Baltic Crusades: Latvia

Catholic Preachers of Baltic Crusades

In the year 1180, Catholic preachers arrived in Latvia with German merchants by way of old Viking trading routes along the Daugava River.  Upon arrival, they established communities, built churches, went forth preaching and performing baptisms among the Livonian people.

These “Holy” men were welcomed by the pagan tribes of this land.  However, things changed, when Livonian’s refused to convert to the new religion, only then did the Catholic preachers show their true colours, by calling upon armed forces to aid them in their goal.

In the early years of the 14th century, after countless and bloodied battles, that the lands of Latvia and Estonia were eventually captured by German forces, and converted to Catholicism.

The new religion; Christianity saw the people of Latvia and Estonia baptized by force.  As many parts of this new religion was not forced upon the Baltic tribes, thousand’s of its people continued to practice their pagan customs and beliefs.

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Baltic Crusades: Lithuania

Lithuanian Infantry

Lithuanian Infantry

The best known history of the Baltic Crusades has to be the century long war which existed against the Lithuanians, which ended in 1410 with the defeat of the Teutonic Order at Tannenburg, considered by many, as the ending of the Baltic Crusades.

Latvian, Estonian and Prussian tribes stood their ground in bloody battles against the invading Crusaders.  Whilst neighbouring Lithuanians, formed their own pagan kingdom, to become a great power and serious military opponent in the eyes of the European Crusaders.

Following many an armed conflict with Teutonic and Livonian Orders, the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda was captured in 1252.  Duke Mindaugas of Lithuania surrounded by Knights had no choice but to bow down and accept Christianity in 1253.  Then most of Lithuania became part of the Christian realm, with the exception of Samogita who refused to accept Mindaugas as their leader.  A number of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes opted to be baptized into Catholicism as a way to bring bloodshed to an end.  However, the fighting didn’t end!

In 1263, Mindaugas was assassinated, and cheated Lithuanians reverted back to their pagan beliefs, for they wanted land not the saving of their souls.  The Order of the Teutonic Knights defeated Prussia in 1284, and it was assimilated into Polish, German and Lithuanian societies.  The title Prussia was appropriated by German conquerors for themselves.

14th century Crusaders continued their hold on Baltic lands, strengthening their power on Estonia in 1343, a result of the peasant uprising against Danish rule, and the sale of northern Estonia to the Teutonic Order for 10,000 marks.  Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania expanded his territory to the south and east, preventing Crusader incursions into his land.  However, in 1382 Lithuania lost Samogitia and for the next 30 years, came under the rule of Teutonic Knights.

Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania sought to preserve his country, and so it was in 1386, he married Queen Jadwiga of Poland.  This marriage saw the creation of the “Union of Kreva” a powerful Lithuanian/Polish state.  This union cemented the Christian character of Lithuania.

In 1410, the Lithuanians formed a coalition consisting of Russians, Poles, Tatars and Czechs who took on the might of the Teutonic Knights at the “Battle of Zalgiris” at Tannenberg, bringing an end to the Baltic Crusades.

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Baltic Crusades: Definitions

Baltic Crusades1

The Baltic Crusades were religious wars which took place between the 12th and 13th century.  Undertaken by Christian military orders, against those who lived on the shores of the Baltic Sea.  The result of many battles, led to the conversion and baptism to Christianity.

The Baltic/Northern Crusades date back to 1195 when Pope Celestine III called for these crusades against its pagan people.  Christian Kingdoms of Poland, Scandinavia and the Holy Roman Empire had moved its forces into position, ready to conquer its pagan neighbours.

The Wendish Crusade took place in 1147, and the campaigns were against the Polabian Slavs also knows as the Wends, of northern and eastern Germany.  The Wendish Crusade took place alongside the Second Crusade by the Catholic Church against Islam.

The Swedish Crusades took place in 1150 and 1293, and were carried out against the Tavastians, Karelins and Finns.

The Danish Crusades took place between the years of 1191 and 1202, and was spearheaded by Anders Sunesen a Danish Archbishop of Lund, together with his brother.

During the 12th century, the people of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia formed a non-Christian wedge against their enemies; the Catholic Church in the west and the Orthodox Church in the east.  Two Christian denominations, with two different creeds, failed to convert the people.

