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Prussia

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(Ger. Preussen) is a kingdom of the new German Empire, virtually embracing within its own history the story of the whole empire, in which it is the guiding and ruling power. Before its recent aggrandizement, it consisted of two large tracts of land extending from Russia on the east to Holland and Belgium on the west, south of the Baltic and north of Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, etc., but separated from each other by the kingdom of Hanover, the duchies of Mecklenburg and Oldenburg, the electorate of Hesse-Cassel, duchy of Nassau, and some minor states. In 1866, Prussia received large accessions of territory, having annexed the kingdom of Hanover, the duchies of Hesse-Cassel, Nassau, and Sleswig and Holstein, the free city of Frankfort, and some districts of Bavaria and Hesse- Darmstadt. The area of Prussia was thus increased from 108,212 Eng. sq. miles to 137,066, and the population from 19,304,843 to 24,106,847, of whom 23,746,790 formed the civil population, and 310,055 the military, the average density of the population being 176 per Eng. sq. mile. The variation in density is considerable, the greatest being in the manufacturing district of Dusseldorf, in the Rhine province, where it is four times the average, and smallest in the district of Kislin, Pomerania, where it amounts to three fifths of the average. Prussia is now divided into eleven provinces and three annexes, with a population, according to the official census for 1885, as follows:

Eng. sq. m. Pop. Dec. 1185.

1. Prussia

24,880

3,367,704

2. Posen

11,330

1,715,618

3. Pomerania

12,130

1,505,575

4. Silesia

15,666

4,112,219

5. Brandenburg

15,505

2,342,411

6. Saxony

9,729

2,428,367

7. Westphalia

7,771

2,204,580

8. Rhine province

10,289

4,344,527

9. Hesse-Nassau

5,943

1,592,454

10. Hanover

14,846

2,172,702

11. Sleswig-Holstein

6,959

995,873

12. Principlity of Hohenzollern

453

66,720

13. City of Berlin

5

1,315,287

 

About 88 per cent. of the population are Germans. Of the Slavonic tribes, the most numerous are Poles, numbering two and a quarter millions. In Brandenburg and Silesia there are about 85,000 Wends, and in East Prussia upwards of 147,000 Lithuanians; while Western Prussia has rather more than 10,000 Walloons using the French language, intermixed in its generally German population, and Silesia has nearly 59,000 Bohemians or Moravians-making in all two and a half millions who do not use the German language, or who employ it only as secondary to their native tongues. Three distinct classes are recognised in Prussia namely, nobles, burghers, and peasants. To the first belong about 177.000 persons, including the high officials of the state, although that number does not comprise the various mediatized houses, of which sixteen are Prussian, and others belonging to different states, but connected with Prussia by still existing or former territorial possessions. The burgher class includes, in its higher branches, all public-office holders, professional men, artists, and merchants; while the peasantry to which belong all persons engaged in agricultural pursuitsare divided into classes, depending on the number of horses employed on the land, etc.

I. History and Religion. The lands bounded by the Baltic and now constituting East Prussia, and the adjoining territory on that side of the Oder, form the original home of the Prussians within the vast territory they now occupy. These lands were early occupied by Slavonic tribes, nearly allied to the Lithuanians (q.v.) and the Letts. It is conjectured that they were visited by Phoenician navigators in the 4th century B.C.; but beyond the fact of their having come into temporary conflict with the Goths and other Teutonic hordes prior to the great exodus of the latter from their northern homes, little is known of the people till the 10th century, when they first appear in history under the name of Borussi, or Prussians. They were then a small but vigorous people, and had made themselves a terror to their neighbors by bold inroads, when the race of the heroes and sea- kings arrived from Norway and Sweden. Scandinavian Goths settled in the country, and the southern shores of the Baltic sounded with the praise of the exploits of Starkodder and Ragnar Lodbrog.

1. Mythological Period. In the oldest historic times, doubtless, the primitive inhabitants Prussians, Lithuanians, Ulmarugians, Curlanders, Livonians, etc. worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars, and the powers of nature generally. The Scandinavians, who were further advanced in the arts of war and of peace, better armed, and skilled in agriculture, then brought in new gods, among them the three supreme rulers, Perkunos, Potrimpos, Pikollos, and most probably all their other deities. Much has been written and argued on the question whether the three mentioned names, or the gods to whom they are said to have belonged, really existed, or whether they were mere inventions of some imaginative chroniclers. There are even writers who have discovered in them the three persons of the Holy Trinity. We shall not dwell on these speculations, but briefly state iwhat we positively know of the ancient mythology of a people which occupies such a high rank among the nations of Europe. Besides the three mentioned, there was another important deity, called Curcho, the giver of food. His image stood at the foot of many a holy oak. There was one at the place where the city of Heiligenbeil was afterwards built. The apostle of the Prussians cut the venerable tree with a hatchet, and this circumstance gave the town its present name.

