The Catholic Church sensed an intrusion by the Russian Orthodox Church, making inroads into the Baltic lands, and in the conversion of its people.
Meinhard, an Augustinian monk from Holstein, travelled by way of the Dauvaga River in the latter part of the 12th century. His mission was to convert the people of Livoniato, building the first church and creating a Christian community. His successor, Bishop Berthold used crusaders in the conversion of its people by force. 1198 is considered the starting point of the Baltic Crusades.
Bishop Albert successor to Berthold established the Swordbrothers, a Crusading Order in 1202, who received papal blessing in 1204, and by 1208 had converted the Kur and Lett people to Christianity by forcible means. Bishop Albert established the City of Riga, a city built upon by merchants and crusaders. He became a strong leader and fended off the Danish forces, prior to his death in 1229.