Monday, May 6, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Purgatory, Psalms 67, Acts 15:22-29, John 14:23-29, Pope Francis Daily Homily - Evangelical spirit, Ecclesial spirit, Missionary spirit. Three themes! Do not forget them!, St Jutta, Prussia, State of the Teutonic Order, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 2 Sacraments of Healing Penance and Reconciliation Article 4:11 The Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and In-Brief

Sunday,  May 5, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Purgatory, Psalms 67, Acts 15:22-29, John 14:23-29, Pope Francis Daily Homily - Evangelical spirit, Ecclesial spirit, Missionary spirit. Three themes! Do not forget them!, St Jutta, Prussia, State of the Teutonic Order, Catholic Catechism Part Two: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH - Chapter 2 Sacraments of Healing Penance and Reconciliation Article 4:11  The Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and In-Brief

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder and awe (fear of the Lord) , counsel, knowledge, fortitude, and piety (reverence) and shun the seven Deadly sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony...Its your choice whether to embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit rising towards eternal light or succumb to the Seven deadly sins and lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to the Darkness, Purgatory or Heaven is our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...~ Zarya Parx 2013

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Prayers for Today: Sunday in Easter


 Papam Franciscus
(Pope Francis)

Pope Francis May 5 General Audience Address :

Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. 

Three themes! Do not forget them!

(2013-05-05 Vatican Radio)

Saint Peter's Square
Sixth Sunday of Easter, 5 May 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is brave of you to come here in this rain … May the Lord bless you abundantly!

As part of the journey of the Year of Faith, I am happy to celebrate this Eucharist dedicated in a special way to confraternities: a traditional reality in the Church, which in recent times has experienced renewal and rediscovery. I greet all of you with affection, particularly the confraternities which have come here from all over the world! Thank you for your presence and your witness!

1. In the Gospel we heard a passage from the farewell discourses of Jesus, as related by the evangelist John in the context of the Last Supper. Jesus entrusts his last thoughts, as a spiritual testament, to the apostles before he leaves them. Today’s text makes it clear that Christian faith is completely centred on the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Whoever loves the Lord Jesus welcomes him and his Father interiorly, and thanks to the Holy Spirit receives the Gospel in his or her heart and life. Here we are shown the centre from which everything must go forth and to which everything must lead: loving God and being Christ’s disciples by living the Gospel. When Benedict XVI spoke to you, he used this expression: evangelical spirit. Dear confraternities, the popular piety of which you are an important sign is a treasure possessed by the Church, which the bishops of Latin America defined, significantly, as a spirituality, a form of mysticism, which is “a place of encounter with Jesus Christ”. Draw always from Christ, the inexhaustible wellspring; strengthen your faith by attending to your spiritual formation, to personal and communitarian prayer, and to the liturgy. Down the centuries confraternities have been crucibles of holiness for countless people who have lived in utter simplicity an intense relationship with the Lord. Advance with determination along the path of holiness; do not rest content with a mediocre Christian life, but let your affiliation serve as a stimulus, above all for you yourselves, to an ever greater love of Jesus Christ.

2. The passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we heard also speaks to us about what is essential. In the early Church there was immediately a need to discern what was essential about being a Christian, about following Christ, and what was not. The apostles and the other elders held an important meeting in Jerusalem, a first “council”, on this theme, to discuss the problems which arose after the Gospel had been preached to the pagans, to non-Jews. It was a providential opportunity for better understanding what is essential, namely, belief in Jesus Christ who died and rose for our sins, and loving him as he loved us. But note how the difficulties were overcome: not from without, but from within the Church. And this brings up a second element which I want to remind you of, as Benedict XVI did, namely: ecclesial spirit. Popular piety is a road which leads to what is essential, if it is lived in the Church in profound communion with your pastors. Dear brothers and sisters, the Church loves you! Be an active presence in the community, as living cells, as living stones. The Latin American Bishops wrote that the popular piety which you reflect is “a legitimate way of living the faith, a way of feeling that we are part of the Church” (Aparecida Document, 264). This is wonderful! A legitimate way of living the faith, a way of feeling that we are part of the Church. Love the Church! Let yourselves be guided by her! In your parishes, in your dioceses, be a true “lung” of faith and Christian life, a breath of fresh air! In this Square I see a great variety: earlier on it was a variety of umbrellas, and now of colours and signs. This is also the case with the Church: a great wealth and variety of expressions in which everything leads back to unity; the variety leads back to unity, and unity is the encounter with Christ.

3. I would like to add a third expression which must distinguish you: missionary spirit. You have a specific and important mission, that of keeping alive the relationship between the faith and the cultures of the peoples to whom you belong. You do this through popular piety. When, for example, you carry the crucifix in procession with such great veneration and love for the Lord, you are not performing a simple outward act; you are pointing to the centrality of the Lord’s paschal mystery, his passion, death and resurrection which have redeemed us, and you are reminding yourselves first, as well as the community, that we have to follow Christ along the concrete path of our daily lives so that he can transform us. Likewise, when you express profound devotion for the Virgin Mary, you are pointing to the highest realization of the Christian life, the one who by her faith and obedience to God’s will, and by her meditation on the words and deeds of Jesus, is the Lord’s perfect disciple (cf. Lumen Gentium, 53). You express this faith, born of hearing the word of God, in ways that engage the senses, the emotions and the symbols of the different cultures … In doing so you help to transmit it to others, and especially the simple persons whom, in the Gospels, Jesus calls “the little ones”. In effect, “journeying together towards shrines, and participating in other demonstrations of popular piety, bringing along your children and engaging other people, is itself a work of evangelization” (Aparecida Document, 264). When you visit shrines, when you bring your family, your children, you are engaged in a real work of evangelization. This needs to continue. May you also be true evangelizers! May your initiatives be “bridges”, means of bringing others to Christ, so as to journey together with him. And in this spirit may you always be attentive to charity. Each individual Christian and every community is missionary to the extent that they bring to others and live the Gospel, and testify to God’s love for all, especially those experiencing difficulties. Be missionaries of God’s love and tenderness! Be missionaries of God’s mercy, which always forgives us, always awaits us and loves us dearly.

Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Three themes! Do not forget them! Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Let us ask the Lord always to direct our minds and hearts to him, as living stones of the Church, so that all that we do, our whole Christian life, may be a luminous witness to his mercy and love. In this way we will make our way towards the goal of our earthly pilgrimage, towards that extremely beautiful shrine, the heavenly Jerusalem. There, there is no longer any temple: God himself and the lamb are its temple; and the light of the sun and the moon give way to the glory of the Most High. Amen.


