In memory of a steadfast

In memory of a steadfast

On 27. January every year in konigsberg in st. Mary’s church takes place a service, which is part of the history of the city as the duke william chain celebration. It will be celebrated on monday at 7 pm in st. Mary’s church. In the service, the prayer for peace is prayed and communion is celebrated. The schlossberg community konigsberg still feels the return of herzog wilhelms on 27. January connected. So they always hold their annual meeting on the sunday before or after january 27. January; this year on sunday, 26. January, on the castle hill.

The service originated in 1625 – 395 years ago. At this time almost all of europe was gripped by the 30-year religious war.

The reformation had divided the german people at this time into a protestant and a catholic camp.From 1618 to 1648, entire regions were devastated, plundered and murdered. The population was greatly decimated. In addition, there were diseases such as plague and cholera, which killed many people.

The duke wilhelm chain celebration commemorates duke wilhelm, who on 11. Was born in altenburg on april 1598 and was a scion of the ducal house of saxony-weimar. A window picture of him can be seen in the choir room of st. Mary’s church in konigsberg. To the possession of this house belonged at this time also konigsberg and about 32 villages, which the then duke johann ernst IV. Were subject. While he was more concerned with administration, his brother wilhelm pursued a military career.

In the territories of germany only the faith was valid for which the sovereign had chosen. This belief had to be adopted also by the inhabitants of the respective area. The weimar house was one of the first to join the reformation, and therefore konigsberg also became protestant. In 1608, the protestant princes formed the so-called union, while the catholic princes formed the league.

Thus, as a chronicler writes, the "first tinder of the subsequent three-year war and other calamities arising from it" was laid. Konigsberg, which had joined the union, was wedged between the bishoprics of bamberg and wurzburg, which belonged to the catholic league.

Konigsberg had to suffer from this. During the first years of the thirty years’ war, bishop’s soldiers committed many an outrage in konigsberg, but by 1632 there were about 8000 men under the leadership of tilly, the commander of the catholic "league", quartered in the city. In this year almost the whole konigsberg was destroyed by a city fire. A plaque on the tilly house on the salt market in konigsberg still commemorates this catastrophe today.

Duke wilhelm took part in this religious war on the protestant side. He fell into the hands of the enemy in the service of the duke of brunswick and was imprisoned in neustadt in der steiermark. There his freedom was to be restored only when he, as a prince, apostatized from the recognized truth, i.E. Converted to the catholic faith. But duke wilhelm remained true to his faith.

On 27. December 1624 duke wilhelm was set free on the condition that he would no longer take up the sword. Immediately after his release, he announced his imminent visit to the bailiff of konigsberg. On 25. January 1625 he arrived here towards evening, where he was awaited by the people with great enthusiasm. A chronicler reports: "on wednesday afternoon, the duke confessed (…) and on the following day, as the 27th day of the year. January he received holy communion in christian devotion and devotion and celebrated this day as a day of thanksgiving and joy with morning and afternoon sermons."

Even today, every year in konigsberg is celebrated "in memoriam" duke wilhelm of saxony-weimar held a church service. How much duke wilhelm suffered with the "castra kunegesperch" is evident from the fact that after his release from captivity, he first returned to konigsberg before taking the route via coburg to weimar. For his country, the steadfast confessor of his faith was later a fervent sovereign. Not to forget that on 27. January 1625 donated exactly 12,000 florins to the city of konigsberg, the interest from which was used to celebrate a public festival on the castle hill every year until about 1770.

The duke wilhelm chain celebration was first called a castle celebration, because it was a thanksgiving service in the castle church. It was the only service regularly held in the castle church or chapel. Otherwise the chapel was only used for baptisms of the nobility or stays of the ducal family or weddings of castle residents.

The event was known as the schlossfest until the 18th century. Century. Then, in the second half of the 18. In the early twentieth century, the castle fell into disrepair and at some point the castle church was no longer usable. It fell in; the only relic is the mighty stone sow that has been erected in the northern moat since the 1970s.

The service was moved to the marienkirche church in the middle of the old town. After the name schlossfest was no longer appropriate, the name kettenfeier was coined, probably in reference to the first to eleventh verses of the twelfth chapter of the book of acts, which deals with the capture and release of the apostle petrus.

In a nutshell: king herod captures peter and locks him up in prison; there an angel appears to peter and frees him. Probably the pastors have often taken inspiration from a printed sermon by johann werner kraub. The derivation from the apostles’ story with petri’s imprisonment has been forgotten at some point, what has remained is the duke wilhelm chain celebration. Duke wilhelm died at the age of 64 on 17. May 1662 in weimar.