Albrecht Friedrich, Duke of Prussia (1553-1618)
Albrecht Friedrich (Albert Frederick), the second Duke of Prussia (Herzog von Preußen) 1568-1618, was born 29 April 1553, at Königsberg, the son of Albrecht, Duke of Prussia (1490-1568) and Anna Marie of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1532-1568). He succeeded his father as Duke of Prussia upon his father's death in 1568.
Since he was not mentally competent, the regency (1577-1603) of East Prussia was held by Margrave Georg Friedrich. His reign was marked by intolerance toward the Anabaptists, zealously fanned by Lutheran theologians. The clergy frequently opposed even the physicians "who were recommended and sent to the duke from outside the country, because they claimed to fear they were sometimes Anabaptists or Sacramentarians, sometimes soothsayers and magicians" (Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. 56v. Leipzig, 1875-1912.I, 313). A petition for toleration made by the Anabaptists at the time of Georg Friedrich's appointment to the regency in 1577 was refused on 8 January 1579, on the basis of an old decision by Philipp Melanchthon. At the same time it was decided that by 1 May 1579 all Anabaptists or Mennonites were to leave the country. Georg Friedrich, who tried to attain "uniformity in the religion of the Christian faith," frequently issued mandates ordering his subjects under penalty of physical punishment and confiscation of possessions to leave the country or join the state church. Foreign merchants were, however, permitted to do business; thus it was possible for some Mennonites to remain in the country.
Albrecht Friedrich and his wife Marie Eleonore of Cleves (1550-1608) had seven children, but none of their sons survived him, so upon his death on 28 August 1618 he was succeeded as Duke of Prussia by his son-in-law, Johann Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg (1572-1619).
Randt, Erich. Die Mennoniten in Ostpreussen und Litauen bis zum Jahre 1772. [Königsberg i. Pr. : E. Randt], 1912.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vol. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: I, 19.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 35-36. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Hege, Christian and Richard D. Thiessen. "Albrecht Friedrich, Duke of Prussia (1553-1618)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2007. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/A43805.html.
APA style: Hege, Christian and Richard D. Thiessen. (May 2007). Albrecht Friedrich, Duke of Prussia (1553-1618). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/A43805.html.