The Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen (german: Fürsterzbistum Bremen), also Archbishopric of Bremen (german: Erzstift Bremen or Erzbistum Bremen), — not to be confused with the former Archdiocese of Bremen, and the modern Archdiocese of Hamburg
, founded in 1994 — was an ecclesiastical principality
(787–1566/1648) of the Holy Roman Empire, which after its definitive secularization in 1648, became the hereditary Duchy of Bremen
(german: Herzogtum Bremen). The prince-archbishopric, which was under the secular rule of the archbishop, consisted of about a third of the diocesan territory. The city of Bremen
was ''de facto
'' (since 1186) and ''de jure
'' (since 1646) not part of the prince-archbishopric. Most of the prince-archbishopric lay rather in the area to the north of the ''city of Bremen'', between the Weser
rivers. Even more confusingly, parts of the prince-archbishopric belonged in religious respect to the neighbouring ''diocese of Verden'', making up 10% of its diocesan territory.
In the different historical struggles for expansion of territory or privileges and the concerned and disfavoured entity's defence against such annexation or usurpation, plenty of documents have been completely forged or counterfeited or backdated, in order to corroborate one's arguments. "These forgeries have drawn a veil before the early history of the rchbishopric of
The archdiocese before the creation of the prince-archbishopric
The foundation of the diocese belongs to the period of the missionary activity of Willehad
on the lower Weser
. It was erected 15 July 787, at Worms
, on Charlemagne
's initiative, his jurisdiction being assigned to cover the Saxon
territory on both sides of the ''Weser'' from the mouth of the Aller
, northwards to the Elbe
and westwards to the Hunte
, and the Frisia
n territory for a certain distance from the mouth of the Weser.
''Willehad'' fixed his headquarters at Bremen
, though the formal constitution of the diocese took place only after the subjugation of the Saxons
in 804 or 805, when ''Willehads disciple, Willerich
, was consecrated bishop of Bremen, with the same territory. The diocese was conceivably at that time a suffragan
of the archbishops of Cologne
, this is at least how they later corroborated their claim to supremacy over the Bremian see. When, after the death of Bishop Leuderich
(838–45), the see was given to Ansgar
, it lost its independence, and from that time on was permanently united with the ''Archdiocese of Hamburg''.
The new combined see
was regarded as the headquarters for missionary work in the Nordic countries
, and new sees to be erected were to be its suffragan
s, meaning subject to its jurisdiction. ''Ansgar's'' successor, Rimbert
, the "second apostle of the north," was troubled by onslaughts first by Normans
and then by Wends
, and by ''Cologne's'' renewed claims to supremacy.
At Archbishop Adalgar
's (888–909) instigation Pope Sergius III
confirmed the amalgamation of the ''Diocese of Bremen'' with the ''Archdiocese of Hamburg'' to form the ''Archdiocese of Hamburg and Bremen'', colloquially called ''Hamburg-Bremen'', and by so doing he denied ''Cologne's'' claim as metropolia
over Bremen. Sergius prohibited the chapter at Hamburg's Concathedral
to found suffragan dioceses of its own.
After the Obodrite destruction of Hamburg in 983 the Hamburg chapter was dispersed. So Archbishop Unwan
appointed a new chapter with twelve canons, with three each taken from Bremen Cathedral chapter, and the three college
s of Bücken
[Heinz-Joachim Schulze, "Die Grafen von Stade und die Erzbischöfe von Bremen-Hamburg vom Ausgang des 10. bis zur Mitte des 12. Jahrhunderts", in: see references for bibliographical details, vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)': pp. 43–104, here p. 53. .]
In 1139 Archbishop Adalbero
had fled the invasion of Count Rudolph II
and Count Palatine Frederick II
, who destroyed Bremen, and established in Hamburg also appointing new capitular canons there by 1140.
[Heinz-Joachim Schulze, "Die Grafen von Stade und die Erzbischöfe von Bremen-Hamburg vom Ausgang des 10. bis zur Mitte des 12. Jahrhunderts", in: see references for bibliographical details, vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)': pp. 43–104, here p. 95. .]
Bremen's Diocesan Territory and its Suffragans
''Hamburg-Bremen's'' diocesan territory covered about today's following territories: The Bremian
cities of Bremen
, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
(north of Elbe), the Lower Saxon
counties of Aurich
(westerly), Oldenburg in Oldenburg
, Rotenburg upon Wümme
(except of an eastern tract of land), Wesermarsch
, the Lower Saxon urban counties Delmenhorst
, the Schleswig-Holstein
ian counties of Ditmarsh
(easterly) as well as the Schleswig-Holsteinian urban counties of Kiel
The see of ''Hamburg-Bremen'' attained its greatest prosperity and later had its deepest troubles under Archbishop Adalbert of Hamburg
(1043–1072). He was after ''Hamburg-Bremen's'' upgrade to the rank of a ''Patriarchate of the North'' and failed completely. ''Hamburg'' stopped being used as part of the diocese's name. The next two archbishops, Liemar
and ''Humbert'', were determined opponents of Pope Gregory VII
Under the latter in 1104 ''Bremen's'' suffragan Diocese of Lund (DK)
was elevated to an archdiocese supervising all of ''Bremen's'' other Nordic former suffragan sees, to wit Århus (DK)
, Faroe Islands (FO)
, Gardar (Greenland)
, Linköping (S)
, Odense (DK)
, Orkney (UK)
, Oslo (N)
, Ribe (DK)
, Roskilde (DK)
, Schleswig (D)
, Selje (N)
, Skálholt (IS)
, Skara (S)
, Strängnäs (S)
, Trondheim (N)
, Uppsala (S)
, Viborg (DK)
, Vestervig (DK)
, Västerås (S)
and Växjö (S)
''Bremen's'' remaining suffragan sees at that time were only existing by name, since insurgent Wends
had destroyed the so-called Wendish dioceses of Oldenburg-Lübeck
and they were only to be reestablished later. At the stripping of the Duchy of Saxony (7th century - 1180)
in 1180 all of these suffragan bishops achieved for parts of their diocesan territories the status of imperially immediate prince-bishoprics. The Bishopric of Livonia
(first at Uexküll
) was a suffragan of Bremen in the years 1186–1255.
The ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' after 1180 as a territory of imperial immediacy
Gaining Grounds for a Prince-Archbishopric of Imperial Immediacy
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa
and his allies, many of them vassals and former supporters of his paternal cousin Duke Henry III, ''the Lion''
, had defeated the Duke of Saxony
. In 1180 ''Frederick I Barbarossa'' stripped ''Henry the Lion'' of his duchies. In 1182 he and his wife Matilda Plantagenêt
, the daughter of Henry II of England
and Eleanor of Aquitaine
and sister of Richard Lionheart
left from Stade
to go into exile from the Holy Roman Empire
in order to stay with ''Henry II of England''.
''Frederick I Barbarossa'' partitioned Saxony in some dozens of territories of Imperial Immediate status allotting each territory to that one of his allies who had conquered them before from ''Henry the Lion'' and his remaining supporters. In 1168 the Saxon clan of the Ascanians
, allies of ''Frederick I Barbarossa'', had failed to install their family member Count Siegfried
, on the see of ''Bremen''.
But in 1180 the ''Ascanians'' prevailed twofoldly. The chief of the ''House of Ascania'', Margrave Otto I
, son of Albert the Bear
, a maternal cousin of ''Henry the Lion'', provided his sixth brother Bernhard, Count of Anhalt
, from then on ''Bernhard III, Duke of Saxony'', with the later on so-called ''younger'' ''Duchy of Saxony'' (1180 - 1296)
, a radically belittled territory consisting of three unconnected territories along the river Elbe, from north west to south east, (1) Hadeln
, (2) around Lauenburg upon Elbe
and (3) around Wittenberg upon Elbe
. Except of the title, ''Duke of Saxony, Angria
'', which this ''younger Duchy of Saxony'' granted its rulers, even after its dynastic partition in 1296, this territory, consisting only of territorial fringes of the ''old Duchy of Saxony
'', had little in common with the latter. In 1260, with effect from 1296 on, its rulers split the ''younger Duchy'' into the Duchies of Saxe-Wittenberg
(german: Herzogtum Sachsen-Wittenberg) and Saxe-Lauenburg
(german: Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg), the latter holding the unconnected two northern territories, belonging both to the ''archdiocese of Bremen''.
''Otto'' and ''Bernhard'' helped their second brother Siegfried
, who since 1168 had called himself the ''Bishop Elect of Bremen'', to gain the see of ''Bremen'', with part of the diocesan territory being upgraded to form the ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' (german: Erzstift Bremen). Thus the ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' became one of the successor states of the ''old Duchy of Saxony'', holding only a small part of its former territory.
In 1186 ''Frederick I Barbarossa'' recognised the city of Bremen as a political body by the Gelnhausen Privilege
. With the consent of Prince-Archbishop Hartwig II, of Uthlede
the emperor declared the city to be governed by its burgher
s and the emperor, with the Prince-Archbishop waiving his say. The city of Bremen regarded and still regards this privilege to be constitutive for its status as a Free imperial city
of imperial immediacy
Through the history the respective rulers of the Prince-Archbishopric and its successor state ''Bremen-Verden'' often denied the city's status. And also the city could and did not always cling to its claim of ''imperial immediacy'', which made the city's status somewhat ambiguous. Through most of the history the city participated in the Prince-Archbishopric's ''Diets'' as part of the Estates
(see below) and paid its share in the taxes, at least when it had consented to the levying before. Since the city was the major taxpayer, its consent was mostly searched for. Like this the city wielded fiscal and political power within the Prince-Archbishopric, while the city would rather not allow the Prince-Archbishop or his representatives to rule in the city against its consent.
After the Bremen Cathedral chapter, overlooking the three enfranchised Hamburg capitulars, had elected Valdemar of Denmark
, the deposed Bishop of Schleswig
, archbishop in 1207, Bremen's cathedral dean Burchard of Stumpenhusen
, who had opposed this election, fled to Hamburg, then under Danish influence.
[Adolf Hofmeister, "Der Kampf um das Erbe der Stader Grafen zwischen den Welfen und der Bremer Kirche (1144–1236)", in: see references for bibliographical details, vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)': pp. 105–157, here p. 123. .]
King Valdemar II of Denmark
, in enmity with his father's cousin Archbishop Valdemar, gained the Hamburg chapter to elect Burchard as anti-archbishop in early 1208. Lacking papal support, King Valdemar II himself invested him as Archbishop Burchard I, however, only accepted in North Elbia.
In 1219 the Bremen Chapter again ignored the Hamburg capitulars, fearing their Danish partisanship and elected Gebhard of Lippe
[Adolf Hofmeister, "Der Kampf um das Erbe der Stader Grafen zwischen den Welfen und der Bremer Kirche (1144–1236)", in: see references for bibliographical details, vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)': pp. 105–157, here p. 140. .]
In 1223 Archbishop Gebhard reconciled the Hamburg chapter and confirmed that three of its capitulars were enfranchised to elect with the Bremen chapter, to wit the provost
, presiding the chapter, the dean (Domdechant)
and the scholaster
, in charge of the education at the cathedral school.
[Adolf Hofmeister, "Der Kampf um das Erbe der Stader Grafen zwischen den Welfen und der Bremer Kirche (1144–1236)", in: see references for bibliographical details, vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)': pp. 105–157, here p. 141. .] Pope Honorius III
confirmed this settlement in 1224, also affirming the continued existence of both chapters.
The fortified city of Bremen held its own guards, not allowing prince-archiepiscopal soldiers to enter it. The city reserved an extra very narrow gate, the so-called ''Bishop's Needle'' (Latin: ''Acus episcopi'', first mentioned in 1274), for all clergy including the Prince-Archbishop. The narrowness of the gate made it technically impossible to come accompanied by knights. Therefore, the Prince-Archbishops rather preferred to reside outside of the city, first in Bücken
and later in the Vörde Castle
, which became the principal fortress of Prince-Archbishop ''Gerhard II, Edelherr zur Lippe'' in 1219.
