John The Constant

1468-1532. Saxon prince and brother of Frederick the Wise. Born at Meissen, John became an early supporter of the Lutheran cause. He urged his brother to protect Luther from the ban of the Empire, and welcomed Luther when he preached at his own court in Weimar in 1522. John attempted in his practice of statecraft to follow the principles outlined by Luther in Von Weltlicher Obrigkeit. He was reluctant to suppress Müntzer and Carlstadt at first and tolerated their radical reform. When on the death of his brother he became sole ruler (1525), he confessed himself a Protestant and entered into a treaty with Philip of Hesse (1526). He established visitations, reorganized the University of Wittenberg, and stopped the appropriation of church property by the Saxon nobility. He defended the Protestant interests at the Diet of Speyer and accepted the Schwabach Articles.* At the Diet of Augsburg he signed the Augsburg Confession as leader of the Protestant party. Opposing the election of Ferdinand as Roman king, he agreed to the formation of a Protestant league of defense against the emperor, leading to the peace of Nuremberg (1532).