FREDERICK III., THE PIOUS: Elector of the Palatinate; b. at Simmern (26 m. s.w. of Coblenz) Feb. 14, 1515; d. Oct. 26, 1576. He was strictly educated in the Roman faith at his father's court and at Cologne, but, influenced by his wife, the pious princess Maria of Brandenburg, whom he married in 1537, he followed the Reformation, and in 1546 made a public profession of his faith. He succeeded his father as duke of Simmern, May 18, 1557, and became elector Feb. 12, 1559, on the death of Otto Henry. Under his predecessor strict Lutherans like Tilemenn Hesshusen, Melanchthonians, and Calvinists had found a place in the Palatinate. In the summer of 1559 bitter controversies arose among them. Theses on the Lord's Supper prepared by the Heidelberg deacon Klebitz provoked a bitter controversy between him and Hesshusen. When efforts at mediation failed Frederick deposed both, Sept. 16. To get a clear understanding of the controversy Frederick spent days and nights in theological studies and was thus led more and more to the Reformed confession. A disputation held in June, 1560, between the Saxon theologians Stössel and Mörlin and the Heidelberg Boquin, Erast, and Einhorn increased Frederick's dislike for the Lutheran zealots. After the Naumburg Convention (Jan., 1561; see Naumburg Convention) Frederick fully adopted the Reformed dogmas. In March, 1561, he called Emmanuel Tremellius, and in September the famous Zacharias Urainus, to Heidelberg. The whole Church was now transformed. Caspar Olevianus had been there since Jan., 1560. Images of the saints, vestments, baptismal fonts, and other "idolatrous works," even organs, were ruthlessly removed from the churches. In the celebration of the Lord's Supper the breaking of bread was
introduced. The revenues from monasteries and foundations were confiscated and applied to Evangelical church purposes or charity. The Heidelberg catechism prepared by Ursinus and Olevianus now served as the norm of doctrine and for the instruction of the youth. The church-order of Nov. 15, 1563, and the consistory order of 1564 closed the changes. The opposition of ministers inclining to Lutheranism was suppressed by their dismission. Among the Lutherans Frederick's measures caused a great sensation. The religious colloquy held at Maulbronn, Apr., 1564 (see Maulbronn) increased the animosity. In 1565 the Emperor Maximilian ordered to annul the changes made. A unanimous decree of the diet held at Augsburg in 1566 also demanded the abolition of the changes. Frederick, however, declared in a session of the diet, May 14, that a matter was concerned over which God alone has the rule, and if it was intended to proceed against him, he would find comfort in the promises of his Savior. The decree was not carried out. After completing the work of reform in the Rhine Palatinate Frederick endeavored to continue it in the Upper Palatinate; but here he was resisted by the zealous Lutheran estates. He continued his work of reform on the Rhine by introducing in 1570 a strict church discipline. A stain on Frederick's life is the sentence of death which he pronounced on the antitrinitarian Johannes Silvanus based on the opinion signed by Olevianus, Ursinus, and Boquin, and which he had executed after long hesitation, Dec: 23, 1572. In other matters he was an excellent, intelligent, truly pious ruler, who wished to promote the welfare of his people in every way. With the Reformed abroad he had intimate connections. In 1562 he gave Frankenthal for a refuge to the Evangelicals driven from the Netherlands. His like-minded son John Casimir he sent in 1567 and again in 1576 to France in aid of the Huguenots. In 1569 he assisted also the Count Palatine Wolfgang on his way to France. His last years were troubled by domestic afflictions. As his older son Louis was a strict Lutheran, he could not hope that after his death his work would be cairied out in his own spirit.
Bibliography: His letters were edited by A. Kluckhohn, 2 vols., Brunswick, 1888-72; and this editor also wrote his life, Nördlingen, 1879, also the sketch in ADB, vii. 806 sqq. Consult also L. Hausser, Geschichte der rhuinischen Pfala, ii. 1-85, Heidelberg, 1858; K. Sudhoff, Okvianus and Ursinus, Elberfeld, 1857; K. Menzel, Wolfgang yon Zrwibricken. Munich, 1893; Schaff, Christian Church, vi. 596-598; Moeller, Christian Church, iii. paeaim; Cambridge Modern History, ii. 595-596, 619, New York, 1904.
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