For many years, konigsberg has always held its european day on the 27th. January with the duke-wilhelm-chain-celebration an event takes place, with which even many konigsbergers can do nothing, because they do not know, what the occasion is.
It has its origins in the history of konigsberg and commemorates duke wilhelm, who on 11. Born in altenburg on april 1598 and was a scion of the ducal house of saxony-weimar. A window picture of him can be seen in the choir room of st. Mary's church in konigsberg. To the possession of this house belonged at that time also konigsberg and approximately 32 villages, which belonged to the duke at that time johann ernst IV. Were subject. While johann ernst was more concerned with administration, his brother wilhelm took up a military career.
The reformation had divided the german people at this time into a protestant and a catholic camp. In some parts of germany, only the faith decided by the sovereign was valid. This belief had to be accepted by the inhabitants of the respective area. The weimar house was one of the first to join the reformation, and therefore konigsberg also became protestant. In 1608, the protestant princes formed a union, while the catholic princes formed a league. This was, as a chronicler writes, the "first tinder of the following three years' war (1618 to 1648) and other disasters that arose from it"."
Konigsberg, which had joined the union, was wedged between the bishoprics of bamberg and wurzburg, which belonged to the catholic league. Konigsberg had to suffer from this. While in the first years of the war bishop's soldiers had committed many an outrage in konigsberg, around 1632 about 8000 men were quartered in the city under the leadership of tilly. In this year almost the whole konigsberg was burned down in a fire. A plaque on the tilly house on the salt market in konigsberg still commemorates the terrible catastrophe.
Duke wilhelm took part in this religious war on the protestant side. In the process, he fell into the hands of the enemy in the service of the duke of brunswick and was placed in fortress custody in neustadt in der steiermark. There the freedom should be given back to him only when he as a prince would fall away from the recognized truth, i.E. Would convert to the catholic faith. However, duke wilhelm remained true to his faith. On 27. December 1624 duke wilhelm was set free again on the condition that he would no longer take up the sword.
Immediately after his release, he announced his imminent visit to the konigsberg magistrate. On 25. January 1625 he arrived here in the evening, where he was expected by the people with great enthusiasm.
A chronicler reports: "on wednesday afternoon the duke confessed (…) and to the following day, as the 27. Januaryie, the holy communion in christian-furstlicher devotion and devotion received and this day as thanksgiving and joy day with morning and afternoon sermon celebrated."
Even today, a service is held every year in konigsberg in memory of duke wilhelm of saxony-weimar. For how much duke wilhelm with the castra kunegesperch is evident from the fact that he first returned to konigsberg after his release from captivity. Not to forget that on 27. On january 1625, winterstein donated exactly 12,000 gulden to the city of konigsberg, from the interest on which a public festival was held every year on the castle hill until about 1770. Duke wilhelm died at the age of 64 years on 17. May 1662 in weimar.
The service in memory of the duke will be held on sunday, 27. January, 10.15 o'clock, in the marienkirche takes place.