October 07, 2009

Don John of Austria Is Going to the War

On this date, 438 years ago, the fleet of the Holy League, led by Don John of Austria, crushed the Turks at Lepanto, an event marked on the calendar of the Catholic Church as the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.  (Don John had a rosary distributed to each man in his fleet before the battle, and Pius V was praying the rosary during the battle.)  Lepanto was also commemorated by G. K. Chesterton, who wrote a poem inspired by the battle while he was still an Anglican.  It is one of many signs of the impoverishment of our culture that we no longer seem capable of producing poetry like this.  Chesterton’s great tribute to the valor of Christian men at arms may be found here.  Enjoy.

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