Pommern and Denmark try to mediate peace

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August 1556

A case where a bishop was imprisoned was not entirely exceptional in XVI century Europe, but it was uncommon. Relatives of archbishop Wilhelm and the accomplices, duke of Prussia, king of Poland and duke of Mecklenburg tried to show the Order as the aggressor, the dukes even tried to form a military alliance to attack Livonia.

This failed, as none of the German princes wanted to take risks for such a far away land as Livonia. On the other hand, the Order fell out of favor with the Empire, which it regained in 1556, when the Teutonic Knights and other supporters of the Order in Livonia presented Order's version of the conflict to the princes.

Other countries made attempts to solve the conflict. In August 1556, ambassadors from Pommern intervened, they observed the situation and realized, that they will not be able to solve the issue, as the Order and the archbishop had clashed over principles. Therefore, Denmark was asked to intervene, the ambassadors arrived in the end of 1556.

Even though Denmark had had very close ties with the duke of Prussia, it did not want Livonia to fall under the influence of Prussia or Poland-Lithuania. Hence, Danish ambassadors did not demand the bishop and the coadjutor to be unconditionally reinstated, but were ready to make compromises. The goal of the Danes was to avoid Order's supremacy in Livonia, which is why they did not support the abolishing of the bishopric of Riga or subordinating it to the Order.

A compromise was reached in January 1557: coadjutor Christoph was to become the new archbishop instead Wilhelm, he would consult the rest of Livonian landlords, and would give up his attempts to gain secular power. Also the imprisoned archbishop had to agree to this plan. But an unexpected obstacle surfaced: in April of 1557, king of Poland-Lithuania, Sigismund II August interfered and refused to acknowledge the compromise.


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