Post-classical history

Conrad of Krosigk (d. 1225)

Bishop of Halberstadt (1201-1208), participant in the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204), and subsequently preacher of two other crusades.

Scion of the powerful Krosigk family of Saxony, Conrad took the cross in April 1202 to escape the consequences of his recent excommunication for not supporting Pope Innocent III’s imperial policies. Although disturbed by the Venetian plan to capture the Christian city of Zara (mod. Zadar, Croatia), Conrad participated in the expedition, and the following year (1203), he supported the diversion to Constantinople (mod. Istanbul, Turkey), to the point of conspiring with other crusade leaders to keep the army ignorant of the pope’s prohibition of this adventure. When relations with the citizens of Constantinople degenerated into open hostilities, Conrad assured the crusaders that their war against the Greeks was righteous. Following the capture of Constantinople, Conrad sailed to Acre (mod. ‘Akko, Israel), where he convinced the two papal crusade legates to lift his sentence of excommunication. His pilgrimage completed, Conrad traveled to Rome and made peace with the pope. He reached Halberstadt on 16 August 1205, accompanied by a large number of relics from Constantinople.

In 1208 Conrad became a Cistercian monk. In 1213 and 1216, he received papal commissions to preach and organize efforts for the Fifth Crusade in the provinces of Magdeburg and Bremen, and in 1224 he was commissioned to recruit participants for Emperor Frederick II’s proposed crusade. He died on 21 June 1225.

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