The Albigensian Massacre | Episode 9 | Lineage

Whilst the Waldensians lived on the Italian side of the Alps, a group with similar faith lived on the French side, stretching across Southern France,
from the Alps in the east to the Pyrenees in the west. They had the Bible in their own language, and they were a freedom-loving,
industrious, and prosperous people. They were known as the Albigensians, and like other groups scattered around Europe they remained true to God’s word and resisted attempts to come under the banner of Rome. Some historians note that had this movement
been allowed to grow unhindered, that the reformation would have started
in the 13th century and not the 16th century, and the base of it would have been
in Southern France and not Germany. [music] In the early 13th century Pope Innocent III was reigning,
though he was anything but innocent. He surveyed the landscape of Europe at the time and determined that these groups, however small, needed to be exterminated
in order to preserve the church. He issued an edict that authorised
the killing of all such believers. [music] A crusade was launched that became immensely popular
with the ‘warriors’ from Northern France as they no longer had to travel all the way to Palestine, but right here, in their own country,
they could attain all the same benefits. They were told that by killing
they would wash away their sins, that they were entitled to the property of those whom they killed, and that when they died they would immediately go to heaven. All of this was promised in return for just 40 days of service. One can only imagine the type of people who made up the armies that came down here to Southern France. Year after year from 1209 AD to 1229 AD, for 20 years this crusade was waged
against the Albigensians by Pope Innocent III. [music] During the first season, the crusaders attacked
and conquered the city of Toulouse. They then made their way south in July of 1209 AD
to the city of Béziers. As the forces where gathering around the city in large numbers, the men made a rush to attack them
before they had a chance to fortify the camp. It was in vain, though, and the assault was repelled. As they huried back to the city,
the crusaders mingled with the citizens and made their way into the city before they had a chance to close the gates. There was now a problem, what would they do? There were Catholic crusaders in the city
alongside the Albigensians. Upon consulting the Papal legate, the reply was given: ‘Kill all, kill all, the Lord will know his own’. [music] History records that blood flowed like water as everyone in the city was brutally murdered. No one was spared. Even those who sought refuge in the church were cut down. The population of the city at the time was around 15,000, but on that fateful day historians estimate
that around 60,000 people where here as people from the neighbouring villages and towns
had come here seeking refuge. After the killing, before they left they set fire to the city, burning everything to the ground. Not one house was left standing, not one person was left alive. Other cities and towns in the area would fall as well, suffering the same gruesome fate. [music] Even though they were not a race of people but rather a group who shared the same faith, the destruction and systematic killing
has been compared in some circles to genocide. The prestige of the Papacy suffered greatly during this time, as news of the slaughter spread throughout Europe. The Albigensians where not totally wiped out, though, and small pockets of them did remain over the centuries. [music] Perhaps most tragic was how the propagators
linked divine salvation with murder, a dangerous combination then and still today. We should never allow religious extremism to take away freedom of worship. We must never impose our beliefs on others nor allow others to impose their beliefs upon us. No matter how true one thinks they are, no one has the right to force their beliefs on anyone else. One thing that God has given to us is the freedom of choice, the freedom to love God
in return for the love that he has given to us. May we be gracious in how we share our faith and our beliefs, giving other people the room to make their own decisions
as they are led individually.

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