Peace of Augsburg

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An agreement between the Catholics and Lutherans of Germany giving recognition in imperial to the augsburg confession (1530) as well as to the Catholic faith. Embodied in a decree delivered at the Diet of Augsburg on Sept. 25, 1555, it definitively registered the failure of Emperor charles v's efforts to repair the broken religious unity of Germany (see interims). The emperor's military pacification of Germany was wrecked by the political ambitions of the princes who rose in rebellion under Maurice of Saxony in 1552. This second Schmalkaldic war resulted in the defeat of Charles V by Maurice, who was aided by his French allies (see schmalkaldic league). Charles's subsequent failure to recapture Metz after his treaty with Maurice completed his discouragement. Charles appointed his brother Ferdinand (later Emperor Ferdinand I) to preside over the negotiations that arranged a political settlement of the religions strife. The treaty stipulated that the religion of the ruler was to determine whether a state was to be exclusively Catholic or Lutheran. In the Holy Roman Empire's more than eighty "imperial cities" (towns that owed political obedience solely to the emperor), both religionsLutheranism and Catholicismwere to be tolerated. Lutheran's legal title to church property they had appropriated before 1552 was also upheld. A private declaration of Ferdinand conceded religious freedom to certain subjects of ecclsiastical princes. Ecclesiastical princes who turned Protestant were obliged to resign their sees according to a clause inserted by Ferdinand. The conversion of several high-ranking princes to Calvinism in the 1560s and 1570s, strained the terms of the Peace, since the treaty had recognized only Lutheranism and Catholicism as licit religions. Despite that and other challenges, the treaty's solution to the imperial religious crisis proved long lasting, persisting until the outbreak of the Thirty Year's War in 1618. The treaty that concluded that conflict in 1648 the Peace of Westphaliagranted legal recognition to Calvinism within the Empire, but in most other respects it merely repeated many of the compromises that had first been worked out in the Peace of Augsburg.

Bibliography: m. simon, Der Augsburger Religionsfriede (Augsburg 1955). h. holborn, A History of Modern Germany (New York 1959) v.1 The Reformation. j. heckel Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 1:736737. e. w. zeeden, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 1:108183. h. tÜlche, "The Peace of Augsburg: New Order or Lull in the Fighting" Government in Reformation Europe, 15201560, h. j. cohn, ed. (New York 1972). p. warmbrunn, Zwei Konfessionen in einer Stadt (Wiesbaden 1983).

[t. s. bokenkotter]

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Peace of Augsburg, 1555, temporary settlement within the Holy Roman Empire of the religious conflict arising from the Reformation. Each prince was to determine whether Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism was to prevail in his lands (cuius regio, eius religio). Dissenters were allowed to emigrate, and the free cities were obligated to allow both Catholics and Lutherans to practice their religions. Calvinists and others were ignored. Under a provision termed the ecclesiastic reservation, the archbishops, bishops, and abbots who had become Protestant after 1552 were to forfeit their offices and incomes.

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Augsburg, Peace of (1555) Agreement, reached by the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire in Augsburg, ending the conflict between Roman Catholics and Lutherans in Germany. It established the right of each Prince to decide on the nature of religions practice in his lands, cuius regio, cuius religio. Dissenters were allowed to sell their lands and move. Free cities and imperial cities were open to both Catholics and Lutherans. The exclusion of other Protestant sects such as Calvinism proved to be a source of future conflict.