The elector demands: All Protestant! Is that possible?

At the Reformation time in the 16th century Alzey belonged politically to the Electorate of the Palatinate (German: Kurfürstentum der Pfalz), an independent state of Germany. The capital was Heidelberg, Alzey was a seat of government in this state. The elector governed the land and made all political decisions. Other than in France for example, there were many independent large, medium and very small German states. The Electoral Palatinate (German: Kurpfalz) was a rather large and important land.

The Electors of the Palatinate Luis V. (Ludwig V.) and Frederick II. (Friedrich II.) didn’t form an opinion about the reformation. Soon after Luther’s first publications wars about the question of confession broke out.

As a main result of the German Peasants’ war (German: Deutscher Bauernkrieg) the authorities and Electors were to make the decision for or against the Reformation. Then there was the Schmalkaldic War (German: Schmalkaldischer Krieg) after which many reformatory actions were withdrawn again.

The Elector Palatine Ottheinrich took over the administration of the Electoral Palatinate (German: Kurpfalz) in 1556 and therewith also in Alzey. That year in April he was in residence at the castle of Alzey and ordered the introduction of the Reformation. For that purpose he legislated a church order which should regulate all religious questions. To control the implementation of this church order he established visitations. In the same year the pastor Johannes Marbach of Strasbourg came to Alzey and stated in his report: “Alzey is a large office and we had to work for eight days, because it is a cluster full of crazy and untaught papist parsons“.

Ottheinrich died as early as February 1559, but by then he had decided within a short time many official rules for the citizens of Alzey:

For more information: 500 years of Reformation in Rheinhessen, article “The Reformation in the Electral Palatinate and in Alzey“ (original German: „Die Reformation in der Kurpfalz und in Alzey“) by Rainer Karneth.