The Chapters of Bremen Cathedral (see below) and part of the administration were located within the city boundary in a district of immunity
and extraterritorial status
, literally: ''Cathedral Liberty
'') around the Cathedral of St. Peter
, where the city council would refrain to interfere. The Hamburg Concathedral with chapterhouse and capitular residential courts formed a ''Cathedral Immunity District'' of the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen too.
The key, the epithet symbol of the Saint Simon Petrus
, has become the symbol of the city of Bremen (see Coat of arms of Bremen
), the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen (two criss-crossed argent (silver)
keys on a gules (red)
background, see in the left part of thBremen-Verden's seal
and of the Bremian city of Stade
The territory of the ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' consisted of a number of sub-entities. The only thing they all had in common was, that the prior ''archbishops'' or ''capitulars'' or the ''Chapter'' as a collective obtained some secular power in them by way of purchase, application of force, usurpation, commendation, pledge, donation etc. The prior archiepiscopal authorities didn't have succeeded in almost any of the sub-entities to gain all the power, be it judicial, patrimonial, parochial, fiscal, feudal or else what. Almost everywhere the rule was to be shared with one or more competing bearers of authority, e.g. aristocrats, outside ecclesiastical dignitaries, autonomous ''corporations of free peasants'' (german: Landsgemeinde
n) or ''chartered towns'' and the like. Therefore, the archiepiscopal authority used to refer to each sub-entity by different terms like county, parish, shire, bailiwick or patrimonial district, each according to the particular power, which the archiepiscopal authority had achieved in them.
The ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen's'' former territory consists about of today's following ''Lower Saxon'' counties (german: Landkreis, or ) of Cuxhaven
, Rotenburg upon Wümme
as well as of the Bremian
exclave of the city of Bremerhaven
and from 1145 to 1526 today's Schleswig-Holstein
ian county of Ditmarsh
. The city of Bremen
was legally a part of the bishopric until 1646, but de facto ruled by its burghers and didn't tolerate the prince-archbishop's residence within its walls any more since 1313. Therefore, the prince-archbishop moved to Vörde
(). ''Verden's'' former prince-bishopric's territory is represented about by the eastern part of the modern ''County of Verden''
and the southern part of today's ''County of Rotenburg''
, both in ''Lower Saxony''.
Constitution and Politics within the Prince-Archbishopric
In relation to the interior the archiepiscopal authority, consisting of Prince-Archbishop
and cathedral chapter
, had to find ways to interact with the other bearers of authority. These were gradually transforming into the Bishopric's Estates
(german: Stiftsstände), a prevailingly advisory body, but decision-taking in fiscal and tax matters. The ''bishopric's Estates'' again were by no means homogenous and therefore often quarreled for they consisted of the ''hereditary aristocracy'', the service gentry
, non-capitular ''clergy'', ''free peasants'' and burghers
of chartered towns. The ''modus vivendi'' of interplay of the ''Estates'' and the archiepiscopal authority, being in itself divided into the ''Prince-Archbishop'' and the ''Chapter'', became the quasi constitution of the ''Prince-Archbishopric''. However, the interplay was not determined by fixed standards of behaviour. While the consecutive ''Archbishops'' worked on discarding the ''bishopric's Estates'' from the political landscape, the latter fought for the enforcement of the ''modus vivendi'' to become a real constitution. The ''Chapter'' often swung between increasing its influence by fighting the ''Estates'' jointly with the ''Prince-Archbishop'' and repelling his absolutist intentions by making common cause with the ''Estates''. All parties made use of means like bluffing, threat, obstructionism, corruption, horse-trading and even violence.
In 1542/1547 - 1549 ''Chapter'' and ''Estates'' managed to dismiss the autocratic and prodigal Prince-Archbishop Christopher ''the Spendthrift'', Duke of Brunswick and Lunenburg-Wolfenbüttel
. Especially the ''Chapter'' used its power to elect very old candidates, to minimise the time a ruler can be harmful, or to elect minors, which it hoped to dress and tame in time. Once in a while the ''Chapter'' took up time and protracted elections for years, being itself the ruler for the time of sede vacante
. During the dismissal of Prince-Archbishop ''Christopher the Spendthrift'' the ''chapter'' ruled together with the ''Estates'' which had gained at that time substantial power.
In relation to the outside the ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' had the status of an imperial estate
(german: Reichsstand, plural: ''Reichsstände'') with a vote in the Diet
(german: Reichstag) of the Holy Roman Empire
. A prerequisite for being an ''imperial estate'' was ''imperial immediacy
'' (german: Reichsunmittelbarkeit, or ''Reichsfreiheit'') of the rulers or ruling bodies, meaning that they had no other authority above them except of the ''Holy Roman Emperor'' himself. Furthermore, such rulers or ruling bodies (such as Chapters or city councils) possessed several important rights and privileges, including a degree of autonomy in the rule of their territories.
In their pastoral and religious capacity as Roman Catholic cleric the archbishops led their archdiocese as the hierarchical superior of all Roman Catholic clergy, including the suffragan
bishops of Oldenburg-Lübeck
Decline of the Prince-Archbishopric's Independence
The Prince-Archbishopric often suffered from military supremacy of neighbouring powers. Having no dynasty, but prince-archbishops of different descent, the Prince-Archbishopric became a pawn in the hands of the powerful. The establishment of a constitution, which would bind the conflicting Estates, failed.
s in Church and State marked the next two centuries, and in spite of the labours of the Windesheim
congregations, the way was prepared for the Reformation
, which made rapid headway, partly because the last Roman Catholic prince-archbishop, ''Christopher the Spendthrift'', was in permanent conflict with the ''Chapter'' and the ''Estates''. Being simultaneously the Prince-Bishop of Verden
, he preferred to reside in the city of Verden
By the time he died (1558), in the Prince-Archbishopric nothing was left of the old denomination apart from a few monasteries – such as Harsefeld
as well as Zeven
under the jurisdiction of the Bremian archdiocese and as well as Neukloster
under the jurisdiction of Verden's See – and the districts served by them. While between 1523 and 1551 the cities of Bremen and Stade had dissolved all the urban monasteries, except of St Mary's in Stade, which transformed until 1568 into a Lutheran convent, and conveyed their buildings to uses by schools, hospitals, alms houses and senior homes.
