a church of one’s land (the ‘German church,’ the ‘church of England,’ etc.) as opposed to humanity being united under a universal Church (hence the word Catholic means universal). This fixation on regionalism polarized all of Christendom, and eventually she was torn apart by violent conflict. Just as Israel was torn between Israel and Judah, Christendom would be cut to pieces between Protestants and Catholics, with kingdoms fighting against kingdom, nation against nation, man against man, with a ferocity so great that devotion to religion became a devotion to power.

The universality of humanity under a universal church no longer had a presence in the minds of those directing war, and in many who fought in that horrific conflict of the Thirty Years War. Catholic mercenaries fought for both sides, and so did Protestant mercenaries — all for profit, with no interest in a spiritual cause. Catholic France, with the exhortation of a cardinal — Cardinal Richelieu — took the side of the Protestants and decided to war against Catholic Spain, because the French wanted to seize the territory of the Habsburg empire. The heartless politics that was seen in the Thirty Years War was the result of nations focusing on themselves and their own interests as opposed to universality of humanity under the spiritual auspices of the Universal Church.

One can see this centuries before the Thirty Years War and the fragmentation of Christendom. One can see this in the 13th century, with Fredrick II who was, in the words of Belloc, “one of the most intelligent and most dangerous men that ever ruled in Christendom”. (1)  He was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX for not leading what would have been the Sixth Crusade as he promised. When he did partake in a crusade in the East, his actions and heresies brought nothing but disaster. He hated the Christian faith, and whenever he spoke of it he did so with scoffing. He preferred Islam over Christianity. When conversing on the blood relationship of the caliphs with Muhammad with the ambassador of the Sultan al-Kamil, Fakhr-ad-Din, he stated:

“That is excellent, far superior to the arrangement of those fools, the Christians. They choose as their spiritual head any fellow they will, without the smallest relationship to the Messiah, and they make him the Messiah’s representative. That Pope there has not claim to such a position, whereas your Khalif is the descendent of Muhammad’s uncle.” (2) 

Fredrick would soon do the unthinkable: he signed a treaty with the Muslims that allowed Christian control over Jerusalem for only ten years, and gave them the site where Solomon built his temple. Furthermore, the same king agreed that he would never again support a war against Muslims in the Middle East. During the ten year treaty, Christians were to build “neither wall nor dwellings” in Jerusalem, making the city utterly defenseless. The treaty was only to the favor of the Muslims; for when it was expired they simply invaded Jerusalem again. 

So wicked was this man that he entered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and applied the messianic prophecies found in the Psalms to himself. He threatened to murder a priest who followed him when he was walking to the Dome of the Rock, and when he arrived he evilly declared to the Muslims present: “God has now sent you to the pigs,” referring to the Christians. He then ordered that the Call to Prayer be sung in Jerusalem, a ritual priory, and rightfully, prohibited by the Crusaders. It is no wonder as to why this heretic was buried not with Christian clothing, but with Muslim garb. (3) 

It was this same Fredrick who, in 1240, brought an army of Muslims, alongside Europeans, into Central Italy. The Muslims did not hesitate to fight and kill the Pope’s troops. They ascended the walls of the church of San Damiano, saw a multitude of women and charged with the intention of ravishing them. A pious woman, St. Clare, was present, and before the heretics could seize their victims she cried out to God: 

“Lord Jesus, do not permit these defenseless virgins to fall into the hands of these heathen. Protect them; for I, who have nourished them with Your love, can do nothing for them.” 

All of a sudden the spirit of fear seized the barbarians; their boldness turned to panic, they clambered over the walls and fled with fright, (4) and the heretics emulated the demons whom they worshipped, and fled from the ever glorious church.  

Because of the compromise made between Fredrick a horrifying event occurred in Jerusalem. Turkic Muslims from Khwarizm, a land of Central Asia, stampeded into Jerusalem. Many of the Crusaders left the city in fatigue from the unbearable attacks of the barbarian, and soon it was wrested by these Tatar hordes. 

