By Thomas Kwoh
7 October, 1571, was one of the most decisive victories that Christian Europe held against the Islamic Ottoman Empire, besides the Battle of Vienna in Sept. 11-13, 1683. This very battle has many lessons for us today in the West but sadly, few know about it and the curriculum in our nations virtually ignores it or downplays it. Even worse is that the history curriculum in the West today is amazingly pro-Muslim that this battle is either ignored or lamented by these godless, left wing, antichrist historians. Nevertheless, it is important for us today to reflect on its impact on this battle since the lessons to be learnt from it are important today.
The battle between the Holy League consisting of the Spanish Empire, Venice and Genoa, along with the Papal states and others allies, amongst whom was the Order of St. John (Malta); and the Ottoman Empire, was a battle between one of the largest Islamic Empires on the earth against a unity of various Christian kingdoms.
Numerically, the Ottomans were double that of their opponents (Ottoman: 251 ships, 31,490 soldiers and 50,000 sailors and oarsmen. Allied Christian forces: 212 ships, 28,500 soldiers and 40,000 oarsmen). Notwithstanding, the end of the battle resulted in the Ottomans suffering almost triple the casualties as well as the reclaiming of Lepanto for Venice. (Ottoman losses were: 20,000 dead or wounded or captured, 137 ships captured, 50 ships sunk and 10,000 Christian slaves freed. Allied Christian losses: 7,500 dead, 20,000 wounded and 17 ships lost).
Along with this, one of the main Turkish commanders, Müezzinzade Ali Pasha, was killed in battle along with being beheaded and having his head being displayed on a Spanish ship, which thus demoralised the Turkish enemy greatly. Despite the fact that the Janissaries were fighting fiercely their Christian opponents, they failed miserably due to running out of ammunition and were defeated soundly. In commemoration of the victory led by Don John of Austria (Hapsburg Monarchy), Pope Pius V instituted a feast day to commemorate the intercession of the Virgin Mary and it is currently celebrated today in the Roman Catholic Church as “Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary”.
The question that is asked now is what lessons can be learnt from the events in this battle that is significant for today. In no particular order, I will state the following:
Strong Christian faith-Today due to the corruption of secularism in the West, this is the factor that is most overlooked. Even churches ignore this too, despite the fact that the Holy Scriptures state that righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to all. (Proverbs 14:34). In addition, the Holy Scriptures state that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12) Pope Pius V understood the impact of this and called for prayers of the Rosary in all the churches during this whole time before finally instituting a feast day in commemoration of it. God does hear and listen to a humbled people. (II Chronicles 7:14).
Moral superiority will give greater ultimate victory-In the West today, this is another forgotten lesson, since morals is put down to being “relative” rather than non-negotiable. This is again a lesson for the West today, since the amoral behaviour of the Muslim Ottomans would eventually result in their defeat. Bear in mind that the Turkish Commander, Kara Mustafa Pasha, when capturing both Malta and Cyprus, was known for cruelty towards civilians, after making promises of clemency only to be broken in the most barbaric manner. This combined with the significant numbers of Christian slaves that were captured on the Ottoman ships manning the galleys, who would turn against their captors at the best opportunity, despite being promised freedom if victorious by Ali Pasha. The Muslim Ottomans were not only known for their cruelty and breaking of promises but also for using slaves for sexual purposes too, both male and female. This was certain to destroy them later. The once Christian West was known for establishing hospitals and even caring for prisoners of war in general. This combined with a strong aversion to the sexual depravity that today has enveloped the secularised West in the name of “tolerance” and “alternative lifestyles”. Again, the Scriptural teaching is proven true time and again of righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to all people.
Unity is strength-In the battle against the Islamic and Leftist enemies today, those who genuinely share in the Judeo-Christian values that built the West must have unity rather than petty bickering. Christian churches that are orthodox in teaching regardless of denomination, must battle modernism and moral relativism, and unite against such antichrist foes. Jewish rabbis and other genuinely observant Jews must also remove modernism and moral relativism, and seek unity in the truth of the Tenach given to them by the God of their fathers. Christianity and Judaism are the only true Abrahamic religions that built the West and have the answers to correct the post-modern mess which Islam is seeking desperately to fill the vacuum created by it. Even those who may not necessarily subscribe to either, but who nonetheless respect our Judeo-Christian foundations, should be considered in this battle with both Islam and the Left.
Find the correct weapons and use them appropriately-In this battle of Lepanto, one of the main advantages of the Holy League was despite being outnumbered, they knew how to be strategic in their attack and also made use of high powered guns aimed at the right places of the enemy, thus aiding their victory. Today, it involves more than just the use of military weaponry. It involves understanding where the enemies weakness lie and learning how to attack it. It not only involves military means but also moral and religious as well as social means to defeat this Islamic foe.
Freedom must be fought for to be maintained-The old saying is proven true: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” And also: “Pray for peace but always keep the gunpowder dry”. Every nation that has enjoyed freedom today in the West did not get it through “pacifism” or appeasement with evil minded and hostile enemies but through someone fighting for it. History is replete with such episodes of these fights for freedoms, from both ancient times to modern times. Even the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, told one of his followers who was of the warrior caste: “You are a soldier of righteousness not of anarchy or evil.” There was no admonition to abandon the sword to maintain righteousness and peace.