There were spread over the whole country sacrificial stones, or altars, on which milk, mead, honey, beer, flour, meat, fish, etc., were offered to the god. Every year his image was made anew, out of wood, on the consecrated spots; it was clothed in goat-skins and crowned with herbs and ears. Then it was carried about amid the shouts of the populace; dances and sacrifices ensued. The inferior gods, in large number, have been divided, not, perhaps, very properly, into gods of the heavens, of earth, of the water, of men, of the cattle, of the lower world, into gods of labor, gods of trade, into good and bad gods. This was, no doubt, a kind of worship of nature, similar to that which we find among all half-civilized nations. The holiest place in the land was Romowe. Only a priest was allowed to approach it. There were but few exceptions. Thus, by special favor, a powerful ruler was permitted to come near the consecrated spot, and to speak to the Griwe, or high-priest. But not even those great personages were suffered to come near the sanctuary, the ever-verdant oak, and the gods that stood below it; for it was surrounded with a fence formed by long pieces of white linen, something like a most primitive tabernacle. To a great distance the land around the sanctuary, and the wood which encircled, it was consecrated. No one could enter this forest, which occupied many square miles; and if, unwittingly, some wretch put his foot into it, his life was forfeited to the offended deities. No tree was felled there, no wild animal chased. Besides this celebrated Romowe, there were other places of the same kind spread all over the country, and whose names, commencing with Ronzas, and partly preserved to our days, are expressive of calm and holiness. We find quite a number of such names in Lithuania. In Prussia the trees were held holy, as among the ancient Germans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Rugians, Holsteinians, and kindred peoples. There existed also single oaks and linden-trees which were held in particular veneration as being the seats of some divinity; they were approached with pious horror and deep reverence. The oak of Heiligenbeil, with a circumference of forty feet and a diameter of nineteen, was the most celebrated. Some mountains enjoyed the same honors. The best-known of them was near Brandenburg, at a short distance from the Frische Haff: Near the holy woods and trees there were, as a rule, holy fields, which never were touched by the plough. We also find holy springs, from which no one could take water unless he previously offered a sacrifice: their water was believed to be a sure medicine against certain diseases. There were also holy lakes, either in a separate place or connected with the sanctuaries and forests: no one was allowed to fish in their waters.

The gods adored in those consecrated places were, besides those already named: Okopirn, the god of the air and of tempests; Swaixtix, the god of the starsa most important god in the North, with its long winter nights; Bankputtis, the god of the sea; Antrimpos, the angry god, who excites the waves; Wurskeite and Szwambxaite, the protectors of cattle and poultry, worshipped extensively in the whole country; Gardebis and Janztiubobis, the protectors of oxen and sheep; Perdoitos, the god of trade, who made the sea propitious to the mariner, and was specially honored on the sea- coast; Puskaitis, the god of woods and trees, who lived under the foliage, and whose dwelling-places mwere held particularly holy. This god had, throughout the country, a number of sanctuaries, where he was attendmed by a multitude of strange, dwarf-like beings, which the imagination of the people had fitted out and ornamented in the most fantastical manner. Perqubrius gave fertility to the fields; Zemlberis strewed the earth with seeds, and covered it with flowers and herbs; Pelwitte filled with riches the houses and the barns; Ausweikis was the god of health, resorted to by the sick and invalid. To these must be added quite a number of female deities. Jawvinna watched over the germination and growth of corn; Melletele covered the meadows and gardens with herbs and grass; Strutis was the goddess of the flowers; Gobjlaja was the goddess of riches and opulence; Guze led the wanderers through deserts and gloomy forests; Swaigsdunoka, the bride of the stargod, directed the heavenly bodies on their path; Laima was the obstetric goddess, and fixed the destinies of the new-born.

The bad goddesses were, the sanguinary Gittine, who brought painful death; Magila, the wrathfiul deity, who visited cruel misfortunes upon those she disliked; Launle, who intervened in human affairs now sportively, now malignantly, leading the wanderer astray by will-o'-the- wisps, seizing upon helpless children, etc. Besides these gods and goddesses, there were tutelary spirits spirits of the woods, of the waters, of the earth, most of them servants of the god Puskaitis men of the woods, dwarfs, elfs, called barstucs, or perstiks. Similar to these were the nightly spectres, who at twilight left their dark recesses to seek food. They were appeased by putting sacrificial meat in lonesome spots; thus they became guardians of house and barn, and the childish fancy shaped and ornamented them in the quaintest manner. The animal kiingdom, also, held many objects for worship. The snake was the object of particular veneration, being the favorite of Potrimpos. Snakes were believed to be a blessing for the house and household, to be immortal, and to gain renewed youth with each change of skin. They were dutifully fed in the holes of old oak-trees, and gladly admitted into buildings and chambers. Barren women fed them with milk, imploring at the same time the blessings of Laima. Carelessness towards them was attendled with misfortunes of all kinds. This regard for the snake continued in Prussia and in the neighboring countries till long after the introduction of Christianity. The horse, especially the white horse, was in great honor among all Northern peoples, as mwell as among the Germans, as a spirit of prophecy was said to dwell in him. All white horses were consecrated to the gods, and no one would have dared to mount a steed of that color. To beat or damage it was a capital crime. Among the birds, the owl enjoyed special regard, because it was believed that she predicted to her friends the coming mishaps.

The gods being so numerous, it was but natural that the priests should form a very large body. At their head stood the Griwe, almost a god himself, so great was the veneration in which he was held among all the nations of the North. The waidlotes, griwaites, siggones, wurskaiti, pustones, saitones, burtones, and swakones were the members of a powerful hierarchy, and exercised an unlimited influence upon those superstitious tribes. There was no lack of female priests either; and it would seiem that female deities were attended exclusively by female priests, as male gods were worshipped only by male priests. Yet it is not likely that sacerdotal women were admitted into the Romowe, as the Griwe, as well as all other priests, had to remain in single blessedness.