The Era of the Lutheran Administrators of the Prince-Archbishopric
The constitution of the Holy Roman Empire provided, that the Emperor may only enfeoff a prince-bishop elect with the regalia
, if the Pope would have confirmed his election to the respective See. In default thereof the Emperor could grant a ''liege indult'' (german: Lehnsindult), often restricted to some years only, and then notwithstanding enfeoff the prince-bishop elect with the regalia of restricted legitimacy to the effect that the elect could rule with princely power within the prince-bishopric, bearing only title of Administrator
, but would be banned from participating in the Diets
. Lacking papal confirmation and imperial ''liege indult'' could bring a prince-bishop elect into the precarious situation to be dismissed by the Emperor or by any of his vassals powerful enough and keen to do so.
Once the inhabitants of the Prince-Archbishopric had adopted Lutheranism and partially Calvinism, as did the city of Bremen and the territories under its influence downstream the Weser and in the district of Bederkesa
, also most capitulars, recruited from burghers of the city of Bremen and rural noble families, turned out to be Calvinists and Lutherans. Thus the capitulars preferred to elect Protestant candidates. The Bremian prince-archbishop elects could only occasionally gain the imperial ''liege indult''.
Many princely houses, such as the House of Guelf
(Brunswick and Lunenburg-Wolfenbüttel
), the House of Nikloting
), the House of Wettin
(Electorate of Saxony
), and the House of Ascania
) applied for the See. Before electing a new prince-archbishop the Chapter took its time, ruling the Prince-Archbishopric in accordance with the Estates (1566–1568), and considered the opportunities.
In 1524 the Prince-Archbishopric had subjected the autonomous farmers' republic of the Land of Wursten
, but the Wursteners still hoped for a liberation and support from the neighbouring Saxe-Lauenburg
ian exclave of the Land of Hadeln
. Thus on 17 February 1567 the Chapter elected Duke Henry III
(*1550-1585*, ruled from 1568 on) prince-archbishop. In return his father Francis I
waived any Saxe-Lauenburgian claim to the ''Land of Wursten'' as well as to the district of Bederkesa and abandoned the lawsuit, which he had brought to the Imperial Chamber Court
to this end.
In his election capitulations
Henry III covenanted to accept the privileges of the Estates and the existing laws. Due to his minority he agreed, that Chapter and Estates would rule the Prince-Archbishopric. In this time he should work towards a papal confirmation. De facto he ascended the See in 1568, gained an imperial ''liege indult'' in 1570, while de jure still represented by the Chapter until 1580, in order not to complicate a papal confirmation, which never materialised.
While Maximilian II
regarded Henry III a true Catholic, Pope Sixtus V
remained a skeptic. Henry III was raised Lutheran, but educated Catholic and served before his election as Catholic canon of the cathedral in Cologne
. The schism wasn't so definite, as it looks in the retrospect. The Holy See
still hoped the Reformation
would be a merely temporary phenomenon, while its protagonists still expected all the Roman church to reform, so that there would be no schism.
So Sixtus V tested Henry III once in a while, demanding the succession of Catholic candidates for vacancies in the Bremian Chapter - which it sometimes accepted, sometimes denied -, while Henry succeeded to be also elected by the Chapters of the prince-bishoprics of Osnabrück
(1574–1585) and Paderborn
(1577–1585), without ever gaining papal confirmation. In 1575 Henry III and Anna von Broich (Borch) married in Hagen im Bremischen
As to the interior Henry III still had to repay debts from his pre-predecessor Christopher ''the Spendthrift''. In 1580 Henry introduced a Lutheran church constitution
for the Prince-Archbishopric. Thus Henry III would not exercise the pastoral functions of a Roman Catholic bishop any more. In 1584 the Holy See
founded the Roman Catholic
''Nordic Missions'', an endeavour for pastoral care and mission in the area of the de facto ceased ''archdioceses of Bremen'' and ''of Lund''. In 1622 the ''Nordic Missions'' were subordinated to the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide
in Rome. The Holy See
conveyed to the Nuncio to Cologne
, Pietro Francesco Montoro
, the task to look after the ''Nordic Missions'' in - among others - the ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' and the ''Prince-Bishopric of Verden''. In 1667 the ''Holy See'' further institutionalised the ''Nordic Missions'' by establishing the Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions
On 22 April 1585 Henry III died in his residence in Beverstedt
ermühlen after a riding accident. After Henry's early death, Duke Adolf
wielded influence at the Bremian Chapter to elect his son John Adolphus of Schleswig-Holstein at Gottorp
(*1575-1616*) to the See. To this end, Adolf paid 20,000 rixdollar
s and promised to work towards the restitution of Ditmarsh
to the Prince-Archbishopric.
In 1585 John Adolf covenanted at his election in the obligatory ''election capitulations'', that he would accept the privileges of the Chapter as well as the existing laws and that he would work - at his own expense - towards gaining either papal confirmation or - in default thereof - an imperial ''liege indult''. From 1585 to 1589 Chapter and Estates ruled the Prince-Archbishopsric in custodianship for the minor John Adolf.
