in Strassburg

Reformation in Frankfurt

A.) The Free Imperial City of Frankfurt

Frankfurt was one of the foremost free Imperial cities, an important trading center, residence of a number of guilds and of a significant Jewish community. Emperors travelling through regularly stopped in the city. Ecclesiastically, the city belonged to the Archdiocesis of Mainz. Around 1550, Frankfurt had about 20,000 inhabitants.

B.) The Reformation in Frankfurt

The first reformatoric sermons were held in 1522; in that year, and again in 1524, the city council, at the request of Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz, forbade reformatoric sermons and agitation. During the GERMAN PEASANTS WAR of 1525, a number of Frankfurt burghers demand, and temporarily achieve, the right of having priests elected by council and community (i.e. challenging the Catholic church hierarchy). In 1530 the first printing shop opens in Frankfurt In April 1533 the city council introduced the protestant reformation; Catholic masses were forbidden. St. Bartholomews was designed as the city's main church. The Archbishop of Mainz sued the city at the Imperial Court in Wetzlar. Frankfurt formally accepted Lutheran confessuion in 1535. The city joined the SCHMALKALDIC LEAGUE in 1536.
In the SCHMALKALDIC WAR 1546-1547 the Schmalkaldic League was defeated and subsequently dissolved. The city had to readmit a Catholic minority, which was granted St. Bartholomews. The Barfüsserkirche became main Lutheran church. The city council remained exclusively Lutheran, as was the majority of the city's population.
From 1553 on the city attracted considerable numbers of religious refugees - English, Dutch protestants. Many of them were Reformed, i.e. Calvinists, and attended Calvinist services conducted in private settings; these were outlawed by the Frankfurt city council in 1594 and 1596. In the years 1612-1616, in the course of uprisings, the Jewish quarter was repeatedly plundered.

Timeline of Frankfurt/Main History, from Buchonia, detailed, in German
Reformation und Niedergang des Dominikanerordens in Frankfurt (Reformation and Decline of the Dominican Monastery in F.), from Evangelische Kirche in Frankfurt am Main
DOCUMENTS 1578 source on Frankfurt Reformation, from Univ. Heidelberg

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 9th 2003, last revised on November 15th 2004

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