A transgression of this law was visited with capital punishment, the culprit, being dragged away from the holy ground and burned alive. There is some contradiction between this stern enforcement of the law of virginity and the way in which the body of female waidlotes was recruited. If a woman had been sterile in marriage, and became, after the death of her husband, the mother of a son or of a daughter by an unmarried man, she was considered as holy, and was admitted to the number of the female priests. As far as the institutions of the ancient Prussians are known, they exacted from their priests a pure, pious, and holy life. Those only could be admitted among the superior priests, the grivites, who, during many years, had shone by an exemplary life; and even the relations whom the Griwe wished to be received into the sacerdotal body had to prove that their conduct had been unblemished, or they were rejected. The priests were supported entirely by the people, for we do not find any mention of their being addicted to agriculture or any art or trade. The sacrifices and offerings were their principal income. They received beer, milk, fruits, animals, tissues for sacerdoral garments, etc. Libations were offered to the gods, and the liquid offering was drunk by the priest. Sometimes this sacrifice was attended with quaint ceremonies. At the great springfestival, the priest filled a cup with beer, took it between his teeth without touching it with his hands, drained it, and then threw it over his head. Those behind him caught it, filled it with beer, and brought it back to him a second and a third time. The act of emptying three times the cup was intended in honor of the three great gods; the throwing of the cup mwas the sacrifice brought to them, which human handus durst not touch. After this ceremony the cup circulated from mouth to mouth. Each worshipper took it between his teeth, emptied it, and with his teeth the neighbor took it from him. Finally, the benedicticio was given to the people; a banquet ensued, in which intoxicating, beverages were so plentifully tasted that the solemnity generally ended in bloody work, as is the case, even in our days, with Poles, Lithuanians, and other nations.

2. Introduction of Christianity. We here substantially give the account found in Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon, s.v.

"Several attempts to introduce the Christian religion into Prussia had been fruitless. St. Adalbert, bishop of Prague, died April 23, 997, a martyr to his faith, while endeavoring to convert the people to Christianity. Bruno, of the falmily of the Barons von Querfirt, who, after renonncing his canoiuny and entering the Benedictine congretgainmi of Camaldoli, had repaired to Prussia in 1008, to preach there the Gospel and convert those pagan tribes, also suffered martyrdom (Feb. 11, 1008). The endeavors of the Polish princes to Christianize the Prussians by force were still most unsuccessful. As the acceptance of the Christian eligion had been made a condition of peace by Boleslas, duke of Poland, about 1018, they consideied the Christian communion as an obnoxious consequence of unhappy warfare, as a yoke imposed by the foe, and they shook it off every time when they felt strong enough to do so. Thus the disinclination to the new worship increased continually, until it reached the very pitch of hatred and disgust. Meanwhile Otto, bishop of Bamberg (1124), preached with success in Pomerania, and Christianity by degrees reached the banks of the Vistula. The first Christian ruler in Pomerania, Subislas I, founded in 1170 near Dantzic, the monastery of Oliva, which became a seminary whence the seed of the Christian faith was in time to spread over Prussia's soil.

"Previous to the establishment of Oliva's monastery the Prussians, however, had succeeded (in 1161) in making a stand against Boleslas IV of Poland, and for a time maintained a rude and savage kind of independence, which the disturbed condition of Poland prevented its rulers from breaking down. The fear of losing their freedom if they adopted Christianity made the Prussians obstinately resist every effort for their conversion; and it was not till the middle of the 13th century, when the knights of the Teutonic Order entered upon their famous crusade against them, that the Christian faith was foreally established among them. The aggressive inroads of the pagan Prussians on the territories of their Christian neighbors, and their advance into Pomerania, were the exciting causes of this important movement. Christianity was by the reverses of the Polish plinces thrown so vastly upon the defensive that the Pomeranian duke Grimislas, of Stargald and Schurtz, called in 1198 some knights of St John into his dominions, and delivered into their hands his castle of Stargard and some adjoining territories for operations against the Prussians.

The intimate commercial relations between Brunen and Livonia facilitated the woik of the missionaries, and gave easy access to the latter country. After the Christian religion had been introduced into Pomerania and Livonia, and an order of Christian knighthood had been founded for its aid and maintenance, the prospects in Prussia also seemed to brighten. Although the exertions of Gottfried, abbot of the monastery of Cistercians of Lukina (1207), in Poland, and of his fellow-monk Philip, who suffered martyrdom, were not attended with any enduring success, yet were two of the native princes converted. A few years afterwards appeared the man to whom was reserved the glorious achievement of introducing Christianity into Prussia. It was the Cistercian monk Christian, of the monastery of Oliva, a man distinguished by every virtue, and speaking fluently the German, Latin, Polish, and Prussian languages. In 1210 he obtained permission from pope Innocent III to go to Prussia with somne chosen companions, and his efforts were crowned with such brilliant success that in the fall of 1214, or at the beginning of 1215, he wnas appointed bishop of Prussia, the new converts having hitherto been committed to the pastoral care of the archbishop of Guesen. The number of the converted Prussians was considerable, and two of their princes, Warpodo, the ruler of the land of Lansania, and Suavobuno, who reigned in the land of Lubau, had made provisions for the maintenance of the bishop.