Liturgical Celebrations to be presided over by Pope: April–May

Vatican City, 3 April 2013 (VIS)
Following is the calendar of celebrations scheduled to be presided over by the Holy Father in the months of April and May, 2013:

5 May, Sunday: 10:00am, Mass for Confraternities in St. Peter's Square.

12 May, Sunday: 9:30am, Mass and canonizations of Blesseds Antonio Primaldo and Companions; Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui; and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala.

18 May, Saturday: 6:00pm, Pentecost Vigil in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.

19 May, Pentecost Sunday: 10:00am, Mass in St. Peter's Square with the participation of ecclesial movements.


  • Vatican News. From the Pope. © Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Accessed 05/05/2013.


May 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children; Anew, I am calling you to love and not to judge. My Son, according to the will of the Heavenly Father, was among you to show you the way of salvation, to save you and not to judge you. If you desire to follow my Son, you will not judge but love like your Heavenly Father loves you. And when it is the most difficult for you, when you are falling under the weight of the cross do not despair, do not judge, instead remember that you are loved and praise the Heavenly Father because of His love. My children, do not deviate from the way on which I am leading you. Do not recklessly walk into perdition. May prayer and fasting strengthen you so that you can live as the Heavenly Father would desire; that you may be my apostles of faith and love; that your life may bless those whom you meet; that you may be one with the Heavenly Father and my Son. My children, that is the only truth, the truth that leads to your conversion, and then to the conversion of all those whom you meet - those who have not come to know my Son - all those who do not know what it means to love. My children, my Son gave you a gift of the shepherds. Take good care of them. Pray for them. Thank you."

April 25, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World:: "Dear children! Pray, pray, keep praying until your heart opens in faith as a flower opens to the warm rays of the sun. This is a time of grace which God gives you through my presence but you are far from my heart, therefore, I call you to personal conversion and to family prayer. May Sacred Scripture always be an incentive for you. I bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."

April 2, 2013 Our Lady of Medjugorje Message to the World: "Dear children, I am calling you to be one with my Son in spirit. I am calling you, through prayer, and the Holy Mass when my Son unites Himself with you in a special way, to try to be like Him; that, like Him, you may always be ready to carry out God's will and not seek the fulfillment of your own. Because, my children, it is according to God's will that you are and that you exist, and without God's will you are nothing. As a mother I am asking you to speak about the glory of God with your life because, in that way, you will also glorify yourself in accordance to His will. Show humility and love for your neighbour to everyone. Through such humility and love, my Son saved you and opened the way for you to the Heavenly Father. I implore you to keep opening the way to the Heavenly Father for all those who have not come to know Him and have not opened their hearts to His love. By your life, open the way to all those who still wander in search of the truth. My children, be my apostles who have not lived in vain. Do not forget that you will come before the Heavenly Father and tell Him about yourself. Be ready! Again I am warning you, pray for those whom my Son called, whose hands He blessed and whom He gave as a gift to you. Pray, pray, pray for your shepherds. Thank you." 


Today's Word:  Purgatory  pur·ga·to·ry  [pur-guh-tawr-ee]  

Origin: 1175–1225;  (noun) Middle English purgatorie  (< Anglo-French ) < Medieval Latin pūrgātōrium,  noun use of neuter of Late Latin pūrgātōrius  purging, equivalent to pūrgā ( re ) to purge + -tōrius -tory1 ; (adj.) Middle English purgatorie  < Late Latin pūrgātōrius

1. (in the belief of Roman Catholics and others) a condition or place in which the souls of those dying penitent are purified from venial sins, or undergo the temporal punishment that, after the guilt of mortal sin has been remitted, still remains to be endured by the sinner.
2. ( initial capital letter, italics  ) . Italian Pur·ga·to·rio [poor-gah-taw-ryaw] Show IPA . the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy,  in which the repentant sinners are depicted. Compare inferno (  def 3 ) , paradise (  def 7 ) .
3. any condition or place of temporary punishment, suffering, expiation, or the like.
4.  serving to cleanse, purify, or expiate.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

2 Then the earth will acknowledge your ways, and all nations your power to save.
3 Let the nations praise you, God, let all the nations praise you.
5 Let the nations praise you, God, let all the nations praise you.
6 The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God has blessed us


Today's Epistle - Acts 15:1-2, 22-29

1 Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, 'Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.'
2 This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the question with the apostles and elders.
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose delegates from among themselves to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas, known as Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood,
23 and gave them this letter to take with them: 'The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of gentile birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia.
24 We hear that some people coming from here, but acting without any authority from ourselves, have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds;
25 and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with our well-beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 who have committed their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written.
28 It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to impose on you any burden beyond these essentials:
29 you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from illicit marriages. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.'


Today's Gospel Reading - John 14:23-29

The Holy Spirit will help us
understand Jesus’ words
John 14,23-29

1. Opening prayer
Shaddai, God of the mountain,
You who make of our fragile life
the rock of your dwelling place,
lead our mind
to strike the rock of the desert,
so that water may gush to quench our thirst.
May the poverty of our feelings
cover us as with a mantle in the darkness of the night
and may it open our heart to hear the echo of silence
until the dawn,
wrapping us with the light of the new morning,
may bring us,
with the spent embers of the fire of the shepherds of the Absolute
who have kept vigil for us close to the divine Master,
the flavour of the holy memory.


a) The text:
23 Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. 25 "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26 But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.

b) A moment of silence:
Let us allow the voice of the Word to resonate within us.


a) Some questions:
- “And we will come to him and make our home with him”: looking in our interior camp, will we find there the tent of the shekinah (presence) of God?
- “He who does not love me does not keep my words: Are the words of Christ empty words for us because of our lack of love? Or could we say that we observe them as a guide on our journey?
- “The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”: Jesus turns to the Father, but everything which he has said and done remains with us. When will we be able to remember the marvels which divine grace has accomplished in us? Do we receive or accept the voice of the Spirit who suggests in our interior the meaning of all that has taken place, that has happened?
- “My peace I give to you: The peace of Christ is his resurrection”: When will we be able in our life to abandon the anxiety and the mania of doing, which draws us away from the sources of the being? God of peace, when will we live solely from you, peace of our waiting?
- “I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe”: Before it takes place... Jesus likes to explain to us beforehand what is going to happen, so that the events do not take us by surprise, unprepared. But, are we ready to read the signs of our events with the words heard from him?

b) Key for the reading:
To make our home. Heaven does not have a better place than a human heart which is in love. Because a dilated heart extends the boundaries and all barriers of time and space disappear. To live in love is equal to live in Heaven, to live in Him who is love, and eternal love.
v. 23. Jesus answered him: If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. In the origin of every spiritual experience there is always a movement forward. Take a small step, then everything moves harmoniously. And the step to be taken is only one: If a man loves me. Is it really possible to love God? And how is it seen that his face is no longer among the people? To love: What does it really mean? In general, to love for us means to wish well to one another, to be together, to make choices to construct a future, to give oneself... to love Jesus is not the same thing. to love him means to do as he did, not to draw back in the face of pain, of death; to love as he did takes us very far... and it is in this love that the word becomes daily bread to eat and life becomes Heaven because of the Father’s presence.
vv. 24-25. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. If there is no love, the consequences are disastrous. The words of Jesus can be observed only if there is love in the heart, otherwise they remain absurd proposals. Those words are not the words of a man , they come for the Father’s heart who proposes to each one of us to be like Him. In life it is not so much a question of doing things, even if they are very good. It is necessary to be men, to be sons, to be images similar to the One who never ceases to give Himself completely.
vv. 25-26. These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. To remember is an action of the Spirit; when in our days the past is seen as something lost forever and the future is there as something threatening to take away our joy today, only the divine Breath in you can lead you to remember it. To remember what has been said, every word coming from God’s mouth for you, and forgotten because of the fact that time has gone by.
v. 27. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. The peace of Christ for us is not absence of conflicts, serenity of life, health... but the plenitude of every good, absence of anxiety in the face of what is going to happen. The Lord does not assure us well-being, but the fullness of son-ship in a loving adherence to his projects which are good for us. We will possess peace, when we will have learnt to trust in that which the Father chooses for us.
v. 28. You heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you’. If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. We come back to the question of love. If you loved me, you would have rejoiced. But what is the sense of this expression pronounced by the Master? We could complete the phrase and say: If you loved me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father... but since you think of yourselves, you are sad because I am leaving, going away. The love of the disciples is an egoistic love. They do not love Jesus because they do not think of Him, they think of themselves. Then, the love which Jesus asks, is this love! A love capable of rejoicing because the other will be happy. A love capable of not thinking of self as the centre of all the universe, but as a place in which one feels open to give and to be able to receive: not in exchange, but as the “effect” of the gift received.
v. 29. I have told you before it takes place, so when it does take place, you may believe. Jesus instructs his own because he knows that they will remain confused and will be slow in understanding. His words do not vanish, they remain as a presence in the world, treasures of understanding in faith. An encounter with the Absolute who is always and for always in favour of man.

c) Reflection:
Love: a magic and ancient word as old as the world, a familiar word which is born in the horizon of every man in the moment in which he is called into existence. A word written in his human fibres as origin and end, as an instrument of peace, as bread and gift, as himself, as others, as God. A word entrusted to history through our history of every day. Love, a pact which has always had one name alone: man. Yes, because love coincides with man: love is the air that he breathes, love is the food which is given to him, love is the rest to which he entrusts himself, love is the bond of union which makes of him a land of encounter. That love with which God has seen in his creation and has given: “It is something very good”. And he has not taken back the commitment taken when man made of himself a rejection more than a gift, a slap more than a caress, a stone thrown more than a silent tear. He has loved even more with the eyes and the heart of the Son, up to the end. This man who became a burning torch of sin, the Father has redeemed him, again and solely out of love, in the Fire of the Spirit.

Psalm 37,23-31
The steps of a man are from the Lord,
and he establishes him in whose way he delights;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord is the stay of his hand.
I have been young, and now am old;
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging bread.
He is ever giving liberally and lending,
and his children become a blessing.
Depart from evil, and do good;
so shall you abide for ever.
For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
The righteous shall be preserved for ever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall possess the land,
and dwell upon it for ever.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.

I see you, Lord, dwelling in my days through your word which accompanies me in my more intense moments, when my love for you becomes courageous, audacious and I do not give up in the face of what I feel that does not belong to me. that Spirit which is like the wind: blows where it wants and his voice is not heard, that Spirit has become space in me, and now I can tell you that he is like a dear fried with whom to remember. To go back to remember the words said, to the lived events, to the presence perceived while on the way, does good to the heart. I feel profoundly this indwelling every time that in silence one of your phrases comes to mind, one of your invitations, one of your words of compassion, your silence. The nights of your prayer allow me to pray to the Father and to find peace. Lord, tenderness concealed in the pleads of my gestures, grant me to treasure all that you are: a scroll which is explained in which it is easy to understand the sense of my existence. May my words be the dwelling place of your words, may my hunger be your dwelling, bread of life, may my pain be the empty tomb and the folded shroud so that everything that you want may be accomplished, up to the last breath. I love you, Lord, my rock.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Jutta

Feast Day:  May 05

Patron Saint:  Prussia

Saint Jutta
Saint Jutta, T.O.S.F., (English: Judith) or Jutta of Kulmsee or Jutta of Sangerhausen or Jutta of Thuringia was born ca. 1200 at Sangerhausen in Thuringia (now Sachsen-Anhalt) and died in 1260 at Kulmsee in the Monastic State of the Teutonic Order (now Chełmża, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland). She was a German aristocrat, who became a hermit on the frontier of Prussia and is honored as the patron saint of that region.

She imitated the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who was the Duchess of Thuringia during her youth, and has also been canonized a saint. She was married at the age of fifteen to a nobleman and bore children by him. She convinced her husband of, and raised her children in a contemplative and mystical form of Christianity. He died while they were on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and Jutta became a single mother. Each child eventually entered a monastery upon reaching a suitable age, and this left Jutta able to pursue a more austere religious way of life.

Like her model, St. Elizabeth, Jutta became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis.[1] She gave away or sold her property and lived the rest of her life in contemplation and in caring for the poor and the sick. She became a figure of ridicule among her neighbors as she carried out her service to the poor of the region.

In her last years, Jutta moved to the frontier of Christian Europe. She chose as her base a derelict building in Bildschön (now Bielczyny), near Kulmsee in Prussia, part of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Order, the area governed by the Teutonic Knights, whose Grand Master, Anno von Sangershausen, was a relative of hers. There the knights sheltered her. Visitors came to her to receive counsel and prayers, and she quickly established a reputation as a saint. She said that there were three things that can bring one near to God: painful sickness, exile from home, and poverty voluntarily accepted for God. She dedicated her final days to praying for the non-Christian population of the region.

She died around 1260. In keeping with her wishes, Archbishop Friar Heidenreich of Kulm, O.P., earlier Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, and now first Bishop of Kulm, had her buried at the cathedral. A cultus developed around her immediately and the Kulmsee cathedral became a destination for pilgrims. In the Roman Catholic Church, she is honored as the patron saint of Prussia, and her feast day is observed on May 5th.


  1. ^ "Saint of the Day". Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  • Brief biography from (in German)

        Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


        Today's Snippet I:  Prussia

        The Prussian tribes in the context of the other Baltic tribes, c. 1200 AD. The Eastern Balts are shown in brown hues while the Western Balts are shown in green. The boundaries are approximate.
        Prussia (Old Prussian: Prūsa) is a historical region in Central Europe extending from the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea to the Masurian Lake District. It is now divided between Poland, Russia, and Lithuania. The former German state of Prussia derived its name from the region.


        Parts of the Baltic region retained large wilderness areas for longer than anywhere else in Europe. In prehistory, the east of the area was inhabited by the Eastern Balts, whilst the Western Balts inhabited the Sambian peninsula and the areas to the west. Over time, the Western Balts consolidated into the Old Prussian nation. The Eastern Balts of the area, including the Curonians, consolidated into (a part of) the Latvian and Lithuanian nations.

        About 350 BC Pytheas called the territory Mentenomon and the inhabitants Guttones, neighbours of the Teutones. A river to the east of the Vistula was called the Guttalus (also Guthalus) and was assumed to have been either the Memel, the Alle, or the Pregel.

        Vikings in Prussia

        The Vikings started to penetrate the Eastern shores of the Baltic Sea in the 7th and 8th centuries. The largest trade centres of the Prussians, such as Truso and Kaup, seem to have absorbed a number of Norsemen. Prussians used the Baltic Sea as a trading route, frequently travelling from Truso to Birka (present-day Sweden).

        At the end of the Viking Age, the sons of Danish king Harald Bluetooth and Canute the Great launched several expeditions against the Prussians. They destroyed many areas in Prussia, including Truso and Kaup, but failed to dominate the population totally. A Viking (Varangian) presence in the area was "less than dominant and very much less than imperial."[1]

        Old Prussians

        According to a legend, recorded by Simon Grunau, the name "Prussia" is derived from Pruteno (or Bruteno), the chief priest of Prussia and brother of the legendary king Widewuto, who lived in the 6th century. The regions of Prussia and the corresponding tribes are said to bear the names of Widewuto's sons — for example, Sudovia is named after Widewuto's son Sudo. In the first half of the 13th century, Bishop Christian of Prussia recorded the history of a much earlier era. Adam of Bremen mentions Prussians in 1072.

        The Old Prussians spoke a variety of languages, with Old Prussian belonging to the Western branch of the Baltic language group. Related, but not mutually intelligible, are the modern representatives of the Baltic languages: Latvian and Lithuanian, from the East Baltic branch. Roman historians had documented the Prussian tribes as easterners, with Tacitus' referring to them as the Aesti.[2] The territory was identified as Brus in the 8th-century map of the Bavarian geographer.

        Attempts at conquest of Prussia

        The centre of Prussia until 1466: Ordensburg Marienburg, today called Malbork
        After the state of the Polans was established in the 10th century, they tried to conquer the land of the Prussians. Bolesław I Chrobry sent Adalbert of Prague in AD 997 on a military and Christianizing mission. Adalbert, accompanied by armed guards, attempted to convert the Prussians to Christianity. He was killed by a Prussian pagan priest in 997.[3] In 1015, Bolesław sent soldiers again, with some short-lived success, gaining regular paid tribute from some Prussians in the border regions, but it did not last. Polish rulers sent invasions to the territory in 1147, 1161-1166, and a number of times in the early 13th century. While these were repelled by the Prussians, the Culmer Land region became a contested area exposed to frequent raids.

        Teutonic Knights

        Catholic dioceses in Prussia and adjacent areas. After conquest late 13th century. Areas in purple under control of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights
        In the 13th century Konrad of Masovia had called for Crusades and tried for years to conquer Prussia, but failed. Thus the pope set up further crusades.

        Finally he invited the Teutonic Knights to fight the inhabitants of Prussia in exchange for a fief of Chełmno Land. Prussia was conquered by the Teutonic Knights during the Prussian Crusade and administered within their Teutonic Order state.

        After the acquisition of Pomerelia in 1308/10, the meaning of the term Prussia was widened to include areas west of the Vistula.

        With the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), Prussia was divided into eastern and western lands. The western part became the autonomous Royal Prussia within the Kingdom of Poland, while the eastern part of the monastic state became a fief of Poland. In 1492, a life of Dorothea of Montau, published in Marienburg (Malbork), became the first printed publication in Prussia.

        Early modern era

        Prussia after 1466: light grey – Duchy of Prussia.
        coloured – Royal Prussia with its Voivodeships in personal union with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
        During the Protestant Reformation, endemic religious upheavals and wars occurred, and in 1525, the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Albert of Brandenburg, a member of a cadet branch of the House of Hohenzollern, adopted the Lutheran faith, resigned his position, and assumed the title of "Duke of Prussia." In a deal partially brokered by Martin Luther, the Duchy of Prussia became the first Protestant state and a vassal of Poland. The ducal capital of Königsberg, now Kaliningrad, became a centre of learning and printing through the establishment of the Albertina University in 1544.

        Ducal Prussia passed to the senior Hohenzollern branch, the ruling Margraves of Brandenburg, in 1618, and Polish sovereignty over the duchy ended in 1657 with the Treaty of Wehlau. Because Ducal Prussia lay outside of the Holy Roman Empire, Frederick I achieved the elevation of the duchy to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. The former ducal lands became known as East Prussia. Royal Prussia was annexed from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by the Kingdom of Prussia during the 18th-century Partitions of Poland and administered within West Prussia.

        Modern era

        Though the Kingdom of Prussia was a member of the German Confederation from 1815 to 1866, the provinces of Posen and Prussia were not a part of Germany[4] until the creation of the German Empire in 1871 during the unification of Germany.

        By the Treaty of Versailles, some territories of West Prussia and the Province of Posen that had belonged to the Prussian kingdom[5] and the German Empire were ceded to the Second Polish Republic. East Prussia, minus the Memelland, received some districts of former West Prussia and remained within the German Weimar Republic.

        According to the Potsdam Conference in 1945 after World War II, the Prussian region was divided between Poland and the Soviet Union. Western Prussia (West Prussia / Royal Prussia) and the East Prussian lands of Warmia and Masuria are in Poland, while northern East Prussia was divided between the Russian and Lithuanian Soviet republics. The German state of Prussia, of which the Prussian region was but a small part, was dissolved in 1947.


        1. ^ Gwyn Jones. A History of the Vikings. Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-19-280134-1. Page 244.
        2. ^ Although the Aesti are generally accepted to be the Prussians, primarily based on their association with amber, this is by no means universally accepted. See Aesti.
        3. ^ "St. Adalbert", The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907
        4. ^ However, the constitution of the short-lived Frankfurt Parliament incorporated Prussia and the western and northern parts of Posen into Germany from 1848 to 1851.
        5. ^ Since the Partitions of Poland which began in 1772.


        Today's Snippet II:  State of the Teutonic Order

        The state of the Teutonic Order (German: Deutschordensland) or Ordensstaat[1] (pronounced [ˈɔɐdənsˌʃtaːt] "Order's State") was a crusader state formed by the Teutonic Knights or Teutonic Order during 13th century Northern Crusades along the Baltic Sea. The state was based in Prussia after the Order's conquest of the pagan Old Prussians which began in 1230, but also expanded to include the historic regions Courland, Gotland, Livonia, Neumark, Pomerelia and Samogitia. Its territory was in the modern countries of Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. Most of the territory was conquered by military orders, after which German colonization occurred to varying effect.

        The Livonian Brothers of the Sword controlling Terra Mariana were incorporated into the Teutonic Order as its autonomous branch Livonian Order in 1237.[2] In 1346, the Duchy of Estonia was sold by the King of Denmark for 19,000 Köln marks to the Teutonic Order. The shift of sovereignty from Denmark to the Teutonic Order took place on 1 November 1346.[3]

        Following its defeat in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410 the Teutonic Order fell into decline and its Livonian branch joined the Livonian Confederation established in 1422–1435.[4] The Teutonic lands in Prussia were split in two after the Peace of Thorn in 1466. The western part of Teutonic Prussia was converted into Royal Prussia, which became a more integral part of Poland. The monastic state in the east was secularized in 1525 during the Protestant Reformation as the Duchy of Prussia, a Polish fief governed by the House of Hohenzollern. The Livonian branch continued as part of the Livonian Confederation until its dissolution in 1561.


        The Old Prussians withstood many attempts at conquest preceding the Teutonic Knights'. Bolesław I the Brave of Poland began the series of unsuccessful conquests when he sent Adalbert of Prague in 997. In 1147, Boleslaw IV of Poland attacked Prussia with the aid of Kievan Rus, but was unable to conquer it. Numerous other attempts followed, and, under Duke Konrad I of Masovia, were intensified, with large battles and crusades in 1209, 1219, 1220 and 1222.

        The West-Baltic Prussians successfully repelled most of the campaigns and managed to strike Konrad in retaliation. However the Prussians and Yotvingians in the south had their territory conquered. The land of the Yotvingians was situated in the area of what is today Podlasie. The Prussians attempted to oust Polish or Masovian forces from Sudovia and Culmerland (or Chełmno Land), which by now was partially conquered, devastated and almost totally depopulated.

        Konrad of Masovia had already called a crusade against the Old Prussians in 1208, but it was not successful. Konrad, acting on the advice of Christian, first bishop of Prussia, established the Order of Dobrzyń, a small group of 15 knights. The Order, however, was soon defeated and, in reaction, Konrad called on the Pope for yet another crusade and for help from the Teutonic Knights. As a result, several edicts called for crusades against the Old Prussians. The crusades, involving many of Europe's knights, lasted for sixty years.

        In 1211, Andrew II of Hungary enfeoffed the Teutonic Knights with the Burzenland. In 1225, Andrew II expelled the Teutonic Knights from Transylvania, and they had to transfer to the Baltic Sea.

        Early in 1224, Emperor Frederick II announced at Catania that Livonia, Prussia with Sambia, and a number of neighboring provinces were under Imperial immediacy (German: Reichsfreiheit). This decree subordinated the provinces directly to the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Emperor as opposed to being under the jurisdiction of local rulers.

        At the end of 1224, Pope Honorius III announced to all Christendom his appointment of Bishop William of Modena as the Papal Legate for Livonia, Prussia, and other countries.

        As a result of the Golden Bull of Rimini in 1226 and the Papal Bull of Rieti of 1234, Prussia came into the Teutonic Order's possession. The Knights began the Prussian Crusade in 1230. Under their governance, woodlands were cleared and marshlands made arable, upon which many cities and villages were founded, including Marienburg (Malbork) and Königsberg (Kaliningrad).

        Unlike newly founded cities between the rivers Elbe and Oder the cities founded by the Teutonic Order had a much more re(ctan)gular sketch of streets, indicating their character as planned foundations. The cities were heavily fortified, accounting for the long lasting conflicts with the resistive native Old Prussians, with armed forces under command of the knights. Most cities were prevailingly populated with immigrants from Middle Germany and Silesia, where many knights of the order had their homelands.

        The cities were usually given Magdeburg law town privileges, with the one exception of Elbing (Elbląg), which was founded with the support of Lübeckers and thus was awarded Lübeck law. While the Lübeckers provided the Order important logistic support with their ships, they were otherwise, with the exception of Elbing, rather uninvolved in the establishment of the Monastic State.

        Further history

        13th century

        Teutonic state in 1260

        In 1234, the Teutonic Order assimilated the remaining members of the Order of Dobrzyń and, in 1237, the Order of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. The assimilation of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword (established in Livonia in 1202) increased the Teutonic Order's lands with the addition of the territories known today as Latvia and Estonia.
        In 1243, the Papal legate William of Modena divided Prussia into four bishoprics: Culm (Chełmno), Pomesania, Ermland (Warmia) and Samland (Sambia). The bishoprics became suffragans to the Archbishopric of Riga under the mother city of Visby on Gotland. Each diocese was fiscally and administratively divided into one third reserved for the maintenance of the capitular canons, and two thirds where the Order collected the dues.

        The cathedral capitular canons of Culm, Pomesania and Samland were simultaneously members of the Teutonic Order since the 1280s, ensuring a strong influence by the Order. Only Ermland's diocesan chapter maintained independence, enabling to establish its autonomous rule in the capitular third of Ermland's diocesan territory (Prince-Bishopric of Ermeland).

        14th century

        Teutonic state in 1410
        At the beginning of the 14th century, the Duchy of Pomerania, a neighboring region, plunged into war with Poland and the Margraviate of Brandenburg to the west.

