Diocese of Lebus

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Diocese of Lebus
Coat of arms of the diocese of Lebus

The diocese of Lebus was a small diocese on the middle Oder from the 12th to the 16th century. It was founded by the Polish Duke Bolesław III. Schiefmund founded and belonged to the church province Gnesen . Since the 14th century it belonged to the sphere of influence of the margraves and electors of Brandenburg and from 1424 to the church province of Magdeburg .

The seat of the diocese was in Lebus (1124–1276), Göritz (1276–1325), Lebus (1354–1373 / 85) and Fürstenwalde (1385–1558). The area extended into what is now the state of Brandenburg and the Polish Lebus voivodeship . It bordered the diocese of Brandenburg to the west, the diocese of Cammin to the north and the diocese of Meißen to the south .


Lebus (1124 / 25–1276)

The exact year the diocese was founded is not known. It was probably bought around 1124 by the Polish Duke Bolesław III. founded. The oldest record is from 1133. The founding of the diocese was a confirmation of the territorial claim to power on both sides of the central Oder against Emperor Heinrich V. The new diocese was incorporated into the Archdiocese of Gniezno as a suffragan and remained this despite opposing claims of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg . The bishops were often present at the synods in Gniezno.

A cathedral was built on the castle hill in Lebus. It was dedicated to St. Adalbert of Prague .

In the 13th century the diocese was under the control of the Dukes of Silesia . In 1254 the area of ​​the cathedral monastery was transferred to the Archdiocese of Magdeburg. In the period that followed, tensions arose between the claims of Polish and Magdeburg representatives for influence in the diocese.

Göritz (after 1276–1325)

After 1276 the seat was moved to Göritz east of the Oder.

In the course of the conflicts over political power in the Mark Brandenburg, which flared up again after the Ascanians died out, the Lubusz bishops represented Polish interests. Bishop Stephan II openly supported King Władysław I Ellenlang , who invaded Neumark with Polish and Lithuanian troops . In retaliation, Margrave Ludwig I had the bishopric and cathedral in Göritz destroyed by his governor Erich von Wulkow in Lebus .

Stephan II fled to Poland. In 1350, a planned move of the diocese to Frankfurt (Oder) was rejected by the elector.

Lebus (1354-1373)

After Bishop Heinrich Bentsch had reached an agreement with Margrave Ludwig II on the return of the episcopal property in 1354, a new cathedral was built in Lebus north of the castle and the city became the bishopric again.

Seal of the Bishop of Lebus on a document dated September 20, 1370.

When the houses of Luxemburg and Wittelsbach fought for the Electorate of Brandenburg, the cathedral in Lebus was destroyed by troops of Charles IV in 1373 and never rebuilt.

Fürstenwalde (1373 / 85–1598)

From 1373 Fürstenwalde / Spree became the new bishop's seat, and in 1385 the local cathedral St. Marien Fürstenwalde was consecrated as a cathedral . In 1424 there was another attempt to subordinate the diocese to the Archdiocese of Magdeburg, which succeeded.


In the area east of the Oder, which had belonged to the Margraviate Neumark since 1535, the Reformation was introduced soon afterwards by Margrave Johann, in the areas west of the Oder in 1540 by Elector Joachim II. The areas that belonged to the secular property of the cathedral monastery were excluded. These remained Catholic as the bishops opposed the Reformation until 1555.

It was not until 1557 that the Reformation was introduced to the Lebus monastery by the Elector's grandson Joachim Friedrich . Since 1565 no holy mass has been held in the former episcopal city of Fürstenwalde .

In 1598 the diocese ceased to exist after Joachim Friedrich became elector and converted from the Lutheran to the Reformed faith .

Structure and organization

Bishop and cathedral chapter

The diocese was headed by the Bishop of Lebus. This was elected and supported by the cathedral chapter. The diocese of Lebus belonged to the Archdiocese of Gniezno as a suffragan.


  • St. Adalbert Cathedral in Lebus (after 1124–1276) (Schlossberg)
  • St. Marien Cathedral in Göritz (1276–1325)
  • St. Mary's Cathedral in Lebus (after 1346–1373) (Berggarten?)
  • St. Mary's Cathedral in Fürstenwalde (1385–1558)


The diocese was divided into eight sedes (districts). 1400 were this

Originally, the area of ​​the diocese probably extended further south into Niederlausitz (across the Schlaube) and east into Neumark (up to the Warthe, with Landsberg and Zehden).

