The Clergyman between the Cultures of State and Parish: Contestation and Compromise in Reformation Saxony



In 1577 the pastor of parish Schmerkendorf in Electoral Saxony, Johannes Juchenhöfer, ran afoul of two local feudal lords, Alex von Hohendorf and his son Georg, after having served without recorded incident since his appointment in 1558.2 Though the 1577 visitation committee labelled Juchenhöfer ‘a bit hasty and irascible’ (etwas geschwind and cholerisch) he impressed them as a conservative-Lutheran at a time when crypto-Calvinists and moderate Philippists were coming under attack, and the historian (if not the visitors themselves) can appreciate his desire to seek compromise with his laity. He cancelled the mandatory weekday catechism lesson in each of the three parish villages during the harvest season so his parishioners could work uninterruptedly. And on those occasions when many of the 450 adult parishioners chose to receive communion at the morning service — thus extending its normal length — he cancelled the succeeding catechism lesson so the villagers would not have to spend a good part of their Sunday in the church.3 He served all five villages of the parish, and responded promptly to a request (in 1577) of the four outlying villages that he come more often in winter.


Territorial State Church Service Feudal Lord Church Father Fellow Villager 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2003

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