"This partial triumph of Christianity excited the inner of the heathenish Prussians, who were, besides, maddened by the expeditions of Conrad, duke of Masovia. Help from abroad was sorely needed. Crusades, however, could not afford any lasting protection. The Order of the Knights of Christ, called also Brother-knights of Dobrin, founded in Livonia in 1225 by bishop Christian, on the pattern of the Knights of the Sword, was no match for the savage fury of the Prussians: at the very beginningr of the war all the knights, save five, were killed in lattle near the spot where Strasburgh was afterwards built. By bishop Christian's advice, the Teutonic Order was applied to for assistance (1226). The grand-master, Hermann von Salza, asked consent of Fiederick II, who not only granted the request, but also promised his help, and confirmed the donations of land formally made to the order by duke Conrad of Masovia. After four years of negotiations, duke Conrad made a solemn grant to the order of the whole land of Culm, between the Vistula, Drewenz, and Ossa, with all the conquests they should add to it; while at the same time bishop Christian, and Gunther, bishop of Plock, renounced in their favor all their possessions, revenues, and patronal rights in those countries, reserving only their episcopal jurisdiction and their pontificalia. At the same time the popes, Gregory IX, in 1234, and Innocent IV, in 1244, declared the present and future conquests of the order feuds of the papal see ( in jus et proprietatem B. Petri suscipimus et eam stub epeciali Sedis Apostolicct protectione et defensione perpetuo tempore permanere sancimus.... Te Conrade magister ejus domus annulo, nostro de terra-investimus, ita quod ipsa... . ullius unquam slubjiciatur dominiio potestatis; quae vero in fnturnm... de terra pagailornm in eadem provincia vos contigerit adipisci, firma et illibata vobis vestrisque successoribus soub jure et proprietae Sedis Apostolicoe eo modo statuimus permanenda'). An annual tribute was promised to the Roman court. At the same time the pope stipulated that in the newly acquired territories churches should be built, bishops and prelates appointed at his will, that a portion of the land should be granted to the latter dignitaries, etc. The grand-master selected Hermann Balk to be the leader of the knights he intended to send to Prussia, and the administrator of the land given to the order by duke Conrad; Hermann, probably of Westphalian birth, was not only a distinguished warrior, but a man full of wisdom and experience in all worldly matters; a pious knight, too, who, during a space of ten years had administered the possessions of the order in Germany, and gainied by his remarkable aptitude the full confidence of the grand-master. All other high functions were intrusted to equally distinguished persons, who, with a few knights and a considerable body of cavalry, set out on their way to Prussia. They arrived in 1228 in the dominions of Conrad of Masovia. Numerous as was their host, yet the Prussians counted a thousand warriors where they counted one. Conrad could assist them, but hardly make them formidable, by the addition of his forces, his weakness being the very cause which had made their expedition desirable. His land was torn by its unceasing troubles, and, besides, engaged in perpetual warfare with her neighblors. Pomerania, itself offered no prospect of help, as duke Swantepolk entertained but hostile relations with Conrad, and with Poland in general. It was a heroic daring in the Teutomnic Order to engage in their expedition undier such unfavorable circumstances. They began the war wiithout delay, assisted by bands of crusaders (1232), Gregory IX preaching the crusade against Prussia with unabating zeal. The land of Culm was occupied, with the help of Swantepolk of Pomeraneia, in spite of the desperate resistance of the Prussians. The order, at the same time that it constructed forts to insure the new conquests, helped German colonists in building cities in well-protected and fertile places. Thorn was reared first, soon afterwards Culm, both in 1232, and Marienwerder in 1233. The Prussians, disnmayed by the large body of troops arrayed on their frontier, and knowing perhaps that the crusades were engaged for the space of a year only, pretended to be unwilling to fight and inclined to receive baptism. Bishop Christian forthwith repaired to the district of Pomerania, in order to preach and to baptize. But a few days afterwards he was attacked by the pagans, his companions all killed, and the bishop himself led into captivity. The pope now recommended caution to the Dominicans in Prussia, and bade them beware of the wily stratagems of the heathens. A spell of cold weather having made the moorlands of Pomesania easy of access, the whole Christian army invaded that country at the beginning of 1234. The Pomeranians were defeated near the Sirgune River, in the neighborhood of a consecrated wood, after victory had been passing for several hours from host to host The battle was a most bloody one, and the spot where it had raged was, long after the event, called The Field of the Dead.' As its final gain by the Christians was due to Swantepolk, an army of Pomesanians crossed the Vistula and laid waste the whole land of Pomerania. The monastery of Oliva, which had been recently put under papal protection was stormed and reduced to ashes. To protect the land of Culnm against the vengeance of the infuriated invaders, Hermann Balk erected the fort of Rheden in 1234, which was the origin of the city of Rheden. This kind of precaution was indispensable, as the crusaders dispersed after a year's service, and the knights had to hold the country with their sole resources. There came other difficulties: the order and bishop Christian could not agree; there were grievous dissensions between the order and duke Conrad; a contest arose between Swantepolk of Pomerania and Henry of Breslau, and cut off, for the knights, all prospect of help from those quarters. The pope, informed of this state of affairs, sent his legate, bishop William of Modena, with most extensive powers, especially for the constitution to be given to the churches and for the distribution of bishoprics in the northern countries; and he announced the arrival of his legate and the object of his mission to the Christians in Livonia, Prussia, Gothland, Finland, Esthonia, Semgallen, and Courland. The legate arrived in Prussia at the beginning of summer in 1234, and exerted himself at once in compounding the dispute between bishop Christian and the order. The bishop had made a division of the land, taking two thirds as his share, and left only one third to the order; he had further exlpressed the opinion that the countries recently conquered for the Church were lawfully his. The legate did not approve of these views: he decided, in conformity with his instructions, that of all territories occupied and still to be occupied, two thirds should go to the order, with all revenues connected with them the dime, for instance; that tihe bishop should have olllv onne third for his share, but with this additional stipulation, that in the two thirds which went to the order, such advantages as could be enjoyed only by a bishop should also accrue to the latter. The bishop was obliged to submit to the legate's decision. The difficulties between the order and dnke Conrad could not be so easily removed. The Knights of Dobrin had joined the Teutonic Order, and the latter had taken