Monday, May 7, 2012

Frederick the Wise, Christian Ruler

Commemoration of C.F.W. Walther, Theologian
May 7, 2012

The Lord be with you

This is my second post for the day. The first was about Friedrich Wyneken, one of the founding fathers of the LC-MS. This one is about Frederick the Wise. His actual day is May 5, and its official name is the Commemoration of Frederick the Wise, Christian Ruler. As with Wyneken, I missed posting something about Frederick the Wise on his day. Still, he is well worth remembering, and this post is to make up for my omission.

Frederick at 77, by L. Cranach
The young Frederick, by A. Durer

Frederick III, the Wise, was the elector of Saxony from 1486 to 1525, the founder of the University of Wittenberg (1502), and was Martin Luther’s sovereign in the early years of the Reformation. Were it not for Frederick, there might not have been a Lutheran Reformation. Born in Torgau, Germany, January 17, 1463, Frederick became so well known for his skill in political diplomacy and his sense of justice and fairness that he was called “the Wise” by his subjects. Although he never met Luther, Frederick repeatedly protected and provided for him. In all likelihood, he saved the reformer from a martyr’s fate when he refused the pope’s demand to extradite Luther to Rome for a heresy trial in 1518. When Emperor Charles V declared Luther an outlaw in 1521 at the Diet of Worms, Frederick provided sanctuary for Luther at Wartburg Castle. On May 5, 1525, Frederick died at his hunting lodge in Lochau. On his deathbed, Frederick received the Lord’s Supper in both kinds – a clear confession of the evangelical faith.

Appropriate prayers include:
  • For rulers of the nations, including presidents, governors, mayors, senators, etc., that they may lead with wisdom and justice
  • For Christian schools, including universities, seminaries, and day schools, as well as all the schools in the land
  • For the church in Germany
  • For peace, that the Gospel may spread

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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