George of Polenz

George Of Polenz, the first regular Roman Catholic bishop who embraced the Reformation, was born at Meissen in 1478. He studied theology in Italy, was licensed there, and, having gone to Rome, became private secretary to pope Julius II. Having been admitted to the order of Teutonic Knights, he went to Prussia, where, in 1518, the grand master, Albrecht, margrave of Brandenburg, appointed him bishop of Sambia. His diocese was the first in which the Reformation strongly established itself. Brissman, a pupil of Luther, who had previously been a Franciscan, came to Konigsberg, and the bishop invited him to preach the first evangelical sermon in the cathedral, September 24, 1523. The bishop himself soon openly adopted the Reformed doctrines. In January 1524, he ordered that all sermons and baptisms should take place in the vernacular throughout Prussia, and at the same time recommended Luther's Bible and writings. Luther wrote to Spalatin (February 1, 1524), Episcopus tandem unus Christo nomen dedit et evangelizat in Prussia, nenpe Sambiensis, and in the following year, 1525, he dedicated to Dr. Georgio a Polentis, vere episcopo Sambiensis ecclesie, his Latin commentary on Deuteronomy. In 1525 bishop George resigned all secular government. He then retired to the palace of Balga, and died April 28, 1550. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 5:26.

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