Church History

Lesson 8The Crusades - Part 1: 1000 A.D. - 1200 A.D.

You will recall that the early church grew under heavy persecution from the Roman Government until the early 300's when Constantine finally issued the Edict of Milan which made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and outlawed pagan worship. From then up through approximately 1000 A.D., the Catholic Church emphasized an Ecumenical approach. One Church, one leadership, one set of doctrinal beliefs, etc., but it became exceedingly more difficult as time marched on to overcome the doctrinal and cultural differences of the church in the east (centered in Constantinople) and the church in the west (centered in Rome).


Adding further difficulty, beginning in the early 700s was the birth of Islam and the Muslims, followers of Islam. Constantinople increasingly found itself fighting to fend off the Muslim influence on its southern borders and the Western Roman Church to its west. All of which sets the backdrop for the next two weeks as we look at the “Crusades” and their affect on the growth of the Church and the spreading of the Gospel message.

So grab your history books, dictionary, or a good computer and a cable modem and let’s take a look at an important period in Church history called the Crusades.

  1. What event occurred on July 16, 1054 that dramatically affected the church and how was it corrected by Pope Paul VI and Athenagoras on December 7, 1965?
  2. In November of 1095 Urban II at a synod in Clermont France made an appeal for something, what was it and what did it have in common with an earlier request made by Emperor Alexius in Constantinople?
  3. Besides organized armies, what other types of people joined the Crusades?
  4. In 1097 the armies of the First Crusade arrived in Constantinople. By the spring of 1098 they had taken Nicaea from the Turkish Muslims and Antioch. What did they take in June of 1099?
  5. What was the purpose of The Knights Templars and The Hospitallers?
  6. What happened to the “Kingdom of Jerusalem” between 1146 A.D. and 1187 A.D.?
  7. The Third Crusade (1189-1192) was known as “The Kings Crusades” and was lead Philip Augustus of France, Emperor Frederick I, and one other King -– who was the other King?
  8. What was the purpose of the Third Crusade?
  9. List exactly what happened to each of the three Kings who led this crusade:
    1. Philip Augustus of France
    2. Emperor Frederick I
    3. Richard of England
  10. During this roughly two-hundred year period what happened to church architecture and church construction?

The immediate thing we notice about the “crusades” is they were actually more than a single crusade. As we’ll see in our study next week there were six distinct ones, plus many smaller ones, some for noble causes, many not so. Next week we’ll look at the impact all of them had on the Church, the spreading of the gospel and development of sound doctrine.

In short, however, we can see that through the centuries the Church has faced threats from those inside who wish to destroy or alter sound biblical doctrine, those who wish to rise to a position of power, and those who wish to use the Church for political means. Outside the Church faced threats from opposing religious views, cultural differences, and changing political and demographic influences. And yet, in spite of it all the gospel message spread and the Church continued to grow in number and to influence world events.

I hope you’re enjoying our study; have a great week.

In Christ,


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