|If the few hundred Christian martyrs of the first century of the Roman Empire were an example, what about the three thousand Cathar martyrs?
As early as 1022, the first stakes are lit in Orléans, Champagne and Milan.
Well before the crusade started, collective stakes could be noted in Toulouse, Cologne and Liège.
As soon as 1209, the flames of hatred rise in the whole Aquitaine, Languedoc and Champagne :
|180 Perfect Ones in Mount Aimé;
400 Perfect Ones in Lavaur, then 50 more later;
140 Perfect Ones in Minerve;
80 Perfect Ones in Agen;
94 Perfect Ones in Cassès, 210 in Moissac (to cite France only).
Entire Cathar communities were decimated, persecuted throughout Europe:
Languedoc, North of France, Anvers, Cologne, Oxford, Strasbourg, Aachen, Northern and Southern Italy, etc.
Innumerable stakes in Flanders, the Rhineland and Lombardy, culminating in the awful scene in Verona where two hundred Cathars – like the first Christians – were burnt in the arena of the circus!
What about Montségur? Montségur, forever the lighthouse of ‘pure Christian love’, where 205 Perfects singing in the flames have left an indelible mark in the Occitan soul!
In 1209, the crusade against the Cathars became a real genocide against the people who protects its ‘Perfect Ones’. Entire populations were exterminated by the sword:
Beziers (20,000 killed), Marmande (6,000 killed), burnt cities, crops and forests annihilated.
A church wild with the blood of Jesus Christ’s Saints and Martyrs, victorious – but at what a price! – leaves the country devastated, ruined.
If the ‘crime against the Spirit’ forever marks their authors, the soul sacrifice of the Perfect Ones leaves in our consciousness the luminous mark of the noblest example that ever existed.