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Frederick III

(1463–1525). “The Wise.” Duke and elector of Ernestine Saxony 1486–1525. He never married but had 2 sons and a daughter by Anna Weller, whom he deeply loved. He was a devout, if sometimes misled, Christian prince. He went on a pilgrimage to Palestine 1493 and began collecting relics,* finally assembling the largest collection in Ger. (19,013 by 1520). He founded the U. of Wittenberg 1502 and engaged outstanding scholars (e.g., J. v. Staupitz,* Karlstadt,* and the Schurff* brothers). He defrayed the expenses for the doctoral promotion of M. Luther* 1512. Though he never met Luther, he protected him. He did not permit Luther to follow a summons to Rome 1518 and arranged for him to be heard and defend himself (see Augsburg Diet [1518]; Altenburg Conference; Worms, Diet of). When Maximilian* I died, the crown was offered to Frederick; he declined it. But Leo X (see Popes, 20) and Charles* V were anxious to win his support and did not immediately press charges against Luther. When Luther was in danger after the Diet of Worms, Frederick saw to it that he was “kidnapped” and taken to the Wartburg.* Communion under 2 kinds was introd. 1521–22. Frederick abandoned veneration of relics 1523. Most of his lands became Luth. For pol. reasons he did not declare himself either for or against the Reformation until the day of his death, when he took Communion under both kinds.

I. Höss, Georg Spalatin, 1484–1545 (Weimar, 1956); E. O. Borkowsky, Das Leben Friedrichs des Weisen, Kurfürsten zu Sachsen (Jena, 1929); W. G. Tillmanns, The World and Men Around Luther (Minneapolis, 1959), pp. 296–298. WGT

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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