possession of the fort of Dobrii, with all its dependencies, in spite of the protest of the duke. The pope, in a bull of April 19, 1235, approved the fusion of the Brothers of Doblrin with the Teutonic Order, mainly at the request of the bishop of Plock. The latter and the plnpal legate, after negotiating through the summer moiuths, succeeded in October in restoringg concord. The knights delivered to Conrad the castle of Dobrin, with its dependencies, and received in exclange other territories, of which the most important was Slonzk, with its salt-mines. Gregory IX, in spite of his manifold Italian cares and troubles, endeavored with all his might to promote the enterprise of the order. The preaching of the crusade was not interrupted in Germany, and measures were taken to increaise the number of the knights. Fresh troops of crusaders having arrived from Germany, the war was resumed. Pomesania and Pogesania were conquered: with the former of these provinces the whole eastern shore of the Vistula was in the power of the order. Those of the enemy who surrendered were spared, experienced mild treatment, and were immediately christened by the priests who followed the army. Herman Balk and his knights endeavored to subdue by the influence of Christian meeknsess these savage spirits, whose faith in their gods was shaken by so great misfortunes. A chronicler says: Not like lords, but as fathers and brothers, they rode about the land, visited both the rich and the poor, invited the new Christians to their meals, took care of and nursed in their hospitals poor, sick Prussians, provided for widows and orphans whose husbands and fathers had perished in the war, and sent clever young men to Germany, especially to Magdeburg, to get well instructed in Christianity and in the German language, and to become afterwards teachers, in Prussia.' It was at this time that Henry Monte, who became so distinguished afterwards, was brought up in the celebrated monastery school of Magdeburg. The expenses of these young men were paid with these alms gathered in Germany. The landmaster's humane measures did not fail to make their impression even on the unconverted part of the nalion. All measures of coercion had been prohibited. Wherever the order established its authority churches were built: Thorn, Culm, Rheden, Marienwerder, had their churches. The city of Elbing built a church and a monastery in the first year of its existence. Even the open country had not been left without churches: we find in 1236 a mention of the parish of Postelin, in Pomerania. Some pious men exerted themselves in order to instruct the people in the Christian faith. The papal legate, William of Modena, preached with great success; he was powerfully assisted by the Domininicans, several of whom were masters of the Prussian language. The most distinguished among these monks was St. Hyacinth, who belonged to the house of the counts of Odrovanz, one of the oldest and most celebated of the families of Silesia. His father was count of Kliiski, and his uncle chancellor of Poland and bishop of Cracow. Hyacinth was born in 1185 in the castle of Gross-Stein, district of Gross-Strelitz, in Upper Silesia, and studied at Cracow, Prague, and Bologna. In the latter city he received the title of doctor of laws and theology. On his return home he was promoted to a canonry at the cathedral of Cracow, and assisted the bishop in the administration of his diocese. When his uncle Ivo of Kolski became bishop of Cracow, he went to Rome, and took along with him Hyacinth and his brother Ceslaus. In the year 1218, when St. Dominic was in Rome, both brothers entered the Dominican Order, and Hyacinth became one of the most active northern missionaries. Another powerful missionary was bishop Christian, but his dissensions with the order could only be detrimental to the cause of Christianity. In 1237 a pest- like disease spread over the dominions of the order, and caused many of the neophytes to waver in their new faith. On May 9, 1238, a treaty was concluded with Waldemar, king of Denmark, through the exertions of the papal legate: the king received the fort of Reval and the territories of Harrien and Wirland, while the order received the district of Ierwen; only no forts were to be built in the latter without the king's consent. The king promised not to put any obstacle in the way of the order in their work of conversion, but to help them where he could: two thirds of the conquests were to go to the king, one third was the order's share. Hermann Balk, thus assisted by the Danes, undertook an expedition against the Russians, who had invaded the diocese of Dorpat; but soon important events recalled him to Prussia. The knight Hermann von Altenburg, a pious man, but rigid and austere, whom the grand-master had intrusted with the administration of the dominions of the order during his absence, had not imitated the wise moderation and patient meekness of his superior. On hearing that a Prussian village had gone over to paganism again, he set fire to it, and priests and villagers perished in the flames. This created in the country bitter dissatisfaction, and the fruit of the restless labors and struggles of ten years seemed to be lost by one reckless act. Other misfortunes had come upon the order. Their old friend Swantepolk of Pomerania had become their foe: it was fortunate that the duke was threatened by other enemies, and found it prudent to make peace. Then Hermann Balk was recalled by the grand-master in 1238, and took his departure after providing for the good administration of the country; but he never saw it again. He died March 5 1239. On March 20 the noble grand-master, Hermann von Salza, died also, and was succeeded by Conrad, landgrave of Thuringia. Henry of Wida was appointed grand-master in Prussia. After protracted hostilities with the Prussians and duke Swantepolk of Pomerania, a treaty was concluded on Feb. 7, 1249, by which the provinces of Pomesania, Pogesania, Ermland, and Nataugen submitted to the order and promised conversion. The neophytes obtained all civil rights, were allowed to enter the ecclesiastical state, and to become members of regular congregations. These civil and other rights were forfeited by their eventual apostasy. The legate having put the question as to what worldly laws the neophytes wished to have introduced, and what tribunals they would most willingly recognise, they declared for the legislation of the Poles: this they were granted by the order. On being taught by the legate that all men were equal, they promised to give up their heathenist customs as to the burial of the dead, and those various ceremonies in which the distinctions of rank were preserved even after death, and to bury their dead in Christian cemeteries. They also promised to renounce polygamy; that no one should in future sell his daughlter to another man in mnatrimonly, nor buy at wife for himself or his son: that nobody should henceforward marry his mother- in-law, or the widow of his brotther, nor any person standing to him in a degree of relationship prohibited by the canon, without a license from the pope. No child should be admitted to inherit his or her parents' estate if the matrimony of the latter had not been of such a description as to satisfy the exigencies of the Church. The killing or exposing of children was prohibited; the baptism of the new-born, within a short period, was made obligatory. As it was a consequence of the want of ecclesiastics and of churches that many