Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Born at Amiens about 1050; d. at the monastery of Neufmoutier (Liège), in 1115. His life has been embellished by legend, and he has been wrongly credited with initiating the movement which resulted in the First Crusade. While the contemporary historians mentioned him only as one of the numerous preachers of the crusade, the later chroniclers, Albert of Aix-la-Chapelle, and above all William of Tyre, gave him an all-important role. According to Albert of Aix Peter having led during some years the rigorous life of a hermit undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and suffered much at the hands of the Turks. One day when he was asleep in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, Our Lord appeared to him and ordered him to ask for credentials from the Patriarch of Jerusalem and to go to Europe proclaiming the miseries which had befallen the Christian of the Orient . Peter obtained the patriarchal letters and sought Urban II, who, moved by his recital, came to preach the crusade at Clermont ("Histor. Hierosol.", I. 2). According to William of Tyre (I, II), it was of his own accord that Peter went to find the pope. The pilgrimage of Peter is mentioned by Anna Comnena (Alexiad, X, 8), who, born in 1083, could know nothing of this story except through tradition; she relates, however, that he could not get as far as Jerusalem, and that, resolved to undertake a second pilgrimage, he conceived the idea of preaching a crusade in order to be able to go to the Holy Sepulchre attended by goodly company. It is evidently absurd to ascribe the Crusades to such an insignificant cause. Because of the silence of contemporaries and the later contradictory accounts, even the fact of the pilgrimage of Peter is doubtful, while it is impossible to assign to him the role of promoter of the crusade. The merit of this belongs solely to Pope Urban II ( see CRUSADES ). Writers like Albert of Aix wished to deprive the pope of this honor in order to attribute it to the ascetics so popular at that time in Europe. It is absolutely certain that it was only after the Council of Clermont that Peter commenced to preach the crusade.

In March, 1096, he led one of the numerous bands going to the East; his enthusiastic eloquence is described by the chroniclers. He arrived with his army at Constantinople 1 August, 1096. After a toilsome march as far as Nicomedia Peter pitched his camp at Civitot, and seeing his army without resources returned to Constantinople to solicit help from the Emperor Alexius. During his absence, the crusaders, commanded by Walter the Penniless, were massacred by the Turks near Nicaea (Oct., 1096). Peter assembled the remnants of his band and in May, 1097, joined the army of Godfrey of Bouillon near Nicomedia. After this he had but an unimportant part. In Jan., 1098, at the siege of Antioch, he even attempted to desert the army, but was prevented by Tancred. In spite of this cowardice he was one of the envoys sent to Kerbûga. On his return to Europe he founded the monastery of Neufmoutier. see CRUSADES.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter