Georg Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Bayreuth (1539-1603)
Georg Friedrich (George Frederick): Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, 1543-1603 and Brandenburg-Bayreuth 1553-1603; born 5 April 1539, the son of Georg, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1484-1543) and Aemilia of Saxony (1516-1591). His father, called Georg der Fromme (the Pious), was strongly influenced by Martin Luther, who helped him introduce Lutheranism into his lands. Georg Friedrich succeeded his father as Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach in 1543 and became Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth in 1553 after the defeat of his cousin Albrecht Alcibiades (1522-1557).
Georg Friedrich was a zealous promoter of Lutheranism and rigorous opponent of Anabaptism. When he took over the reign of the duchy of Prussia from his feebleminded cousin Albrecht Friedrich (1553-1618), the Mennonites there requested permission to settle in Königsberg and other cities and towns. He replied in the decree of 8 January 1579, that it was his duty as a Christian ruler and for him a matter of conscience to see to it that unity of faith prevailed among his subjects, as the constitution of the land already specified. But the confession of faith presented by the Mennonites showed that in many points they did not have the true Christian faith, also in the matter of police and the family they did not agree with the Augsburg Confession or the Prussian corpus doctrinae, and primarily in the holy sacrament of infant baptism their attitude was very offensive. Therefore the prince was unable to grant their request; instead all Anabaptists were to leave the country by the first of May (Mannhardt, Wehrfreiheit, 110). This mandate was renewed and intensified in 1585 and 12 November 1586, making it punishable by death and confiscation of goods for any "who would not adhere to the church books of the country" to remain in the country; but the tradesman was to have free access by water or land to carry on his business (Hartknoch, 497). These mandates were evidently not strictly enforced, for Mennonitism maintained itself in the duchy of Prussia.
Georg Friedrich died 25 April 1603 and was succeeded in Ansbach by Joachim Ernst (1583-1625) and in Bayreuth by Christian (1581-1655), sons of Johann Georg, Elector of Brandenburg.
Hartknoch, Christoph. Preussische Kirchen-Historia. Frankfurt, 1686.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 73 ff.
Mannhardt, W. Die Wehrfreiheit der Altpreussischen Mennoniten. Marienburg, 1863.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 476. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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APA style: Neff, Christian and Richard D. Thiessen. (April 2007). Georg Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Bayreuth (1539-1603). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/G46415.html.