In the years which followed the conquest Latin priests were sent to
Constantinople from France, Flanders, and Italy, to take charge of the
churches in the city. These priests appear to have been great hunters
after relics. Thus it came to pass that there was scarcely an
important church or monastery in most Western countries which did not
possess some share of the spoil which came from Constantinople.
For some years the demand for relics seemed to be insatiable, and
caused fresh supplies to be forthcoming to an almost unlimited extent.
The new relics, equally with the old, were certified in due form to be
what they professed to be. Documents, duly attested and full of
detailed evidence—sometimes, doubtless, manufactured for the
occasion—easily satisfied those to whom it was of importance to
possess certified relics, and throughout the West the demand for
relics which might bring profit to their possessors continued to
increase. At length the Church deemed it necessary to put a stop to
the supply, and especially to that of the apocryphal and legendary
acts which testified to their authenticity, and in 1215 the fourth
Lateran council judged it necessary to make a decree enjoining the
bishops to take means to prevent pilgrims from being deceived.