Post-classical history

Elisabeth of Thuringia (1207-1231)

The second patron saint of the Teutonic Order (after the Virgin Mary).

Elisabeth was the daughter of Andrew II, king of Hungary, and Gertrude of Andechs-Meran. In 1211 she was sent to Thuringia as the fiancée of Ludwig, son of Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia, and was married to him in 1221. Ludwig joined the crusade of Emperor Frederick II, but fell ill and died in Otranto (1227). After his death, Elisabeth settled in Marburg, where she founded a hospital, dedicated to St. Francis, caring for the poor and the needy. She intensified her charitable activity under the influence of her confessor, Konrad von Marburg (c. 1180-1233). Soon after her premature death (1231), on the initiative of Konrad and her own brother-in-law, Count Konrad (d. 1240), a member of the Teutonic Order, she was canonized (1235). Due to the close ties between the ruling dynasty of Thuringia and the Teutonic Order, Elisabeth’s cult, rooted in the veneration of her shrine in Marburg, became important in the order’s life and liturgy. Many conventual churches and hospitals were dedicated to her, and her feast day (19 November) and translation were celebrated, the latter exclusively by the order.

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