children had remained unchristened, the parents promised to present them all for baptism in the course of a month. Such as should infringe upon the proscriptions, or who refused baptism for thenmselves, were to have theit goods confiscated, to be themselves covered with a slight garment, and expelled from the territory of the Christians. The Pomesanians promised to build thirteen churches from that time to the next Whitsuntide, the Warmians promised six, the Natangians three; each church to be properly fitted out with its ornaments, chalices, books, and other implements. It was agreed upon that if the neophytes failed to construct the churches promised by them, the knights should be empowered to levy a tax on their estates and build the churches themselves, even if it should be necessary to recur to violent means. They promised to attend worship, at least on Sundays and holydays. The order, in their turn, promised to furnish the churches with priests and estate in the course of a year. Most minute and careful provisions were made for the maintenance of the ecclesiastics. The neophytes further promised to keep the fasts prescribed by the Church, not to do any hard work on Sundays and holy-days, to confess their sins at least once a year, to partake of the Lord's Supper at Easter, and, in general, to submit their conduct to the directions and teachings of the clergy. They pledged themselves to bring every year the dime into the granaries of the order; to defend the persons, honor, and rights of the order; to keep aloof from any treasonable practices against it, and to denounce such plots if they were known to them. The order had always, even during the excitement of the war, borne in mind the highest aim of their labors, the establishment and expansion of Christianity. Honorius III had committed to bishop Christian the care of establishing bishoprics, but he did not even succeed in fully organizing the bishopric of Culm. In 1236 Gregory II had enjoined on his legate to divide the new countries into dioceses, and to establish three bishops in them. In a bull of Oct. 1, 1243, the pope informed Christian that he had divided Prussia into four bishoprics, Culm being one of them. Christian was invited to make choice of one of these bishoprics, but to content himiself, according to the treaty concluded with the order, with one third of the land. Bishop Christian died in 1243 or 1244. His death greatly facilitated the legate's discharge of his duties, who now had full powers to do as he deemed fit. The first diocese was to include the land of Culm, as far as it is bounded by the rivers Vistula, Drewenz, and Ossa, with the addition of the distrlict of Lobau; the so-called Sassenlalnd and the territory of Gilgenburg belonged also to the first diocese. The second diocese was bounded by the rivers Ossa and Vistula and the lake of Drausen, and reached upwards to the banks of the Passaluc or Passarge River; it comprised Quidin and Zanthis, and was called the diocese of Pomesania. The third diocese was bounded west by the Frische-Haff, north by the Pregel River, or the Lipza, south by the Dransen Lake and Passaluc River, and extended east to the boundaries of Lithuania. This was the diocese of Ermland. A fourth diocese was to comprise the yet independent countries bounded west by the Baltic Sea, north by the Memel, south by the Pregel, and east by Lithuania. This was subsequently called the diocese of Samlaud. The letgate, on April 10, 1244, assembled at Thorn the most distinguished clergymen of the neighboring countries the archbishop of Gnesen, the bishops of Breslau, Leszlau, and Plock, a number (of Polish abbots, the most considerable of the Teutonic Knights, and other men of high standing to take their advice on the constitution to be introduced into the new bishoprics. The Dominican Heidenreich (the faithful assistant of bishop Christian), who had been over ten years busy in the work of confession, was selected for the diocese of Culm. The Dominican Ernest, from Torgau, friend and companion of Heidenleich, who had, like him, worked many years for the expansion of Chrisitianity, was selected to be the first bishop of Pomesania. A brother-priest of the Teutounic Order, Henry of Strateich, was appointed bishop of Ermland. The diocese of Samlaud received in 1255 its first bishop in the person of Henry of Strittberg, a brother-priest of the Teutonic Order. His successor, Christian von Muhlhausen, a man distinguished by his piety as well as by his knowledge, and who was also a priest of the order, did not arrive in Prussia unitil 1276. The chapter was established first at Schonewik, near Fischauseu, then (in 1285) at Konigsberg. The bishops, owing to various impedmnents, did not occupy their sees at once. Bishop Heidenreich of Culm (whether the two others did the same cannot be ascertained) repaired to the papal court, and was consecrated by the pope himself at Lyons, probably in the course of the year 1245. By this time the legate, William of Modena, had airrived also at the court of Rome, anld was soon promoted to the bishopric of Sabina. It wasn't an easy matter to find a successor to a man who had played such a prominent part in the religious organization of the north Prussia, Livonia, Courland, and Estonia, and displayed so much zeal, intelligence, and energy in most intricate affairs. The bishops of Prussia needed, above all, a man who had insight and influence enough to draw positive limits between the dioceses, and render the decisions in a number of concerns where no rules had as yet been agreed upon. In the year 1244, pope Innocent IV thought he had found such a man in the person of the administrator of the diocese of Linbeck, Ekbert formerly archbishop of Armagh, in Ireland. The legate was at the same time appointed archbishop of Prussia, Livonia, and Esthonia. That the new archbishop might have an income proportioned to his dignity, the pope committed to him the bishophric of Chiemsee, which had just becomme vacant, and enjoined the archbishop of Saltzburgh to deliver into the hands of the archbishop of Prussia the administration of said diocese. Towards the end of April, 1246, the pope sent him the archiepiscopal pallium, and allowed him, at his request, to make use of it during his sojourn in Russia and in the church of Lubeck; but this right, was not to be extended to his successors. At the same time Ekbert went to Russia, to promote the fusion of the Russian and the Roman Catholic Church; and pope Innocent IV recommentded him to reward the zeal of the knights by appointing one of the priests of their order to one of the Prussian Bishoprics. Bishop Heidenreich of Culm first took in hand the administration of his diocese. The country had been devastated and neglected, was scantily populated, and churches were rare and separated by large intervals. The bishop had to induce colonists to settle in his diocese, and he succeeded so well that after five or six years he could think of the establishment of a cathedral church The cathedral was consecrated in Culm in 1251, and received the name of the Holy Trinity; at the same time a chapter was founded, under the rule of St. Augustine, and so richly endowed that, as soon as the revenue of the lands could be collected, forty canons might be held. Besides the churches, the number of which was continually increasing in cities and villages, the land of Culm had already several monasteries; for instance, a Dominictan monastery at Culm, and a Franciscan monoastery at Thorn.

