Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux
Birth 1090
Death 1153

Abbot, mystic theologian and religious zealot who coined the well-known phrase ‘death or baptism’ (‘La mort ou le baptème’). He wasn’t famous for Christian neighbourliness; he was the driving force behind the Crusades against Muslims and heathen Slavs which brought mass death and destruction. He also called for the heretical Cathars to be wiped off the face of the earth. But he still had time for the odd Christian miracle: he returned the gift of speech to penitent sinners and, in a the blink of an eye, he killed a huge swarm of flies in one of the French churches.

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