        In the Teutonic takeover of Danzig, the Teutonic Knights seized the city in November 1308. The Order had been called by King Władysław I of Poland. According to historical sources, many of the inhabitants of the city, Polish and German, were slaughtered. In September 1309, Margrave Waldemar of Brandenburg-Stendal sold his claim to the territory to the Teutonic Order for the sum of 10,000 Marks in the Treaty of Soldin. This marked the beginning of a series of conflicts between Poland and the Teutonic Knights as the Order continued incorporating territories into its domains.

        While the Order promoted the Prussian cities by granting them extended surrounding territory and privileges, establishing courts, civil and commercial law, it allowed the cities less outward independence than free imperial cities enjoyed within the Holy Roman Empire.

        So the members of the Hanseatic League did consider merchants from Prussian cities as their like, but also accepted the Grand Master of the Order as the sole territorial ruler ever at their Hanseatic Diets, representing Prussia. Thus Prussian merchants, along with those from Ditmarsh, were the only beneficiaries of a quasi membership within the Hanse, although lacking the background of citizenship in a fully autonomous or free city.

        The Teutonic Order's possession of Danzig was disputed by the Polish kings Władysław I and Casimir the Great -- claims that led to a series of bloody wars and, eventually, lawsuits in the papal court in 1320 and 1333. A peace was concluded at Kalisz in 1343, where the Teutonic Order agreed that Poland should rule Pomerelia as a fief and Polish kings, therefore, retained the right to the title Duke of Pomerania.

        In the conflict between the Hanse and Denmark on the trade in the Baltic King Valdemar IV of Denmark had held the Hanseatic city of Visby to ransom in 1361. However, the members of the Hanseatic league were undecided to unite against him. However, when Valdemar IV then captured Prussian merchant ships in the Øresund on their way to England, Grand Master Winrich of Kniprode travelled to Lübeck to propose a war alliance against Denmark, received with reluctance only by the important cities forming the Wendish-Saxon third of the Hanse.

        Since Valdemar IV had also attacked ships of the Dutch city of Kampen and other destinations in the Zuiderzee, Prussia and Dutch cities, such as Kampen, Elburg and Harderwijk, allied themselves against Denmark. This then made the Hanse calling up a diet in Cologne in 1367, also convening the afore-mentioned and more non-member cities like Amsterdam and Brielle, founding the Cologne Federation as a war alliance, in order to ban the Danish threat. More cities from the Lower Rhine area till up to Livonia joined.

        Of the major players only Bremen and Hamburg refused to send forces, but contributed financially. Besides Prussia, three more territorial partners, Henry II of Schauenburg and Holstein-Rendsburg, Albert II of Mecklenburg, and the latter's son Albert of Sweden, joined the alliance, attacking via land and sea, forcing Denmark to sign the Treaty of Stralsund in 1370. Several Danish castles and fortresses were then taken by Hanse forces for fifteen years, in order to secure the implementation of the peace conditions.

        The invasions of the Teutonic Order from Livonia to Pleskau in 1367 had caused the Russians to recoup themselves on Hanse merchants in Novgorod, which again made the Order block exports of salt and herring into Russia. While the relations had eased by 1371 so that trade resumed, they soured again until 1388.

        During the Lithuanian crusade of 1369/1370, ending with the Teutonic victory in the Battle of Rudau, Prussia enjoyed considerable support by English knights. So the Order welcomed English Merchant Adventurers, starting to cruise in the Baltic, competing with Dutch, Saxon and Wendish Hanseatic merchants, and allowed them to open outposts in its cities of Danzig and Elbing. However, this brought about a conflict with the rest of the Hanse, which was in a deep conflict with Richard II of England, who wanted to levy higher dues from the Hanse merchants, who only achieved an unsatisfactory compromise.

        However, in May 1385 Richard II's navy suddenly attacked six Prussian ships – and those of more Hanse members – in the Zwin. Grand Master Conrad Zöllner von Rothenstein then immediately terminated all trade with England. When in the same year the Hanse evacuated all the Danish castles in fulfillment of the Treaty of Stralsund, Prussia argued in favour of a renewal of the Cologne Federation for the upcoming conflict with England, but could not prevail.
        The cities preferred to negotiate and take retaliatory actions, such as counter-confiscation of English merchandise. So when in 1388 Richard II finally reconfirmed the Hanseatic trade privileges, Prussia reallowed the merchant adventurers granting them staying permissions, however, renounced again by Grand Master Conrad of Jungingen in 1398.

        In the conflict with the Burgundian Philip the Bold on the Hanse privileges in the Flemish cities the positions of the Hanse cities and Prussia were again reversed. Here the majority of the Hanse members decided in a Hanseatic diet on 1 May 1388 for an embargo against the Flemish cities, while Prussia could not prevail with its plea for further negotiations.

        So the Order's Großschäffer from Königsberg, holding the monopoly in amber export, achieved the exceptional permission to continue amber exports to Flanders and textile imports in return. On the occasion of the ban on Flemish trade, the Hanse urged Prussia and Livonia again to interrupt the exchange with Novgorod too, anyway with both blockades Russian and Flemish commodities could not reach their final destinations. In 1392 it was then Grand Master Conrad of Wallenrode who supported the Flemings to achieve an acceptable agreement with the Hanse resuming the bilateral trade. While a Hanseatic delegation under Johann Niebur reopened trade with Novgorod in the same year, after reconfirmation of the previous mutual privileges.

        Since the late 1380s grave piracy by privateers, promoted by Albert of Sweden and Mecklenburg actually directed against Margaret I of Denmark, blocked seafaring to the herring supplies at the Scania Market, thus fish prices tripled in Prussia. The Saxon Hanse cities urged Prussia to intervene, but Conrad of Jungingen was more worried about a Danish victory. So only after the cities, led by Lübeck's burgomaster Hinrich Westhof, had liaised the Treaty of Skanör (1395), Albert's defeat manifested, so that Prussia finally sent out its ships, led by Danzig's city councillor Conrad Letzkau. Until 1400 the united Teutonic-Hanseatic flotilla then thoroughly cleared the Baltic Sea from pirates, the Victual Brothers, and even took the island of Gotland in 1398.

        15th century

        Teutonic state in 1466
        In 1402, the March of Brandenburg gave the New March in pawn to the Teutonic Order, which kept it until Brandenburg redeemed it again in 1454 and 1455, respectively, by the Treaties of Cölln and Mewe.

        In 1408 Letzkau served as a diplomat to Queen Margaret I and arranged that the Order sold Gotland to Denmark. In 1410, with the death of Rupert, King of the Germans, war broke out between the Teutonic Knights, supported by Pomerania, and a Polish-Lithuanian alliance supported by Ruthenian and Tatar auxiliary forces. Poland and Lithuania triumphed following a victory at the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg).