So bloody and sanguinary was the unceasing killing that went on, that out of the six thousand Christians who lived in Jerusalem, only three hundred managed to escape. Jerusalem was sacked, all of its remaining priests were murdered, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the rest of its churches burnt, and the earth was engulfed by the blood of the saints as the wiles of Allah flooded that City on a Hill. 

In 1244 the Khwarizmians and the Egyptians vanquished a Christian army in Gaza, massacring five thousand, including the Master of the Templars and the Archbishop of Tyre. They seized priests and as they stabbed them to death around the altars, they screamed with demonic madness and blasphemy, “let us pour their blood on the place where they poured out wine in commemoration of their crucified God.” The spirit of antichrist lodged in these men; their rejection of the holy Trinity, their denial of the divinity and sonship of Christ, led them to their diabolical bloodlust. The Master of the Hospitallers and Count Walter of Jaffa were both captured. All of this was a result of Fredrick–all was a consequence of allowing a heretic to rule. Pope Innocent IV wrote on these very massacres: 

“Ah, who of the faithful is not cast down at the terrible oppression of that land? Ah, what Christian is not also moved by so many appalling injuries to Christ? Is the wickedness of that people to go unpunished, and are they to be allowed freely to run amok with the sword? Is not the mind of every Christian kindled against them by the zeal of devotion, the heart strengthened by the shield of steadfastness and the right hand armed with the sword of vengeance?” (5)

Bishop Galeran of Beirut sojourned to Europe and affirmed the western Christians that a new crusade must be done. He received the support of Pope Innocent IV who commissioned Cardinal Otto to preach the importance of the crusade in France. The imploring words came to the ears of a thirty year old Frenchman, ambitious to prevail over the violent heretics: this was king St. Louis IX, and he would lead the last great crusade against the Muslims. (6)

It was said that he was so zealous for the cause of the crusade, that when he decided to lead an army into the East, de declared:

“Fair brother, sweet friend, where is the Bishop of Paris? Quickly now! He will give me the Cross. For my spirit has long been oversees; and my body will go there, if it is God’s will, and will wrest the land of the Saracens. Blessed is he who aids me in that.” (7)

He received the support of Pope Innocent IV, and funds from the Catholic Church. In one letter the Pope wrote: 

“The Holy Land, bespattered with Christ’s blood, in the wake of the grave disasters of frequent devastation and following her continuous laments for the frequent slaughter of her people, now experiences the lash at enemy hands even more harshly; now mourns more bitterly and expresses the sharpness of inward pain with cries of still deeper lamentation; and we, stung by her bitter tears, and spurred on by her powerful cries, are with her worn down by the hammer-blows of a persecution that is hers and ours, and with her mourn equally her and our own wretched fate.” (8)

The excitement of the king’s call to action was felt throughout France, and troubadours sang with pious and rustic prose:

“Let us all go forth, and without delay, together with Him who summons and entreats us, ready to join Him at the point of assembly. As our reward He grants us Paradise eternally for our salvation. …Jerusalem, how great is your suffering! It is on you that disaster has fallen, Christendom has too long abandon you. The Sepulcher and the Temple, once so greatly cherished, are lost. It was surely right that you received service and honour, for in you did God hang on the Cross. And now the pagans have destroyed and ruined you. But they shall have their reward!” (9)

On 1248, St. Louise set sail for Egypt, specifically for the city of Damietta, with warriors from England, Spain, France, Germany, Scotland, Denmark, and Brabent. (10)

Before he arrived in Egypt, the heretic Friedrich, because of his hatred for Christianity, tried to persuade St. Louis to not attack the Muslims. The heretic said: “Do not go to Egypt, but reconsider, along with your barons. …I had realized the impossibility of fighting the princes, the amirs and all the troops in the country, and my powerlessness before them. And so how do you hope to take Damietta, Jerusalem and Egypt?” But St. Louis wanted nothing to do with such words, and he sharply responded: “Say no more. Nothing, by God and by the truth of my faith — nothing shall prevent me from attacking Damietta, Jerusalem and Egypt, and nothing shall deflect me from it except my death and that of my people.” 