The Prince-Archbishopric during the Thirty-Years War (1618-1648)
At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War
the Prince-Archbishopric maintained neutrality, as did most of the territories in the Lower Saxon Circle
. After 1613 King Christian IV
of Denmark and Norway
, being in personal union Duke of Holstein
within the ''Holy Roman Empire'', turned his attention to gain grounds by acquiring the prince-bishoprics of Bremen, Verden
He skillfully took advantage of the alarm of the German Protestant
s after the Battle of White Mountain
in 1620, to stipulate with Bremen's Chapter and Administrator John Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp
, his cousin of second degree, to grant coadjutorship of the See of Bremen for his son Frederick
, later crown prince of Denmark
(September 1621). Coadjutorship usually included the succession of a See. A similar arrangement was reached in November for the Prince-Bishopric of Verden
with its Chapter and Administrator Philip Sigismund
. In 1623 ''Christian's'' son succeeded the late ''Philip Sigismund'' as Frederick II, Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Verden
, only to flee the troops of the Catholic League
under Count Johan 't Serclaes
In November 1619 Christian IV of Denmark, Duke of Holstein
stationed Danish troops in the Bremian city of Stade
, officially on behalf of his son the provided to be Administrator successor, suppressing an unrest of its burghers.
In 1620 Christian, ''the Younger''
, titular duke of Brunswick
, the Lutheran Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric Halberstadt
requested that the Lutheran ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' would join the war coalition of the Protestant Union
. The Administrator and the Estates of the Prince-Archbishopric met in a Diet and declared for their territory their loyalty to Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
, and their neutrality in the conflict.
With Danish troops within his territory and ''Christian the Younger's'' request Administrator ''John Frederick'' tried desperately to keep his Prince-Archbishopric out of the war, being in complete agreement with the Estates and the city of Bremen
. When in 1623 the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands
, fighting in the Eighty Years' War
for its independence against Habsburg
's Spanish and imperial forces, requested its Calvinist
co-religionist of the city of ''Bremen'' to join, the city refused, but started to enforce its fortifications.
In 1623 the territories comprising the Lower Saxon Circle
decided to recruit an army in order to maintain an armed neutrality, with troops of the Catholic League
already operating in the neighboured Lower Rhenish-Westphalian Circle
and dangerously approaching their region. The concomitant effects of the war, debasement
s and dearness, had already caused an inflation also in the region. The population suffered from billet
ing and alimenting Baden-Durlachian
, Danish, Halberstadt
, and Palatine
troops, whose marching through the Prince-Archbishopric had to tolerate in order to prevent entering into armed conflict.
In 1623 the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands
, diplomatically supported by James I, King of England and of Ireland and as James IV King of Scotland
, the brother-in-law of Christian IV of Denmark
, started a new anti-Habsburg
campaign. Thus the troops of the Catholic League
were bound and the Prince-Archbishopric seemed relieved. But soon after the imperial troops under Albrecht von Wallenstein
headed for the North in an attempt to destroy the fading Hanseatic League
, in order to subject the Hanseatic cities of Bremen
and to establish a Baltic trade monopoly, to be run by some imperial favourites including Spaniards and Poles. The idea was to win Sweden
's and Denmark
's support, both of which since long were after the destruction of the ''Hanseatic League''.
In May 1625 Christian IV of Denmark, Duke of Holstein
was elected – in the latter of his functions – by the Lower Saxon Circle
's member territories commander-in-chief of the Lower Saxon troops. More troops were recruited and to be billeted and alimented in the Lower Saxon territories, including the Prince-Archbishopric. In the same year ''Christian IV'' joined the Anglo-Dutch war coalition. In 1625 ''Tilly'' warned the Prince-Archbishop ''John Frederick'' to further accept the stationing of Danish troops and Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
, demanded the immediate end of his and ''Verden's'' alliance with Denmark
, with ''Verden'' being already ruled by ''Christian's'' son ''Frederick'', being as well the provided successor of ''John Frederick''. He declared again his loyalty to the Emperor and neutrality in the conflict. But all in vain.
Now ''Christian IV'' ordered his troops to capture all the important traffic hubs in the Prince-Archbishopric and entered into the Battle of Lutter am Barenberge
, on 27 August 1626, where he was defeated by the Leaguist
troops under ''Tilly''. ''Christian IV'' and his surviving troops fled to the Prince-Archbishopric and took their headquarters in ''Stade''. Administrator ''John Frederick'', in personal union also Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck
, fled to the latter and left the rule in the Prince-Archbishopric to the Chapter and the Estates.
In 1626 ''Tilly'' and his troops occupied the ''Prince-Bishopric of Verden'', which caused a flight of Lutheran clergy from that territory. He demanded the Bremian Chapter to allow him to enter the Prince-Archbishopric. The Chapter, now holding the baby, declared again its loyalty to the Emperor and delayed an answer to the request, arguing that it had to consult with the Estates in a Diet first, which would be a lengthy procedure.
Meanwhile, ''Christian IV'' ordered Dutch, English and French troops for his support to land in the Prince-Archbishopric, while extorting from the latter high war contributions to finance his war. The Chapter's pleas for a reduction of the constibutions ''Christian IV'' commented by arguing once the Leaguists would take over, his extortions will seem little.
By 1627 ''Christian IV'' had de facto dismissed his cousin ''John Frederick'' from the Bremian See. In the same year ''Christian IV'' withdrew from the Prince-Archbishopric, in order to fight ''Wallenstein's'' invasion of his Duchy of Holstein
. ''Tilly'' then invaded the Prince-Archbishopric and captured its southern parts. The city of Bremen
shut its city gates and entrenched behind its improved fortifications. In 1628 ''Tilly'' beleaguered ''Stade'' with its remaining garrison of 3,500 Danish and English soldiers. On May 5, 1628 ''Tilly'' granted them safe-conduct to England and Denmark and the whole Prince-Archbishopric was in his hands. Now ''Tilly'' turned to the city of Bremen
, which paid him a ransom of 10,000 rixdollar
s in order to spare its siege. The city remained unoccupied.
''Wallenstein'' had meanwhile conquered all the Jutish Peninsula
, which made ''Christian IV'' to sign the Treaty of Lübeck
, on May 22, 1629, in order to regain possession of all his feoffs on the peninsula, he in return agreed to formally end Denmark's participation in the Thirty Years' War
and waived for his son Frederick II, Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Verden
, the administration of that prince-bishopric as well as the provided succession as Administrator of the Prince-Bishopric of Halberstadt
Administrator ''John Frederick'', exiled in the Imperial Free City of Lübeck
, was in a markedly weak position. So in 1628 he consented that the Lutheran convent in the former Roman Catholic St. Mary's monastery in ''Stade'' – under Leaguist occupation – was restituted to Catholic rite and manned with foreign monks, if the Chapter would also agree. Again passing the buck on to the Chapter.
