666
the antichrist's almanac

2000 ONLINE EDITION
ARNOUME


Dracula was a Christian
Vlad Tepes III (ROM)

In February 2000, antichrist.com.au writer Arnoume made the comparison between Christ and Dracula, claiming Christianity was the ultimate vampire religion. Few would expect the Dracula on whom Bram Stoker based his infamous vampire character was a devout and practising Christian ...


At the beginning of Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film version of Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula is portrayed as a Christian knight who valiantly fights off the Muslim Turks. "If Dracula is supposed to be a vampire and is defeated by the cross," Arnoume asked, "why in the movie does he fight at the head of a Christian army?" Indeed, the movie's prologue describes Dracula as a "defender of the church" and a sworn enemy of the Turks who, in 1462, "swept into Europe, threatening all of Christendom". So how can Dracula be a vampire when, clearly, he is on the side of the church ..?


In Vampires or Gods?, William Meyers described Christ as "the actual secondary model, after Vlad the Impaler, for the modern literary vampire ...".


In her book Dracula Meets Jesus, Meg Smith presented a fictional account of Christ and Dracula as friends.

At one point in the story, Jesus and Dracula are on a couch watching television, when Jesus turns to Dracula and asks, "Why don't you like crosses?"
   "What?" says Dracula: "Don't they give you the creeps ..?"


As discussed elsewhere, Christ and vampires like Bram Stoker's fictional Dracula share much in common. Both are resurrected beings, both rose from graves or tombs and both use blood as the instrument for eternal life. Both raise or revivify the dead, both have supernatural powers, both encourage blood drinking and both are called "Lord" or "Master" by their followers ...


It is little known the man on whom Bram Stoker based his Dracula character, Vlad Tepes III, was Eastern Europe's greatest defender of the Christian faith. Born in 1431, in the central Romanian town of Sighisoara, Vlad spent much of his childhood in a Turkish prison as a hostage of Sultan Murad II (1421-51).
   In 1448, Vlad was installed by the Turks on his father's throne in Wallachia, Romania in the hope he would serve as their puppet prince. But Vlad was a committed Christian and, like his father, a member of the Order of the Dragon, a fraternity of knights dedicated to fighting the Muslim or Ottoman Turks.
   In 1431, Vlad's father, Vlad II (1436-42) was invested with the Order of the Dragon by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg (1411-33). Its emblem was a dragon, with wings extended, hanging on a cross. On joining the order, Vlad II received the name dracul which, in Romanian, means "dragon" or "devil".
   On the death of his father in 1447, Vlad III inherited the epithet dracula, meaning "son of the devil" ... Thus the Dracula name was born ...


In later years, the Romanian peasants no doubt would have wondered why Vlad Dracula carried a shield depicting a dragon as he rode into battle. It is not known how many people outside Dracula's court knew of his affiliations with the Order of the Dragon. Nor is it known how many peasants would have known about the order's role within the Roman Catholic Church. Few would have realised that, to Vlad Dracula's order, the dragon symbolised Christ's conquest of Satan by his death and resurrection. To the simple peasants, most of whom were members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the dragon meant one thing. The devil ...


During his Turkish imprisonment, Vlad Dracula promised his Muslim captors he would never bear arms against them. This all changed, of course, after he was safely installed by the Turks on his father's throne in 1448. In the years that followed, the young Vlad Dracula renewed his vows to the Holy Roman Emperor and was absolved of his Turkish oath by Pope Callistus III (1445-58). He was educated by monks and abbots in Moldavia, and became a close ally of Christian crusaders John Hunyadi of Hungary and Prince Steven of Moldavia ...


News of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 was as much a shock to Vlad Dracula as it was to all Christendom. Under the blessings of the Catholic and Orthodox churches, Vlad Dracula amassed vast armies and joined the Balkan Crusades against his former captor, Sultan Murad. During his first of three rules, between 1455 and 1462, it was said Vlad Dracula slaughtered over 100,000 Muslim Turks and other enemies ...


Vlad Dracula's favourite form of execution was impalement, which earned him the nickname Vlad Tepes (pronounced tseh-pesh) or Vlad "the Impaler". The punishment, believed to be an early form of crucifixion, was used partly to inspire fear in the hearts of Dracula's enemies. According to contemporary accounts, the victim was pinned to the ground while a long stake was inserted into the rectum or vagina. Two horses, one tied to each leg, were urged on, causing the stake to drive up slowly through the body, avoiding vital organs.
   Care was taken to ensure the stake's tip was rounded and that the shaft was oiled lest its penetration caused the victim to die from shock. In this manner, victims were impaled from bottom to shoulder, from front to back or back to front. After a battle, victims often were impaled in rows - according to rank, race or sex - or in concentric circles around a town - and left to decompose. Like crucifixion, the victim, once impaled, often suffered for days ...


In 1470, a former ambassador to Pope Pius II (1458-64), John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, followed Vlad Dracula's example by using impalement to quell an uprising in Lincolnshire ...


It was said that, after each battle, Vlad Dracula built a church as a form of thanksgiving to his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. The countryside of Moldavia, where Vlad Dracula was educated, is littered with some 50 churches and monasteries attributed to his family ...


