A study of the famous 4th Crusade of the 13th century — which was called to rescue Jerusalem from Islam but resulted instead in a sack of Christian Constantinople — has been published by the Vatican.
The Vatican Publishing House has released a volume collecting the addresses in various languages from a conference held in 2004 on the 4th Crusade. That year was the 800th anniversary of the crusade that went awry. The 13th-century event is considered to have cemented the Great Schism with the Orthodox that had occurred in 1054.
The 2004 conference was organized by the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences, in collaboration with the Institute of Byzantine History of the University of Athens and the Institute of Byzantine and Neo-Greek Studies of the University of Vienna.
The volume is titled “The 4th Crusade Revisited” and it has an interdisciplinary scope, including considerations of the political, anthropological and theological implications of the crusade.
Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, president of the pontifical committee, wrote in the prologue that the volume was edited with the intention of “contributing to the completion of the historians’ great project and to the purification of memory, which has been indicated by the path that has to lead to the coexistence of men, nations and religions, characterized by reciprocal understanding and benevolence.”
He said the congress welcomed the invitation of the Pope, convinced that a “serious and impartial writing of history” without prejudices and based in “rigorous historical method” would be an indispensable tool in reaching this goal.
The volume brings together texts prepared by people of various nations and religious creeds, seeking what they call the step from suspicion to truth in charity.