Jakob Erlandsen
Jakob Erlandsen was a Danish Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 of Lund
Diocese of Lund
-External links:* from Nordisk Familjebok, in Swedish...

 (1254–1274) and the central character of the first great church conflict in Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...


Belonging to a wealthy magnate
Magnate, from the Late Latin magnas, a great man, itself from Latin magnus 'great', designates a noble or other man in a high social position, by birth, wealth or other qualities...

 family (Galen clan) that was related to Archbishop Absalon
Absalon was a Danish archbishop and statesman, who was the Bishop of Roskilde from 1158 to 1192 and Archbishop of Lund from 1178 until his death. He was the foremost politician and churchfather of Denmark in the second half of the 12th century, and was the closest advisor of King Valdemar I of...

 Erlandsen and all others of Hvide
Hvide was a medieval Danish clan, and afterwards in early modern era a Danish noble surname of presumably one surviving branch of leaders of that clan. Before 16th century it was not used as surname...

 clan, he became a clergyman. He was educated in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and showed a solid juridical knowledge at visits in Rome. From the start he seems to have represented a stand of opposition towards the royal power and as bishop of Roskilde (from 1250) he was at odds with King Eric IV. His zeal seems to have been a de facto independence of the church in relation to the king and the state power. In many ways this was in accordance with international canonical law and in agreement with the offensive course of the papal policy but in Denmark it was relatively unknown; here king and bishops normally had worked together, the latter recognising the upper hand of the king.

1254 bishop Jakob was appointed archbishop and by this his real struggle with the king began. King Christopher I strongly resisted the archbishop’s wish of adjusting the legislation and juridical right of the Danish church with international canonical law because it meant a severe hampering of the state power, among other things of its financial energy. Furthermore this might very well make the archbishop the independent ruler of his diocese Scania
Scania is the southernmost of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces of Sweden, constituting a peninsula on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, and some adjacent islands. The modern administrative subdivision Skåne County is almost, but not totally, congruent with the...

. After many minor conflicts archbishop Jakob 1256 issued the so-called Vejle Constitution, a law that was meant to secure all bishops against any kind of arrest from the king’s side by threatening him with an interdict
Interdict (Roman Catholic Church)
In Roman Catholic canon law, an interdict is an ecclesiastical censure that excludes from certain rites of the Church individuals or groups, who nonetheless do not cease to be members of the Church.-Distinctions in canon law:...

. This law was an open challenge to the king and was far from being supported by all bishops. During the next years Jakob Erlandsen and King Christopher more and more came on collision course and when the archbishop in a critical situation refused to accept the king’s son Eric (Eric V) as crown prince he was arrested and imprisoned 1259.

The arrest only partly provoked the expected interdict but military attacks from the bishop’s foreign allies and the king’s sudden death weakened the royal party and already the same year Jakob Erlandsen was released by the Queen Dowager
Queen Dowager
A queen dowager or dowager queen is a title or status generally held by the widow of a deceased king. In the case of the widow of a deceased emperor, the title of empress dowager is used...

 Margrethe Sambiria, his distant cousin. His new political initiatives against the king however made any reconciliation impossible and already 1263 he fled to Northern Germany. From then the case continued at the papal court in Rome.

Jakob spent most of his last ten years in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 keen on getting satisfaction. He had to handle alternating popes of changing points of view at the same time as he counteracted the Danish government. Denmark was put under interdict and the royal family was excommunicted but it did not yield to the papal verdicts, nor did Jakob get much support from his own church. At last a compromise was reached 1272 by which the archbishop obtained some concessions. He travelled home in order to get a final solution but on the way he died on the island of Rügen
Rügen is Germany's largest island. Located in the Baltic Sea, it is part of the Vorpommern-Rügen district of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.- Geography :Rügen is located off the north-eastern coast of Germany in the Baltic Sea...

. Modern examinations of his skeleton indicate that he might have been assassinated but nothing is sure. After his death King Eric quite simply cancelled all royal concessions.

Jakob Erlandsen’s career and defeat shows the great difficulties of carrying through international ecclesiastical legislation in Denmark. The demands of papal supremacy and the authority of the church collided with the traditional Danish view of the division of power. What the archbishop regarded justified demands of clerical immunity and independence meant disloyalty and treason to the king. More interesting is it that much of the population and even many clergymen seem to have shared the royal opinions. Apart from this Jakob Erlandsen’s style, his alliances with the foreign enemies of the crown and his intense conduct also seem to have repulsed many possible supporters.

His fight was taken up again by his kinsman Jens Grand
Jens Grand
Dr. Jens Grand, the Firebug was a Danish archbishop of Lund , titular Archbishop of Riga and Terra Mariana , and Prince-Archbishop of Bremen , known as the central figure of the second ecclesiastical struggle in Denmark in the late 13th century...

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