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Coat of arms of the Lebus bishopric
Fürstenwalde, today's Protestant St Mary's Cathedral

The Bishopric of Lebus (German: Bistum Lebus; Polish: Diecezja lubuska) was a Roman Catholic diocese and later an ecclestical territory of the Holy Roman Empire. It existed from 1125 until 1598. The diocese encompassed areas on both sides of the Oder River, while the state was a small territory on the left side of the river around the town of Lebus later called Lubusz Land.

The diocese was established about 1125 by Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland to counter the eastward expansion of the Holy Roman Empire, expedited by Emperor Henry V and the Archbishopric of Magdeburg. Lebus was a suffragan diocese of the Archbishopric of Gniezno, a first bishop Bernard is documented in 1133, who is identical with Bernard of Spain, a missionary among the Pomeranians.

With the partition of Poland among Bolesław's sons the influence of the Empire increased and after Duke Henry II the Pious had died at the 1241 Battle of Legnica, his son Bolesław II the Bald in 1248 finally lost the Lubusz Land to the Magdeburg archbishopric and the Ascanian margraves of Brandenburg. However the diocese itself remained subordinate to Gniezno and the Lebus bishops maintained the interests of the Piasts. In 1276 they moved the episcopal seat to Górzyca east of the Oder.

When in 1320 the last Ascanian margrave Henry II died with no heirs the dispute rekindled. Bishop Stefan II supported King Władysław I the Elbow-high of Poland, who campaigned the Neumark. In revenge the new Brandenburg margrave Louis I of Wittelsbach in 1325 raided Górzyca and demolished the cathedral. Stefan II fled to Poland and not until 1354 an agreement was settled between Bishop Henry II Bencz and Margrave Louis II the Roman upon the reinstallation of the bishopric at Lebus.

Nevertheless the newly erected cathedral was devastated again by the troops of Emperor Charles IV in the conflict between the Houses of Wittelsbach and Luxemburg. The bishop took residency in Fürstenwalde and in 1385 the cathedral chapter was moved there too. Not before 1424 the Brandenburg Elector Frederick I of Hohenzollern managed to separate the bishopric from Gniezno and assign it as a suffragan to the Magdeburg archdiocese. As since 1513 the House of Hohenzollern also held the office of the Magdeburg archbishops, Lebus turned Protestant and was secularized in 1555. The former bishopric was finally incorporated into Brandenburg, when in 1598 the last Protestant administrator Joachim Frederick of Hohenzollern became elector.

Composition

Though the considerably small though quite affluent diocese consisted only of one archdeaconry, its 172 parishes were divided into eight main rectories: Falkenhagen, Frankfurt (Oder), Kostrzyn, Müncheberg, Ośno, Rzepin, Seelow and Sulęcin. The territory of the prince-bishopric was made up of the three Ämter Lebus, Fürstenwalde and Beeskow.

Bishops of Lebus

  • 1133–1141 Bernard
  • 1148–1158 Stefan I
  •  ?−1180 Gaudenty
  •  ?−1189 Przecław
  • 1193 Arnold of Mogilno
  • 1196–1201 Cyprian (Bishop of Wrocław 1201-1207)
  • 1201–1233 Laurence
  • 1233–1244 Henry I
  • 1248–1250 Nanker
  • 1252–1273 William I
  • 1274–1284 William II, moved the episcopal see to Górzyca in 1276
  • 1284–1299 Conrad
  • 1300- ? John I
  • 1311–1313 Frederick I
  • 1326–1345 Stefan II (bishop-elect from 1317)
  • 1345–1352 Apeczko of Ząbkowice
  • 1353–1366 Henry II Bencz
  • 1366–1375 Peter I of Opole
  • 1375–1382 Wacław II of Legnica (also Bishop of Wrocław)
  • 1382–1392 John II of Kittlitz (Bishop of Meissen 1393-1398, moved the episcopal see to Fürstenwalde in 1385)
  • 1393–1397 John III Frost (Bishop of Olomouc 1397-1403)
  • 1397–1418 John IV of Borsnitz (Archbishop of Esztergom from 1420)
  • 1420–1423 John V of Waldow (Bishop of Brandenburg 1415-1420)
  • 1423–1436 John VI of Waldow
  • 1424–1436 Christoph von Rotenhan
  • 1437–1439 Peter II von Burgsdorff
  • 1440–1443 Conrad II Kron
  • 1443–1455 John VII von Dreher
  • 1455–1483 Frederick II Sesselmann
  • 1484–1486 Liborius von Schlieben
  • 1487–1490 Ludwig von Burgsdorff
  • 1490–1523 Dietrich von Bülow
  • 1524–1550 Georg von Blumenthal
  • 1550–1555 John VIII Horneburg
  • 1555–1598 Joachim Frederick of Hohenzollern
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