The organization and hierarchy of the Latin (Roman Catholic) Church established in Palestine after the conquest by the First Crusade (1096-1099), with ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the kingdom of Jerusalem.
Although the leaders of the First Crusade had established cordial relations with Symeon II, the exiled Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, during the siege of Antioch, they do not seem to have considered the possibility of restoring the Greek Orthodox hierarchy when they captured the city of Jerusalem in 1099. Instead, the senior Western clergy present with the crusade army choseArnulf of Chocques, the chaplain of Duke Robert of Normandy, as first Latin patriarch.
The Latin patriarchate claimed continuity with the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, but differed from it in some significant ways. Whereas the Orthodox patriarch had been the autonomous head of his church, the Latin patriarch was subordinate to the pope, and his powers were more like those of a metropolitan archbishop. The kings of Jerusalem persuaded the papacy that the patriarchate should be coextensive with the boundaries of the kingdom. This led to friction with the Latin patriarchs of Antioch (mod. Antakya, Turkey), who claimed jurisdiction over the province of Tyre. However, despite prolonged litigation, the archbishops of Tyre and their suffragans at Beirut, Sidon, and Acre, remained subject to the patriarchs of Jerusalem.
The Franks made some significant changes to the traditional Greek Orthodox organization of the hierarchy. The Latin patriarchal see of Jerusalem eventually had three suffragan sees: (1) The double bishopric of Lydda (mod. Lod, Israel) and Ramla was set up in 1099. (2) Bethlehem (in mod. West Bank), in Greek Orthodox times a shrine church in the diocese of Ascalon (mod. Tel Ashqelon, Israel), was erected into a bishopric in 1108. (3) Hebron (mod. Al-Khalil, West Bank), the burial place of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, administered by Augustinian canons from around 1112, became a bishopric in 1168, at which time the canons formed the cathedral chapter.
In the coastal city of Tyre (mod. Soûr, Lebanon), captured by the Franks in 1124, an archbishop was enthroned in 1128. Although none of the bishops was actually consecrated until the archbishop of Tyre was in office,Tyre had four suffragan sees: (1) Acre (mod. ‘Akko, Israel), captured in 1104, whose first bishop is recorded in 1135; (2) Sidon (mod. Saïda, Lebanon), captured in 1110, whose first Latin bishop is recorded in 1133; (3) Beirut, captured in 1110, where a bishop was nominated in 1112 but not consecrated until 1133; and (4) the inland city of Banyas (mod. Bâniyas, Syria), the Caesarea Philippi of the New Testament, which had a bishop during the period while it was held by the Franks (1140-1164).
An archbishop of Caesarea (mod. Har Qesari, Israel), the ancient Caesarea Maritima, was appointed when the city was captured in 1101. It had one suffragan see, Sebastea (mod. Sabastiyah, West Bank) in Samaria, established in 1129.
The archbishopric for Galilee had been Bethsan (mod. Bet-Shean, Israel), known as Scythopolis in Greek Orthodox times. In 1103 Pope Paschal II recognized the abbot of Mount Tabor as archbishop of Galilee, but those powers were later transferred to the bishops of Nazareth (mod. Nazerat, Israel), a see established in 1109 and raised to an archbishopric in 1128. Nazareth had one suffragan see, Tiberias (mod. Teverya, Israel), founded around 1144.
An archbishopric with the title Petra Deserti was set up in 1168 for the lands of Transjordan. The archbishop was resident in the township of Kerak (mod. Karak, Jordan) and had no suffragan bishops.
Until 1187 the Crown normally appointed the patriarch and bishops of the kingdom, though canonical election procedures were formally observed and cathedral chapters might appeal to Rome to scrutinize the results. On the whole, relations between the Crown and the patriarchs were harmonious, except during the patriarchates of Daimbert of Pisa (1099-1101) and Stephen of Chartres (1128-1130), who sought to gain temporal independence from royal control.
A large number of secular Latin priests and clergy in minor orders must have been employed in the Latin kingdom to serve the parish churches and chapels in the cities and townships there. In twelfth-century Jerusalem and in thirteenth-century Acre and Tyre, such foundations were very numerous, while all Frankish lords employed one or more domestic chaplains. Denys Pringle has also identified a substantial number of Latin churches and chapels in the rural areas of the kingdom, where, as Ronnie Ellenblum has shown, there were some 200 Frankish settlements in the twelfth century [Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)].
Diocesan organization of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
The principal shrine churches were in many cases rebuilt by the Franks, and were served by religious communities. In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (the patriarchal cathedral), the original secular canons installed after the crusader conquest were replaced by Augustinian canons in 1114. Augustinians also formed the chapters of the three other cathedrals that were important shrines: Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Hebron. The remaining cathedral chapters were composed of secular canons. By 1112 Augustinian Canons also administered three shrines in Jerusalem: Our Lady of Zion, the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives, and the Temple of the Lord (formerly the Dome of the Rock). Other shrines in the holy city were administered by Benedictine monks. The monastery of St. Mary of the Latins and the adjacent convent of St. Mary Major dated from before the First Crusade and flourished under Latin rule. The Church of Our Lady of Jehosaphat was served by Benedictine monks, said to have accompanied Godfrey of Bouillon on crusade. The Benedictine convent of St. Anne was in existence by 1104, and in 1138 Queen Melisende founded a Benedictine convent at Bethany. In Galilee there was a Benedictine monastery on Mount Tabor founded by Prince Tancred in 1100, and one at Palmaria,established around 1130, which later became a dependency of the abbey of Cluny. The Benedictine priory of St. Catherine was founded by King Baldwin IV in thanksgiving for his victory over Saladin at Mont Gisard in 1177. The Premonstratensian canons established communities at St. Samuel on Montjoie before 1131 and at SS. Joseph and Habakkuk near Lydda in 1136. Two Cistercian monasteries were founded near Jerusalem: Salvatio in 1169 and St. John in Nemore in 1169. Substantial numbers of Latin-rite hermits lived in and around Jerusalem and on the wooded slopes of Mount Tabor in Galilee.
Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem. Built on the site believed to have been the childhood home of the Virgin Mary and her parents, Anne and Joachim, it served as the center of worship for a convent of Latin nuns. Completed in the 1140s, it is a striking example of Crusader Romanesque architecture. (Courtesy Alfred Andrea)
The “new monasticism” of the military religious orders originated in the kingdom of Jerusalem. The Order of the Hospital (Knights of St. John), which became an independent order in 1113, had its headquarters in Jerusalem. The Templars, whose rule was licensed by the papacy in 1128, had their headquarters in the former al-Aqsā Mosque on the Temple Mount, while the Order of St. Lazarus, founded in the 1130s for the care of lepers, had its headquarters just outside the city walls. The combined holdings of the military orders in the kingdom of Jerusalem before 1187 were fairly modest, so that although their property was in some circumstances exempt from episcopal jurisdiction, the rights of the Latin patriarchate were not greatly diminished by their presence in the twelfth century.
This large religious establishment was not a serious strain on the economic resources of the kingdom. Many of the communities that served the shrine churches, together with the military orders, derived much of their income from western European endowments. Moreover, the archbishops of Nazareth and the bishops of Lydda-Ramla were the only prelates to hold ecclesiastical lordships: between them they owed service of sixteen knights to the Crown. Yet the bishops and heads of religious communities were jointly responsible for providing the service of 2,750 sergeants to the crown: this amounted to over half the sergeant-service of the entire kingdom. This would have been a heavy financial burden to meet in a society almost permanently at war, and it is possible that the obligation was not regularly enforced in full.
The many Greek Orthodox Christians in Outremer were regarded by the Latin hierarchy as members of the same church as themselves. Although the Latins took over some important Orthodox churches, the Orthodox were allowed to keep most of their lesser churches and all of their monasteries. By the 1170s, and perhaps earlier, Greek Orthodox canons were allowed to officiate in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre alongside the Latins, there was a revival of Orthodox monasticism in Judaea, and some Orthodox coadjutor bishops were allowed to minister to the Orthodox faithful in Latin dioceses. Nevertheless, the Byzantine church and state refused to accept this subordination of the Greek Orthodox to the Latin hierarchy, and from around 1118 Orthodox patriarchs of Jerusalem were appointed who lived in Constantinople.
All of the Eastern churches, except the Ethiopians, had chapels in Jerusalem in the twelfth century, and there were large communities of Armenians, Maronites, and Syrian Orthodox (Jacobites) there and in some other parts of the kingdom. These Eastern Christians were allowed complete religious independence.
After their defeat by Saladin at the battle of Hattin in 1187, the Franks lost almost all their territory. The much reduced kingdom of Jerusalem as it was restored after 1192 had boundaries that fluctuated a good deal throughout the thirteenth century until the loss of the new capital, Acre, in 1291. The Latin hierarchy adapted to those developments with various organizational changes.
