Eric of Brunswick-Grubenhagen

Eric of Brunswick-Grubenhagen (1478 – 14 May 1532 in Fürstenau) was from 1508 to 1532 prince-bishop of Paderborn and Osnabrück. In 1532, he was elected bishop of Münster, however, he died before he could be consecrated.

Eric of Brunswick-Grubenhagen
Braunschweig, Erich von-2.jpg
Died(1532-05-14)14 May 1532
Noble familyHouse of Guelph
FatherAlbert II, Duke of Brunswick-Grubenhagen
MotherElizabeth of Waldeck


Eric was the youngest son of the Duke Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Grubenhagen and his wife, Countess Elizabeth of Waldeck. While his elder brother Philip inherited the principality of Grubenhagen from his father, Eric was destined according to the customs of the era for a career in the clergy. After studying in Rome he became canon at the cathedrals in Münster and Paderborn. Eric was elected prince-bishop of Paderborn and Osnabrück and his election was confirmed by Pope Julius II on 20 April 1509. However, Emperor Maximilian I refused to acknowledge him as prince and even outlawed him, because of an outstanding tax debt. Eric received imperial recognition only on 2 April 1521, from Emperor Charles V.

The Reformation started during his term in office. However, it hardly affected Eric, neither theologically, nor in his role as worldly ruler. He remained faithful to the Catholic doctrine himself, and did not have any disputes with his Lutheran neighbours, nor with the Lutheran citizens of the cities in his Prince-bishopric. He kept an open mind, and granted many exemptions to the Lutherans in his territory. In the Roman Catholic literature his stance on religious matters is described as ambiguous, because he witnessed the wedding of a former Benedictine nun from Kaufungen.

In 1532, Frederick III of Wied resigned as Prince-Bishop of Münster and Eric III was elected as his successor. This would have meant that the three prince-bishoprics in Westphalia would be united in a personal union. However, Eric died unexpectedly on 14 May 1532, during a banquet in Fürstenau to celebrate his election in Münster with his noble friends.


  • Ferdinand Spehr (1877), "Erich II., Herzog von Braunschweig-Grubenhagen", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 6, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 202–203
  • Wilhelm Kohl (2003), Das Bistum Münster, 3, 7, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 546ff, ISBN 9783110175929
  • Hans Jürgen Brandt and Karl Hengst (1984), Die Bischöfe und Erzbischöfe von Paderborn, Bonifatius-Druckerei, pp. 192ff, ISBN 9783870883812

External linksEdit

Eric of Brunswick-Grubenhagen
Cadet branch of the House of Este
Born: 1478 Died: 14 May 1532
Regnal titles
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Herman I
Prince-Bishop of Paderborn
as Eric
Succeeded by
Hermann II
Preceded by
Conrad IV
Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück
as Eric II
Succeeded by
Francis I of Waldeck
Preceded by
Frederick III of Wied [de]
Prince-Bishop of Münster
as Eric III