John III of Rietberg

John III of Rietberg
Spouse(s) Sabina Catherine of East Frisia
Noble family Cirksena
Father Edzard II, Count of East Frisia
Mother Katarina Vasa
Born 1566
Died 23 January 1625(1625-01-23)

John III of Rietberg (1566, Aurich 23 January 1625, Rietberg) was a member of the Cirksena family. He founded the Catholic side line of the Cirksena in the Westphalian County of Rietberg, the so-called house of East Frisia.

He was a son of Count Edzard II of East Frisia and Princess Katarina of Sweden, and a younger brother of Count Enno III of East Frisia.

John married in 1601 with Sabina Catherine, the daughter of his brother Enno III. Under the Treaty of Berum, Sabina Catherine had been awarded the County of Rietberg, which her mother Walburgis had brought into the Cirksena family. John had converted to the Roman Catholic faith at an early age, and needed papal dispensation to marry his niece.

Sabina Catherine converted to Catholicism in 1601. Together, they reverted the reformation in the county of Rietberg. That he didn't convert only for political reasons, was made evident when he founded a Franciscan monastery in Rietberg. Being a catholic, John could make his career in the imperial service. He became an officer in the imperial army and later in the Spanish army. John conquered the Prince-Bishopric of Paderborn, which had turned Protestant, committing atrocities against the population in the process.

After Sabina Catherine died in childbirth giving birth to her eleventh child, in 1618, John ruled Rietberg alone until his death in 1625.

Marriage and issue

John III was married to Sabina Catherine Cirksena, heiress of the county of Rietberg. They had eleven children:


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