Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21, 2012

Cuius Regio, Eius Religio: Why My Ancestors Left Germany

The reason that Germany, then known as the Holy Roman Empire, escaped widespread religious wars might be because of the following principle: Cuius Regio, Eius Religio. “Whose region, his religion.” It was a simple concept . . . in 1555, when the law was passed, Germany was divided into smaller regions ruled by princes. Whatever faith the prince of a particular territory held, that would be the only official --- and permitted --- religion in his sphere of influence. In theory it worked, but people were not and have never been cookie cutters.

It was difficult in those times to just pack up and move to another territory so your faith could be accommodated. Hard-working families could not bear to leave their mills, vineyards, and farms behind. So if you were Lutheran and your prince was Catholic, you might expect to be harassed --- or worse --- until you could somehow move to a Lutheran territory. Some were especially beleaguered by this new law. Calvinists, Anabaptists, and other splinter groups were not in the mix, so if your family happened to adhere to those beliefs, you would be hard-pressed to find a place to live at all. Over time, Germans grew tired of this hassle and decided it was a better bet to move to a place where Cuius Regio, Eius Religio was an unknown concept. They chose the beautiful “New World” currently being colonized by grand old England.

And the rest is history.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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