In a 1449 German woodcut, Vlad Dracula is depicted wining and dining among victims impaled on long stakes. From 1480, soon after mobile metal type made large-scale printing possible, this woodcut appeared on newssheets throughout Europe. Propogandists described Dracula's atrocities in lurid detail, claiming Dracula was "blut lustig" - "blood thirsty" - which later was interpreted literally as "he drank blood". However, there is no record the historical Dracula ever ate the flesh or drank the blood of his enemies. Yet Dracula's reputation as a vampire grew ...


Many modern critics have dismissed Vlad Dracula as a degenerate, a sadist or a monster of humanity. Yet it must be remembered that Vlad Dracula was a product of his times. The year Vlad Dracula was born was the year Joan of Arc was burned alive as a witch. Vlad Dracula lived during the time of the Christian Crusades and Inquisitions - when the church used torture, fear and genocide to control the masses. Like other Christian rulers of the time, Vlad Dracula's main targets were Muslims, heretics and gypsies. Like Hitler 500 years later, Vlad Dracula set out to "purify" his country, even resorting to burning the sick and the lame ...


As a member of the Order of the Dragon, Vlad Dracula was sworn to defend the faith under the auspices of the Holy Emperor in Rome. It was hardly surprising, then, that Vlad Dracula turned to Rome for some of his ideas on leadership and guidance. While studying theology in Moldavia, Vlad Dracula would have learned from the examples set by a contemporary pope, John XXIII (1410-15). Unfortunately for Vlad Dracula, Pope John - a pirate and convicted murderer - was one of history's worst popes.
   In 1414, just two decades before Vlad Dracula's birth, John was summoned before the Council of Constance and accused of 70 crimes. 16 cases were dropped and John was deposed for the crimes of rape, sodomy, incest, piracy and the murder of his predecessor, Alexander V (1406-1410) ...


Just as Pope John XXIII had the tongues, fingers, hands or noses of his enemies torn out or cut off, Vlad Dracula relied on similar tortures in dealing with his enemies. He cut off noses, ears, sexual organs and limbs of some victims and burned, boiled, roasted, skinned, nailed and buried others alive. Even among contemporary sadists like the Spanish Inquisition's Tomas Torquemada (1471-84), Vlad Dracula's techniques and enthusiasm for torture were unequalled.
   Concerning a massacre at Buda, in which Vlad Dracula killed 40,000 men and women, the papal legate to Pope Pius II (1458-64), Nicholas of Modrussa, in 1464 said: "He killed some by breaking them under the wheels of carts; others stripped of their clothes were skinned alive up to their entrails; others placed upon stakes, or roasted on red hot coals placed under them; others punctured with stakes piercing their head, their breast, their buttocks and the middle of their entrails, with the stake emerging from their mouths; and in order that no form of cruelty be missing he stuck stakes in both the mother's breasts and thrust their babies unto them. Finally he killed others in ferocious ways, torturing them with many kinds of instruments such as the atrocious cruelties of the most frightful tyrant could devise."


Nicholas of Modrussa did not reveal in his account whether the massacre ordered by Vlad Dracula was a good thing or bad thing. In many cases, "bloodthirsty" Christian chroniclers like Raymond of Aguilers described such cruelties committed against unbelievers as "wonderful things".
   "Numbers of the Saracens were beheaded," Raymond wrote of Jerusalem's fall to the Christian crusaders on July 15, 1099. "Others were shot with arrows, or forced to jump from the towers; others were tortured for several days, then burned in flames. In the streets were seen piles of heads and hands and feet. One rode about everywhere amid the corpses of men and horses. In the temple of Solomon, the horses waded in blood up to their knees, nay, up to the bridle. It was a just and marvellous judgment of God, that this place should be filled with the blood of the unbelievers ..."


It would have been interesting to discover what kind reaction Pope Pius II had to the graphic report he received of Vlad Dracula's massacre at Buda. Would he have behaved in much the same way as his namesake Pius XII (1939-58), who turned a blind eye on Hitler's treatment of the Jews in WWII? It was said Pius II, a former libertine and pornographic writer, was a dissolute man who indulged in total sexual freedom and "gloried in his own disorders". Given the pope's reputation, coupled with the fact Dracula continued his slaughter of both Muslims and Christians, we can safely assume that, like Pius XII, he did nothing to stop Vlad Dracula's actions ...


Pope Pius ended his reign during the year Nicholas of Modrussa filed his report on the massacre. He was succeeded by Pope Paul II (1464-71) who, it was alleged, was even more dissolute than Pius II. Described as the worst of the Renaissance pontiffs, Paul was concerned more with luxury and pleasure than the responsibilities of the church. To historians, he was a practising homosexual who liked nothing more than to watch naked men being tortured in the dungeons.
   In 1471, Paul died in a manner normally reserved by Vlad Dracula for his countless unfortunate victims - impalement. It was said Paul suffered a heart attack while being sodomised by one of his favourite boys ...


