Skip to comments.Defending Christendom against Islamic Jihad: Jean de La Valette
Posted on 06/22/2012 8:45:27 AM PDT by marshmallow
A brutal battle, at which nothing less than the future of Christendom was at stake, raged this week in June some four-and-a-half centuries ago. Indeed, the sacrificial lamb, Fort Saint Elmo, fell on June 23.
But because it did, the Island of Malta held out.
At great cost was purchased the time for the princes of the Catholic West to set aside their jealousies and build the fleets sufficient to confront the troublesome Turk, bound and determined to make Saint Peters Basilica a mosque, just as he had done to the Hagia Sophia a century before.
Christendom delivered the coup de grace at Lepanto in 1571 under the 24-year-old Don John of Austria, but the sea battle that saved the West would never have been fought, much less won, had it not been for the heroic leadership of a much older man six years before.
The 71-year-old warrior whoalone and against impossible oddsled his soldier monks in the defense of Malta in 1565 was Jean Parisot de la Valette.
If ever a man took Luke 9:61-62 to heart it was this descendant of the crusading counts of Toulouse. At 20 he joined the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. He never returned home.
Born in 1494, he matured into the fullness of a type forged four centuries prior in the crucible of the Crusades, something that was then altogether new: the monk of war, a cleric whose vocation it was to lead a life of prayer and work centered on the Divine Office and the Rule of Saint Benedict, in a cloister apart from the world, but also to train for war and to shed the blood of the enemies of Jesus Christ on the battlefield.
By the late 16th Century, of the three Military Orders, only the Knights of........
(Excerpt) Read more at crisismagazine.com ...
I was familiar with the Battle of Lepanto, but did not know about this. Thank you for posting the link!!
We were on Malta last September as part of a cruise. The fortifications built by the knights are nearly beyond belief.
Today, Malta is an independent country and a vacation destination for Europeans. During WW2, it was a key jumping off and supply point for the North African invasion.
All-in-all, a beautiful but highly strategic island. The streets of the old city still have the homes built by the knights, and they are beautiful.
All of this should be taken in context of the times or we lose track of how perilous and important these events are. Indeed this is the time when so many things could have changed history completely if the luck had gone the other way.
In 1453, the last remanant of the Eastern Roman Empire & Byzantium, Constantinople, in the absence of any significant help from European Christendom, fell to the new Islamic strongman, the Ottoman Turks under Mehmed II. Less than 30 years later, he who tried to do the same to Rome with an invasion of Italy in 1480.
In 1492, the Spanish Reconquista had destroyed the 700+ years of Islamic Al-Andalus in Iberia but in 1522 Rhodes was conquered and in 1529 came the 1st of 3 Ottoman sieges of Vienna and that threat did not end until 1683.
Before this Malta Siege, these Ottomans had the aura of invincibility and the sense of inevitability. Following Malta and Lepanto, not so much although the threat continued into the 1700s.
We may also be able to thank the Ottomans for the European Age of Navigation and Conquest. With their conquest of Byzantium, they took complete control of the "Silk Routes" and the European desire for alternative routes had totally unexpected results with Europe comming out the winner.