The conflicts between the vassals and bishops

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The more serious conflicts between Livonian bishops and their vassals started at the end of 1510s, whereby the bishops on one side tried to increase their secular power, the vassals at the same time, having received more privileges within the last half century did not want this to happen.
The conflict was mostly around this whether the bishop as the landlord has the right to take the land ownership of vassals away, restrict its selling or inheritance.

The bishops, especially Johann Blankenfeld (was the bishop of Tallinn and Tartu and archbishop of Riga - on the photo) and Johann Kievel (Saare-Lääne bishop) found that they have this right and tried to influence the vassals. The vassals concluded the union with the cities and aggressively resisted the landlord.

Therefore the placing of Luther under interdict at the beginning of reformation was not approved and finally one knighthood, the one of Läänemaa, was directly in favour of the new religion.
Pursuant to the year 1527 when Kievel and Blankenfeld died, the situation calmed down. But the protestant knighthood of Läänemaa soon contradicted their bishop which involved the breaking out of the feud of Saare-Lääne. At the same time the knighthood of Harju-Viru stuck out as the strong supporter of Catholicism, only in the middle of the 16th century this inclined toward the Lutheranism.

Sources: Eesti ajalugu. II, Eesti keskaeg. 1937.

Pärtel Piirimäe. Maaisandad, seisused ja maapäev: Vana-Liivimaa riiklusest Wolter von Plettenbergi perioodil. Magistritöö. 1998.


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