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The History of the Church 102 The Teutons of Prussia Originally, the confraternity of the Knights of Saint Mary’s House of the Teutons in Jerusalem was simply a military order like others. It was created in 1190 in Saint John of Acre to help Germanic pilgrims to the Holy Land and to care for wounded crusaders. Hermann von Salza, its grand master from 1211, profoundly changed the character of the order. After warring in the Holy Land for many years, he became an indispensable diplomat, helping to settle differences between the Germanic Empire and the Holy See. In 1230, he launched a crusade against the pagans of Prussia and the Baltic countries. It took 50 years for the Teutonic Knights (who, in the meantime, had incorporated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword) to complete this evangelization of Prussia by the use of arms. The Christianization of the Baltic countries came about only much later, after two centuries. On the other hand, the Teutonic Knights failed before the young Orthodox Russia. In April 1242, Prince Alexander Nevski dealt them a bloody defeat at the borders of Estonia. The Teutonic order was mostly absorbed by the reform of Luther and disappeared in Prussia, continuing as such only in the Catholic areas of Germany. It was abolished by a decree of Napoleon issued in 1809. However, the order still exists in Germany as a charitable organization. Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1781–1853) Innocent III Bestows the Ring of Command on Hermann von Salza National Palace, Berlin ...


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