Friedrich realized that St. Louis was not falling for his trap, and so he sent a letter to a number of Muslim leaders, in which he informed them on how many numbers the Crusaders were, and how Louis’ drive was based on his Christian faith. He wrote to the Sultan al-Salih Ayub: “…the King of the French has arrived in my country accompanied by a vast host.” He also wrote to the religious leader Naim al-Din: “The King of the French is convinced he will conquer Egypt in a few hours … this prince is the most powerful of the princes of the West — animated by a jealous faith, the importance of his actions as a Christian and his attachment to his religion set him against everyone else.  …The Frenchman has not fallen in with my views. The number of those who follow him is constantly on the increase: they total more than 60,000, and in the course of this they will land in Cyprus.” (11) It is no wonder as to why Pope Innocent IV wrote that Frederik “aspires to destroy the faith”. (12) 

In King St. Louis’ crusade in Egypt, there was a great determining battle in the town of Mansora, where the whole of the Muslim army was posted. A great knight, William Longspee, was killed in the heat of combat, and almost all of the barons, knights, and Templars, were slain in this rugged and ruthless battle. The king of France, St. Louis, and his men were holding off the enemy and even he was afflicted with wounds because of the exertion and pressing vigorousness of the enemy. 

The following day, the Muslims came back with an even greater ferociousness. The Christians saw before them countless lances plunging their sharp ends toward their bodies, and from every direction came spiraling arrows shooting forth from the most skillful of Muslim archers. From the time when the sun was young to its very dissension into darkness, this assault did not cease in viciousness nor in tenacity. 

The warriors of the crescent pounced on them with their crooked swords and not a few saw eternity on that day. Lurking about the Nile Valley were watchers who, if they ever saw a fleeing Christian, would fire upon him with arrows tipped with Greek fire that combusted men as fast as comets disappear before the naked eye. One knight wrote on the intensity of the fighting:

“Advancing with lances, swords and various missiles, and shooting from every direction a virtual hail of arrows from morning until evening, they did not cease to harass the resisting Christians, approaching in their audacity so close as to engage in hand-to-hand combat and attacking the King’s own camp.” (13)  

The Christians thirsted and there was no relief to be found, for their enemies cut off all access to water. It was as though they were in a desert island in the middle of a vast ocean of heretics. Four months passed, every warrior bore grueling wounds and lived on enough water and food just to sustain life, and still they were able to lift themselves up and endure all sourness of the body, the pains and travails of an army on the verge of defeat. 

Armed with their slaughter weapons, they relied upon that two edged knowledge of war, or death. They reached the banks of the Nile and there came the arrows alighted by that fire that never hungers but is always aflame. They struck and within the fastest moment men were completely engulfed into flames, and to them could no relief come. 

Muslims leaped upon the others and cut them off in hand to hand combat, while other Christians jumped into the water and drowned. They attempted with all their endurance, all their training and mastery of the sword. Nightmarish can be the only word used to describe all of the blood spilt, the deaths, mutilations, the decapitations, the screams, the cries, the shrills of fighting men, the growls of assaulting warriors, and the tears which flowed from those maimed and lying on the earth. 

And then, in one sudden moment, some of those living ceased to fight, offered up their sword hilts, and surrendered. The rest continued on in the assault, utilizing every ounce of energy to exert a mortal blow, until they breathed their last breath. The remaining men were soon seized by the Muslims, who as they dragged them into the prison grinned and laughed at their treaded enemies. Their standard was taken and teared to pieces, and their captors continuously mocked Christ, as He Himself was mocked. (14)

One can only imagine what they did at that moment; many must have been pondering on Heaven, and thinking on that realm which is unseen by the eye, but hoped for by the soul; incompatible with time, incomprehensible to the darkness, unknown to all human reason, but aspired to by all touched by that divine light that enlightens us with that vigilance against all evil in the highest and lowest of places. 

