Louis IX and his Holy relics

"In 1236, the Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, approached the West for help in defending his moribund empire, one of the Latin States of Greece, born of the diversion of the fourth crusade in 1204. Early in 1237 he went to meet the French king Louis IX in Paris, telling him that, having run out of resources, he was obliged to borrow money against the relics with which Constantinople was still crammed, even after its sacking of 1204. Owing to his inability to repay the loans, these relics were at risk of falling into his creditors hands. On two occasions Louis IX redeemed the pledge. 

The Holy Crown of Thorns had been pawned to Venetian merchants. Louis repaid the loan in 1239, sending two Dominican friars to Constantinople to collect the precious relic and bring it back to Paris for storage. On 10 August 1239, Louis IX went in procession as far as Villeneuve-l'Archevêque, near Sens, to meet the cortège. (...)

In 1241, Louis completed his collection of relics connected with the Passion by buying from the Templars of Syria, who were holding them as surety, some fragments of the True Cross, the tip of the Holy Spear and a few other items, and to give these relics a setting worthy of their value. In 1242 he had built within the royal palace the Sainte-Chapelle, which was both a vast reliquary and a Sanctuary. 

The Sainte-Chapelle was consecrated on 26 April 1248, a few months before the kings departure for the crusade. (...) And so, it can be seen that Louis IX was fully prepared for the crusade both psychologically and spiritually, (...)"

This so called Seventh Crusade was led by Louis from 1248 to 1254. Louis' Christian army was defeated by the Ayyubid army led by Fakhr al-Din ibn Shaykh al-Shuyukh and their allies. Shaykh al-Shuyukh was killed in the war, and Louis was captured. Approximately 800,000 bezants were paid in ransom for his return.

This blog quotes from Alain Demurger, The last Templar - the tragedy of Jacques de Molay (2009, p 8-9). The last paragraph quotes from Wikipedia. Illustration from www.tiqets.com

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