Johann Friedrich (Pomerania)

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Johann Friedrich, oil painting by Giovanni Battista Perini, 1577.
Johann Friedrich, oil painting from 1593.
Johann Friedrich with his wife Erdmuthe von Brandenburg, from the picture family tree of the Griffins by Cornelius Krommeny (1598).

Johann Friedrich (born August 27, 1542 in Wolgast ; † February 9, 1600 ibid) was Duke of Pomerania and first secular bishop of Cammin . He was one of the most important dukes of the Griffin family . His attempts to raise the sovereign power in Pomerania , as well as his lavish court keeping led to protracted disputes with the estates .


Johann Friedrich was the oldest surviving son of Duke Philip I and Maria of Saxony , daughter of Elector Johann the Steadfast . From the age of ten he was taught by Andreas Magerius , professor of theology at the University of Greifswald . As early as 1556, after the death of Bishop Martin Weiher at the age of 14, he was elected the first secular bishop of Cammin. With the inauguration of Johann Friedrich on June 15, 1557, the griffin dukes secured sovereignty over the diocese and monastery area and prevented Pomerania from reverting to Catholicism . Johann Friedrich was initially together with his brothers Ernst Ludwig and Bogislaw XIII. sent to the University of Greifswald for further training, where he was honored in 1558 with the appointment of rector for one year. Heinrich von Normann and Henning von Walde became governors of the diocese. Georg von Venediger was in charge of spiritual affairs as superintendent .

After the father's death in 1560, a Regency Council under the leadership of the Grand Court Master Ulrich von Schwerin took over the affairs of government in Pomerania-Wolgast at his mother's side. The now mature become Johann Friedrich went in 1565 to the court of Emperor Maximilian II. To Vienna , where he entered the service. After a stay at the Reichstag in Augsburg the following year, he was appointed Ensign of the Reichshoffahne in Vienna. In order to be able to afford the equipment necessary for the campaign against the Turks , he had to borrow money from the Loitz bank . During the campaign, the imperial army camped in front of the Raab fortress in Hungary for most of the time and returned to Vienna after the Turks withdrew. There Johann Friedrich received the enfeoffment of his land from the emperor on November 28, 1566 .

At the end of the year he returned to Pomerania. There he took over on November 8, 1567 together with his brother Bogislaw XIII. provisional government affairs in Pommern-Wolgast. The proven court officials Ulrich von Schwerin, Valentin von Eickstedt and Jacob von Zitzewitz stayed in their offices. Johann Friedrich concentrated on his diocese, where he could rule without consulting his brothers. For example, he forbade the city of Kolberg to appeal to Lübeck and instead set the court court as the second instance. From 1568 he had a representative castle built in Köslin .

After the resignation of Duke Barnim IX, who ruled in Szczecin . Johann Friedrich received the government in Pomerania-Stettin in the Treaty of Jasenitz in 1569. Pomerania had been largely neutral during the Three Crowns War. Johann Friedrich was appointed by the emperor as commissioner for a congress called to Stettin in 1570, which was concluded with the peace treaty of Stettin .

Erdmuthe, wife of Johann Friedrich, oil painting by Andreas Riehl the Younger , 1590.

He also tried to improve relations with the Mark Brandenburg . On July 30, 1571, he became engaged to Erdmuthe , the daughter of Elector Johann Georg , and received the right of repudiation for himself and his heirs for the Neumark , Löcknitz and Vierraden . Before he had to the diocese Kammin in favor of his younger brother Casimir VI. who officially took it over in 1574.

Johann Friedrich, who after the death of the former Duke Barnims IX in 1573. could govern without restrictions, developed a brisk construction activity. For example, he had the Szczecin Ducal Palace, which was badly damaged in a fire in 1551, largely rebuilt as a Renaissance building in the years 1575 to 1577 by the builder Antonius Wilhelmi; The castle church in Stettin was also built in this context . Other buildings were built in Stolp and Lauenburg , among others . He also made major investments in his hunting lodges, such as the one in Friedrichswalde, and in buying game from outside. With Johann Baptista he afforded himself a court painter. As early as 1569, the first printing company in Szczecin was granted a princely license, and Andreas Kellner became the first book printer in Szczecin.

In terms of foreign policy, he was successful in maintaining the continued enfeoffment with Lauenburg and Bütow despite the change of the throne in Poland . The trade war, which broke out between Stettin and Frankfurt (Oder) in 1572 because of shipping on the Oder and above all because of the enforcement of the right of resignation in Stettin and which was brought before the Imperial Court of Justice, initially damaged the economy of Pomerania.

Domestically, there were repeated disputes with his brother Ernst Ludwig. The estates, which he had to ask for the approval of taxes as early as 1571, because the income from domains and regalia were not enough for the household and government expenses, opposed his financial and fiscal change requests considerable resistance. The bankruptcy of the Loitz bank had put large parts of the Pomeranian nobility in financial distress. In particular, the attempt to introduce an excise duty on beer , which he and Ludwig von Eberstein had been pursuing more intensively since 1585 , was opposed by both the nobility and the towns and was finally rejected by the state parliament in Treptow an der Rega in 1588 . When he nevertheless passed a corresponding law, the dispute reached the Reich Chamber of Commerce. Finally, an agreement was reached on the approval of 100,000 guilders by the estates for the duke, for which he waived the excise.

After the death of Ernst Ludwig, he took over the guardianship in Pommern-Wolgast and tried again from 1598 to introduce the excise because his high debt made him look for new sources of income. At the height of the dispute with the estates led by Ewald von Flemming, he had the ducal chancellery and the regional courts closed, so that at times a state of lawlessness arose. When a more moderate demand by the duke was approved by the estates in 1599, he had the courts reopened.

For the development of the Evangelical Church in Pomerania , the agenda introduced by Johann Friedrich in 1569 was particularly important, in which, among other things, church chants in German were preferred to Latin. During his tenure there were disputes among the country's clergy over the introduction of the concord formula , which was finally abolished at the Szczecin Synod of 1593 in favor of the Lutheran doctrine.

Johann Friedrich fell ill during a visit to Wolgast, where he attended the carnival celebrations , and died on February 9, 1600. He was buried on February 17 in the castle church in Stettin . His marriage to Erdmuthe von Brandenburg in 1577 had remained childless. As the alleged culprit for his wife's childlessness, Elisabeth von Doberschütz was accused of witchcraft and sorcery in 1590 and executed. His younger brother Barnim X took over the rule in Pomerania-Stettin .



See also

Web links

Commons : Johann Friedrich von Pommern  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. List of Rectors of the University of Greifswald 1500-1599 ( Memento from July 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed on August 16, 2009)