Truce of God


Hear ye! Hear ye! Here ye!

Ladys and Lords of the household you are hearby ordered by decree of the King of Kings to defer all hostilities until Monday of Eastertide, being the first day of the Paschal Octave. Out of reverence for the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection all violence and revenge, domestic or otherwise, from Vespers of Spy Wednesday till daybreak of Easter Monday shall be considered reprehensible and unchristian.

Chesterton said two things that are apropos here: first, that chivalry is the baptism of feudalism, the Christianization of the military ferocity of the feudal system. The Medieval Truce of God (here, here and here, the last one is pretty funny) was an effort on the part of clerics and monks to control the knights and prevent them from amusing themselves at the peasants’ expense. Thus, the Truce was a way of preventing chivalry, which was always a delicate commodity, from being entirely undermined.

Secondly, Chesterton reminds us that the real adventure is not fighting dragons, but surviving in marriage. Here are some priceless tidbits:

“The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis.” – “David Copperfield,” Chesterton on Dickens, 1911

“Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline.” – Manalive

“I have little doubt that when St. George had killed the dragon he was heartily afraid of the princess.” – The Victorian Age in Literature

“Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” – (This might be a paraphrase)

Ephesians 5, gentlemen. Lay down your lives. And ladies, obey and honor your heroes.

The Easter Triduum = Ephesians 5. Think about it. Think Christ and the Blessed Mother.

6 thoughts on “Truce of God

  1. Just out of curiousity, would this mean putting down our weapons in regards to the constant war being waged in our world, in which we are always called upon to defend Mother Church? I understand the idea of Truce of God in the physical aspect, but I was just wondering in regards to the other.

  2. The Truce of God generally applied to feudal wars between Christian Lord’s. Apparently the Holy Week custom was only one of its applications. There were other times when it was called as well.

    It is not to be confused with the Peace of God, which was used to protect noncombatants, especially clerics and peasants, and to protect agricultural life.

    I believe I remember truces being called during the crusades for the holy seasons, but that would be something other than the Truce of God.

  3. Well, I can handle not ‘fighting’ with the hubbie … what about the children? 🙂
    No, really, these are good things on which to contemplate … Ephesians 5 has sometimes been removed from Gospel readings in Church nowadays instead of EXPLAINED. They are hard teachings, indeed, and probably the source of many disagreements.

    I’ve also been contemplating on St. Elizabeth of Hungary on whom you wrote a few days ago. At first I wasn’t sure what I could learn from her since I cannot envision myself doing as she did. But, of course, I soon saw that she also has much to teach … putting ourselves in other people’s shoes (sometimes literally, as she did) so we can understand their pain and humiliation at times. Which ultimately teaches us how to really help them and love them.

    As always, thank you so much for the meat and potatoes. I have been very hungry over the last few years.

  4. Pingback: Truce of God « Catholic Family Vignettes

  5. Pingback: Stand Down « Mary Victrix

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