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BRANDENBURG


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BRANDENBURG


monasteries erected; and the Wendish population soon won over to Christianity and the German Empire. The most active part in the conversion of the country was taken by tlie Premonstratensians and Cistercians. Even before the death of their founder, St. Norbert, Bishop of Magdeburg (1126-34), tlie Premonstratensians founded the monastery of Gottesgnaden (1131) and later that of Leitzkau, near Magdeburg (1149), as well as monasteries at Jerichow (1144), the city of Brandenburg (1165), Gramzow in the Uckermark (c. 1180), and elsewhere. The bishoprics of Brandenburg and Havelberg and the seats in their respective cathedral chapters were held by members of this order. The Premonstratensians were equalled in zeal, particularly during the thir- teenth centur}', by the Cistercians, who had been introduced into the countrj' by Albert's son and suc- ce.ssor. Their foundations at Zinna (1170), Lehnin (US3), Chorin (1272), Juterbog (1282), Himmelpforte (c. 1290), etc., were centres for the work of coloniza- tion, which was conducted on a large scale.

When the Ascaniau line had become extinct. Emperor Louis the Bavarian annexed the Mark to his own territories (1320), but as early as 1373 the House of Wittelsbach was forced to relinquish Brandenburg, which in 1356 had been raised to the rank of an electorate, to Emperor Charles IV, who made it a dependency of the Bohemian Crown. Charles restored discipline, put an end to the extor- tion of the nobles, established the cathedral chapter of Tangermiinde, and raised the Mark to renewed prosperity. The Dioceses of Brandenburg and Havel- berg, however, ceased to be direct fiefs of the empire. Charles's son, Sigismund, mortgaged the Mark (1388-1411) and in 1411 appointed as Statthaller (Governor) Burgrave Frederick of Nuremberg, who took possession in 1412, and, having overcome the opposition of the nobles, was solemnly invested with the Mark of Brandenburg as an elector of the German Empire (1417). In this way Brandenburg pa.ssed into the possession of the HohenzoUerns, who have since held it without interruption. While Frederick I occupied himself almost exclusively with matters connected with the empire, his son, Frederick II (1440-70), concentrated his attention on the government of his territory. Distinguished from liis youth for great piety, he promoted the religious life of his subjects, worked for the reform of the clergy and monasteries, made the cathedral chapters of Brandenburg and Havelberg centres of religious and secular culture, founded the Order of the Swan for nobles, and received from Pope Nicholas V (1447) the right of appointment for the dioceses of the Mark. His grandson John, surnamed Cicero (1486-99), took the initiative in the establishment of the I'niversity of Frankfort on the Oder, opened in 1506, and destined to be for a time a stronghold of Catholicism in the religious wars stirred up by Luther.

Dissensions between bishops and people had co- operated nith other unfortunate circumstances in the Mark of Brandenburg, to create conditions amid which the new teachings took rapid root. Elector Joachim I (1499-1535), who.se younger brother, Albert, was made Arclibishop of Magdeburg and Bi.shop of Halberstadt in 1513, and in 1514 .\rcl'.bisliop and Elector of .Mainz and Archchancellor of the (!er- man Empire, was extremely hostile towards the religious innovations, and endeavoured to have the edict formally condemning Luther passed by the Reichstag, at Worms. He forbade the circulation of Luther's translation of the Bible and the preach- ing of the new doctrines within his territory, and he prohibited his subjects from attending the University of Wittenberg.

Through the efforts of wandering preachers, nevertheless, Luther's teachings soon gained a large following, not only in various parts of the Mark,


but in the very family of the elector, counting among its adherents his cousin Albert, Grand Master of the German Order, his son-in-law, John of Anhalt, and even his wife, Elizabeth. Before his death, Joachim made his two sons, coheirs of his lands, .solemnly promise fidelity to the Catholic Church. In spite of this, the younger, John of Kiistrin, as early as 1538, became a Protestant and was followed by his subjects. The elder. Elector Joachim II (1535-70), influenced by his wife, daughter of the Polish king, Sigismund, at first held fast to the old Faith, though allowing Protestant clergjTnen to minister to several parishes in his territory; finally, at Spandau in 1539, he received the sacrament under both forms at the hands of Matthias von Jagow, Bishop of Brandenburg, likewise a partisan of the new doctrines. His de- fection was imitated by the majority of the cities in the Mark, Berlin at their head, and by the nobles almost as a body. The Bishops of Havelberg and Lebus alone offered steady resistance. In 1540 the electoral prince, by virtue of his authority as national bishop, issued a new church ordinance which was based on Luther's doctrine of justifica- tion, though preserving many Catholic institutions, such as the episcopal system of organization, and many Catholic ceremonies and customs, even to the Latin Mass, feasts of the Blessed Virgin, processions, etc., that the common people might not realize how the Catholic Faith was being gradually withdrawn from them. Between 1540 and 1542 an ecclesiastical visitation of the whole Mark was undertaken; the secular and regular clergy who had withstood the innovations of the elector were mercilessly expelled; the foundations of religious orders of men were suppressed; convents were converted into asylums for noble maidens; much church property and many endo\\Tnent funds were confiscated and mortgaged to nobles or cities; and church plate and valuables were melted dowm. In 1543, the Consistory was constituted the highest spiritual authority. The elector took advantage of the rights obtained through the Religious Peace of Augsburg (1555) to complete the work of the Reformation in his principality. After the death of the last bishops who held fast to the Church— those of Lebus (1555) and Havelberg (1561) — he succeeded in having his eldest grandson, later Prince Elector Joachim Frederick, appointed bishop, thus preparing for the future secularization of the bishoprics. "The administration of the Diocese of Brandenburg he confided to his son, John George. This gave the Reformation a complete victory; whatever savoured of Catholic teaching was gradu- ally eliminated, and by the beginning of the seven- teenth century. Catholic services were absolutely prohibited. Not until the establishment of the Kingdom of Prussia were Catholics again allowed to hold piihlic worship. (For the later history of the Mark of Brandenburg, .see Prussia.)

The Diocese of Brandenburg, founded 1 October, 948, by Otto the Great, was bounded on the east by the Oder, on the west and south by the Elbe and the Black Elster. and on the north by the Ucker- mark. The first bishop was Thietmar or Ditniar (d. before 968); his successor, Dodilo, was murdered in 980. The succeeding bishops, after the heathen Wends again conquered Brandenburg (983), lived for the most part as coadjutors to other prelates in various places in Germany. Bishop Wigger, the fifteenth in line of succession (1138-60), was the first who was able to return to his diocese. Like his successors, as late as the middle of the fifteenth century. Bishop Wigger belonged to the Order of Premonstratensians, and formed his cathedral chap- ter from members of his order. Among the bishops of the fifteenth century, Stephan Bodeker (1421-59) distinguished himself by unusual activity along the lines of education and reform. Matthias von Jagow