(Image) Baltic Crusade: mmdtkw.org

Teutonic Knights: Ice Battle

Baltic Crusade Knights

The campaigns of the Baltic Crusades were fought in difficult terrain and often in snowy weather conditions that could hardly have been more different from the blazing heat of the Holy Land Crusades.

One historical Teutonic Knights campaign took place on the 5th April 1242 as they clashed with Russians under the command of Alexander Nevsky at Lake Peipus in Eastern Estonia.

Some 30 mounted knights and sergeants along with 250 Estonian foot soldiers, clashed with 300 Russians.

Dressed in distinctive white mantles emblazoned with a black cross, the knights were well equipped with helmets, mail coats, swords and spears.  They were confident they had superior armoury and weaponry, so they charged at the Russian ranks, only to be encircled and forced back.  These warriors were forced onto the frozen lake where most of them were slaughtered.

Baltic Crusade Conversions

Baltic Crusade Knights

With the public obsession with the Holy Wars and Crusades in the Far East.  It wasn’t long before the Catholic Church and its ruling military forces discovered that unchristian Pagan lands still existed.

Europe was flooded with soldiers, mercenaries and fortune hunters, ready to sell their sword to the highest bidder.  There were military factions like the “Teutonic Order” who had achieved little success in the Holy Land, compared with the Templar’s or Hospitaller’s.  Now they sought out an opportunity to claim their place, in the annals of history.

Baltic pagan tribes separated from European lands, hidden behind forests and swamps, living the old ways as their ancestors had, from generation to generation.  Many an armed conflict took place, but made little impact on culture and life.

For many a decade, Vikings attempted to overthrow, establishing control over Baltic shores.  Their endeavours had little success and were either overthrown, driven away and chose to mix with local tribes.

Many an outsider set their sights on the Russian Orthodox Church, they who had attempted to Christianize the Baltic converts with conversion to Orthodoxy.  Russian warlords wanted to subjugate pagan Balts and collect more taxes…

Polish Dukes made attacks against Old Prussians in expansion of their lands.  They attempted conversion of Pagan Prussians to Catholicism.

Old Prussian Crusade

Prussian Crusade

In the year 1226, after the Old Prussians had destroyed the Polish Order of Dobrin which had been formed with the express purpose to subdue the Prussians.  The Polish Duke Konrad appealed for help from the German Teutonic Order, and offered them in return for their assistance some of his lands, which they could use as a foothold for expansion into Prussia.

The conquest of Prussia took some 50 years of continuous bloodshed to complete.  During which time native Prussians who remained un-baptized were subjugated, killed or exiled.  Many battles between knights and Prussians were ferocious; in some lands the people were exterminated, leaving a barren land… no human life remained.

Similarly as Latvian and Estonian tribes, Prussians were not prepared to give up their religion, their lifestyle.  In many cases they chose to die rather than surrender.

Those Prussians who tried to resist, went off to newly established pagan Kingdom of Lithuania, and continued their fight against these invaders, amongst the Lithuanians.

It wasn’t long before empty Prussian lands soon became inhabited by German settlers, and any remaining Old Prussians became peasants or were assimilated with the Germans, and vanished from the pages of history.  Later German settlers started calling themselves Prussians, and so the Kingdom of Prussia was so formed.

Rosicrucians: Out of Darkness

Rosicrucian Order

In the 18th century, some four hundred years after the Templar Order had been forced out of the limelight.  They were to emerge as an influential Order within Masonic and Rosicrucian beliefs.

Karl Gottheff, Varon von Hund, founder of the Strict Observance Rite, who established Templar traditions, Templar rules within the Masons.  Baron von Hund had been initiated into the Paris Lodge, led by Lord Kilmarnock, Grand Master of Scottish Freemasons, and the Guardians of Templar traditions.

Supporters of the Jacobite cause claimed that a Masonic Lodge had been founded in 1700’s Scotland, and drew its charter from a surviving Templar Chapter, which had been operational for some 700 years, in Bristol.

At his Masonic initiation, von Hund claims to have met with the knight of the Red Feather, better known as Prince Charles Stuart.  Baron von Hund went on to found a German branch of the neo-Templar’s in Germany.  Based on von Hund’s account of things, the Scottish chapter of the Knights Templar had been founded by two English members of the Order.  They who had discovered the Elixir of Life, and actively practised alchemy.

