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Johann Lohel

Archbishop of Prague, b. at Eger, Bohemia, 1549; d. Nov. 2, 1622

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Lohel (LOHELIUS), JOHANN, Archbishop of Prague, b. at Eger, Bohemia, 1549; d. November 2, 1622. Of poor parentage, he was piously brought up; at fifteen he was engaged as a domestic in the Norbertine Abbey of Tepl, but was allowed to follow the classes in the abbey school; he soon surpassed his fellow students, and in 1573 received the Norbertine habit. After a two-years novitiate, Lohelius went to study philosophy at Prague. He was ordained in 1576 and was recalled to the abbey. The Lutheran heresy having made inroads into Bohemia, he gave a course of sermons at Tepl, in which he gained the hearts of the heretics, and brought many back to the Church.

In 1579 he became prior of Mount Sion Abbey, at Strahov. The abbot and he strove, with some success, to lift the abbey out of the unfortunate state into which it had fallen; but Lohelius was soon called back to Tepl. However, he was’ in 1583 allowed to resume the office of prior of Strahov.

Lohelius was elected Abbot of Strahov in 1586. With him a new era of progress and prosperity dawned on the sorely tried Abbey of Strahov. The emperor and the magnates of Bohemia generously assisted him in restoring the church and abbey buildings; the abbot-general, John Despruets, named him his vicar-general and visitor of the circles of Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland. In 1604 he was consecrated Bishop of Sebaste in partibus, as auxiliary to the Archbishop of Prague. During the illness of Archbishop von Lamberg, Paul V created Lohelius coadjutor in May, 1612. At the death of von Lamberg on September 18, 1612, Lohelius became Archbishop of Prague.

The rescript of Rudolph in 1609 had emboldened the Protestants; having gained the upper hand in Prague, they persecuted the clergy and expelled many priests, regular and secular. The cathedral was altered to suit the Calvinistic worship; the altars were demolished, and the paintings and statues destroyed. Lohelius had taken refuge in Vienna, where he remained until 1620. After the battle of the White Mountain, the archbishop and his chapter, as well as the Jesuits and other religious, returned to Prague. The cathedral, cleansed and refurnished, was again consecrated on February 28, 1621. Lohelius died soon after, of a slow fever; he was buried in the church of Strahov.


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