The Crusaders captured
It was a Friday at the ninth hour. Verily, it seemed divinely ordained that the faithful who were fighting for the glory of the Saviour should have obtained the consummation of their desires at the same hour and on the very day on which the Lord had suffered in that city for the salvation of the world. It was on that day, as we read, that the first man was created and the second was delivered over to death for the salvation of the first. It was fitting, therefore, that, at that very hour, those who were members of His body and imitators of Him should triumph in His name over His enemies.
…Regardless of age and condition, they laid low, without distinction, every enemy encountered. Everywhere was frightful carnage, everywhere lay heaps of severed heads, so that soon it was impossible to pass or to go from one place to another except over the bodies of the slain. Already the leaders had forced their way by various routes almost to the center of the city and wrought unspeakable slaughter as they advanced. A host of people followed in their train, athirst for the blood of the enemy and wholly intent upon destruction. . . . So frightful was the massacre throughout the city, so terrible the shedding of blood, that even the victors experienced sensations of horror and loathing.
…A crowd of knights and foot soldiers... massacred all those who had taken refuge
[in the court of the
It was indeed the righteous judgment of God which ordained that those who had profaned the sanctuary of the Lord by their superstitious rites and had caused it to be an alien place to His faithful people should expiate their sin by death and, by pouring out their own blood, purify the sacred precincts.
It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror;
everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with
the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and
mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused horror in all who looked
upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves,
dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to
all who met them. It is reported that within the
The rest of the soldiers roved through the city in search of wretched survivors who might be hiding in the narrow portals and byways to escape death. These were dragged out into public view and slain like sheep. Some formed into bands and broke into houses where they laid violent hands on heads of families, on their wives children, and their entire households. These victims were either put to the sword or dashed headlong to the ground from some elevated place so that they perished miserably. Each marauder claimed as his own in perpetuity the particular house which he had entered, together with all it contained. For before the capture of the city the pilgrims had agreed that, after it had been taken by force, whatever each man might win for himself should be his forever by right of possession, without molestation. Consequently the pilgrims searched the city most carefully and boldly killed the citizens. They penetrated into the most retired and out-of-the-way places and broke open the most private apartments of the foe. At the entrance of each house, as it was taken the victor hung up his shield and his arms, as a sign to all who approached not to pause there but to pass by that place as already in possession of another.
When at last the city had been set in order in this way, arms were laid
aside. Then, clad in fresh garments, with clean hands and bare feet, in
humility and contrition, they began to make the rounds of the venerable places
which the Saviour had deigned to sanctify and make
glorious with His bodily presence. With tearful sighs and heartfelt emotion
they pressed kisses upon these revered spots. With especial veneration they
approached the church of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord. Here the
leaders were met by the clergy and the faithful citizens of
It was a pleasant sight and a source of spiritual joy to witness the pious devotion and deep fervor with which the pilgrims drew near to the holy places, the exultation of heart and happiness of spirit with which they kissed the memorials of the Lord’s sojourn upon earth. On all sides were tears, everywhere sighs, not such as grief and anxiety are wont to cause, but such as fervent devotion and the satisfaction of spiritual joy produce as an offering to the Lord. Not alone in the church but throughout all Jerusalem arose the voice of a people giving thanks unto the Lord until it seemed as if the sound must be borne to the very heavens. Verily, of them might it well be said, ‘The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous [Ps. 118:15].”