It's also significant to Crusading Christians.
On August 22, 725 AD, the Bishop of Nantes became the martyred St. Emilian while leading the French against the invading muslims:
St. Emilian of Autun, August 22
Muslim invasions, which began taking over Spain in 711, soon began to spread across the Pyrenees into various regions of France. In 725, an attack was planned against the city of Autun, rich in abbeys and monasteries. A reaction of the French Catholics rose in Bretagne, led by St. Emilian, Bishop of Nantes.
Born in a noble family of Armonica, he was famous for his courage and honor. Magnanimous, with keen discernment and a noble character, he had great intelligence as well as a faith worthy of a martyr and an ardent zeal for the interests of the Church. So, when he heard the news that the Muslims would invade Autun, the Bishop considered it his duty to take up the sword. He judged that it was necessary to fight rather than flee and see the things he loved the most destroyed: Catholicism and France.
He called the people to the Cathedral and made this appeal, which became legendary in the Middle Ages:
“O! All you strong men of war who are still stronger in the faith: take into your hands the shield of this divine Faith, mark on your foreheads the sign of the Cross, cover your heads with the helmet of salvation, and protect your chests with the armor of the Lord. Then after taking up this religious armor, soldiers of Jesus Christ, do yet more.
“Take your strongest weapons of war, your sharpest swords of the best steel, and come together to combat and smash the miserable enemies who like furious beasts slaughter our Catholic brothers. It is the moment to say with Judas Macabeus: 'Be strong and make you ready that you may fight with these people, which are agreed together to destroy us and our sanctuary. Better is it for us to die in battle, than to see our people and our sanctuary in such a miserable state.'”
Touched by the Holy Ghost and filled with enthusiasm, the crowd shouted: “Lord and Venerable Pastor, give the order and command, and where you go, we will follow.”
The Saint answered: “On this spot we shall gather and from the foot of this altar we will start out against the enemy. And I will have the honor to march at the head of the soldiers of Jesus Christ.”
On the arranged date, wearing his sacred vestments the Bishop said Holy Mass and gave Communion to the men who would fight with him. Then, they started their march to Autun. A series of marvelous victories followed the Breton army. They saved Autun at the great battle of Saint Forjand, and defeated the infidel army at the pass of Crès d’Aussi.
The enemy made another attack but was defeated at the battle of St. Jean de Louis. The Muslim chief, however, made another maneuver to reconquer Autun. To cut off his path, St. Emilian gathered a number of his subjects and said: “Dear and brave companions, I congratulate you for your great faith. The number of combatants is not important; the victory comes from Heaven.”
Then, making a sign of the Cross, he said, “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit,” and entered into the thick of the fight.
Tradition says that St. Emilian severely wounded the Muslim chief during the fight. When the Saracens saw their chief so near to death, many rallied to help him. The Saint Bishop fell to the ground, fatally wounded by many sword thrusts. He continued to shout encouraging his soldiers, but finally expired. It was August 22, 725.
The Muslim chief ordered St. Emilian beheaded. Later the Catholics gathered his relics, which were treasured as objects of great veneration. His cult was confirmed by Pope Pius IX.
[Seven years after the sack of Autun in 725, Charles Martel met Abd-er-Rahman outside of Tours and defeated and slew him. The Battle of Poitiers of 732 is considered one of the great turning points in History, which stopped the Islamic advance into Western Europe.]