Wednesday, October 4, 2017

St. Francis and the Sultan: An encounter of peace between Christians and Muslims

From Aletia-

In the midst of the Crusades, the Sultan of Egypt Malek al-Kamil (nephew of Saladin) declared that anyone who delivered him the head of a Christian would be rewarded with a Byzantine gold piece. Fighting had been fierce and the Sultan wanted to put a definitive end to the conflict. By August 1219 his armies succeeded in defending the stronghold of Damietta, killing about 5,000 crusaders in the process.

Then came St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis and Br. Illuminatus boldly went across the battle lines unarmed and were quickly captured by the Sultan’s army and badly beaten. However, the soldiers spared their lives and brought them before the Sultan.

St. Bonaventure described the encounter, writing, “The sultan asked them by whom and why and in what capacity they had been sent, and how they got there; but Francis replied that they had been sent by God, not by men, to show him and his subjects the way of salvation and proclaim the truth of the Gospel message. When the sultan saw his enthusiasm and courage, he listened to him willingly and pressed him to stay with him.” It is said that Francis greeted the Sultan with the greeting, “May the Lord give you peace,” similar to the traditional Muslim greeting of, “Assalam o alaikum” or “Peace be upon you.” This surprised the Sultan who was quickly enraptured by Francis’ holiness.

More here-

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