Cathari (the pure)
was the scene of a Cathar massacre in 1210 A.D. during the crusades. The Cathars sought spiritual
freedom and were annihilated by the
Church in the 13th century.
is located in a remote location in Languedoc. Cathari (Greek katharos,"pure") is a name assumed
by various heretical Christian sects of the Middle Ages. The Cathars believed that
matter is inherently
evil and only the spiritual is good; salvation came through conquering
needs of the body. They abstained from marriage and from
any animal products. The
considered heretics since their practices were viewed as a mortal threat to the "establishment" (Roman
Albi the Cathars were called Albigensains. They
replace the "corrupt" Church establishment of the time with their
elite. Hence the
term Cathari (the
attracted many who wanted a
simple church with spiritual theology. Converts came from the
nobility, artisans, and peasants - those with little or no position or power of the Church. The Cathar population of France
was largely rural and was completely suppressed
by the end of the 13th century at the cost of about a million innocent lives.
This photo of a roadside map illustrates the challenge
attacking forces in the 13th century; there was no bridge.
The natural terrain offered an excellent venue to
defend. The impregnable fortress village provided good
protection during the siege until the only source of water was destroyed by the
attackers. Historical facts of the events do not
Some sources say the village Viscount negotiated a
settlement to save the non-Cathar, Christian population; the remaining
Cathars were subsequently burned at the stake. Other
accounts indicate that the attackers didn't know who of the defenders
were Christian and
who were Cathar. Solution? Burn them all
God sort it out! Either way, this marked the beginning of
the Albigensian Crusade (1208-1229) and hard times for the Cathar.
Sign of the times
A memorial stone is located just outside the original Cathar
church. Note the date of 1210. The remarkable point
to be made here is that this stone was placed about 30 years ago!
The spirit of the Cathar culture is still very much
Today the village offers quiet respite for the
Patrick offers his thoughts on the siege of Minerve.
[Broadband download time about 20 seconds.]