The Leaguist takeover enabled Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
, to implement the Edict of Restitution
, decreed March 6, 1629, within the ''Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen'' and the ''Prince-Bishopric of Verden''. The Bremian monasteries still maintaining Roman Catholic rite – Altkloster Convent
, , Neukloster
, and Zeven
– became the local strongholds for a reCatholicisation within the scope of Counter-Reformation
Under the threat of the ''Edict of Restitution'' ''John Frederick'' consented to Canonical Visitation
s of the remaining monasteries, those clinging to Roman Catholic rite and those converted to voluntary Lutheran convents alike. Nunneries had traditionally been institutions to provide unmarried daughters of the better off, who couldn't be provided a husband befitting their social status or who didn't want to marry, with a decent livelihood. So when an unmarried woman of that status joined a nunnery she would bestow earning assets (real estate) or – restricted to her lifetime – regular revenues paid by her male relatives, on the monastery, making up in the former case part of the nunnery's estates
(not to be confused with the political body of the Estates
In many territories, where the majority of the population adopted Lutheranism
, the nunneries' function to provide sustenance for unmarried women wasn't to be given up. So it happened that the Prince-Archbishopric's former Roman Catholic nunneries of Himmelpforten
, and Osterholz
with all their estates had turned into such Lutheran women's convents
: das ''Stift'', more particular: ''Damenstift
'', literally ''ladies' foundation''), while the nunnery of Zeven
was in the process of becoming one, with – among a majority of Catholic nuns – a number of ''nuns'' of Lutheran denomination, usually called conventuals. Other expressions like abbess, for the chairwoman, and prioress for conventuals of certain hierarchic function, were – and are partly – continued to be used in such Lutheran ''Stifte''.
Within the scope of the visitations
by the end of the year 1629 the Roman Catholic visitators issued an ultimatum to the Lutheran conventuals had been thrown out from the monasteries, with the estates of ''Himmelpforten'' and ''Neuenwalde'' then being bestowed to the Jesuites
, in order to finance them and their missioning in the course of the ''Counter-Reformation'' in the Prince-Archbishopric. The expelled conventuals were denied to get the real estate restituted, which they bestowed on the monastery, when they entered it.
''Ferdinand II'' suspended the capitulars from penalty, if they would dismiss the Lutheran coadjutor Frederick, later Crown Prince of Denmark
from office. The Chapter refused, still backing ''Frederick'', whom it had elected with full legal validity in 1621. So ''Ferdinand II'' himself dismissed him by way of using the ''Edict of Restitution'', in favour of his youngest son, the Roman Catholic Archduke Leopold Wilhelm
, already administrator
of the prince-bishoprics of Halberstadt
(1625–1662) and Strasbourg
''Ferdinand II'' left ''John Frederick'' in office, against Leaguist resistance, for he had always kept loyalty to him. The ''Catholic League'' wished the Roman Catholic Count Francis William
, Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück
(1625–1634 and again 1648–1661), onto the See. After all, the See included at those years an annual revenue of 60,000 rixdollar
s at the free disposal of its holder, making up half the Prince-Archbishopric's budget.
''Francis of Wartenberg'', appointed by ''Ferdinand II'' as chairman of the imperial ''restitution commission'', carrying out the provisions of the ''Edict of Restitution'' in the ''Lower Saxon Circle'', dismissed ''John Frederick'' in 1629, who acquiesced.
In September 1629 the Chapter was ordered to render an account of all the capitular and prince-archiepiscopal estates
(not to be confused with the Estates
), which it refused, arguing first that the order was not authenticised and later that due to disputes with the city council of ''Bremen'', they couldn't freely travel to render an account let alone do the necessary research on the estates. The anti-Catholic attitudes of the burghers and the council of Bremen would make it completely impossible to prepare the restitution of estates from the Lutheran Chapter to the Roman Catholic Church
. Even Lutheran capitulars were uneasy in Calvinistic ''Bremen''. In October 1629 the capitular secretary finally rendered the ordered account in ''Verden'' and was informed that by the ''Edict of Restitution'' the Chapter is regarded to be illegitimate. Lutheran capitulars were interrogated, but the Chapter was left in office, with its decisions subjected to the consent of the ''restitution commission''. Pope Urban VIII
appointed additional Roman Catholic capitulars in 1630, including a new provost
within the boundaries of the unoccupied city of ''Bremen'' weren't restituted by order of the city council. The council argued, that the city had long been Protestant, but the ''restitution commission'' argued that the city was de jure a part of the Prince-Archbishopric, so Protestantism
had illegitimately alienated estates from the ''Roman Catholic Church''. The city council answered under these circumstances it would rather separate from the ''Holy Roman Empire'' and join the quasi-independent ''Republic of the Seven Netherlands'' (Its independence was finally confirmed by the Treaty of Westphalia
in 1648). The city was neither to be conquered nor to be successfully beleaguered due to its new fortifications and its access to the North Sea
via the Weser river.
Within the occupied Prince-Archbishopric the Leaguist occupants carried out the restitution. In Stade, ''Tilly's'' headquarters, all churches, except of St. Nicholas, were handed over to foreign Catholic clerics. But the burghers didn't attend Catholic services. So in March 1630 ''Tilly'' expelled all Lutheran clergy, except the one of St. Nicholas. ''Tilly'' levied high war contributions from ''Stade's'' burghers (e.g. 22,533 rixdollar
s in 1628 alone) and offered in 1630 to relieve every burgher, who would attend Catholic services, without success. In July 1630 ''Tilly'' left to head for the Duchy of Pomerania
, where King Gustavus II Adolphus
had landed with his troops, opening a new front in the Thirty Years' War
. He had been won by French diplomacy to join a new anti-imperial coalition, soon joined by the Netherlands.