        The Order assigned Heinrich von Plauen to defend Prussian Pomerania (Pomerelia), who moved rapidly to bolster the defence of Marienburg Castle in Prussian Pomesania. Heinrich von Plauen was elected vice-grand master and led the Teutonic Knights through the Siege of Marienburg in 1410. Eventually von Plauen was promoted to Grand Master and, in 1411, concluded the First Treaty of Thorn with King Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland.

        In March 1440, gentry (mainly from Culmerland) and the Hanseatic cities of Danzig, Elbing, Kneiphof, Thorn and other Prussian cities founded the Prussian Confederation to free themselves from the overlordship of the Teutonic Knights. Due to the heavy losses and costs after the war against Poland and Lithuania, the Teutonic Order collected taxes at steep rates. Furthermore, the cities were not allowed due representation by the Teutonic Order.

        In February 1454, the Prussian Confederation asked King Casimir IV of Poland to support their revolt and to become head of Prussia in personal union. King Casimir IV agreed and the War of the Cities or Thirteen Years' War broke out. The Second Peace of Thorn in October 1466 ended the war and provided for the Teutonic Order's cession of its rights over the western half of its territories to the Polish crown, which became the province of Royal Prussia and the remaining part of the Order's land became a fief of Poland.

        16th century and aftermath

        During the Protestant Reformation, endemic religious upheavals and wars occurred across the region. In 1525, during the aftermath of the Polish-Teutonic War (1519–1521), Sigismund I the Old, King of Poland, and his nephew, the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach, a member of a cadet branch of the House of Hohenzollern, agreed that the latter would resign his position, adopt Lutheran faith and assume the title of Duke of Prussia. Thereafter referred to as Ducal Prussia (German: Herzogliches Preußen, Preußen Herzoglichen Anteils; Polish: Prusy Książęce), remaining a Polish fief.

        Thus in a deal partially brokered by Martin Luther, Roman Catholic Teutonic Prussia was transformed into the Duchy of Prussia, the first Protestant state. Sigismund's consent was bound to Albert's submission to Poland, which became known as the Prussian Homage. On 10 December 1525 at their session in Königsberg the Prussian estates established the Lutheran Church in Ducal Prussia by deciding the Church Order.

        The Habsburg-led Holy Roman Empire continued to hold its claim to Prussia and furnished grand masters of the Teutonic Order, who were merely titular administrators of Prussia, but managed to retain many of the Teutonic holdings elsewhere outside of Prussia. Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg, who had converted to Lutheranism in 1539, was after the co-enfeoffment of his line of the Hohenzollern with the Prussian dukedom. So he tried for gaining his brother-in-law Sigismund II Augustus of Poland and finally succeeded, including the then usual expenses. On 19 July 1569, when Albert Frederick rendered King Sigismund II homage and was in return enfeoffed as Duke of Prussia in Lublin, the King simultaneously enfeoffed Joachim II and his descendants as co-heirs.

        In 1618, the Prussian Hohenzollern were extinct in the male line, and so the Polish fief of Prussia was passed on to the senior Brandenburg Hohenzollern line, the ruling margraves and prince-electors of Brandenburg, who thereafter ruled Brandenburg (a fief of the Holy Roman Empire), and Ducal Prussia (a Polish fief), in personal union. This legal contradiction made a cross-border real union impossible; however, in practice, Brandenburg and Ducal Prussia were more and more ruled as one, and colloquially referred to as Brandenburg-Prussia.

        Frederick William, Duke of Prussia and Prince-elector of Brandenburg, sought to acquire Royal Prussia in order to territorially connect his two existing fiefs. An opportunity occurred when Charles X Gustav of Sweden, in his attempt to conquer Poland (cf. Swedish Deluge), promised to cede to Frederick William the Polish Prussian voivodeships of Chełmno, Malbork and Pomerania (Pomerelia) as well as the Prince-Bishopric of Ermeland, if Frederick William supported the Swedish campaign. This offer was speculative, since Frederick William would have to commit to military support of the campaign, while the reward was conditional on achieving victory.

        John II Casimir of Poland forestalled the Swedish-Prussian alliance by submitting a counter-offer, which Frederick William accepted. On July 29, 1657 they signed the Treaty of Wehlau in Wehlau (Polish: Welawa; today Znamensk). In return for Frederick William's renunciation of the Swedish-Prussian alliance, John Casimir recognised Frederick William's full sovereignty over the Duchy of Prussia (German: Herzogtum Preußen). Thus after almost 200 years of Polish suzerainty, Prussia regained full sovereignty in 1657, a necessary prerequisite for elevating Ducal Prussia to become the sovereign Kingdom of Prussia in 1701 (not to be confused with Polish Royal Prussia).

        The nature of the de facto collectively ruled governance of Brandenburg-Prussia became more apparent through the titles of the higher ranks of the Prussian government, seated in Brandenburg's capital of Berlin after the return of the court from Königsberg, where they had sought refuge from the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). However, the legal amalgamation of the Kingdom of Prussia (a sovereign state) with Brandenburg (a fief of the Holy Roman Empire) was achieved only after the dissolution of the Empire in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

        Modern Teutonic Order

        Suppression Propaganda by Nazi organisation Bund Deutscher Osten with swastika on Teutonic Knights shield 1935
        The Roman Catholic order continued to exist in Austria, out of Napoleon's reach. Beginning in 1804 and until 1923 (in which year Archduke Eugen of Austria resigned the grandmastership), it was headed by members of the Habsburg dynasty. All the following Grand Masters were priests.

        In 1929, that branch of the Teutonic knights was converted to a purely spiritual Roman Catholic religious order and renamed the Deutscher Orden ("German Order"). After Austria's annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938, the Teutonic Order was suppressed throughout the Großdeutsches Reich until defeat of that regime, although the Nazis used imagery of the medieval Teutonic knights for propagandistic purposes. The Roman Catholic order survived in Italy, however, and was reconstituted in Germany and Austria in 1945.

        By the end of the 20th century, this part of the Order had developed into a charitable organization and incorporated numerous clinics, as well as sponsoring excavation and tourism projects in Israel. In 2000, the German chapter of the Teutonic Order declared bankruptcy and its upper management was dismissed; an investigation by a special committee of the Bavarian parliament in 2002 and 2003 to determine the cause was inconclusive.

