History Files


European Kingdoms

Eastern Europe




Bishops of Pomesania
AD 1243 - 1587

The Pomesanians were one of the Prussian sub-tribes, located at the westernmost end of Prussian territory. The Polish Prince Konrad of Mazovia invited the Teutonic Knights to settle in the Lower Vistula on the border with the Pomesanians as part of his attempts to secure the disputed Mazovia from Prussian attacks. Once the Knights began their campaigns in Prussia, the Pomesanians were the first of the tribes to fall. Neighbouring them to the east, and the next to fall, were the Pogesanians. Both regions were joined together in a diocese within the new Order state of Prussia. The Papal legate, William of Modena, oversaw the creation of the diocese in 1243, along with those of Culm and Ermland, placing the seat at Riesenburg (modern Prabuty).

1243 - 1248

Although the diocese is created in 1243, it takes until 1248 or 1249 for the first bishop to be appointed.

1248/49 - 1259

Ernst von Torgau

First bishop of Pomesania.


The bishopric of Samland is formed in northern Prussia, comprising the Frisches Haff (Vislinskii Zaliv) and Kurisches Haff (Kurskii Zaliv), with Königsberg serving as the administrative headquarters.

Riesenburg Castle in Prussia
The Order castle of Riesenburg was built on the site of an ancient Prussian fortress and was first mentioned in historical records in 1250

1259 - 1286


1260 - 1274

The Livonian Knights, along with the Teutonic Knights, are abandoned by their Estonian and Couronian vassals and severely defeated at the Battle of Durbe in Livonia by the Samogitians. As a result, numerous rebellions break out against the Teutonic Knights all across the Baltics, including a general uprising throughout Prussia. The Prussians win several battles against the hard-pressed Knights and by 1264 the situation is critical. Reinforcements arrive from Germany and the Order launches an attack against the rebels, with final defeat of the Prussians coming in 1274. Several uprisings occur in the thirteenth century, but none as serious as this.

1277/78 - 1286


Counter bishop in opposition to Albert.

1286 - 1303


1303 - 1308/09


1309 - 1321


1321 - 1331


1331 - 1346

Bertold von Riesenburg

1347 - 1360


1360 - 1376

Nikolaus von Radam / Nikolaus I

1376 - 1409

Johannes Mönch / Johannes I

1409 - 1417

Johannes Rymann / Johannes II

1417 - 1427

Gerhard Stolpmann

1427 - 1440

Johannes von Mewe / Johannes III

1440 - 1463

Kaspar Linke

1464 - 1479

Nikolaus is nominated for the position but does not take up his post, leaving it vacant for fifteen years which are filled with war between Prussia and Poland. Vincent Kielbasa becomes the administrator for the empty seat in 1467.

1464 - 1466

Nikolaus II / Mikolaj

Nominated but did not fill the post.


At the conclusion of the Thirteen Year War, along with the Teutonic Knights, the bishopric of Pomesania falls under the suzerainty of Poland.

1467 - 1478

Vincent Kielbasa


1479 - 1501

Johannes IV Christiani von Lessen

1501 - 1521

Hiob von Dobeneck

1521 - 1523

Georg von Polenz / Achille de Grotis

Sources conflict on this bishop's name.

1523 - 1529

Erhard von Queis

Converted to Lutheranism in 1526.


The Teutonic Knights' Ordenstaat is secularised and converted to Lutheran Protestantism as the duchy of East Prussia. The bishop of Pomesania also converts to Lutheranism and retains his position, and all subsequent bishops are also Lutherans. In the same year, the reverberations of the Peasants' War in Germany reach Prussia.

1530 - 1551

Paul Speratus

1551 - 1561

There is a ten year gap between bishops at this point (some sources make it a sixteen year gap), which remains unexplained.

1561 - 1574

Georg von Venediger


The Union of Poland-Lithuania, Ruthenia, Livonia, Polotsk, and Samogitia is effected, establishing the Commonwealth of Poland. Sigismund II Augustus becomes king of a united Poland-Lithuania.

1575 - 1587

Johannes Wigand / Johannes V


The bishopric of Pomesania is dissolved and the secularised territory is submerged within the duchy of East Prussia. The remaining Catholic areas of the former bishopric are attached to neighbouring Culm, which still survives. Pomesania eventually becomes part of Poland after the conclusion of the Second World War.