Free Online Bible Library | Frederick III (the Pious) of the Palatinate

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Frederick III (the Pious) of the Palatinate

See also Frederick III

1515- 1576. Eldest son of Duke John II of Palatinate Simmern, he received his princely education and various administrative experiences before succeeding his father in 1557. In 1537 he married Mary, daughter of Margrave Casimir of Brandenburg, who had been reared a Lutheran. Eleven years later he announced his conversion to the Evangelical cause. He opposed the Augsburg Interim (1548). In 1559 he became heir to the electorate of the Palatinate. Here not only Lutheranism but also Calvinism had found a strong foothold, and under the leadership of the Lutheran Tileman Hesshusius a controversy raged about the correct doctrine of the Lord's Supper. Frederick and his wife plunged into a thorough theological study of the question and in 1541 came to the conclusion that Article X of the Augsburg Confession* was popish. With the help of various divines Frederick supported Calvinism in Heidelberg and commissioned Ursinus and Olevianus to write the “Heidelberg Catechism”* (1563). His support of Calvinism brought opposition from Frederick of Saxony and others. A request from the princes at Augsburg in 1566 that he abide by the Peace of Augsburg (which recognized only Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism) did not turn him from his convictions. In 1570 the presbyterian form of church government was introduced in the Palatinate. Frederick aided the French Huguenots and the Dutch Calvinists. His son, Louis VI (elector, 1576-83), returned to Lutheranism.