Historical Pictures of the Ev.-Luth. Divine Service
by Helmut Schatz
English translation by Matthew Carver
Chapter 3: Berlin (Spandau)
St. Nikolai Kirche
Theme: “Elector Joachim II joins the Reformation on Nov. 1, 1539, in the Nikolaikirche, Spandau.” Painting by Carl Röhling (1849–1922), 1913.
Fig. 7. Photo: art service of the Evangelische Kirche Berlin.
Fig. 8. Photo: Staatliche Lutherhalle, Wittenberg (now: “Luther in Sachsen-Anhalt”)
On the Picture
The painting produced by Carl Röhling (1849–1822) was commissioned by the congregation of St. Nikolai, Spandau for the new Spandau town hall—the “incorrect picture,” Friedrich Laske (loc. cit.) believes: “There is an attempt to rehabilitate a long refuted historical fabrication and to shift the historical event to Spandau, when in reality it took place in the Berlin cathedral, the Domkirche on the Schloßplatz.”
The painting has been located in the St. Nikolaikirche; how long could not be ascertained. In any event, it depicts the evangelical divine service in its fullest possible solemnity according to the Brandenburg church order of 1540, including a ministrant with censer in the foreground. Regarded as co-author of this church order is Georg III von Anhalt (1507–1553), “as the first evangelical bishop consecrated by Luther himself” (Franz Lau, “Georg III von Anhalt . . .” in: Wiss. Zeitschrift d KMU Leipzig, vol. 3, 1953/54). “G. v. Anhalt . . . may be considered an adherent of the high-church tendency, which desired to see as much of the traditional forms as possible preserved in the evangelical church. This was also reflected in the church order of Electoral Mark-Brandenburg. After all, Georg had been official ecclesial advisor to the Electoral Prince Joachim II since 1537” (Martin Becht, Luther und das Bischofsamt, Stuttgart, 1990.)
“In one point, in any case, he [Georg von Anhalt] broke with the historic church: he rejected apostolic succession and instead spoke of an ‘apostolic rite in ordination’ (‘apostolicus et catholicus ritus in ordinatione’). He did not receive consecration to his quasi-espiscopal (“quasi” inasmuch as he declined the secular power of the episcopal office) but was ordained, and that by Luther on August 2, 1545 in the cathedral of Merseburg. This must really be understood as a matter of principle, not a result of his supposedly not possessing the title of bishop (which he did).” (Irmgard Höß, Luther und die Bischofseinsetzungen in Merseburg und Kammin, loc. cit. p. 123ff.). Luther, incidentally, in his letter dated Aug. 23, 1544, addressed him as “Episcopus vero Merseburgensi [“the true bishop of Merseburg”]. Also, Irmgard Höß: “Episcopus Evangelicus: Versuche mit dem Bischofsamt (außer Merseburg in Kammin and Naumburg) im deutschen Luthertum des 16. Jahrhunderts,” in: Erwin Iserloh, ed. Confessio Augustana und Confutatio (Münster, 1980). Melanchthon paid occasional visits to the court of Electoral Brandenburg in 1535 and 1538, and even Luther did not decline to endorse the 1540 church order. In this connection, refer also to Luther’s letter to Propst Buchholzer dated December 4 (=5), 1539 (in Piepkorn, loc. cit.) and the Weimar Edition of Luther’s Works (Briefe).” Used here is: Luther Deutsch. Die Werke Luthers in Auswahl, ed. Kurt Aland, vol. 10, p. 281. “Die Briefe” (Göttingen, 1991).
The celebrant is the diocesan bishop, Matthias von Jagow (1480–1544), Brandenburg, (on M. von Jagow, see Jahrbuch für Berlin–Brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte as well as Tausend Jahre Kirche [in Berlin-Brandenburg],” ed. Gerd Heinrich. Berlin, 1999.) as he administers the chalice for the first time to Elector Joachim II. The bishop, in any case, is not represented correctly in his vestments. It is probable that he wore a long white under-vestment (alb) and over this a chasuble, the eucharistic vestment. Here he is portrayed in talar, rochet (surplice) and pluviale (cope). Presumably an 18th century engraving (Lutherhalle, since 18 Oct., 2002: “Lutherhaus” in Lutherstadt Wittenberg) served as the model, though this engraving still includes the mitre and staff of the Bishop of Brandenburg, which shows the bishop in “proper” ministerial dress. (see Fig. 8)
According to information shared by Mrs. Gabriele Bluhm of Berlin-Spandau, it is possible to identify a few people. On the left edge of the image in an alb, rochet, and amice (the fur wrap of the canons) and beret, Wolfgang zu Arnim, provost of Salzwedel (correct rendition of garments) and behind the bishop, Provost Georg Buchholzer, who was made known through his correspondence with Luther (see ref. above). In addition to this, nobility and councilmen.