"The history of the bishopric of Pomesania is little known in the first years of its existence: we only know that bishop Ernest had taken possession of his see in 1247. In 1255 he chose for his residence Marienwerder, and there the cathedral was erected. The first bishop of Erlnland, Henry of Strateich, died in 1249 or 1250. His successor was another priest of the Teutonic Order, Anselm, who had had a considerable share in the work of conversion and in the victories of the order. The division of the land was made in 1255: the bishop chose the middle part, in which the city of Braunsberg was situated. Bishop Anselm displayed indefatigable activity in the discharge of his duties; took wise measures for the education of youth, for the erection of new churches, etc. The bishops of Prussia lived for a long time in very distressing circumstances, owing to the frequent wars and to the disinclination of the neophytes to pay the dime. Not being able to live on the produce of their own lands, they had to live abroad. The archbishop of Prussia consulted the pope in regard to these inconveniences, and the pope agreed that each of the three bishops of Prussia could accept, for his subsistence and ecclesiastical feud, if it were transferred to him in a legal way; but he was to keep it, only as long as the situation of the Prussian Church made it desireable. The popes displayed indefatiguable vigor in assisting by all means in forming the Church. Their voice was continually heard exhorting priests and monks to repair to the new provinces and share in the work. In 1240 pope Innocent IV addressed a bull to the superiors of all monastic orders, in which he urged them to help the sister churches of Prussia, Livonia, and Esthonia, where books were wanted, with their superabundant wealth in this respect, or to have copies made for them. Honorius III and Innocent III had done much for the inmprovement of the schools. Honorius, in a special bull, had invited Christian contributions for the purpose of establishing boys' schools, in order to promote the work of conversion. The former legate, William of Modena, had greatly distinguished himself in these efforts: he had even learned the Prussian language, and translated Donatus for the Prussian schools. The bishops also exerted themselves strenuously for the estlablishlment of public instruction. We find traces of country schools in Ermland as early as 1251. By an agreement between bishop Anselm and the order, the knights, in their own domains, were empowered to engage and to dismiss schoolmasters. We infer that schools for the education of the young must also have existed in the most important cities, as Thorn, Culm, Marienwerder, Elbing, Braunsberg, and Konigsberg. But we have no historical datal on this point, and we may well admit that the protracted and savage warfare which made everything unustable in those countries during so many years did not allow any irregular development of public instruction. The work done in other countries by monastery schools was at that time of little importance in Prussia, the order not being favorable to the establishment of monasteries. Much was done by monasteries in cities, but their influence was shut up in the town halls, and, besides, their number and their means of influence were insufficient. Yet in the second half of the 13th century the necessity of providing the people with a Christian education was deeply felt. Not only were numerous churches built in the country, and priests called, but the cathedral chapters, as may be seen by the deed of fonundation of the Pomesanian chapter, were established for the express purpose that the Catholic faith should be more thoroughly taught. In consequence, only men of education and abilities were received into the chapters. Libraries were founded for the use of the ecclesiastics in the chapters; bishops endeavored to increase by donations the number of books; the pope himself came to the rescue, as we have seen above. The archbishop of Prussia was, as we know, at the same time papal legate: in this capacity he had many a contest with the Teutonic Order, and in such cases both parties are apt to exceed the limits of their rights. While the archbishop violated acknowledged rights of the order, the order made violent inroads upon the privileges of the archbishop. The sad consequences of these hostile relations appeared in 1248, when the establishment of a solid ecclesiastical constitution in the recuperated countries made an active interference of the archbishop necessary. The three bishops of Prussia Heidenreich of Culm, Ernest of Pomesania, and Henry of England together with the margrave Otto von Brandenburg, interposed their mediation in 1249, and promoted between the order and the legate mutual forgiveness for past wrongs and reconciliation for the future. The archbishop promised to assist the order by his preaching, and by every other means, as best he could, and to make no complaint, either at the papal court or before any other judge, as to the rights and privileges in dispute; while the knights, in their turn, promised to molest him no more, and pay him all due respect and veneration. At the same time the order pledged itself to pay 300 marks in silver at fixed times to the archbishop, while the latter engaged never to establish his residence in Prussia unless he had the express authorization therefor from the superior of the order. This convention was concluded Jan. 10, 1249. Yet the trouble was only temporarily improved. A complete reconciliation could only be brought about by the interference of papal authority; and the popes were just then otherwise engaged. The schism in the German empire was, as it were, repeated in the Teutonic Order: there was a double election. In such a time of discord, obligations and promises are easily forgotten, or at least neglected; and it sometimes becomes impossible, or at least difficult, to live up to one's engagements. The dispute began again between the order and archbishop Allbert. But, as the inner dissensions of the order gave additional gravity to exterior troubles, the land-master, Dietrich von Gruningen, repaired to the papal court, and there represented the great disadvantages with which the missionary work would be attended if a good understanding could not be restored. Innocent summoned the land-master and the archbishop for the ensuing Easter. The archbishop anppeared at the appointed tine at Lyons, and the pope satisfied himself that he had exceeded his powers as a legate. In consequence, in September, 1250, the archbishop was forbidden to make any further use of his powers as legate, or to make any episcopal appointments in the future, either in Prussia, Livonia, or Estonia. But his archiepiscopal relations to the order needed also positive revaulation: the decision about these matters was given in 1251. The bishops Peter of Albano and William of Sabina (the former legate) and cardinal Giovaniii di San Lorenzo were commissioned by the pope to make arrangements. They negotiated on the ground of the reconciliation prepared in 1249 by the bishops and margrave Otto. Thus the dispute was allayed, Feb. 24, 1251, and bishop Bruno of Olmutz was requested by the pope to see to the faithful obhservance of the articles agreed upon. But at the same time the seeds of new dissension had been scattered. To give to the archiepiscopal dignity in the countries of the Baltic a firmer support, bishop Willian of Salbina directed, in the pope's name, that the seat of the archbishop should be Riga, which was in many respects the most important and fittest city in those parts. After the decease of the actual bishop of Riga, or if his see should become vacant in any other way, the Church of Riga should become achiepiscopal, and be transfered to archbishop Albert. Meanwhile nothing should be altered in the situation of the bishop of Riga, and the archbishop should exercise in his diocese only his archiepiscopal jurisdiction. Nicolaus, bishop of Riga, died at the close of 1253, and Allert, in 1254, established himnself in Livonia. He had already been empowered to exercise again the power of a legate in Prussia, Livonia, and Esthonia. But in Prussia, his ordinances in ecclesiastical matters, and the exercise of his power as a legate, met with some obstacles: there were the liberties and privileges granted to the order by the popes: there were the peculiar relations existing between the bishops and the order, for under Heidenzieich's successor the chapter of Culm had adopted the rule of the Teutonic Order, and the chapters of Samland and Pomesania had in their origin been filled with brothers of the order. The archbishop submitted these difficulties to the pope, and expressed a wish to be relieved of his duties as a legate so far as Prussia was concerned, discharging the same only in Livonia, Esthonia, and Russia. The pope complied with this wish, reiterating the old injunctions not to do anything in the lands of the order against the will of the same. Albert assumed in 1254 the dignity of archbishop of Riga, and found himself, as such, in quite new relations with the order in Livonia. The troubles which arose out of them were again disposed of at the papal court, whither both parties had again betaken themselves, Dec. 12, 1254. In the ensuing year pope Alexander IV, by a bull, received the Church of Riga, with all its enumerated possessions, into the protection of the apostle Peter; subordinated to it the bishoprics of Oesel, Dorpat, Wierland, Courland, Culm, Ermland, Pomesania, Samland, and Russia; defined with accuracy the rights and liberties of the archbishop, and delineated in all its bearings his situation in regard to the clergy of those countries and to the Teutonic Order. Thus the hierarchical affairs were settled. The order enjoyed in their lands the patronal rights; the bishops and chapters enjoyed them in their own territories. In the lands of the older the bishop could pretend only to what must needs be done by a bishop ("salvis tamen episcopo in duabus fratrum partibus illis omnibus quae non possunt nisi per episcopum exerceri"). Nothing now prevented the blessings of Christianity being poured over Prussia. But there were other obstacles in the way. The people had been converted under compulsion, and the the spirit of Christianity had poorly prospered in such a soil. The knights, to promote the knowledge of the German language, and bring about a gradual fusion of the Prussian and the German element, used to appoint German priests exclusively; the consequence was that the pastor could speak to his flock only through the ministry of an interpreter. With the exception of Ermland, all episcopal chapters were filled by brothers of the order, and thus the grand-master's will was decisive in all episcopal elections. This was afterwards felt, when the order had hated much of its strictly clerical spirit, to be at some disadvantage. The order was often engaged in disputes with the bishlps; and the metropolitan land by their refusal to heed the papal interdict which such conduct brought upon them they set a bad example. In a moral point of view also the knights were not always shining lights; and it is a sorrowful truth that a number of members of the higher and lower clergy were not their superiors in this respect. Even the most zealous of the archbishops could not change this unfortunate state of things, the metropolitan tie of Ermland, Samland, and Pomesania with Riga, and of Culm with Guesen, being a very loose one. In the dominions of the order few monasteries were established, and not one could acquire might and influence by its wealth: the acquisition of real estate by ecclesiastical corporations, or even by individual priests, was subject to the agreement of the order, and this was usually withheld. The two Cistercian monasteries of Oliva and Pelplin were the (only exceptions: under the protection and by the liberality of the old dukes of Pomerania they had acquired such extensive possessions that they were surpassed by no other monastery, either in Pomerania or in Prussia.

