As many as 60.000 Albigensian were massacred in France during a crusade from 1209 to 1229.
The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade (1209–1229) was a 20-year military campaign initiated by Pope Innocent III to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc, in the south of France.
Catharism (/ˈkæθərɪzəm/; from Greek: καθαροί, katharoi, “the pure”) was a Christian dualist movement that thrived in some areas of Southern Europe, particularly northern Italy, northern Spain and southern France, former Occitania and Catalonia, between the 12th and 14th centuries. Cathar beliefs varied between communities because Catharism was initially taught by ascetic priests who had set few guidelines.
Roman Catholic “saint” Cecilia is know to have had an angel if Lucifer as her lover. Read more at this link.
The Cathars were a direct challenge to the Catholic Church, which renounced its practices and dismissed it outright as the Church of Satan.
It is likely that we have only a partial view of their beliefs, because the writings of the Cathars were mostly destroyed because of the doctrinal threat perceived by the Papacy; much of our existing knowledge of the Cathars is derived from their opponents.
Cathars, in general, formed an anti-sacerdotal party in opposition to the Church of Rome, protesting against what they perceived to be the moral, spiritual and political corruption of the Church.
The Cathars also refused the Catholic Sacrament of the eucharist saying that it could not possibly be the body of Christ.
The doors of the church of St Mary Magdalene were broken down and the refugees dragged out and slaughtered. Reportedly, 7,000 people died there. Elsewhere in the town many more thousands were mutilated and killed. Prisoners were blinded, dragged behind horses, and used for target practice.
Arnaud-Amaury wrote to Pope Innocent III, “Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex”.
The Inquisition was established in 1234 to uproot the remaining Cathars. Operating in the south at Toulouse, Albi, Carcassonne and other towns during the whole of the 13th century, and a great part of the 14th, it succeeded in crushing Catharism as a popular movement and driving its remaining adherents underground. Cathars who refused to recant were hanged, or burnt at the stake.
From May 1243 to March 1244, the Cathar fortress of Montségur was besieged by the troops of the seneschal of Carcassonne and the archbishop of Narbonne. On 16 March 1244, a large and symbolically important massacre took place, where over 200 Cathar Perfects were burnt in an enormous pyre at the prat dels cremats (“field of the burned”) near the foot of the castle
Hunted by the Inquisition and deserted by the nobles of their districts, the Cathars became more and more scattered fugitives: meeting surreptitiously in forests and mountain wilds.
After several decades of harassment and re-proselytising, and perhaps even more importantly, the systematic destruction of their religious texts, the sect was exhausted and could find no more adepts. The leader of a Cathar revival in the Pyrenean foothills, Peire Autier was captured and executed in April 1310 in Toulouse.
Written by Ivar