Pope Innocent III Issues Quia Maior

In spring 1213, Pope Innocent III issued the papal bull Quia maior, calling all of Christendom to join a new crusade.

The kings and emperors of Europe, however, were preoccupied with fighting among themselves. At the same time, Pope Innocent III did not want their help, because a previous crusade led by kings had failed in the past. He ordered processions, prayers, and preaching to help organize the crusade, as these would involve the general population, the lower nobles, and knights.

By processions, prayers, and preaching, the Church attempted to set another crusade afoot, and the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) formulated a plan for the recovery of the Holy Land. In the first phase, a crusading force from Austria and Hungary joined the forces of the king of Jerusalem and the prince of Antioch to take back Jerusalem. In the second phase, crusader forces achieved a remarkable feat in the capture of Damietta in Egypt in 1219, but under the urgent insistence of the papal legate, Pelagius, they then launched a foolhardy attack on Cairo in July of 1221. The crusaders were turned back after their dwindling supplies led to a forced retreat. A night-time attack by the ruler of Egypt, the powerful Sultan Al-Kamil, resulted in a great number of crusader losses and eventually in the surrender of the army. Al-Kamil agreed to an eight-year peace agreement with Europe.