John, Duke of Münsterberg-Oels

John of Münsterberg-Oels (also known as John of Poděbrady; German: Johann von Münsterberg-Bernstadt; Czech: Hanuš z Minstrberka; 4 November 1509, Oleśnica – 28 February 1565, Oleśnica) was Duke of the Münsterberg from 1542 to 1565, Duke of Oels from 1548 to 1565 and Duke of Bernstadt from 1548 to 1565. He also held the title of Count of Glatz.

John of Münsterberg-Oels
Born4 November 1509
Died28 February 1565(1565-02-28) (aged 55)
Noble familyHouse of Poděbrady
Spouse(s)Christina Catherine of Schidlowitz
Margarete of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
IssueKarl Christoph, Duke of Münsterberg
FatherCharles I, Duke of Münsterberg-Oels
MotherAnna of Sagan


Johann Berger family was a member of the Münsterberg branch of the noble Poděbrady family. His parents were Charles I, Duke of Münsterberg-Oels and Anna of Sagan, daughter of Duke John II "the Mad" of Żagań.

On 20 February 1536 John married Christina Catherine of Schidlowitz (Polish: Krystyna Katarzyna Szydłowiecka; 1519–1556). Later that year his father died. Initially, John ruled Münsterberg-Oels jointly with his brothers Joachim, Henry II and George II. In a joint deed dated 25 June 1535, they awarded the city of Srebrna Góra, which belonged to Münsterberg, the status of free mining town. Unlike their father, Joachim and his brothers followed the Lutheran doctrine. In 1537, they expelled the Catholic priests from Münsterberg and appointed an evangelical vicar.

In 1542, Joachim and his brothers pledged the heavily indebted Duchy of Münsterberg to their uncle Duke Frederick II of Legnica. That same year, the other possessions were divided: Henry II received the Duchy of Bernstadt, Joachim, the oldest of the brothers became Bishop of Brandenburg, while John continued the government in the Duchy of Oels. There he led the rebuilding of the castle into a Renaissance castle and the construction of a four storey Front Castle that would be used as Wittum.

After the Duchy Münsterberg was returned to the Poděbrady family in 1559, it was again ruled by John. After the death of his first wife he married on 8 September 1561 with Margarete, a daughter of Duke Henry II of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel who survived John by fifteen years. After John's death in 1565, he was succeeded by his only son, Charles Christoph as Duke of Münsterberg. The Duchy of Oels was inherited by John's nephew Charles II, the Duchy of Bernstadt by his brother Henry III, who sold it in 1574.

In 1557, after the death of his first wife, John had a sandstone tomb built for Christina and himself in the church in Oels. It was built by the sculptor Johannes Oslew from Würzburg and is decorated with floral patterns and coats of arms. At the foot of the life-size figures of the Duke and Duchess are two lions.

John's son, Charles Christopher died in 1569 after a brief reign as Duke of Münsterberg at the age of 24 years. He was the last male descendant of the House of Poděbrady. After his death, the Duchy Münsterberg reverted to the Crown of Bohemia.


  • Hugo Weczerka: Handbuch der historischen Stätten: Schlesien, Stuttgart, 1977, ISBN 3-520-31601-3, p. 322, 372 and 506 as well as genealogical tables on p. 602-603.
  • Dehio-Handbuch der Kunstdenkmäler in Polen: Schlesien. München·Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-422-03109-X, p. 687 ff

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John, Duke of Münsterberg-Oels
Born: 4 November 1509 in Oleśnica Died: 28 February 1565 in Oleśnica
Regnal titles
Preceded by Dukes of Münsterberg (Ziębice)
joint rule with his brothers George II, Henry II, and Joachim

Succeeded by
Dukes of Oels
with his brothers George II, Henry II, and Joachim till 1542

Succeeded by
Preceded by Duke of Münsterberg (Ziębice)
Succeeded by