The Hero of Christian Europe By RAYMOND IBRAHIM for The Stream
This week in history witnessed the launch of a daringly amazing campaign dedicated to defending and liberating Christian lands from Islam.
The year was 1442. After having suffered countless atrocities from the invading Turks, “everyone [in the West] spoke of making war on the infidels and driving them out of Europe” — and it was entirely due to the martial exploits of John Hunyadi, the Transylvanian-born hero who had singlehandedly bested the Turks in several recent engagements.
Marching Toward the Dream of Freedom
After putting an army of some 25,000 Christians together — mostly from Hungary, Poland, Wallachia, Moldavia, and Serbia — Hunyadi took the initiative by doing the unthinkable: he led them into Turkish-held territories at the end of September 1442 — when campaigning season was supposed to end, due to the usual harsh weather, not begin.
Hunyadi was always in the vanguard, a day ahead of the main army and Hungarian king, Ladislaus III, its formal leader. The Christian army marched south of the Danube, scourging the Turks in every encounter and liberating Christian town after town. The deeper the Christians penetrated into subject Ottoman territory, the larger their army became, as overjoyed Christian subjects, casting off the yoke of their Muslim masters, rushed to join and augment the ranks of their saviors.
After Hunyadi took Niš in early November, and in an attempt to trap and annihilate the Christians, three different Muslim armies converged on the town. With lightning speed, Hunyadi defeated all three, one by one, before they could unite.
By late November, the Christians had reached Sophia in Bulgaria — more than 450 miles whence the Crusaders had first started marching. Considering that Sophia had been under Islamic rule for more than half a century, since 1382, the long oppressed “Bulgarians went wild with joy.” Liberator and liberated reconverted the mosques back into churches and gave thanks in them.
The long cherished dream of freedom from Islamic domination was becoming palpable: