|Lorenz von Bibra
Prince Bishop of Würzburg
Duke in Franconia
Born in 1459, he attended school at Cloister Vessra and university at Heidelberg, Erfurt, and Paris. In 1487 he wrote
a letter of introduction to Pope Innocent VIII for his half brother Wilhelm who was being sent to the Vatican as
emissary of Archbishop Herman of Cologne. In 1490, Wilhelm became ill when returning from Rome as an emissary
of Kaiser Friedrich. Wilhelm's tomb stone is still to be seen in the Pelligrini Chapel of the Saint Anastasia Church in
Lorenz was a popular and well respected ruler. He was often called upon to serve as an arbitrator to solve disputes.
A humanist and renaissance man, he sought to bring reforms to the Catholic church from within. He met with and got
along well with Martin Luther. This was both right before Luther's disputes with the Catholic Church heated up and
right before Lorenz died in 1519. Following the meeting in Würzburg, Lorenz offered (apparently declined) an escort
to Luther and wrote a letter of recommendation to Duke Frederick the Wise of Saxony. Frederick the Wise was the
second most powerful man in the Holy Roman Empire and became Luther's greatest protector and champion during
the Reformation. This letter has caused speculation over Lorenz's sympathies.
Contrary to his successor, Lorenz also had good relations with the famous sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider who at
a time also served as mayor of Würzburg. Lorenz commissioned him to make an alter for the new church in Bibra.
Lorenz also commissioned Riemenschneider to do both his predecessor's and his own grave marker in the cathedral
in Würzburg. Today, the two gravestones stand side by side, same stone and motif, but in two different styles, late
gothic and renaissance.
Lorenz' entrails grave
at Marienburg church
|Engraving from old Wurzburg
Detail from Riemanschneider grave
Lorenz' coat of