Albert of Mainz

Albert of Mainz

Cardinal Albert of Hohenzollern (German: "Audio|Albrecht_von_Hohenzollern.ogg|Albrecht von Hohenzollern"; June 28, 1490 – September 24, 1545) was Elector and Archbishop of Mainz from 1514 to 1545, and Archbishop of Magdeburg from 1513 to 1545.

Biography

Born in Cölln, Albert was the younger son of John Cicero, Elector of Brandenburg.

After their father's death, Albert and his older brother Joachim I Nestor became margraves of Brandenburg in 1499, but only his older brother held the title of an elector of Brandenburg. Having studied at the university of Frankfurt (Oder), Albert entered the ecclesiastical profession, and in 1513 became archbishop of [Archbishopric of Magdeburg|Magdeburg] at the age of 23 and administrator of the Diocese of Halberstadt.

In 1514 he obtained the Electorate of Mainz, and in 1518 was made a cardinal at the age of 28. Meanwhile to pay for the pallium of the see of Mainz and to discharge the other expenses of his elevation, Albert had borrowed 21,000 ducats from Jacob Fugger, and had obtained permission from Pope Leo X to conduct the sale of indulgences in his diocese to obtain funds to repay this loan, as long as half the collection was forwarded to the Papacy. An agent of the Fuggers subsequently traveled in the Cardinal's retinue in charge of the cashbox. For this work he procured the services of John Tetzel, and so indirectly exercised a potent influence on the course of the Reformation.

It was as a disgusted response to Tetzel's activities selling indulgences that Martin Luther wrote his famous 95 Theses, which he sent to Albert on 31 October 1517 and traditionally nailed to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Albert forwarded the theses to Rome, suspecting them of heresy.

When the imperial election of 1519 drew near, the elector's vote was eagerly solicited by the partisans of Charles (afterwards the emperor Charles V) and by those of Francis I, King of France, and he appears to have received a large amount of money for the vote, which he cast eventually for Charles.

in July 1525. His hostility towards the reformers, however, was not so extreme as that of his brother Joachim I, Elector of Brandenburg; and he appears to have exerted himself in the interests of peace, although he was a member of the League of Nuremberg, which was formed in 1538 as a counterpoise to the League of Schmalkalden.

The new doctrines nevertheless made considerable progress in his dominions, and he was compelled to grant religious liberty to the inhabitants of Magdeburg in return for 500,000 florins. During his latter years indeed he showed more intolerance towards the Protestants, and favoured the teaching of the Jesuits in his dominions.

Albert adorned the collegiate church ("Stiftskirche") at Halle (Saale) and the cathedral at Mainz in sumptuous fashion, and took as his motto the words "Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuae" (Latin for: "Lord, I admired the adornment of your house."). A generous patron of art and learning, he counted Erasmus among his friends.

He died at Aschaffenburg in 1545.

References

*1911

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