12th Century

This period includes the 2nd and 3rd Crusades to the Holy Land; neither was very successful. The 2nd Crusade was a complete disaster, and the 3rd Crusade failed in its mission to re-take Jerusalem from the Muslims. (but don't worry; there'll be more Crusades — 7 in all.) This century also saw the birth of the Waldensians, a sect that based their religion entirely on Bible Scripture, completely disregarding Catholic traditions. This did not please the Catholic Church, but it was only a hint of what was to come 300 years later when Wycliffe, Luther and Calvin would come on the scene.


Death of Anselm of Canterbury, known for his proof of God's existance.  Anselm had a heart for reform and he attempted to end abuses in England such as the slave trade. But he was best known for his subtle proof that God exists. It goes something like this: no one can argue that God doesn't exist if he defines God as a perfect being greater than any which can be imagined; for to be perfect, God must have real existence. (Well, maybe it more sense in the 12th Century.) In his later life Anselm was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.    [Read more ...]


Peter Waldo is born in Lyons, France.  This man is credited with founding the Waldensians, a Christian spiritual movement of the Middle Ages, descendants of which still exist today. Pre-dating Luther by almost 3 centuries. Waldo could be called the first Protestant, establishing a sect that stressed lay preaching, voluntary poverty and strict adherence to the Bible, rather than Catholic doctrines and tradition. This, of course, did not endear him to the established Church, which persecuted the Waldensians for the next 3 centuries. Some of them fled to the safety of the Alps, where they still were when the Protestant Reformation kicked-in in the 1500's.    [Read more ...]


The 2nd Crusade is launched from Europe.  It was led by European kings — Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, along with help from a number of other nobles. However all the soldiers only numbered a skimpy 13,000. After a failed attempt to take Damascus, the Crusaders from one country felt betrayed by the other. So they gave up and went home. At the time this Crusade was seen as a huge debacle, with many monks writing that it could only have been the work of the Devil.    [Read more ...]


Peter Lombard writes the "Four Books of Sentences".  Lombard was a scholar, theologian and author; in his later life he became the Bishop of Paris. His best-known work was the "Four Books of Sentences", which was a systematic compilation of theology. It became the standard theological textbook for the late Middle Ages. In fact, it was so popular that it was still around during the time of John Calivin, who quoted from it over 100 times in his "Institutes". (See 1509)    [Read more ...]


Adrian IV becomes the only Englishman ever to become Pope.  His real name was Nicholas Breakspear. Since many of the church hierarchy in Rome resented having an English Pope, Adrian's reign was a troubled one. His most controversial act was an edict that allowed Henry II of England to annex Ireland to his kingdom. Regardless of the Pope's blessing, trying to merge these two contries into one had far-reaching consequences; and even today, in many circles, the English and the Irish aren't exactly best buddies.    [Read more ...]


The 3rd Lateran Council makes new rules for picking a Pope.  Up to this time, choosing a Pope was a procedure filled with confusion and loopholes. This Council was convened to fix the process. It was decided that only cardinals would have the right to elect the pope, who must get two-thirds of their votes. It's still done that way today. Any candidate that did not receive that many votes and tried to name himself Pope, would be excommunicated. You don't mess with the rules.    [Read more ...]


St Francis of Assisi is born in Italy.   (See 1224)