A popular 18th century occult myth states that Templar’s were initiates of Gnostic teachings passed down by the Essenes, they who had iniated Jesus into its mysteries.  Meo-Templarism attempted to combine pagan and wisdom with Christian ideals.  According to Freemasonry, Templar influence of the 18th century spoke of a myth; three renegade Knights betrayed King Phillip of France to fellow Masons, who murdered Hiram Abiff in Solomon’s Temple.  Masonic references of assassination of Charles de Monte Carmel a prominent Templar who underwent a ritual murder…  This murder according to 18th century Masons, marked a turning point in the history of the Knights Templar and led to their eventual downfall.

The survival of the Knights Templar tradition was masterminded by Jacques de Molay, the Order’s last Grand Master, whilst in a French prison awaiting his execution.  On the evening of the 17th March 1314 the night before being burnt at the stake on unproved charges of heresy.  DeMolay sent a trusted aide to the Templar’s secret crypt in Paris, where the Order’s past Grand Master’s had been entombed.  Symbolic objects sacred to the Order, were duly removed.

Jacques de Molay trusted his aide, with the future of the Knights Templar.  The two pillars which stood at the entrance to the templar tombs were in fact hollow and contained money and artefacts.  It was De Molay’s wish that they be removed, before falling into the hands of the French Monarchy.  The Templar money and symbolic objects were to be used in the re-creation of the Order, preventing the loss of their secrets.

The two pillars of the crypt entrance were copies of the obelisks which stand at the gateway of Solomon’s Temple.  The pillars held detailed manuscripts, detailing occult teachings within the Templar Order.

Johann Augustus Starck, another claimant of the Templar revival, encountered Masonic Templarism whilst teaching in St.Petersburg.  He went on to make contact with surviving Templar Order’s in Southern France, they who were renowned for practising in the Cathar style.  It was Stark’s belief that the Templar’s had inherited occult from the likes of Persia, Seria and Egypt, and these were passed on to the Essenic secret society, operating in the Middle East during the Crusades.

His version of neo-Templarism received approval leading to patronage of European aristocrats and membership of new Masonic Templar lodges.  Gustav III of Sweden became a patron to neo-Templarism, a firm supporter of the Scottish Pretenders and the Jacobites.

Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great

In 1767, Frederick the Great founded two neo-Masonic lodges; “Order of the Architects of Africa,” and the “Knights of Light.”  That same year, Frederick the Great became a financial supporter of Orthodox Freemasonry.  In the next year (1768) Frederick commissioned the construction of a Grand Lodge for the Prussians.

A few years later, the title Illuminati was one of the Masonic Secret Societies.  The “Order of the Illuminati, the occultists became a title associated by Rosicrucian’s and known as key figures in secret political history.

The grand convention of Masonic Lodges in 1771 openly admitted mythical descent from the Templar Order.  Johann Augustus Stark’s group merged with Baron von Hund’s.

adam-weishauptThe Illuminati were founded by Adam Weishaupt, a professor at the Bavarian University of Ingoldstat, in the year 1776, the same year as the American Revolution.  He being of Jewish descent, educated by Jesuits in the Catholic faith.

Whilst an undergraduate, Weishaupt studied Ancient Pagan Religions, Eleusinian Mysteries and Theories of the Greek mystic and philosopher; Pythagoras.  As a student drafted a constitution for a secret society, centred on paganism.

In 1774, he made contact with a Masonic lodge in Germany, and was disappointed by what he found.  They being ignorant to occult and Masonic connections, with no knowledge of pagan symbolism.

On the 1st May 1776, Adam Weishaupt announced the foundation of the “Order of Perfectibilists,” which later became known as the Illuminati.

Weishaupt had a vision, a political vision, a utopian state, with the abolition of private property, social authority and nationality.  He believed human beings would live in harmony, within a brotherhood, based on love, peace, spiritual wisdom and equality.  His main targets of reform were the Monarchy, Church and rich landowners.

The Illuminists attempted overthrow of Hapsburg in 1784, which led to the Bavarian government banning all secret societies, and so it was Weishaupt’s followers went underground.

Comte de Mirabeau a prominent Illuminist, was one of the founders responsible for the French Revolution of 1789.  Aiming at the destruction of the French Monarchy and destroying the Catholic Church, to be replaced by the “Religion of Love,” across France.

Early 1791, allegations arose about the role played by Masons and Illuminate, partly based on the confessions of Comte Cagliostro (Comte Cagliostro born Joseph Balsamo in Parlemo, Sicily in 1743) arrested in 1789 on charges of heresy.

