Frederick III

Frederick III
   1) (1463–1525)
   Frederick succeeded his father Ernst as Elector of Saxony in 1486. A cultured man, he was interested in the new learning and he was a patron of Cranach and dürer. In 1500 he became President of the Reichsregiment, but he refused to stand as candidate for Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. He founded the University of Wittenberg in 1502. When Martin luther was required to go to Rome in 1518, Frederick intervened and had the trial take place at Augsburg. In 1520 he refused to execute the bill ‘Exsurge Domine’ against Luther and, after the Diet of Worms had imposed an imperial ban, he provided sanctuary for the Reformer. lt has been disputed how far he accepted Protestant ideas, though it is known that he received Communion in both kinds before his death. Frederick was known as ‘the Wise’ because of his reputation for fairness.
   J. Bossy, Christianity in the West 14001700 (1985);
   A.E. Dickens, The German Nation and Martin Luther (1974).
   2) (1515–1576)
   Frederick III became Elector of the Palatine in 1559. A devout and cultured man, he became a committed follower of the teachings of John calvin. After studying the question, he rejected Article 10, ‘On the Lord’s Supper’, in the Augsburg Confession and he commissioned the Heidelberg Catechism to be imposed on all his subjects. He pursued Protestant interests abroad, actively helping the French Huguenots and the Dutch Calvinists against their Roman Catholic rulers, and he was unhappy with the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 because it recognised Lutheranism, but not Calvinism. Nicknamed ‘the Pious’, he introduced a Presbyterian form of Church government into the Palatine in 1570. Frederick’s reign is an interesting example of the principle cuius regio, eius religio (whose kingdom, his religion) in practice.
   C.P. Clasen, The Palatine in European History (15591660), 2nd edn (1966).

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