Pope Urban II arrived in France in August 1095, to see to the reform of the Church there. He sent letters from Le Puy, calling for a general Church council in November at Clermont. He spent September and October visiting and reforming in various towns, arriving in Clermont in mid-November.
The Council met 18 through 28 November, 1095 with three hundred clerics attending. The Council passed reforming decrees in keeping with the Cluniac reform movement, . including ones concerning simony and clerical marriage. At this Council, too, King Philip of France was excommunicated for adultery.
The pope also made an announcement that a public session would be held Tuesday 27 November at which the pope would make an important speech to the general public. This created a good deal of interest, and many people from the surrounding areas came to Clermont to hear the pope's words.
On the day of Urban's speech, the assembled crowd was so large that they could not fit everyone into the cathedral, so the papal throne was set up in an empty field outside the eastern gate of the town. Those in attendance included many commoners in addition to local nobility. The great nobles of Europe, however, the kings and dukes and so on, were not there. Urban's invitation had only gone out locally.
Back to my main page.