The Latin patriarchs of Jerusalem and the canons of the Holy Sepulchre lived in Acre throughout this period. From 1262 the patriarchs became ex officio bishops of Acre. They had three suffragans: (1) The bishops of Ramla-Lydda, who lived in Acre throughout this period. (2) The bishops of Bethlehem, who lived in Acre, except from 1229-1244 when their see was restored to Christian rule and they returned there. (3) The bishops of Hebron, whose see was revived in 1252 by Pope Innocent IV; the bishops lived in Acre and had few resources.
Tyre remained in Frankish hands until 1291, and the Latin archbishops lived there throughout this time. Their suffragans were (1) The bishops of Acre, whose office was merged with that of the patriarch of Jerusalem in 1262; (2) the bishops of Sidon, who lived in that city when practical throughout this period; (3) the bishops of Beirut, who lived in that city from 1197 to 1291.
The archbishops of Caesarea lived in that city until it was captured by the Mamlûks in 1265, when they moved to Acre.
The archbishops of Nazareth lived in Acre, except between 1229 and 1263 when Nazareth was restored to Frankish control. Their sole suffragan see was Tiberias, vacant until 1241, when Galilee was recovered by the Franks. Bishops were then appointed until 1291, but probably lived in Acre throughout those years.
The archdiocese of Petra Deserti and the see of Sebastea were left vacant after 1187, although popes sometimes appointed titular bishops to them in the thirteenth century.
Thirteenth-century Acre was overflowing with ecclesiastical establishments, for after 1192 religious communities from territories occupied by the Muslims, as well as the exiled bishops, took refuge there. Among them were the Augus- tinian canons of Mount Zion, of the Mount of Olives, and of the Temple of the Lord; the Benedictine monks of St. Mary of the Latins, Our Lady of Jehosaphat, the Mount Tabor monastery, and St. Catherine on Mont Gisard; the Benedictine nuns of St. Anne, St. Mary Major, and the convent of Bethany; and the Premonstratensian canons of St. Samuel on Montjoie. During the thirteenth century they were joined by groups of Franciscans, Dominicans, members of the Trinitarian Order, and communities of Cistercian nuns and Poor Clares, as well as by representatives of other, smaller orders. Most of the refugee communities remained in Acre throughout the thirteenth century. The Templars, Hospitallers, and the Order of St. Lazarus all had their headquarters in Acre throughout this period, as did the new Order of the Teutonic Knights, from its inception in 1198 until it moved to the castle of Montfort in 1227.
The Latin patriarchate showed evidence of religious vitality in the thirteenth century. A new contemplative order, the Carmelites, evolved on Mount Carmel during this period. Rooted in both the Greek Orthodox and Latin eremitical traditions, its rule was ratified by Pope Honorius III, and by the middle of the century the order had begun to found daughter houses in Western Europe. The Latin hierarchy included some men of exceptional ability, such as James of Vitry, whom Pope Innocent III presented to the see of Acre in 1216, and James Pantaleon, made patriarch by Pope Alexander IV in 1255, whom he succeeded in 1261 as Pope Urban IV. It is very much to the credit of the Latin hierarchy in the thirteenth century that most of them resided in their sees, despite the problems they faced, among which was fierce competition for economic resources. Logistical problems often made it difficult for Western agents to transmit responsions promptly to the military orders and the religious communities in the Latin East, and this led to a good deal of acrimonious litigation between them and the Latin bishops about the payment of tithes and the ownership of property.
Relations between the Latin hierarchy and Eastern Christians were mixed in the thirteenth century. The Maronites, who had come into communion with Rome around 1181, and the part of the Armenian Church that had done so in 1198, enjoyed Uniate status, preserving their own liturgy and canon law in so far as these were compatible with Latin norms, and keeping their own hierarchy, whose members were directly subject to the pope and not to the Latin patriarch. Pope Innocent IV wished to give parallel rights to the Greek Orthodox Christians of Jerusalem, but the Latin hierarchy was unwilling to accept this. The Greek Orthodox living under Frankish rule therefore deeply resented their subordinate status.
In 1291 the Mamlûks conquered the remaining Frankish strongholds. This marked the end of the Latin patriarchate, although titular patriarchs continued to be appointed by the papacy, while some of the religious communities of the Latin kingdom took refuge in Cyprus or on their Western estates, hoping that one day they might return to the Holy Land.