Regional officials were ordered to monitor the parish sermons. The resolution affirmed that no Christian is bound to any form of worship or rite contrary to the Word of God; the Church is built upon Scripture alone. At this point the margrave was most concerned with establishing control over the development of the church in his principality. In the Mandate for the Implementation of the Reformation Georg made it clear that the clergy under his immediate patronage would be dismissed if they did not honour his demands.
He was able to address both of these questions by following events in Saxony and adopting the idea of a visitation. Adam Weip, pastor of Crailsheim, had suggested this to the margrave soon after the margrave's return to Ansbach. Georg acted, wrote to Johann Schopper of Heilsbronn for advice, and on 18 May Weip, Althamer, and Schopper were meeting in Ansbach to discuss the possibility of a visitation.
In neighbouring Nuremberg, at the same time, Lazarus Spengler and Kasper Niitzel were drawing up plans for a visitation in the parishes of the imperial city. Despite the traditional animosity between these two Franconian powers, and indeed the fact that a jurisdictional dispute between them was before the supreme imperial court during the late s, Spengler and Vogler entered into a correspondence over the religious issue in the hope that the two powers might benefit from cooperation.
Spengler recognised the advantages to a joint visitation: not only would it heal some of the ill-will between the two powers, but a united front would offer security against the encroaching bishops and the Swabian League. Spengler first suggested the idea of a joint visitation in May ; by June Volger and Spengler were once again in communication, urged on by the margrave. Chancellor Vogler suggested that representatives meet for formal discussion at a proposed site.
The parties agreed to gather at Schwabach, 14 June T h e following analysis is based upon Miiller and Seebap eds. Gesamtausgabe , vol. The representatives arrived on 14 June; deliberations began the next day.
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The text first put before them was Osiander's list of twentythree visitation articles, drawn up as a means of instruction for the clergy. These articles were soon accepted. Ansbach's similar evangelical agenda, the thirty articles, were thought superfluous by the Nuremberg theologians; nevertheless, they were approved as a statement of the faith. The proposal for a common church ordinance was a more difficult matter later proven by the points of division, especially the problem of the clerical ban. It was not only points of theological subtlety which held a solution at bay, but the basic architecture of the church in question.
The principality of Ansbach required a different reforming strategy than the imperial city of Nuremberg. Very little is know about the actual composition of the church ordinance. Rough drafts of related topics aside, it is unlikely either party arrived at Schwabach with a useful blueprint of a church order. Ansbach had sent 'memoriale' to Nuremberg in early June under the headings Ordnung der Visitation and Memorial der Visitation, both of which Osiander had seen before composing his twenty-three articles. But there is no evidence to suggest that these statements formed the basis of the church ordinance.
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The ordinance was not envisioned as a final testament of the evangelical faith in either Brandenburg-Ansbach-Kulmbach or Nuremberg. It was primarily a visitation ordinance, a temporary measure until such time as a definite statement was forthcoming from the Lutheran factions. Of the leading participants, only Johann Rurer referred to it as a church ordinance. The authors stated clearly that further additions would be made after the results of the visitation were known. Georg the Pious did not want to publish it, fearing the ire of the bishops - further notice of its provisional nature.
The real purpose of the Schwabach gathering was to organise a visitation, not to draft a finished church ordinance. Consequently, the ordinance was lacking theological precision. Undoubtedly, it was a Lutheran manifesto: baptism was to be held in German, salt and oil omitted; it called for communion sub utraque, with the mass spoken in the vernacular; it considered the sermon the focus of the service. But it was not a comprehensive statement of the faith, as was necessary at this time when many village pastors and certainly parishioners were still confused.
Rather than offer comprehensive justification or instruction, the ordinance simply admonished the pastors to refer difficulties to the visitors. Parishioners were to be instructed by the clergy as problems arose.
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The church ordinance did not really legislate religious change. The real significance of the church 61 Miiller and Seebap eds. Gesamtausgabe, , vol. The margrave viewed the visitation as his window on the religious complexion of the principality and the most effective way to introduce religious reform. Thus it is little wonder that Georg the Pious was eager to get the visitation under way. On 4 August he ordered all region officials to compile a report on the clergy in their districts along with their patrons and religious dispositions.
On 15 August the Ansbach clergy were ordered to appear before the visitation committee in Ansbach. Following the accession of Georg and the visitation of the bishops stepped up their efforts.
They continued to press the Swabian League for action against the margrave; the League in turn advised Georg to stay all innovation until a general council and 'not give cause for war and unrest'. The Nuremberg councillor Lazarus Spengler, incensed by the bishop's intrusion, wrote a treatise for the League justifying the recent visitation.
