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Pope Eugenius III
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  Home >> The Crusades >> The Second Crusade >> Pope Eugenius III

News of Edessa's fate trickled into Rome in the summer of 1145.  Pope Eugenius III had just been elected when he was brought word of the disaster by Bishop Hugh of Jabala. Other delegations arrived over the summer. It was not until late fall, however, that Eugenius finally issued a crusading bull: Quantum praedecessores, addressed to Louis VII and the Gauls, on December 1, 1145.

Louis' reaction was interesting. He had quarreled with the papacy over the appointment of bishops and other matters, but had recently been reconciled. He had perpetrated a massacre at Vitry in which a number of people had been burned to death in a cathedral, and he was looking for an appropriate penance. He knew of the fall of Edessa and the call for help, though he probably did not know of the papal bull. All of these factors made him sympathetic to a crusade, but they did not mean he was going to drop everything and gallop to the rescue.

The situation changed at Christmas, when the royal French court assembled at Bourges. There was still no universal enthusiasm for a crusasde, for no one had forgotten the catastrophes of 1101. But the king spoke in favor of it, and support spread slowly through the winter. Even at Christmas, though, Louis made no reference to the crusading bull, which is why we don't think he yet knew of it.

Eugenius, a little discouraged at the underwhelming response, referred the matter to Bernard of Clairvaux and commissioned Bernard to preach the crusade. 

He reissued the bull in March 1146.

This time, there was a response.

King Louis VII

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