Post-classical history

Guy of Vaux-de-Cernay (d. 1225)

A Cistercian monk who preached in support of the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) and the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229).

While he was serving as abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Vaux-de-Cernay (1181-1212) near Paris, Guy’s association with the king of France and the school of Peter the Chanter drew him into preaching the Fourth Crusade with Fulk of Neuilly. By 1200, Guy and the abbot of St. Victor (Paris) were commissioned to help organize the new crusade and collect the clerical income tax imposed for it. Guy also successfully recruited many noblemen with ties to his monastery and acted as their spiritual director, leading Simon and Guy of Montfort and many others to proceed directly to the Holy Land, rather than accept the expedition’s diversion to Zara (mod. Zadar, Croatia) and Constantinople (mod. Istanbul, Turkey).

Abbot Guy was one of twelve Cistercian abbots who preached against heresy in southern France with Diego of Osma, Dominic Guzman, and the legate Arnold Amalric from the spring of 1207 onward. By 1208 he had joined masters trained in Paris in recruiting individuals for an antiheretical crusade in Languedoc, including Simon of Montfort and many who had previously participated in the Fourth Crusade. Guy and other preachers continued to combat heresy through preaching while acting as spiritual directors for the crusading army. Appointed bishop of Carcassonne (1212-1223), Guy sought to combine these activities with the spiritual and temporal renovation of his diocese, attendance at reforming councils, sponsorship of Dominic’s new religious house at Prouille (which adopted Cistercian customs), and crusade-recruiting missions that took him and Bishop Fulk of Toulouse to northern France. From 1212 onward, he was accompanied by his nephew, Peter of Vaux-de-Cernay, whose Historia Albigensis provides valuable evidence of his uncle’s career.

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