Others may have been wailing within themselves, unwilling to leave this world just yet, not wanting to be separated forevermore from those they loved with all fragile desperation, with all angst and despair when binded through amorous and filial love, and not desiring to see what truly was after life outside of this dark, dismal and capricious world filled with benumbed men and ruthless mortals. 

And others may have turned back–just slightly–to only see the field of carnage that was once a body of men each of whom was indwelled with that breath that gives all life. In that quick moment, they would have seen their brothers, some without arms and legs, some without heads, some cut asunder, some scorched by unquenchable fire–they would have seen all of this in that flash of time.

Thirty-six thousand Christians (15) were slain by the slaves of the crescent, to only be given that liberation with that One Who too suffered an ignominious death, and was mocked and ridiculed with arms outstretched upon on the cross, Who shall return again to avenge the deaths of His glorious saints and place the crescent idols forevermore in the state of destruction.

All that could be heard in France were the mournings of the people and the wailings of utter sadness. No one could console another, since all were in need of comfort, and when one was with another, the only thing they could offer to each other were their tears and the stories of death absent of all hope. The Pope, filled with sorrows, wrote:

“How great is the Church’s grief, how loud its groans, and how great its cries! It bemoans, indeed, the grievous death of so many great warriors for the Faith” (16) 

The French theologian, Eudes de Chateauroux, did a sermon to instill hope and morale into the people. He connected the massacre of the Christians in Egypt to “Abel, a righteous man,” being “killed by his godless brother.” (17) For indeed, these grave wars are but a reoccurrence of what took place in that ancient valley when two brothers conversed amongst themselves, one truthfully, the other deceitfully, and the latter killed the former for his faith in redeeming blood. It is not only the Muslims who possessed the spirit of Cain, but that heretic king Frederick; for it was he who told the Muslims of the Christians’ arrival, before Louise ever set foot on that shore of Damietta.       

On April 6 of the same year St. Louise and his men fought the Muslims at Fanskur, and after much grueling fighting, it was realized that their labors were to no avail. They were all taken prisoners by the Turks who would cruelly and mercilessly treat them, cutting the heads of three hundred Crusaders per day. (18) 

Like their Cathar allies, the Muslims would take the crosses of the Christians, spit upon them and trample them under their feet. (19) The king was in fact given the opportunity to save himself, and when his brother, the Count of Anjou, urged him to save himself, Louise replied: “Count of Anjou, Count of Anjou! If you find me a burden, leave me behind, since I will not desert my people.” (20) 

One by one they were violently seized, and with a knife to their throats, asked the question: “Do you want to renounce your faith?” Those who rejected Islam were taken aside and beheaded, while four thousand of them (21) who accepted the false doctrine, were moved to another side and spared. 

In another building young Muslims armed with scimitars approached a body of helpless knights. Amongst them was an old man who asked the Christians whether or not they believed in a God who had been imprisoned and killed for our sins; a firm “Yes” was the response. The old man replied that they should then not be disheartened by the persecutions they were enduring. “Because,” he said, “you have not yet died for him [Christ] as he for you. And if he had the power to bring himself back to life, you can be certain that he will free you when he pleases.” 

They left the room, and to the Christians’ relief, St. Louise negotiated for their release. Prior to this, they threatened Louie with a torture device called “the barnacles”, in which a man was laid on two flexible planks with their ankles on intersecting teeth at the ends; their feet bones get broken, and then after three days, they are crushed again. When the Muslims saw that the king was stubborn, they relented and were willing to compromise, hence the release of his men. 

