John R. Houk
© March 16, 2015
I am a Christian. In full disclosure my faith might be better pinned with the terms Pentecostal, Charismatic and Word of Faith. Much of mainline Protestant Denominations would call one or all those descriptions as heretical in their faith. I am not a Roman Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox Christian although I do not condemn their faith as many Protestants do in various degrees of virulence. On a personal level I place more faith in the Bible than in tradition, but I do not condemn tradition for tradition preserved Christianity during the Dark Ages in the West and Muslim domination in the East.
I recognize that the dogma of Churches or of individuals are not absolute, because perfection will only come to the Body of Christ until the Second Coming of Christ that brings finality to the eradication of Satan’s realm on earth which was bequeathed to old slew foot via a load of deception fed to Eve (deceived) then to Adam (not deceived) who knew better than to accept deception as truth.
Now in saying all that I ran across an article about the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. That battle was one of three defining battles that resulted in preserving Christian Europe from Islamic conquest. The first is one battle that has two historical names in 732 AD: Battle of Tours/Poitiers. The last Battle marked the beginning of the end of the last Muslim super power the Ottoman Empire which found its death bed at the end of WWI between 1918 and 21: Battle of Vienna (1683). The 1571 Battle of Lepanto was as significant as the other two in which it was in between; however unlike those other battles Lepanto was a naval one.
The account below is from the perspective of a militant Roman Catholic website which hasn’t necessarily a good opinion of Protestants but justly are high lighting the nature of Islam.
The Battle of Lepanto--Why We Are Free
By Ashley Ladouceur and Marty Arlinghaus
Let me tell you the story of the Battle of Lepanto.
The year is 1571.
The Ottoman Empire has been expanding by method of jihad (in other words, military conquest).
This is the extent of the empire at the beginning of the battle:
“The inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with their ships.”
“The Ottoman Turks yearned to bring all Europe within the dar al-Islam, the ‘House of Submission’ — submissive to the sharia law. Europe, as the land of the infidels, was the dar al-Harb, the ‘House of War.’” (From Lepanto, 1571: The Battle that Saved Europe by H. W. Crocker, III posted to CatholicCulture.org. Copyright by Morley Publishing Group Inc.)
Meanwhile, Christendom was divided by the Protestant Reformation
“The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom.”
The scene is set.
On the Christian side we have a strong leader in Don John of Austria, a handsome 24 year-old son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. At his command were 206 galleys, 40,000 oarsmen and sailors, 28,00 soldiers and knights, the thousands of rosaries said by faithful Christians as requested by Pope Pius V, the ministries of the religious and priests who accompanied the fleet, and the entreaties of the hosts of saints and angels in Heaven.
On the side of the Turks, led by Ali Pasha, there were 328 ships, 77,000 men (including 10,000 Janissaries—Christian boys taken from their families as tax payment when they were about the age of 6. They were forced to convert to Islam, taught the art of war, and given the opportunity of advancement in the Turkish army.), and 50,000 oarsmen—many of them Christian slaves.
Spies warned Ali Pasha of the Christian advance thus he had time to set up his fleet in a battle line. This fleet was more experienced and stronger than the Christian one. The naval battle began. The galleys fired cannon balls at each other.
When ships got close, a floating hand-to-hand combat was commenced with scimitars, bows, and muskets on the Turk’s side and swords, pikes, and arquebuses on the Christian’s side. An unexpected strong wind allowed the Christian fleet to pin part of the Ottoman fleet against some shoals; this wind seems to have been a gust of the Holy Spirit. Some of the Christian galley slaves on the Ottoman ships revolted, incapacitating those galleys.
But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!
The Christian fleet was victorious. The Turks lost 170 ships, 33,000 men to death, wounds, or capture, and 12,000 Christian slaves. Christians endured 7,500 men killed and 22,000 men wounded.
The turning of the tide of the Ottoman advance is due to the prayers of the millions of Catholics in Christendom. October 7th, the day the battle took place, is now the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the month of October is the month of the Rosary.
Are we not facing similar battles today, if not even greater ones? Christians are being massacred and exiled from their homes where they have dwelt for nearly 2,000 years in Iraq and Syria by Islamic groups such as ISIS (or Islamic State). Christians in other Islamic countries continue to face anti-Christian laws that prevent them from freely practicing their religion on pain of imprisonment or death. Unlike in the 16th century when Lepanto was fought, these atrocities are met with apathy by the modern Western culture, which is experiencing its own anti-Christian secularization which thinks Christians cannot possibly be persecuted. The overt culture of death advanced by the Islamic State has just as strong a hold in the hearts of Westerners who accept abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia and other life-denying practices such as contraception that continues to cause populations of developed countries to plummet to the point where future generations will collapse under the weight of the much larger older generations. Christianity itself continues to suffer from splintering and a lack of unity of believers. The odds seem to be overwhelmingly against the Church.
But we are the Church Militant. We are united as members of the Body of Christ. We are the Catholic Church. Just as 500 years ago Christians united in prayer to defeat the Ottomans, we can unite in prayer now to combat the spiritual and physical evils in our world today.
For more exciting information on the Battle of Lepanto: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7391
To read the poem G. K. Chesterton wrote about the battle: http://www.bartleby.com/103/91.html
To listen to a chant of the Templars as they march to war: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0d4qM7gCH8
Lepanto: One of Three Christianity Preserving Battles
John R. Houk
© March 16, 2015
The Battle of Lepanto--Why We Are Free