When EWTN decided to produce a new docu-drama on the Crusades two years ago, most Americans had never heard of ISIS; no journalists had been beheaded in Iraq; and no Christian women and girls had been abducted or enslaved. Yet the Lord, with His perfect timing, knew that a mini-series on "The Crusades" needed to be ready to air in October – and so it is. (The mini-series airs 10 p.m. ET from Wednesday, Oct. 8 through Saturday, Oct. 11.)
You've heard the tales, now learn the truth concerning the church's role in the Crusades and its efforts to restore the Holy Land to a place of safety for Catholic pilgrims. This powerful four-part series, shot on location in seven countries, gives viewers a well-rounded understanding of an important historical event, which has repercussions in our own time.
Each episode features original dramatizations, an original musical soundtrack recorded in Europe, and three pre-eminent, world-renowned Crusader scholars, together for the first time! They include Professor Jonathan Phillips, Professor of Crusading History at the University of London; Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith of Cambridge University, widely regarded as Britain's leading historian on the Crusades; and Professor Thomas F. Madden, chair of the Department of History at St. Louis University, a widely recognized expert not only on the Crusades, but on Christian-Muslim conflict.
Viewers will also enjoy the many locales in which the series was shot: Istanbul; Turkey; Israel, including Jerusalem; France, Austria, England, Spain and Slovakia.
The mini-series is preceded by what is sure to be a fascinating "EWTN Live," featuring our own Middle Eastern Scholar Father Mitch Pacwa interviewing "The Crusades" Writer, Producer and Host Stefano Mazzeo and Professor Madden, author of "A Concise History of the Crusades," and a number of other widely acclaimed books on this topic. (Airs 8 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Oct. 8.)
Here's an overview of a fascinating – and timely – series:
• Episode 1: A look at the history and reasons for the Crusades, which were originally known as "armed pilgrimages" because they sought to protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land against Muslim conquerors.
• Episode 2: A look at the Crusader States, which were set up by the Crusader hierarchy after the miraculous success of the First Crusade; the formation of Military Orders such as the Knights Templars; the re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as the rise of Sultan Saladin and his conquest of Jerusalem.
• Episode 3: A look at the Third Crusade, which was led by King Richard the Lionheart of England, King Philip of France and German Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa; the famous meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Al-Kamil; and the role that devotion to the Apostle James and the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela played in Crusader successes.
• Episode 4: A look at the failures and successes of the Crusades and their legacy, including the role of St. Louis IX, the rise of the Ottoman Empire; the epic Battle of Lepanto, a turning point in the war, and a triumph of faith; the final Christian victory in the Iberian Peninsula, and the loss of the Holy Land, in particular, Jerusalem.
• Finally, don't miss another EWTN special on this subject airing the same week! "Franciscan University Presents Myths About the Crusades," airs at 10 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 5 and 5 a.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 9, and features Dr. Paul Crawford, professor of medieval history at California University Of Pennsylvania.
If you are at all concerned about world affairs, you will not want to miss this important series. We suggest you mount a Crusade to get your family and friends to watch this important week of programming on EWTN!
God bless Family!