In February 1631 ''John Frederick'' conferred with ''Gustavus II Adolphus'' and a number of Lower Saxon princes in Leipzig
, all of them troubled by Habsburg's growing influence wielded by virtue of the ''Edict of Restitution'' in a number of Northern German Lutheran prince-bishoprics. ''John Frederick'' speculated to regain the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen and therefore in June/July 1631 officially allied himself with Sweden. For the war being ''John Frederick'' accepted the supreme command of ''Gustavus II Adolphus'', who promised to restitute the Prince-Archbishopric to its former Administrator. In October an Army, newly recruited by ''John Frederick'', started to reconquer the Prince-Archbishopric and – supported by Swedish troops – to capture the neighboured Prince-Bishopric of Verden, de facto dismissing ''Verden's'' Catholic Prince-Bishop Count Francis of Wartenberg
(ruled 1630-1631), and causing the flight of the Catholic clergy wherever they arrived. The ''Prince-Bishopric of Verden'' became subject of a Swedish military administration, while ''John Frederick'' ascended its See in 1631.
The reconquest of the Prince-Archbishopric – helped by forces from Sweden and from the city of Bremen – was interrupted by Leaguist forces under Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim
, coming as a relief to Stade
, where they joined the Catholic imperial and Leaguist forces still holding out. On May 10, 1632, they were granted safe-conduct and left a desperately impoverished city of Stade
after its siege by ''John Frederick's'' forces. ''John Frederick'' was back in his office, only to realise the supremacy of Sweden, insisting on its supreme command until the war's end. The Prince-Archbishopric continuously suffered from billeting and alimenting soldiers. The relation between the Estates, who had to maintain administration under Catholic occupation, and the returned Administrator were difficult. The Estates preferred to directly negotiate with the occupants, this time the Swedes. ''John Frederick'' wanted to secularise the monasteries in favour of his budget, but the opposing Estates prevented that.
After ''John Frederick's'' death in 1634 Chapter and Estates regarded Frederick's (later Danish Crown Prince)
dismissal as coadjutor by Ferdinand II
by virtue of the ''Edict of Restitution'' illegitimate. But the Swedish occupants had to be persuaded first, to accept ''Frederick's'' succession. So Chapter and Estates ruled the Prince-Archbishopric until the conclusion of the negotiations with Sweden. In 1635 he succeeded as Lutheran Administrator Frederick II
in the Sees of Bremen and of Verden. But he had to render homage to the minor Queen Christina of Sweden
In the same year Pope Urban VIII
provided the Catholic coadjutor Leopold Wilhelm, Archduke of Austria
, imposed in 1629 by his father ''Ferdinand II'', with the Archdiocese of Bremen, but due to its persisting occupation by the Swedes he never gained de facto pastoral influence let alone the power as administrator of the prince-archbishopric.
In 1635/1636 the Estates and ''Frederick II'' agreed with Sweden upon the prince-archbishopric's neutrality. But this didn't last long, because in the Danish-Swedish Torstenson War
(1643–45) the Swedes seized de facto rule in both prince-bishoprics. Christian IV of Denmark
had to sign the Second Peace of Brömsebro
on August 13, 1645, a number of Danish territories, including the two prince-bishoprics, were ceded into Swedish hands. So ''Frederick II'' had to resign as Administrator in both prince-bishoprics. He succeeded his late father on the Danish throne as Frederick III of Denmark
With Bremen sede vacante
again, the new Pope Innocent X
appointed Count Francis of Wartenberg
, the expelled short-period Prince-Bishop of Verden
(1630–1631) and officiating Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück
(1625–1661), as Vicar Apostolic
in 1645, i.e. provisional head of the See. ''Wartenberg'' never gained pastoral influence, let alone power as prince-bishop due to the persisting Swedish occupation of the Prince-Archbishopric until the end of the Thirty Years' War.
With the impending enfeoffment of the Prince-Archbisporic of Bremen to the political Great Power of Sweden
, as under negotiation for the ''Treaty of Westphalia'', the city of Bremen searched for an imperial confirmation of its status of ''imperial immedeacy'' from 1186 (Gelnhausen Privilege), which Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
, granted to the city in 1646 (Diploma of Linz
The further History of the Prince-Archbishopric after 1648
For the further history see the article about the collectively ruled Duchy of Bremen and Principality of Verden
(1648–1823). Then see Stade Region
(1823–1978), which emerged by the establishment of the ''High-Bailiwick of Stade'' in 1823, comprising the territories of the former ''Duchies of Bremen and Verden'' and the ''Land Hadeln''.
Reorganisation of Roman Catholic Church in the former Territory of the Archdiocese and Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen
In 1824 ''Bremen's'' former diocesan territory was distributed among the still-existing neighbouring dioceses of Osnabrück
, the latter of which covers today the former territory of the ''Prince-Archbishopric'' proper. Except for the prevailingly Calvin
ist Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
and its territory, which continued to be supervised by the Roman Catholic Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions
. The ''Free Hanseatic City of Bremen'' became part of the ''Diocese of Osnabrück'' only in 1929, with the ''Vicariate Apostolic'' being dismantled in the same year.
