The Order, under a Prussian Landmeister Heinrich von Plötzke, evicted the Brandenburgers from Danzig in September 1308 but then refused to yield the town to the Poles, and according to some sources massacred the town's inhabitants; although the exact extent of the violence is unknown, and widely recognized by historians to be an unsolvable mystery. The smallest administrative unit of the order was the Kommende. There is an Institute of "Familiares", most of whom are laypeople, and who are attached by spiritual bonds to the Order but do not take vows. A cross pattée was sometimes used. Many forts of wood and mud were built for defence. The Order received donations of land in the Holy Roman Empire (especially in present-day Germany and Italy), Frankish Greece, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Teutonic Order or in its full name the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's hospital in Jerusalem looks back on a long and eventful history of more than 800 years. [44], Example of the Deutschmeisterwappen on the gate of the Bad Mergentheim residence. They requested help from Brandenburg, which subsequently occupied all of Pomerelia except for the citadel of Danzig (Gdańsk) in 1308. Crusading reinforcements and supplies could travel from the Imperial territory of Hither Pomerania through Pomerelia to Prussia, while Poland's access to the Baltic Sea was blocked. In 1234, the Teutonic Order assimilated the remaining members of the Order of Dobrzyń and, in 1237, the Order of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. (Today: German Teutonic Order), is a Two armed German Roman Catholic Order of Knights made up of a Religious Arm and a Secular Arm. [16] Peasants in frontier regions, such as Samland, had more privileges than those in more populated lands, such as Pomesania. This created a personal union between the two countries and a potentially formidable opponent for the Teutonic Knights. In 1515, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I made a marriage alliance with Sigismund I of Poland-Lithuania. [9] Today it operates primarily with charitable aims in Central Europe. Near the Stephansdom in the Austrian capital is the Treasury of the Teutonic Order, which is open to the public, and the Order's Central Archive. The conquest of Prussia was accomplished with much bloodshed over more than fifty years, during which native Prussians who remained unbaptised were subjugated, killed, or exiled. In 1348, the Order won a great victory over the Lithuanians in the Battle of Strėva, severely weakening them. There were five offices. In the prologue of our Order's Book it reads: "Real knighthood does not only know the time-bound form of swordplay, which has passed; the actual composure of chivalrous men  is rather expressed in their commitment for the Lord's kingdom, for protecting the defenceless, for helping the maltreated, those beset, the condemned and those in need." This article is about the religious order. Much of Prussia was devastated in the war, during the course of which the Order returned Neumark to Brandenburg in 1455. He had the rank of the ruler of an ecclesiastic imperial state and was sovereign prince of Prussia until 1466. Honorary Knights of the Teutonic Order have included: A portion of the Order retains more of the character of the knights during the height of its power and prestige. They were elected by the regional chapters. Although the reconstruction represented by the reformed Rule of 1929 had set aside categories such as the knights, over time the spontaneous involvement of laypeople in the Order's apostolates has led to their revival in a modernized form, a development formalized by Pope Paul VI in 1965. Purely religious since 1810, the Teutonic Order still confers limited honorary knighthoods. From 1804 the Order was headed by members of the Habsburg dynasty. 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