The question whether the Brandenburg bishop Matthias von Jagow (Bishop of Brandenburg from 1526) procured the consecration is answered in the negative by Georg May, Die deutschen Bischöfe angesichts der Glaubensspaltung des 16. Jahrhunderts (Wien, 1983). He opines in his work (p. 198ff.), “Since he had received only the lesser consecration and the subdeaconship, the cathedral chapter was only able to postulate him.”
In accordance with this, he would certainly not have been justified in celebrating the Holy Supper. This question has, thankfully, been dealt with extensively by Walter Pachali (loc. cit.). Since this subject has become important today in ecumenical dialogue (v. Porvoo Declaration), I would like to quote at greater length: “In his essay regarding the location where Elector Joachim II’s Communion on 1 November, 1539, was celebrated, Melle Klinkenborg has shown that ‘the bishop conducts the celebration of Communion in the form of the High Mass, which without doubt requires a period of two hours’” (Hohenzollernjahrbuch, 1916).
. . . Bernhard Stasiewski writes: “Matthias von Jagow . . . possessing only the lesser consecration and the subdeaconship, was enthroned in Brandenburg on 3 Feb., 1528. His postulation, admitted by the cathedral chapter in 1526, was granted permission by Pope Clement VII only on 4 Nov., 1532, who recommended that he procure the missing consecration and do obedience. Matthias did not meet these demands. In 1539 at High Mass, he administered the Eucharist under both kinds. In 1540 he accepted the new church order, and in 1541 he married (LThK 2, 1958, sp. 646). Hans Volz wrote: “Despite his enthronement in the cathedral of Brandenburg in 1528, Matthias saw that he had been forever deprived of receiving the diaconal and priestly consecrations as well as the episcopal consecration, which had first empowered him to exercise his episcopal office fully. Yet this “defectus ordinum” later proved to be no hindrance for Jagow in administering the Supper according to the evangelical rite.” (JB Br KG 27 1932, p. 69). Volz and Stasiewski have been followed in their proposition by Gottfried Wentz: The order dating to 4. Nov., 1532 required him ‘ . . . after obtaining the consecration which is still missing, to receive the episcopal consecration and to do obedience . . .’ Neither followed. On 1 Nov. 1539, the bishop conducts the celebration of Communion under both kinds in the Nikolaikirche, Spandau, in the form of the High Mass; Elector Joachim II is in attendance . . .” (Germania Sacra — Bistum Brandenburg, p. 57. Berlin, 1929).
“It must be asked whether the prescriptions of the CIC (church law – author) are to be correlated to the celebration of the Elector’s first evangelical Communion, if the celebrant bishop, Matthias, on account of the ‘defectus ordinum’ could not and did not celebrate High Mass.”
The demands, being based on the notion of sacrifice, were automatically inapplicable to the evangelical celebration. However, the term “High Mass” could only be used if Jagow previously possessed the requisite consecration and celebrated the High Mass in the sense used by the Catholic church. We must therefore examine the material: did this scholar of law, who obtained his doctorate of jurisprudence from Bologna in 1516, in fact possess the episcopal consecration?
Wentz plainly constructed his thesis that “Neither was followed” on two considerations: we know of no record or report of the greater consecration being received on the part of the bishop who had been so directed. . . . Some records refer to the issuer as the confirmatus, or “confirmed,” (bishop) . . . yet a “consecrated” bishop could use such a signature. In the (only partly translated) writings regarding the bestowal of altar tenure in Spandau and in Pritzerbe to the dean, Dr. Matthäus Möhrung zu Stendal from the year 1536, Matthias is referred to as “bishop” without further qualification, or more fully, “die et apostolice sedis gratia Sancte Brandenburgensis Ecclesiae Episcopus” [“by the grace of God and the Apostle, Bishop of the seat of the holy church in Brandenburg”]; this may be seen as evidence that the consecration had been obtained, but it does not prove it necessarily. In the record of 23 August, 1541 (Riedel A 11, 222f.), it says: “. . . by the grace of God Matthias, Bishop of Brandenburg.”