And it was not the bishops alone who took offence at the visitation: Archduke Ferdinand wrote to the margrave in a state of frustration demanding an end to the innovations. The visitation also raised the ire of the dukes of Bavaria and the Palatinate counts. But the bishops were the most persistent. The Swabian League then issued a statement to Georg ordering him to justify his actions at the forthcoming Diet at Nordlingen 6 July , where the bishops of Bamberg, Augsburg, Eichstatt, and Wurzburg would be in attendance.
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The bishop of Bamberg outlined the extent of Georg's offences: [The margrave] continues to impair diocesan jurisdiction, invest churches, foundations, and monasteries and insists on enforcing the Lutheran teaching [in such places]; moreover he forces the clergy to accept the new teaching, and those who will not suffer it he chases [from their posts]; the interdictions issued by the Swabian League he simply abuses and mocks.. But the success of his defiance was rooted in rather more mundane soil.
The Swabian League was too weak, and the political climate too uncertain, to allow for intervention. Although the bishops continued 62 63 Karl Schornbaum, Aktenstucke zur ersten Brandenburgischen Kirchenvisitation , Munich, , pp. Schiilin, Leben und Geschichte, p.
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Neither the visitation nor the ordinance was sufficient in itself as a means of moderating religious affairs. With theological precision still wanting and the status of the new faith uncertain in the Empire, many of the parishes in Ansbach and Kulmbach were home to a mixture of Catholic and Lutheran services. Religious confusion in the parishes did not abate. The clergyman Conrad Benger was unsure about the mass; as no definite service had been agreed upon, he pointed out in a letter to Ansbach, communion tended to vary in nature from parish to parish. On 28 February he issued a statement aimed at correcting the situation, accusing his subjects, both in the cities and in the countryside, of showing no respect for the word of God or the reform efforts.
Soon after the consecration of the Eucharist, it read, they filed out of the church and made their way to the inns or the market place. As margrave Georg realised soon after the visitation in his principality, there could be little hope of planting the faith in the parish communities unless the clergy had a published statement of the faith.
This insight was the genesis of the church ordinance. Soon after the completion of the visitation, the Nuremberg council commissioned a group of theologians to draft a more comprehensive church ordinance. Andreas Osiander, Nuremberg's leading theologian, delayed work on the project. Burdened with other duties, and waiting on his meeting with Luther at Marburg, Osiander did not finish a draft until January Once Osiander had submitted it, Spengler criticised the draft; the councillor took umbrage that Osiander had written the work on his own, without consultation, and he believed 64 65 66 67 Karl Schornbaum, Zur Politik des Markgrafen Georg von Brandenburg vom Beginne seiner selbstandigen Regierung bis zum Nurnberger Anstand — Munich, , pp.
XI, fo. Letter from Althamer and Rurer to the margrave. StaB, C3 49, fos. This was later published as a pamphlet.
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Spengler returned the draft to the commission now in session without Osiander's help and it was reworked, incorporating many of Spengler's proposals. But this draft too came to nothing. The matter was dropped with the sitting of the Diet of Augsburg, and the two drafts were sent on to the margrave. With Nuremberg drawing back from the project, Georg the Pious now provided the impetus for further progress.
The margrave submitted both drafts to a council of his theologians in Kulmbach a gathering of scholars that also included the Schwabisch Hall reformer Johannes Brenz. After suggesting a few changes, the theologians sent the revised copy on to Nuremberg 1 March Again the Nuremberg council hesitated. The imperial city hoped for a general church ordinance of the Protestant princes in the Schmalkaldic League. In fact it entertained this hope into the final months of well after margrave Georg had abandoned the notion. It was not until late in the year that the council was willing to renew its efforts and exchange views with Ansbach over the composition of the ordinance.
Various drafts were exchanged between the two powers while they delayed a final decision until after the imperial Diet Finally, in July , a copy of the church ordinance was sent to Wittenberg. Luther and the Wittenberg theologians suggested alterations.
Exclusion from the Lord's Supper should occur without any civic consequences burgerlichen Folgen ; all masses without communicants should be abolished; and lastly inevitable in a work which had suffered so many revisions - the ordinance should respect greater uniformity. It was the work of too many hands; one man, perhaps Osiander, should be commissioned to finish it. After so much close cooperation, however, it was unlikely that one Nuremberg man would be entrusted with the task.
Johannes Brenz, as the representative for Ansbach, made his way to the imperial city and worked at Osiander's side. This consultation marked the final stage in the development of the ordinance. Certain revisions were made: Brenz prepared a preface for the Ansbach version, while margrave Georg offered some changes too late in January But the ordinance, in its conclusive form, was complete.
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