Sedlnitzky, Leopold Von

Sedlnitzky, Leopold Von formerly prince-bishop of Breslau, was born July 29, 1787, at Geppersdorf, in Austro-Silesia. Appointed for the Church, he was educated accordingly, and in 1798 the cathedral chapter of Breslau already nominated him as dean. In 1804 he commenced his studies at the Breslau University, where ex-Jesuits or their pupils were his teachers. In 1830, Sedlnitzky (not Seldnitzky, as Dr. Kurtz has it) was made provost of the chapter, and in 1835 prince-bishop. In the different positions which Sedlnitzky occupied, he had the best opportunity of seeing the doings of the hierarchy. A rupture with the see of Rome became finally a mere question of time, and on May 10, 1840, he resigned his bishopric. Frederick William IV, then king of Prussia, appointed him as member of the council of state, and thus he was obliged to take up his abode at Berlin. He now studied Church history and symbolics. The authority of the councils lost its power with him, as not founded upon the Holy Scriptures. He saw that the faith in the free grace of God in Christ, and not the episcopal government, was the uniting link of the Church. At first he attended the divine service of his Church, but this he soon abandoned, and listened to the preaching in different evangelical churches. He had a great desire for the Lord's supper, and it was a great pain to him to be deprived of this communion with the Lord and the brethren. After many hard inward struggles, he resolved in 1863 to join the evangelical Church, and in the church of Friedrich Werder he partook of the Lord's supper. From his own means he founded two institutions at Berlin — the Paulinum in 1862 and Johanneum in 1864 — both for the education of teachers for the school and Church. In Breslau, also, he founded an institution for evangelical students of theology. Sedlnitzky died May 25, 1871, being the first Roman Catholic bishop who after the time of the Reformation became a convert to the evangelical Church. See Kurtz, Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte (1874), 2, 262, especially the autobiography of Sedlnitzky, which was published in 1872, and which is an important contribution to modern Church history. For a review of this biography, see Hauck, Theologischer Jahresbericht, 1871, 7, 700 sq. (B.P.)

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