Matthias von Jagow

Matthias von Jagow (1490, Aulosen, Altmark 1544) was a Bishop of Brandenburg and reformer in Brandenburg.

Matthias von Jagow
Matthias von Jagow; of Harro Magnussen; 1900; Dommuseum Brandenburg
In office1527-1544
PredecessorDietrich V von Hardenberg
SuccessorJoachim of Münsterberg-Oels
Personal details
Aulosen, Altmark

Life and work

He was a member of the old noble von Jagow family from the Altmark. He studied theology and law and was for a while, Dean of the nunnery at Spandau. In 1527, Jagow was elected as bishop of Brandenburg, as successor of Hieronymus Schulz and Dietrich V of Hardenberg, two determined opponents of Martin Luther. His election was confirmed by the pope in 1532, subject to the condition that he had to be ordinated first. Jagow, who had only received ordination to subdeacon, did not comply with this condition.

Although convinced of the need for ecclesiastical reform, he contented himself during the lifetime of anti-reform Elector Joachim I with the redress of abuses and the improvement of clergy. As the most influential advisor of his successor, Joachim II, von Jagow convinced Joachim II to convert to Lutheranism and presented the communion under both kinds to him on 1 November 1539, and to the magistrate of Berlin on 2 November. In 1541 led the first church visitation in the Mark Brandenburg, during which the Reformation was carried through. He married in 1541. Around 1535, he had a bishop's cap constructed on top of the Bergfried of his residence Ziesar Castle, as a sign of its being used by the church.

He died in 1544 in Ziesar.

Memorial bust in the Siegesallee

Sculptor Harro Magnussen designed a bust of von Jagow as a secondary character in the memorial of Joachim II in memorial group 20 on the Siegesallee in Berlin, whose central theme was a depiction of the Reformation. Magnussen presented the bishop as a bearded, elderly man with a decorative raised collar. Since no portrait was available, Magnussen asked Emperor William II to model instead of von Jagow, arguing:

I dare to make this suggestion because in Johann Sebastian Bach as a minor character in Frederick the Great so far is create a similar example, when Bach was not a Brandenburg.

The emperor denied the request.[1]


  1. Request quoted from a letter by von Jagow, reproduced in Lehnert 1998, p. 173

References and sources

  • Uta Lehnert: Der Kaiser und die Siegesallee. Réclame Royale, Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin, 1998, ISBN 3-496-01189-0.
  • Rudolf Schwarze (1884), "Jagow, Matthias von", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 20, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 654–657
  • Johannes Schultze (1974), "Jagow, Matthias von", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 10, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 300–301
Preceded by
Dietrich V von Hardenberg
Bishop of Brandenburg
Succeeded by
Joachim of Münsterberg-Oels

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