There was only one archdeaconate in the diocese of Lebus .

In the 16th century the offices of Lebus, Fürstenwalde and Beeskow were formed. They paid a total of 19,000 to 20,000 guilders annually. (For comparison, the diocese of Havelberg only had 7,000 guilders.)


The diocese had extensive possessions in the Lubusz region , as well as in Lesser Poland , Silesia and Greater Poland .

Lubusz Land

west of the Oder

east of the Oder


  • Borek (Großdorf) with surrounding villages (before 1232-1553)
  • some villages in Sagan country

Lesser Poland

  • Opatów with 14 villages (before 1252-1520)
  • Kazimierz (Kalisz Voivodeship) with 12 villages (1252)
  • Momina, with 6 villages (since before 1284)
  • further villages and free float

Residences of the bishops were in

  • Lebus , 1124 / 25-1248, 1354-73, and then again in 15./16. century
  • Breslau , a house on the sand island ( Auf dem Sande ) since the 13th century at the latest, probably a frequent residence of the bishops in the 13th / 14th centuries
  • Göritz , owned by the diocese in 1252, after 1276 the cathedral monastery moved, only mentioned in 1290 as the bishop's exhibition site, destroyed in 1325
  • Borek in Silesia, abode of a bishop in 1232
  • Frankfurt (Oder) , at the latest since the 13th century, in 1250 rejected by the elector as a new bishopric
  • Seelow , first mentioned in 1287 as a residence of the bishop, in 1358 a house , only mentioned in 1362 residence
  • Biskupice near Opatów, mentioned in 1300, then abandoned
  • Opatów , no later than 1300, then a palace was built
  • Fürstenwalde , after 1373 construction of the residence
  • Storkow , 1518-1556 Storkow Castle


In the diocese there were the Franciscan and Carthusian monasteries in Frankfurt an der Oder, as well as commanderies of the Templars and the Order of St. John .


  • Jan Copyc : Art. Lebus (ecclesia Lubucensis) . In: Erwin Gatz : The Bishops of the Holy Roman Empire. A biographical lexicon . Vol. 1: 1198-1448 . Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-10303-3 , pp. 339-344.
  • Lambrecht Kuhn: The diocese of Lebus. Church life in the Diocese of Lebus in the last two centuries (1385–1555) of its existence with special consideration of the Order of St. John (Herbergen der Christenheit, special volume 8), Leipzig 2005, ISBN 3-374-02189-1 .
  • Herbert Ludat: Diocese of Lebus. Studies on the founding question and the development and economic history of his Silesian-Polish possessions , Weimar 1942. ( full text )
  • Heinz Teichmann: From Lebus to Fürstenwalde. Brief history of the medieval diocese of Lebus (1124–1555 / 98) , Leipzig 1991.
  • Siegmund Wilhelm Wohlbrück : History of the former Diocese of Lebus and the country of this name , three volumes, Berlin 1829-1832.

Web links

Commons : Diocese of Lebus  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Stephan: The seal of the Madonna of VIADRINA and Bishop Dietrich von Lebus. In: Collectors' Guild St. Gabriel e. V. (Ed.): Gabriel , April 2006.
  2. ↑ In 1276 an agreement was reached about relocation to another location, but exactly when this took place is unknown, in 1290 Bishop Konrad made a one-off document there
  3. on the Reformation in Lebus see
    • Christian Gahlbeck: The diocese and monastery Lebus and the Reformation. In: Maria Deiters, Gotthardt Kemmether (ed.): Citizens, Pastors, Professors. St. Marien in Frankfurt (Oder) and the Reformation in Brandenburg . Dresden 2017. pp. 93–105
    • Frank Göse: Reformation in Brandenburg. Course, actors, interpretations . Lukas Verlag, Berlin 2017. pp. 256-261
    • Reformation in Lebus Association for Berlin-Brandenburg Church History, 2017
  4. ^ Siegmund Wilhelm Wohlbrück : History of the former Diocese of Lebus and the country of this taking . Volume 1. Berlin 1829 p. 96f.
  5. Wohlbrück, vol. 1. p. 94
  6. Wohlbrück, vol. 3, p. 133ff.
  7. Wohlbrück, Vol. 1, pp. 89-94 (1252), pp. 159-168 (1284, 1317)
  8. Wohlbrück, Vol. 3, p. 158
  9. Wohlbrück, Vol. 3, p. 159
  10. Wohlbrück, Vol. 3, p. 155
  11. Wohlbrück, Vol. 3, p. 137