The crusaders agreed that they would surrender the Egyptian city of Damietta as long as the Christian pilgrim population and their salted meats were protected, and the king’s war machines secured. After the city was given to Muslim hands, the oath was not honored: the pilgrims were annihilated and the machines were hacked to pieces. They then made a tower of dead bodies and another of the salted meats and set them on fire. (22) 

St. Louis compromised with the Muslims and promised them eight hundred thousand bezants, but when pressed to convert to Islam he sternly refused. The Muslims let him go, but the remaining wounded crusaders they massacred without mercy. Later on he won the release of the surviving men who had been captured. The Saint would die in Tunis amongst his men, and with these words he gave his last breath:

“Gracious good God, have mercy on this people who stay here and lead them [back] to their country, that they do not fall into the hands of their enemies and are not constrained to deny Thy holy name”.

Sadness was expressed by his accompanying soldiers with the words, “Jerusalem! Jerusalem!” St. Louis’ brother Charles took the mantel, and after making a deal with the emir of Tunis, guaranteed the release of Christian captives and the freedom for Christians to do business and observe their Faith in that country. (23) 

In the story of Fredrick II, one can see the gradual deterioration of Christendom in the actions of a king who cared more for his own interest, then in the Universal Church.

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References

(1) Belloc, The Great Heresies, What was the Reformation, p. 87

(2) See Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. vi, p. 214

(3) See Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. vi, pp. 214-215, 245

(4) Englebert, St. Francis of Assisi, ch. viii, p. 119

(5) Pope Innocent IV to Henry III, King of England, 23 January 1245, in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, ch. 2, document 4, p. 25

(6) Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. vi, pp. 238-239; Mills, Hist. Crus. ch. 14, p. 208

(7) Troubadour’s song, in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, documents 1-3, no. 1, p. 18

(8) Pope Innocent IV to Henry III, King of England, 23 January 1245, in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, ch. 2, document 4, p. 25

(9) Troubadour’s song, in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, ch. 1, document 3, pp. 19-20

(10) Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. vi, p. 251; Pope Innocent IV to [Eudes,] Bishop of Tusculum, papal legate, 6 November 1246, in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, ch. 2, document 5, p. 28

(11) Qaratay al Izzi al-Khazandari, Ta’rikh Majmu’ al-nawadir (c. 1330), in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, ch. 3, document 32, pp. 46-47

(12) Pope Innocent IV to P[eter], Cardinal-deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro, papal legate, 19 November 1247, in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, ch. iv, document 44, p. 56

(13) See Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, vol. 6: Additamenta, pp. 191-7, in Peter Jackson’s The Seventh Crusade, ch. v, p. 100

(14) A Templar [1250; probably in fact a Hospitaller], in Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, in Peter Jackson’s Seventh Crusade, ch. 5, document 57, p. 99

(15) This number comes from Annales Erphodenses, in Peter Jackson’s Seventh Crusade, ch. 7, document 80, p. 175. Arab sources sighted in the same book, such as Ibn Wasil, ch. 6, document 73, pp. 146, 148, and Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi, document 74(f), p. 159, put the number as 30,000

(16) Pope Innocent IV to Queen Blanche, [August 1250], in Hans Martin Schaller, in Peter Jackson’s Seventh Crusade, ch. 7, document 75, pp. 168-9

(17) Eudes de Chateauroux, in Peter Jackson’s Seventh Crusade, ch. 7, p. 170

(18) See Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. vi, p. 252

(19) Eudes de Chateauroux, in Peter Jackson’s Seventh Crusade, ch. 7, p. 173

(20) Fragments of the deposition made by Charles I of Anjou [1282], King of Sicily, in Peter Jackson’s Seventh Crusade, ch. 5, document 71, p. 115

(21) This number comes from the Annales Erphodenses, in Peter Jackson’s Seventh Crusade, ch. 7, document 80, p. 175

(22) John of Joinville, Life of Saint Louise, 334, 337-338, 340-341, 369-370, brackets mine

(23) Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. vi, p. 253; ch. vii, pp. 293-294

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