“An argumentum e silentio may be added here. General-superintendent Agricola, along with Joachim Ellefeld, whom he ordained, were derided as ‘laymen’ because Agricola had never been ordained (G. Kawerau, Johann Agricola von Eisleben . . . Berlin, 1881, p. 32 i. a.) Should it not be assumed that the opponents would have also reproached Jagow as a “defectus” of the same class if he had truly not possessed the greater consecration?”
For the answer to our question, the following could be decisive. As a Catholic bishop, he exercised a specifically episcopal function: he performed the priestly consecration. On March 5, 1539, he wrote to Prince Georg III (“Bishop” of Merseburg — author’s note) von Anhalt, “that on Easter Eve (in the ‘Paschal Vigil’), as usual and customary, he was “willing to confer orders,” but was not willing “at that time” to ordain married candidates. (G. Kawerau, Bischof Matthias von Jagow und die Ordination ev. Geistlicher, J Br. KG 13, 1915, pp. 56–62). Accordingly, it may be gathered that Bishop Matthias possessed the prescribed consecration. He would have obtained it in the year 1533, likely through his metropolitan, Cardinal Albrecht. (Note: Albrecht von Brandenburg, b. 1490, Archbishop of Magdeburg and Mainz, Bishop of Halberstadt from 1514, received episcopal consecration on July 2, 1514; see Georg May, loc. cit.) In this sense the statements by Wentz, Volz, and Stasiewski concerning the “defectus ordinem” stands in need of correction.
However, the use of the term “High Mass” by Klingenborg, Wentz, Stasiewski, and Themel is justified. His role in the High Mass was not confined to distributing. The “evangelical” Mass celebrated by him is to be identified as a High Mass inasmuch as he had already celebrated this. And it is to be assumed that other clergy (which Röhling has not represented in his scene) assisted him in the celebration on November 1, 1539, including a deacon, subdeacon, and presbyter. This is suggested by the words “with great ceremony” in Morone’s letter. (Note: Giovanni Cardinal Morone, 1509–1580, Cardinal from 1570. Morone was official envoy to Emperor Ferdinand I, 1536–1538 and 1539–1541, unofficial envoy to the Imperial Diet of Speyer in 1542, and the Cardinal legate in 1555 at the Imperial Diet of Augsburg. In 1557, Morone was imprisoned by the Inquisition in the Engelsburg under suspicion of heresy, not to be rehabilitated until 1560 by Pope Pius V. Later president at the Council of Trent in 1563; Neue Deutsche Bibliographie, vol. 18, 1997, p. 154.)
Georg von Anhalt was supposed to receive his episcopal ordination from Matthias von Jagow in 1545. This plan was prevented from being realized when Matthias von Jagow died in 1544.
Karl Aner: “Friedrich Nicolai als Zeuge des kirchlichen Lebens in Berlin” in: Jahrbuch für brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte, vols. 9–10 (1913), p. 250ff.
Walter Delius: “Die Kirchenpolitik des Kurfürsten Joachim II von Brandenburg in den Jahren 1535–1541” in: Jahrbuch für Berlin – Brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte, vol. 40 (1965).
Leonhard Fendt: Einführung in die Liturgiewissenschaft (Berlin 1958) p. 198.
Bernhard Klaus: “Die kurbrandenburgische Kirchenordnung Joachims II in der liturgischen Praxis ihrer Zeit.” In: Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie (1958/59), p. 82ff.
Bernhard Klaus: >Die evangelische Messe der Mark Brandenburg nach Einführung der Kirchenordnung Joachims II. 1540. Typewritten dissertation. (Berlin: Ev. theologische Fakultät, 1942).
Friedrich Laske: “Das unrichtige Bild.” In: Mitteilungen des Vereins für die Geschichte Berlins, vol. 30, 1913, S.137 ff
Ludwig Lehmann: Bilder aus der Kirchengeschichte der Mark Brandenburg, (Berlin 1924), p. 132
Josef Mörsdorf: “Das erste Domkapitel und die erste Domkirche zu Berlin. Ihre Bedeutung in der landesherrlichen Kirchenpolitik des Reformationsjahrhunderts.” In: Wichmann Jahrbuch vol. VIII (Berlin, 1954), p. 88 ff.
Nikolaus Müller: “Zur Geschichte des Gottesdienstes in der Dom-Kirche zu Berlin in den Jahren 1540–1598.” In: Jahrburch für brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte 2/3 (Berlin, 1906).