        The Roman Catholic branch now consists of approximately 1,000 members, including 100 Roman Catholic priests, 200 nuns, and 700 associates. While the priests are organized into six provinces (Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, and Slovenia) and predominantly provide spiritual guidance, the nuns primarily care for the ill and the aged. Associates are active in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Italy. Many of the priests care for German-speaking communities outside of Germany and Austria, especially in Italy and Slovenia; in this sense the Teutonic Order has returned to its 12th-century: the spiritual and physical care of Germans in foreign lands. The current General Abbot of the Order, who also holds the title of Grand Master, is Bruno Platter. The current seat of the Grand Master is the Deutschordenskirche (Church of the German Order) in Vienna. Near the Stephansdom in the Austrian capital is the Treasury of the Teutonic Order which is open to the public, and the order's Central Archive. Since 1996 there has also been a museum dedicated to the Teutonic Knights at their former castle in Bad Mergentheim in Germany, which was the seat of the Grand Master from 1525–1809.

        A portion of the Order retains more of the character of the knights during the height of its power and prestige. The Balije van Utrecht ("Bailiwick of Utrecht") of the Ridderlijke Duitsche Orde ("Chivalric German [i.e., 'Teutonic'] Order") became Protestant at the Reformation, and it remains much an aristocratic society, though now admitting noble women as well as noble men. The relationship of the Bailiwick of Utrecht to the Roman Catholic Deutscher Orden resembles that of the Protestant Bailiwick of Brandenburg to the Roman Catholic Order of Malta: each is an authentic part of its original order, though differing from and smaller than the Roman Catholic branch.

        Influence on German, Polish and Lithuanian nationalism

        A German National People's Party poster from 1920 showing a Teutonic knight being attacked by Poles and socialists. The caption reads "Save the East".
        German nationalism often invoked the imagery of the Teutonic Knights, especially in the context of territorial conquest from eastern neighbours of Germany and conflict with nations of Slavic origins, whom German nationalists considered less developed and of inferior culture. The German historian Heinrich von Treitschke used imagery of the Teutonic Knights to promote pro-German and anti-Polish rhetoric. Many middle-class German nationalists adopted this imagery and its symbols. During the Weimar Republic, associations and organisations of this nature contributed to laying the groundwork for the formation of Nazi Germany.

        Before and during World War II, Nazi propaganda and ideology made frequent use of the Teutonic Knights' imagery, as the Nazis sought to depict the Knights' actions as a forerunner of the Nazi conquests for Lebensraum. Heinrich Himmler tried to idealize the SS as a 20th-century re-incarnation of the medieval Order. Yet, despite these references to the Teutonic Order's history in Nazi propaganda, the Order itself was abolished in 1938 and its members were persecuted by the German authorities. This occurred mostly due to Hitler's and Himmler's belief that throughout history, Roman Catholic military-religious orders had been tools of the Holy See and as such constituted a threat to the Nazi regime.

        The converse was true for Polish nationalism (Knights of the Cross) which used the Teutonic Knights as symbolic shorthand for Germans in general, conflating the two into an easily recognizable image of the hostile. Similar associations were used by Soviet propagandists, such as the Teutonic knight villains in the 1938 Sergei Eisenstein film Aleksandr Nevskii. Lithuanian nationalists, particularly in the 19th century, used the history of their wars with the Teutonic Order to idealise the heroism of the medieval Lithuanians, a very strong argument in support of preserving the Lithuanian language, history and culture.

        Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany posed for a photo in 1902 in the garb of a monk from the Teutonic Order, climbing the stairs in the reconstructed Marienburg Castle as a symbol of Imperial German policy.


        • Philippe Dollinger, Die Hanse [La Hanse (XIIe-XVIIe siècles), Paris: Aubier, 1964; German] (11966), ext. ed., Hans Krabusch and Marga Krabusch (trls.), Stuttgart: Kröner, 51998, (=Kröners Taschenbuchausgabe; vol. 371). ISBN 3-520-37105-7.



        Catechism of the Catholic Church

        Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, 

        Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church 





        Article 4

        XI. The Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance
        1480 Like all the sacraments, Penance is a liturgical action. the elements of the celebration are ordinarily these: a greeting and blessing from the priest, reading the word of God to illuminate the conscience and elicit contrition, and an exhortation to repentance; the confession, which acknowledges sins and makes them known to the priest; the imposition and acceptance of a penance; the priest's absolution; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and dismissal with the blessing of the priest.

        1481 The Byzantine Liturgy recognizes several formulas of absolution, in the form of invocation, which admirably express the mystery of forgiveness: "May the same God, who through the Prophet Nathan forgave David when he confessed his sins, who forgave Peter when he wept bitterly, the prostitute when she washed his feet with her tears, the Pharisee, and the prodigal son, through me, a sinner, forgive you both in this life and in the next and enable you to appear before his awe-inspiring tribunal without condemnation, he who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen."

        1482 The sacrament of Penance can also take place in the framework of a communal celebration in which we prepare ourselves together for confession and give thanks together for the forgiveness received. Here, the personal confession of sins and individual absolution are inserted into a liturgy of the word of God with readings and a homily, an examination of conscience conducted in common, a communal request for forgiveness, the Our Father and a thanksgiving in common. This communal celebration expresses more clearly the ecclesial character of penance. However, regardless of its manner of celebration the sacrament of Penance is always, by its very nature, a liturgical action, and therefore an ecclesial and public action.Cf. SC 26-27

        1483 In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their sins in the time required.CIC, can. 962 #1 The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist.CIC, can. 961 # 2 A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.CIC, can. 961 # 1

        1484 "Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession."OP 31 There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: "My son, your sins are forgiven."Mk 2:5 He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.Mk 2:17 He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.

        IN BRIEF
        1485 "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week," Jesus showed himself to his apostles. "He breathed on them, and said to them: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained"' ( Jn 20:19, ( 22-23).
        1486 The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation.
        1487 The sinner wounds God's honor and love, his own human dignity as a man called to be a son of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone.
        1488 To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves, for the Church, and for the whole world.
        1489 To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others.
        1490 The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God's mercy.
        1491 The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest's absolution. the penitent's acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation.
        1492 Repentance (also called contrition) must be inspired by motives that arise from faith. If repentance arises from love of charity for God, it is called "perfect" contrition; if it is founded on other motives, it is called "imperfect."
        1493 One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. the confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.
        1494 The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of "satisfaction" or "penance" to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.
        1495 Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.
        1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:
        - reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
        - reconciliation with the Church;
        - remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
        - remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
        - peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
        - an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.
        1497 Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church.
        1498 Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.