Rega has thoroughly researched Francis and stands on firm ground in his telling of the story of Francis and his attempt to convert the Sultan. The famous meeting begins when Francis accompanies the crusaders to Damietta, Egypt with the goal of having a private audience with Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil who was the Islamic ruler of Egypt.
Prior to the battle of Damietta, Francis received a prophetic vision that the crusaders would lose the battle. He hesitatingly revealed his vision which was dismissed. The battle went forward, and the crusaders lost.
The crusaders losses were many. As one chronicler wrote--John the Baptist gained many companions that day due to the great many beheadings. "This horror befell about fifty horsemen, of the Knights Templar, thirty of the Germans, and over twenty Hospitallers."
Remarkably it was the loss at Damietta that gave St Francis the opportunity to finally meet the Sultan face to face in an attempt to convert him to the Christian faith.
St Francis sought permission to enter the camp of the Sultan from the Papal Legate who was hesitant to grant permission since al Kamil had reportedly stated that "anyone who brought him the head of a Christian should be awarded with Byzantine gold pieces". Eventually when confronted with the insistence and persistence of St Francis, the Papal legate allowed Francis and one companion, Brother Illuminato, to go into the Muslim camp.
Early documents all agree that upon entering the camp Read More...