Thursday, November 3, 2011

Saxon king to become Lutheran

November 3, 1905

King Friedrich August of Saxony is preparing to leave the Roman Catholic church and become a member of the Lutheran church, writes the Marquise de Fontenoy.  The king's decision has been "prompted by the refusal of the Vatican to grant a dissolution of his marriage" from the former Archduchess Luisa of Austria.

The King received a divorce from the "civil courts of his kingdom."  Most of his subjects are Lutheran, and in their eyes, the marriage "has ceased to exist."    But in the eyes of the Roman Catholic church,  Luise "remains not only the full-fledged wife of the king, but is moreover entitled as such to the rank and status of queen of Saxony."

This has become an extremely awkward situation in Saxony in which Friedrich August, his advisers and many of his subjects "wish to see terminated in one way or another."  The Pope, however, has refused to budge, and grant an annulment of the marriage, "preferring even the loss of a reigning house to the church than than the injury to its prestige and authority which would result from any compromise in the affair."

The king's brother, Prince Maximilian, a priest and a professor of theology at Freiburg university in Switzerland, has been in Rome, where he has been trying to bring pressure "upon the court of Dresden without avail."  He has not been able to convince his older brother to remain in the Church.  It is now considered a foregone conclusion that Friedrich August will abjure his Catholic faith and become a Lutheran.

Shortly after the king's conversion, he will marry Princess Feodore of Schleswig-Holstein, a younger sister of the German Empress, and a "particular favorite of the emperor."  The princess is about 31 years old, "handsome, accomplished and popular at court and among the people at Dresden," where she has lived for most of her life.   Her mother, Duchess Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein,  moved to Dresden shortly after the death of her husband twenty-five years ago.

Princess Feodore has been the subject of several "projects of matrimonial alliances" with the present king of Italy,  Nicholas II of Russia,  Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria, and the late King Alexander of Serbia.  But the princess refused to "abjure the tenets of the Lutheran faith, in which she has been reared, proving an insurmountable obstacle in each case."

Soon Feodore will be the queen consort of Friedrich August, who will be able to join her in worship in the Lutheran church.

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