Comte Cagliostro

Comte Cagliostro

Cagliostro married Lorenza Felicioni whom he controlled by use of hypnotism, taught to him by Dr.Mesmer a fellow Mason.  Lorenza went on to denounce her husband in the “Inquisition for practising heresy.”  He spoke of an international conspiracy by Illuminati, neo-Templar’s and Freemasons, taking place across Europe.  He revealed their ultimate object, was to complete work started by the original Knights Templar; the overthrow of the Papacy and the election of an Illuminist as Pope.

He went on to confess that large sums of money had been deposited in banks in Holland, Italy, France and England to finance revolutions.  Funds to finance the French Revolution came from the House of Rothschild… Was this fact or fiction, was Comte Cagliostro just trying to save his life.  No historical evidence can be found to support such claims.

The radicalism of Masonic Lodges prior to the French Revolution, alienated followers amongst aristocratic classes in France.  By 1792 few lodges were still practising, and faced hostilities from the revolutionary government.  At Versailles former Grand Master of a Templar lodge was lynched by an angry mob.  Masonry came under suspicion by those in power, in their belief of a counter revolution.

The Masons who had helped start the French Revolution, and within a few years became a victim of their own creation.

French Revolution

French Revolution

By 1796, it had become common knowledge that Masons and Templars had a hand in the French Revolution of 1789.  With Jacques de Molay, Templar’s last Grand Master, a prisoner in the Bastille before his execution in 1314, and as such, the Bastille was the first target for the mob.  It wasn’t long before connections revealed that the Templar’s and Jesuits were dedicated to the creation of a church within a church.

Duc’d Orleans, Grand Master of French freemasonry an illuminist, plotted against the French Royal family.  It is believed he practised a secret occult ritual, using relics from the past, which once belonged to de Molay.  Were these the sacred objects from the Templar Crypt in Paris?  Unfortunately, historical writings are unable to provide the answer.

“The Tomb of Jacques de Molay” was published in France of 1796, claiming that the French Revolution was the work of anarchists, they who could trace their lineage back to the Templar’s and Assassins.

Father Bamuel a Jesuit priest published his book; “Memoires pour serir de I’histoire du Jacobinisme,” tracing the survival of Manichean heresy through Catharism, Assassins, Templars, Freemasons and French Revolution.

The Royal Families of Europe were shocked by the Illuminist plot of universal revolution, they had witnessed the French Revolution and feared being next in line.  In 1790 the Bavarian government brought in a law that membership of the Illuminati was classed as a capital offence.

England feared the hand of these secret societies, and Parliament attempted to bring in the “Unlawful Societies Act,” which would have outlawed Freemasonry.  It failed, because they never dabbled in politics.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise meant Freemasons faced a bleak future.  Bonaparte was well aware of the Illuminist’s role in the French Revolution.  He used the Freemasons for his own political ends.

Joseph and Lucien, brothers of Napoleon Bonaparte became Grand Masters of the Orient.  They attracted many new members, and by the end of his reign the Grand Orient boasted some 1200 lodges across France, and by the 1800’s had infiltrated the French Colonies.

In the March of 1808, a neo-Templar Order held a public requiem for Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar.  Held at St.Paul’s Church in Paris, presided over by the Canon of Notre Dame; Abbe Pierre Romains.

In 1809 a secret Masonic Lodge came into being in France “Sublimes Maitres Parfait” (Sublime Perfect Masters), with similarities to Catharism.  They opposed Napoleon and saw him as a traitor of France.

The pre-Royalist Masonic Lodge claimed success in 1814, with the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte in favour of King Louis XVII.  The Paris revolt of 1830, led to Louis Philippe taking his place on the throne.

king louis Philippe

Louis Philippe

Louis Philippe placed Freemasons under his protection, appointed Duc d’Orleans his son, as the Order’s new Grand Master.

The Masonic convention of 1842 held in Strasburg, sowed the seeds of the 1848 Revolution by radical elements in European Masonry; they preached anarchism and socialism.

In 1850 Napoleon III made it law, that Grand Orient Lodges were forbidden to interfere in politics, even though they received support of the politicians.

The Illuminati failed to create social order across France, but had influenced another revolution.

In 1776 American colonists challenged the British in the War of Independence, the blueprint, a society based on democracy, freedom and social equality… A New World.

American War of Independence

The American Revolution, a social experiment engineered by secret societies.

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