THE EFFECT OF LUTHER ON THE ORDER OF SAINT AUGUSTINE (2)
The Province of Cologne lost four houses, largely through the advent of Calvinism in the Netherlands. It too enjoyed the benefit of strong and outstanding leadership
Slightly further away in southern Germany, the Augustinian Province of Bavaria lost nine of its fifty houses. The remaining houses experienced a serious decline in membership, and this led to a laxity of discipline and a lowering of morale in many instances.
The houses in Poland of the Province of Bavaria were untouched by the ideas of Luther, and went on to become a separate Province of Poland in 1547.
In total, of the 160 Augustinian monasteries under German Augustinian control on the eve of the Protestant Reformation, sixty-nine (i.e., two-thirds of them) were lost in the following decade because of theological and/or political turmoil.
Of the thirty-six Augustinian houses in the observant congregation, twenty-three (i.e., two-thirds) were lost. Most of these monasteries ceased contrary to the will of the occupant Augustinians, i.e., as instances of forced eviction much more than because of voluntary flight.
Almost without exception, the Augustinians did not as a group walk out and leave the Church, but in most cases were expelled by authorities or forces that wished their absence or wanted to confiscate their buildings - or both.
Outside of Germany, Augustinian Provinces elsewhere in Europe were also affected by the Protestant Reformation - but less so.
In Italy, a relatively small number of Augustinians left the Church and Order for Lutheranism, and the same happened in Holland and France. Harsh measures were sometimes applied by Church authorities when individual Augustinians were challenged as to the orthodoxy of their doctrine in a number of cases.
For example, four suffered death at the stake for refusing to recant: and on 1st July 1523 two Augustinians in Brussels (about whom Martin Luther composed a hymn to praise them as martyrs), and in 1524 Heinrich von Zurphen in northern Germany and Jean Chatelain in Metz.
In these countries the Order survived generally because of strong leadership and through the renewing of religious life - in effect bringing about some of the reforms that Martin Luther had called for.
The addition of the onset of Lutheranism became one more challenge for the Augustinian Province of Hungary, which already was beset with the invasion of the Turks and by civil war.
The priory at Bartfa was taken over by the Lutherans in 1528, the Turks closed the houses at Ilkok, Buda, Papocz and Szekesfehervar, and the civil war destroyed the houses at Szepesvar and Szepesvaralja.
The Augustinian Church at Eger persisted until 1596, when the Turks gave it to the Serbian Orthodox.
Founded in the middle of the thirteenth century, by 1599 the Augustinian Province of Hungary no longer existed.
(Continued on the next page.)
Click here for the page in Augnet on Martin Luther as an Augustinian in Rome.
Click here for Augnet's general page on Martin Luther.