John, Elector of Saxony


John of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1509.
Elector of Saxony
Reign 5 May 1525 16 August 1532
Predecessor Frederick III
Successor John Frederick I
Born (1468-06-30)30 June 1468
Meissen, Electorate of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire
Died 16 August 1532(1532-08-16) (aged 64)
Schweinitz, Electorate of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire
Burial Schlosskirche, Wittenberg
Spouse Sophie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Margaret of Anhalt-Köthen
Issue John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony
Maria, Duchess of Pomerania
John Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg
House House of Wettin
Father Ernst, Elector of Saxony
Mother Elisabeth of Bavaria
Religion Lutheranism

John of Saxony (30 June 1468 – 16 August 1532), known as John the Steadfast or John the Constant, was Elector of Saxony from 1525 until 1532. He was a member of the House of Wettin.


Born in Meissen, he was the fifth of the seven children of Ernest, Elector of Saxony and Elisabeth of Bavaria.

From 1486 onwards he was the heir presumptive of his childless brother Frederick the Wise; when he died in 1525, John inherited the title of Elector. As his nickname "The Steadfast" indicates, he resolutely continued the policies of his brother toward protecting the progress of the Protestant Reformation. In 1527 the Lutheran Church was established as the state church in Ernestine Saxony, with the Elector as Chief Bishop. He was a leader of the Schmalkaldic League of Protestant states formed in 1530 to protect the Reformation.

Guldengroschen of Saxony, c. 1508-1525. The obverse shows John's older brother, Frederick, while on the reverse, John is portrayed face to face with George, Duke of Saxony.

He died in Schweinitz. After his death he was, like his brother Frederick, buried in the famous Castle Church in Wittenberg with a grave by Hans Vischer. He was succeeded by his eldest son John Frederick.

Marriage and children

In Torgau on 1 March 1500 Johann married firstly Sophie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, daughter of Magnus II, Duke of Mecklenburg. They had one son:

  1. John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony (b. Torgau, 30 June 1503 – d. Weimar, 3 March 1554).

In Torgau on 13 November 1513 John married secondly Margaret of Anhalt-Köthen. They had four children:

  1. Maria (b. Weimar, 15 December 1515 – d. Wolgast, 7 January 1583), married on 27 February 1536 to Duke Philip I of Pomerania-Wolgast
  2. Margaret (b. Zwickau, 25 April 1518 – d. Liestal, Switzerland, 10 March 1545), married on 10 June 1536 to Hans Buser, Freiherr of Liestal.
  3. John (b. and d. Weimar, 26 September 1519)
  4. John Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Coburg (b. Coburg, 10 May 1521 – d. Coburg, 8 February 1553).



    Further reading

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    John, Elector of Saxony
    Born: 30 June 1468 Died: 16 August 1532
    Preceded by
    Frederick III
    Elector of Saxony
    Succeeded by
    John Frederick
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