Council of Clermont

The Council of Clermont ( November 18 to 28 ) in Clermont should complete the destruction of the Church and thus also of the political system in Europe by the schism and the Investiture Contest in 1095. In addition, it is the starting point of the idea of ​​a crusade.


With Urban II and Clement III. two popes claimed dominion over the church. While Clemens Emperor Henry IV supported, Urban was in opposition to the emperor. Also in numerous subordinate church offices there were multiple occupations by contending parties, by which the fulfillment of the pastoral duties suffered.

Urban II wanted to end this situation and at the same time strengthen its own position. The synod of Piacenza in the spring of 1095 had remained largely inconclusive. However, at that time the idea of ​​a pilgrimage to Jerusalem train had by the presence of a delegation from the Byzantine Empire, which asked for help against the Muslim threat at Urban II emerged. In the following months the Pope this project and the plan of another synod in Europe propagated. On November 18, 1095 Urban II then opened the Synod in Clermont.


The Council was preoccupied with problems of everyday life within the Church. During the Synod Urban announced a number of reform laws, which should limit the rights of secular rulers in the Church. So lay investiture and the fealty of clerics to worldly powers were prohibited. In addition, Urban tightened the regulations on celibacy, reaffirmed the prohibition of simony and carrying of a weapon by a priest and announced provisions on fasts. In addition, the ban against the adulterous King Philip I of France was reaffirmed.


Overall, are said to have participated in the Council 14 archbishops, 225 bishops, and more than four hundred abbots. Representatives from England and Germany were not present, and Spain was only sparsely represented. The council acts mention by name, among other things:

  • The Cardinals Bruno of Segni, John and Richard of Marseilles
  • The Archbishops of Bourges Adalbert, Dagobert of Pisa and Roger of Reggio
  • The bishops William of Orange, Amalus of Bordeaux and Adhemar of Le Puy

Proclamation of the Crusade

Following the announcement of these regulations Pope Urban II proclaimed the decision to military assistance to the Christians in the Holy Land. He promised an indulgence to all who would not free the holy places of pilgrimage located there because of money or hope of honor.

The assembled clerics approved all decisions and announced this in their dioceses. Then was formed gradually the First Crusade (1096-1099); it reported Fulcher of Chartres, participants and one of the most important chroniclers of the First Crusade.

At the beginning of the 12th century came the first eyewitness account of an anonymous participant crusade to France, the Gesta Francorum. Three chroniclers edited the text linguistically inadequate to promote the memory of the First Crusade. They stylized the lecture Urban II at Clermont to a dramatic sermon, being strongly oriented to the literary works.

Robert of Rheims made ​​it a commander speech in ancient tradition and moved the lecture on a field. As the only he reports that was launched back in Clermont "Deus vult ", which later became the battle cry of the Crusaders.

Balderich of Dol interpreted the Pope's address to the emotional sermon, Guibert of Nogent reports of learned discussion of the Antichrist.