Toleration agreement at Volmari county council

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At the Volmari county council held in 1554 the estates of Livonia decided that the new and old religion should receive absolutely equal bases, i.e. one should not be preferred to another.

The reason of the latter was probably the case that the majority of the Livonian landlords: grandmaster, archbishop and probably also Kuramaa and Saare-Lääne bishop were Lutherans.

They required the free spread of own religion, but at the same time they did not want to give up the power related to their position, thus the catholic power structure had to be preserved. The freedom of religion of the cities was confirmed, the principle had to be valid: who has the power chooses the religion.
Thus the decision of Volmar county council anticipated generally the peace of religion of Augsburg concluded in 1555 in Germany where the freedom of religion was also given to the cities and governors.

The reformation had thus progressed in Livonia quite peacefully, but unfortunately this fragile balance did not preserve long: already in1556 the co-adjutor feud between the order and archbishop and in 1558 the Livonian War also broke out.

After that the serious opposition incurred between the Catholic Poland and Lutheran Sweden, the slight contra reformation took place in South Estonia.




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