Henadz Sahanovič. Crusaders and Ruthenians: from the Doctrine to Practice of War against the GDL.
After Latin Crusaders knelt the downfall of Constantinople Innocent III made attempts to impose Latin rite on the Eastern Church. The Ruthenians, involved in early Crusades, were regarded by Latin crusades rather as enemies of Rome than as partners. Depending on political situation, the Curia tried both to involve Ruњ into coalition against Mongols and to use force to spread the faith into lands of the Schismatics. However, despite many conflicts they failed in their attempts to escalate these conflicts into real crusade against the Ruthenians. Livonia took keen interest in economic contacts with the neighboring Ruthenian lands and actively traded with them. The doctrine of the Holy war which the Teutonic Order pursued implied fight on all enemies of the Western Church. In Baltic region the Teutons carried out this doctrine quite selectively. Thus fighting against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania the Teutonic knights distinguished the orthodox Ruthenians from the pagan Lithuanians. In special cases the Order leaders changed their attitude to the Orthodox people taking them under protection or entering into alliance with them. On the whole the Teutonic Order followed rather its own political interests than the leads from Rome.