Little is known of Vlad Dracula's religious convictions and practices. Like other rulers of the time, both religious and secular, Dracula took care to surround himself with priests, abbots, bishops and confessors. He spent long moments in the saintly confines of Wallachian monasteries and donated generously to various church foundations. He frequented the monastery of Tismana and founded the island monastery of Snagov, in which, it was rumoured, he hoarded vast treasures. The church of St Nicolas of Tirgsor, founded in 1461, bears the inscription: "By the grace of God, I Vlad Voevod, Ruler of Ungro-Valachia, the son of the great prince Vlad, have built and completed the church 24 June, 1461 ..."


It was said Dracula liked ritual and insisted that Christian prayers were said before a victim was impaled or otherwise gruesomely executed. Many of Vlad Dracula's victims received Christian burials, except for the Muslim Turks, whose bodies were often left to rot upon the stakes ...


It was said Dracula was an Eastern Orthodox until 1462, when he joined the Catholic Church in order to marry a sister of the Hungarian king, Mathias Corvinus (1458-90). "Thus he prepared for the eternal martyrdom," said one Russian narrative; "he abandoned our Orthodox faith and received the Catholic religion. He abandoned the light and received darkness ..."
   According to Eastern European peasant tradition, anyone who defected or was excommunicated from the Orthodox Church was believed to become a vampire ...


Despite aligning himself with the Catholic Church even before his conversion, Dracula, as a nationalist, despised the church's presence on Romanian soil. "Their power and influence offended his medieval patriotism," said Raymond McNally in The Complete Dracula. "All Catholic monasteries on Wallachian soil were in his eyes suspect, because Catholicism (in Transylvania at least) had been used by the Hungarian kings as an instrument of Hungarian policy. The Franciscan, Benedictine, Cistercian, and Dominican orders on both sides of the Carpathians were considered papal or foreign enclaves which escaped national jurisdiction ..."


Few commentators would deny there was a dark side to Vlad Dracula's religious beliefs, whether Catholic or Orthodox ... "In his tortured mind cruelty and religiosity were deeply intertwined," said Raymond McNally in The Complete Dracula. "Dracula would occasionally justify a crime using theological arguments."
   In one case, a women accused of adultery had her breasts cut off before she was skinned alive and impaled in the Tirgoviste town square. Her skin, it was said, was draped over a nearby table as a warning to others who might stray from the teachings of the Bible ...


Similar punishments were meted out to maidens who did not keep their virginity - and to widows who were proved "unchaste". Unfaithful women had their sexual organs cut out or nipples cut off. Others were flayed alive or a had a red hot stake thrust into their vagina until it emerged from their mouths. As for Vlad Dracula himself, it was well known that, despite being married, he kept a mistress. It was also well known that Vlad Dracula murdered his mistress on discovering she was carrying his child. Apparently, the prince slit open her stomach with a sword proclaiming, "this is to show the world where I have been ..!".


Recognising that slothfulness was a crime against God, Dracula once pulled up a peasant for wearing threadbare trousers and a tattered shirt. On learning the man was married, Dracula said his wife was "assuredly the kind who remained idle".
   "She is not worthy of living in my realm," he said. "May she perish ..."
   At this, Vlad Dracula ordered the man's wife to be seized and her hands cut off. Then the woman was taken off to be impaled ...


Another account concerns Dracula's dealings with people who broke the Old Testament commandment, "thou shalt not steal". It was said Vlad Dracula purposely kept a golden cup at a fountain located in the main square of Tirgoviste, then Wallachia's capital. Dracula said impalement awaited anyone caught stealing the cup. Hence, not once during Dracula's reign did the cup disappear ...


Having a fanatical, unshakeable faith in God no doubt gave Vlad Dracula the confidence to take on Christianity's most formidable foes. In the winter of 1461, Vlad Dracula hurled a challenge to no less than the proud conqueror of Constantinople himself, Sultan Mohammed II (1444-81). According to Dracula, "(we killed) 23,884 Turks and Bulgars without counting those whom we burned in homes or whose heads were not cut by our soldiers ..."
   It was said that, following the campaign, two huge bags of heads, noses and ears were sent to Christian allies at Buda as proof of Dracula's commitment to his faith ...


After his conversion to Catholicism, Dracula represented an antichrist in the eyes of the Orthodox religious leaders. One of Dracula's most powerful enemies was Basarab Laiota, an Eastern Orthodox ruler who conspired with Turkish partisans to kill Dracula. In December 1467, depending on which story one believes, Vlad Dracula was speared to death either by one of Laiota's men, one of his own men or a Turkish soldier.
   "Dracula's death undoubtedly took place in the course of battle," Raymond McNally said in The Complete Dracula. "But likely the assassin was either Laiota or one of his paid hands."
   It was said the assassin cut Dracula's head from his body and sent it to Sultan Mohammed as proof the dreaded impaler was really dead. Dracula's torso, meanwhile, was taken to Snagov monastery where it was buried in front of the church altar ...


Dracula's vampire legend continued after excavations in 1931-32 did not locate the body of Vlad III in the spot where it was said to have been buried. It appears not even beheading prevented the historical Dracula from rising, like Jesus, from the grave ...


"Civilisation will not attain to its perfection
until the last stone from the last church
falls on the last priest"
(Emile Zola)


IP rights held by Arnoume.