« Augsburg, Interim of Augsburg, Religious Peace of Augusti, Johann Christian Wilhelm »

Augsburg, Religious Peace of

AUGSBURG, RELIGIOUS PEACE OF: A convention concluded in a diet at Augsburg Sept. 25, 1555, intended to settle the religious question in Germany. After his victory over the Schmalkald League (1547), the Emperor Charles V thought he was near his goal, the religious and ecclesiastical unity of the empire. But the desertion of Duke Maurice of Saxony, and the Treaty of Passau (1552) changed the situation, because by the latter public recognition was given to the Lutheran faith as among the ecclesiastical institutions of the empire. Such recognition meant a complete rupture with the ecclesiastical and political development inherited from the Middle Ages, and a peace on the basis of the equal recognition of both religions was highly unacceptable to the emperor. As he could not prevent it, he withdrew from the negotiations and transferred all power to his brother Ferdinand, who felt like himself, but was ready to accept the inevitable. When the diet at Augsburg was finally opened Feb. 5, 1555, Ferdinand’s endeavor was directed more toward strengthening the peace of the country than to religion. But the Protestants insisted upon settling the question of the religious peace first, without regard to a council. The opposite party yielded reluctantly. With the exception of the Augsburg cardinal, Otto von Truchsess, the spiritual princes agreed that “there should be concluded and established a continual, firm, unconditional peace lasting forever,” between the professors “of the old religion and the estates belonging to the Augsburg Confession.” The stipulations of the peace were as follows: All adherents of the Augsburg Confession were to be included, without regard to its various editions (see Augsburg Confession and its Apology), those sects alone being excluded which had been condemned by decrees of the diet, as already provided in the Treaty of Passau. Spiritual jurisdiction in Protestant territory was to be suspended, but the chapters were not to be expelled from Protestant cities. Confiscated spiritual estates, which did not belong to those immediately subject to the emperor and which at the time of the Treaty of Passau or later were no longer in the possession of the clergy were to remain in the hands of the Evangelicals. To the secular estates alone was unrestricted freedom of religion granted, and they were masters of the religion of their subjects, for “where there is one Lord, there should be one religion.” The conversion of a spiritual prince to the Augsburg Confession, according to the reservatum ecclesiasticum added by the king, carried with it the loss of his spiritual dignity and his office as well as of the imperial fief. The imperial chamber, to which Protestants were now admitted, was to watch over the continuance of the peace. Considered all in all, the success of the Protestants was small. Protestantism 364was deprived of the chance to spread, by the reservatum ecclesiasticum, a large part of Germany was permanently assigned to Catholicism, and the Lutheran reformation, which had hardly begun, was broken off, not to be resumed. The little that had been gained was established, but the immediate effect was the outbreak of the internal doctrinal controversies and the rise of the official Church.

(T. Kolde.)

In Austria and its dependencies Lutheranism profited greatly by the peace. Many nobles having become Protestant claimed and exercised the right to promote the Protestant cause in their possessions. To be sure, the Hapsburgs claimed for themselves the exclusive right to determine the religion of the people in all their dependencies; but they found it impossible to enforce their views upon the nobles.

A. H. N.

Bibliography: Lehenmann, De pace religionis acta publica et originalis, Frankfort, 1631; L. von Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte, vol. v, book x, Leipsic, 1882; M. Ritter , Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Gegenreformation, i, 79 sqq, Stuttgart, 1889; G. Wolff, Der Augsburger Religionsfriede, ib. 1890; F. von Besold, Geschichte der deutschen Reformation, p. 866, Berlin, 1890; G. Egelhaaf, Deutsche Geschichte in sechszehnten Jahrhundert, ii, 587 sqq., Stuttgart, 1891.

« Augsburg, Interim of Augsburg, Religious Peace of Augusti, Johann Christian Wilhelm »
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