"The unhappy wars between the knights and the Poles and Lithuanians, together with the moral degeneracy of the order, led, in the 14th and 15th centuries, to the gradual decline of their supremacy. In 1454 the municipal and noble classes, with the co-operation of Poland, rose in open rebellion against the knights, who were finally compelled to seek peace at any rate, and obliged in 1466 to acccept the terms offered to them by the treaty of Horn, by which West Prussia and Ermland were ceded by them unconditionally to Poland, and the remainder of their territories declared to be fiefs of that kingdom. In 1511 the knights elected as their grand-master the mangrave Albert of Anspach and Baireuth, a kinsman of the king of Poland, and a scion of the Frankish line of the Hohenzollern family. Although his election did not inmmediately result, as the knights had hoped, in securing them allies powerful enough to aid them in emancipatitng themselves from Polish domination, it was fraught with important consequences to Germany at large, no less than to the order itself." The state founded by the order had, through the peculiar relations in which it stood to the papal see, through its great privileges, and through the weakness of the German emporers, secured a most independent situation, which was still strengthened by the circumstance that the bishops, being members of the order which ruled the land, had more interest with this worldly power than with the papal see. The monasteries could put no check on the omnipotence of the order, for, as a consequence of the nature of things, they were few in number. This, and the political situation of the time, facilitated the entrance of the Reformation into Prussia. The grand-master of the Teutonic Order, margrave Albert Von Brandenburg, endeavored in 1519 to shake off the feudal supremacy of the pope. The wish of suppressing, according to Luther's advice, "the foolish, nonsens

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Prussia'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/prussia.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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