William Nagel: Geschichte des christlichen Gottesdienstes, (Berlin 1970), p. 141.
Walther Pachali: “Hochamt des Brandenburger Bischofs Matthias 1539.” In: Jahrbuch für Berlin-Brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte, vol. 43, p. 151ff.
Wolfgang Ribbe: Geschichte Berlins, vol. I (München: Historische Kommision zu Berlin, 1987), p. 365.
Thieme–Becker: Allg. Lexikon der Bildenden Künste, vol. 28 (Leipzig 1888), p. 485.
Carl Röhling & Richard Sternfeld: Die Hohenzollern in Wort und Bild (Berlin 1900).
Carl Röhling in: Das geistige Deutschland am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts, vol. 1 (1898).
Julius Schneider: Die Geschichte des Berliner Doms – von der Domstiftung im 15. Jahrhundert bis zum Wiederaufbau im 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1993).
Johannes Sonnek: Die Beibehaltung katholischer Formen in der Reformation Joachims II von Brandenburg und ihre allmähliche Beseitigung (Berlin, 1903).
Andreas Tacke: “Der Reliquienschatz der Berlin-Cöllner Stiftskirche des Kurfürsten Joachim II,” in: Jahrbuch für Berlin–Brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte vol 57 (1989).
Karl Themel: “Was geschah am 1. und 2. November in Berlin und Spandau? Eine Studie über den Beginn der märkischen Reformation und über die Geschichte ihrer Forschung.” In: Jahrbuch für Berlin – Brandenburgische Kirchengeschichte vol. 40 (1965).
Walter Wendland: Siebenhundert Jahre Kirchengeschichte Berlins (1930).
Walter Wendland: Die praktische Wirksamkeit Berliner Geistlicher in Jahrbuch für Brandenburg Kirchengeschichte, vol. 11 (1914).
Walter Wendland: Die Religiosität und die kirchenpolitischen Grundsätze Friedrich Wilhelms III. und ihre Bedeutung für die Geschichte der kirchlichen Restauration (Gießen, 1909).
Excursus: Brandenburg an der Havel
The evangelical cathedrals and colleges, which are still in existence today in Brandenburg, Meisnia, Merseburg, and Naumburg-Zeitz, have been treated far too seldom in their ecclesial context. Did this result from the fact that these institutions were regarded as apparatus of the state (which actually did confer canonships as gratification)?
The (evangelical) cathedral chapter of Brandenburg possesses a rich collection of valuable textiles. As Mrs. C. M. Jeitner has informed me, a publication on the treasury of the Brandenburg cathedral is being planned for 2004.
The cathedral treasury includes chasubles preserved from the Lutheran period—new acquisitions for the church of Brachwitz after 1650.
By the kind consent of Mrs. Jeitner, I am able to quote from the catalogue: Preußen 1701—Eine europäische Geschichte (Berlin: Deutsches Historisches Museum & die Stiftung Preußische Schlößer und Gärten, 2001): “Chapter II. 4/3.
Chasuble from the village church of Ketzür
“Embroidered with date 1651; with (repurposed?) cross of appliqué silk and metallic bobbin lace on formerly pale blue silk, painted, embroidered with gold braid, braided cords, gimps, paillettes, cantilles. On the front, silver border. 123 cm x 92 cm.
“Possession of the congregation of Ketzür deposited at the Cathedral chapter / Cathedral museum in Brandenburg an der Havel (V 79 D).
“In Mark Brandenburg, the use of liturgical vestments continued without interruption. The church orders of 1540 and 1572 distinctly provided for the divine service to be chanted and celebrated in the traditional church garments. Available vestments were used up. Newly made pieces seem to have been rare. Two chasuble crosses from the 15th century are now found in the cathedral museum of Brandenburg. When during the visitation of 1651 only one red silk chasuble was mentioned, this chasuble was acquired and the old vestments retired.
“In 1651, a Mrs. von Brösicke from the church at Ketzür commissioned a chasuble (she had made continual donations of an altar, pulpit, font, and chalice beginning as early as 1600). The cross, which was produced professionally on commission and includes a coat-of-arms, year of endowment, and initials E. G. and V. B., was mounted on a silk chasuble, probably from a garment which had been donated.”
I am grateful to Mr. Hans-Uwe Salge of Brandenburg for permission to include the illustration below [Fig. 8a].