The Council of Clermont was held by the Catholic Church from November 18 to November 28, 1095 at Clermont, France.
In March of 1095 at the Council of Piacenza, Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus had sent envoys requesting military assistance against the Muslim Seljuk Turks who had taken over most of formerly Byzantine Anatolia.
The message was received by Pope Urban II.
Pope Urban II then asked for the Council of Clermont to discuss the matter further.
Then on November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II spoke for the first time about the problems in the east.
Pope Urban’s sermon summoned the Christian people to wrest the occupied Holy Land from the Muslims launching what became known as the First Crusade.
There exists no exact transcription of the speech that Pope Urban delivered at the Council of Clermont. The five extant versions of the speech were written down quite a bit later, and they differ widely from one another. All versions of the speech except that by Fulcher of Chartres were probably influenced by the chronicle account of the First Crusade called the Gesta Francorum (dated c. 1102), which includes a version of it.
Fulcher of Chartres was present at the Council, but his version of the speech was written c. 1100–1106; Robert the Monk may have been present, but his version dates from about 1106.
The two remaining versions were written even later by authors who certainly did not witness the speech.
The five versions of Pope Urban’s speech reflect much more clearly what later authors thought Urban II should have said to launch the First Crusade than what Urban II himself actually did say.
As a better means of evaluating Pope Urban’s true motivations in calling for a crusade to the Holy Lands, there are four extant letters written by Pope Urban II himself: one to the Flemish (dated December 1095); one to the Bolognese (dated September 1096); one to Vallombrosa (dated October 1096); and one to the counts of Catalonia (dated either 1089 or 1096–1099).
Today, it is Pope Urban II’s own letters, rather than the paraphrased versions of his speech at Clermont, that reveal his actual thinking about crusading.
It is also disputed whether the famous slogan “God wills it” or “It is the will of God” was in fact established as a rallying cry during the council.
Pope Urban II’s own letter to the Flemish confirms that he granted “remission of all their sins” to those undertaking a “military enterprise” to “liberate the eastern churches.”
The First Crusade was fought from 1096 until 1099.
Pope Urban II died on July 29, 1099, fourteen days after the fall of Jerusalem to the Pope’s Crusaders, but before news of the event had reached Italy; his successor was Pope Paschal II.
Now WE know em