Christians of whatever language. They were content without further enquiry or examination to consider Christian whoever venerated the cross.24
Generally speaking, the attitude of the Jacobites towards the crusaders varied according to circumstance: sometimes they displayed indifference, sometimes they were realistic and conciliatory, even favourably disposed because of a common hostility to the Melkites, but sometimes they were antagonistic, as was the case in 1148 when the crusaders sacked the great monastery of Barsauma.
Being at a greater distance from the Latins, the Christian communities in Mesopotamia and Egypt were less directly affected by the creation of the Latin states. Nevertheless, the Copts were bitterly opposed to the First Crusade. The author ofthe History ofthe Patriarchs of Alexandria, as we have already seen, took pleasure in the restoration of peace and order to Jerusalem in the aftermath of the Turkish conquest, but a few pages on we find him writing as follows:
They [the Franks] gained possession of the noble city of Jerusalem and its district in the month of Ramadan of the Lunar Year 492. We, the community of Christians, the Jacobites, the Copts, did not join in the pilgrimage to it, nor were we able to approach it, on account of what is known of their hatred of us, as also, their false belief concerning us and their charge against us of impiety.25
Thanks to the crusades the Latin Church came to have a better knowledge of these Oriental churches and sought to effect a union of churches by persuading their leaders, whether patriarch or catholicos, to accept Roman primacy and to subscribe to the same confession of faith, while respecting their individual rituals.26 Initiated in the twelfth century, this strategy was fully developed in the thirteenth thanks to the missionary work of the Dominicans and the Franciscans. So in 1237 theJacobite Patriarch Ignatios II visitedJerusalem, where after being well received by the Dominicans he solemnly swore obedience to the see of Rome and provided an Orthodox profession of faith drawn up in Arabic and Syriac. Those Coptic and Nestorian archbishops, who were also present in Jerusalem, followed suit. Pope Gregory IX sent them letters of congratulation. Patriarch Ignatios renewed his submission in 1246 during a visit from the papal envoy, Andrew of Longjumeau, while seeking assurances that Rome would respect the autonomy of his church. However, such declarations of obedience were considered to be purely personal actions and did not apply
24 Chronique de Michelle Syrien, patriarche jacobite d'Antioche (1166-1199), trans. J.-B. Chabot (Paris: E. Leroux, 1905), III, 222.
25 History of the patriarchs, ii, part 3: (text) 249; (trans.) 398-9.
26 J. Richard, La papauté et les missions d'Orient au Moyen Age (XIIIe-XVe siècles) [Collection de l'Ecole francaise de Rome 33], second edition (Rome: Ecole française de Rome, 1998).
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