Incumbents of the see
See: List of administrators, archbishops, bishops, and prince-archbishops of Bremen
Monasteries in the territory of the prince-archbishopric
# : Benedictine
''Old Nunnery of Ss. Mary's and Lawrence'', existed from 1197 to 1648, subject to Verden Diocese
# Bremen: Dominican St. Catherine's Friary, Bremen
, existed from 1225 to 1528, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
# Bremen: Franciscan
, existed from 1225 to 1528, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
# Bremen: Benedictine , existed from 1050 to 1523, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
: Benedictine of monks, existed from 1104 to 1648, exempt
: Benedictine ''St. Mary's Nunnery'', existed from 1502 to 1537, subject to Bremen Archdiocese, Hamburg subchapter; after 1526 not part of the secular prince-archiepiscopal rule any more
: Cistercian ''Porta Coeli Nunnery''
, existed from before 1255 to 1647, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
: Cistercian , existed from 1232 to 1646, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
: ''Franciscan Friary'', existed from 1517 to 1536, subject to Bremen Archdiocese, Hamburg subchapter; after 1526 not part of the secular prince-archiepiscopal rule any more
: Dominican ''Marienau Friary'', existed from 1380 to 1540, subject to Bremen Archdiocese, Hamburg subchapter; after 1526 not part of the secular prince-archiepiscopal rule any more
: Benedictine ''Convent of the Holy Cross''
, exists since 1219, till 1648 subject to Bremen Archdiocese
# : Benedictine ''New Nunnery'', existed from the 1270s to 1647, subject to Verden Diocese
: Benedictine ''Nunnery in the Osterholz'', existed from 1182 to 1650, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
# Stade: Benedictine , existed from 1141 to 1648, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
# Stade: Franciscan ''St. John's Friary'', existed from the 13th to the 16th century, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
# Stade: Premonstratensian
''St. George's Friary'', existed from 1132 to about 1527, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
: Benedictine , existed from before 986 to 1650, subject to Bremen Archdiocese
Notable people from the Archdiocese and Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen
A list of interesting people whose birth, death, residence or activity took place in the Archdiocese or Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen. Not included are persons mentioned above in the list of incumbents of the see.
*Adam of Bremen
(before 1050 - c. 1081), Roman Catholic canon and historiographer
*Albert of Bexhövede
(c. 1165–1229), Roman Catholic Bishop of Riga
and Terra Mariana
, seated in Riga
, which he founded in 1201
*Albert of Stade
(c. 1187 - after 1265), abbot
of Stade's monastery of St. Mary and chronicler
(died latest 1596), upper Kapellmeister
at the court in Copenhagen
* (died 1526), Roman Catholic, then Lutheran theologist, martyr
*Gertrud von dem Brake
(died second half of 15th century), Roman Catholic Prioress of Neukloster
*Emma of Lesum
(also Imma von Stiepel; c. 975-980 – 1038), benefactor of the Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic saint
*Augustin van Getelen
(end of 15th century – 1556), Roman Catholic Dominican, controversial theologist in København
* (c. 1430–1485), Roman Catholic priest, church and monastic reformer
*Christoph von Issendorff
(1529–1586), Lutheran heritable Cup-bearer
of the Prince-Archbishopric, Burgmann
*, (1488–1524), Roman Catholic Augustine monk, later Protestant Reformator in the city of Bremen
[''Lebensläufe zwischen Elbe und Weser: Ein biographisches Lexikon'', Brage Bei der Wieden and Jan Lokers (eds.) on behalf of the Landschaftsverband der ehemaligen Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, Stade: Landschaftsverband der ehemaligen Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, 2002, (Schriftenreihe des Landschaftsverbandes der ehemaligen Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden; vol. 16)]
* Adolf Hofmeister, "Der Kampf um das Erbe der Stader Grafen zwischen den Welfen und der Bremer Kirche (1144–1236)", in: ''Geschichte des Landes zwischen Elbe und Weser'': 3 vols., Hans-Eckhard Dannenberg and Heinz-Joachim Schulze (eds.) on behalf of the Landschaftsverband der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, Stade: Landschaftsverband der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, 1995 and 2008, vol. I 'Vor- und Frühgeschichte' (1995; ), vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)' (1995; ), vol. III 'Neuzeit' (2008; ), (=Schriftenreihe des Landschaftsverbandes der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden; vols. 7–9), vol. II: pp. 105–157.
* Kai Mathieu, ''Der Hamburger Dom, Untersuchungen zur Baugeschichte im 13. und 14. Jahrhundert (1245 - 1329) und eine Dokumentation zum Abbruch in den Jahren 1804 - 1807'', Hamburg: Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte, 1973.
* Heinz-Joachim Schulze, "Die Grafen von Stade und die Erzbischöfe von Bremen-Hamburg vom Ausgang des 10. bis zur Mitte des 12. Jahrhunderts", in: ''Geschichte des Landes zwischen Elbe und Weser'': 3 vols., Hans-Eckhard Dannenberg and Heinz-Joachim Schulze (eds.) on behalf of the Landschaftsverband der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, Stade: Landschaftsverband der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, 1995 and 2008, vol. I 'Vor- und Frühgeschichte' (1995; ), vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)' (1995; ), vol. III 'Neuzeit' (2008; ), (=Schriftenreihe des Landschaftsverbandes der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden; vols. 7–9), vol. II: pp. 43–104.
* Heinz-Joachim Schulze, "Geschichte der Geschichtsschreibung zwischen Elbe und Weser vom Mittelalter bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts", in: ''Geschichte des Landes zwischen Elbe und Weser'': 3 vols., Hans-Eckhard Dannenberg and Heinz-Joachim Schulze (eds.) on behalf of the Landschaftsverband der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, Stade: Landschaftsverband der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, 1995 and 2008, vol. I 'Vor- und Frühgeschichte' (1995; ), vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)' (1995; ), vol. III 'Neuzeit' (2008; ), (=Schriftenreihe des Landschaftsverbandes der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden; vols. 7–9), vol. II: pp. 1–21.
* Michael Schütz, "Die Konsolidierung des Erzstiftes unter Johann Rode", in: ''Geschichte des Landes zwischen Elbe und Weser'': 3 vols., Hans-Eckhard Dannenberg and Heinz-Joachim Schulze (eds.), Stade: Landschaftsverband der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden, 1995 and 2008, vol. I 'Vor- und Frühgeschichte' (1995; ), vol. II 'Mittelalter (einschl. Kunstgeschichte)' (1995; ), vol. III 'Neuzeit' (2008; ), (=Schriftenreihe des Landschaftsverbandes der ehem. Herzogtümer Bremen und Verden; vols. 7–9), vol. II: pp. 263–278.
*Duchy of Bremen
Category:Prince-bishoprics of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany
Category:History of Bremen (city)
Category:History of Bremen (state)
Category:Dioceses established in the 8th century
Category:1180s establishments in the Holy Roman Empire
Category:1180 establishments in Europe
Category:1648 disestablishments in the Holy Roman Empire
Category:Former Catholic dioceses in Sweden