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The First Crusade

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Christian Soldiers may indeed celebrate its incipience some 800 years earlier, marching onward against the Donatists in 317. John Holland Smith lends his opinion:

... 12 March 317 deserves to be remembered, for it marked the beginning of the sad medieval story of the use of troops to enforce Christian uniformity. Just four years after that, and a decade after the dying Galerius had issued his ruling that "Christians may exist," imperial Catholicism became a truly persecuting religion with the issue of a general order to the army of Africa decreeing the annihilation of the Donatist sect.


Donatists were Christians with slightly different christian beliefs than official Catholic views. In 317, Christian military forces wiped the Donatists from the face of our planet because they could not "be converted to the worship of the Catholic communion.

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