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The Order of the Teutonic Knights of St.
Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem - 1190-2020
The German Order of the Teutonic Knights of Christ in Jerusalem
Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem
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  Insignia Germany Order Teutonic.svg    hochmeisterarmsteutonic.png    Insignia Germany Order Teutonic.svg

Administrative Structure of the Teutonic Order

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Universal leadership of the Teutonic Order

Generalkapitel

The Generalkapitel (general chapter) was the collection of all the priests, knights and half-brothers (German: Halbbrüder). Because of the logistical problems in assembling the members, who were spread over large distances, only deputations of the bailiwicks and commandries gathered to form the General chapter. The General chapter was designed to meet annually, but the conventions were usually limited to the election of a new Grandmaster. The decisions of the Generalkapitel had a binding effect on the Großgebietigers of the order.

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Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order

The Hochmeister (Grandmaster) was the highest officer of the order. Until 1525, he was elected by the Generalkapitel. He had the rank of ruler of an ecclesiastic imperial state and was sovereign prince of Prussia until 1466. Despite this high formal position, practically, he was only a kind of first among equals.

Großgebietiger

The Großgebietiger were high officers with competence on the whole order, appointed by the Hochmeister. There were five offices.

  • The Großkomtur (Magnus Commendator), the deputy of the Grandmaster
  • The Treßler, the treasurer
  • The Spitler (Summus Hospitalarius), responsible for all hospital affairs
  • The Trapier, responsible for dressing and armament
  • The Marschall (Summus Marescalcus), the chief of military affairs
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National Leadership

Landmeister

The order was divided in three national chapters, Prussia, Livland and the territory of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The highest officer of each chapter was the Landmeister (country master). They were elected by the regional chapters. In the beginning, they were only substitutes of the Grandmaster but were able to create a power of their own so that, within their territory, the Grandmaster could not decide against their will. At the end of their rule over Prussia, the Grandmaster was only Landmeister of Prussia. There were three Landmeisters:

  • The Landmeister in Livland, the successor of the Herrenmeister (lords master) of the former Livonian Brothers of the Sword.
  • The Landmeister of Prussia, after 1309 united with the office of the Grandmaster, who was situated in Prussia from then.
  • The Deutschmeister, the Landsmeister of the Holy Roman Empire. When Prussia and Livland were lost, the Deutschmeister also became Grandmaster.

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Regional Leadership

Because the properties of the order within the rule of the Deutschmeister did not form a contiguous territory, but were spread over the whole empire and parts of Europe, there was an additional regional structure, the bailiwick. Kammerbaleien("Chamber Bailiwicks") were governed by the Grandmaster himself. Some of these bailiwicks had the rank of imperial states

  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Thuringia (Zwätzen)
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Hesse (Marburg)
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Saxonia (Lucklum)
  • Brandenburg
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Westphalia (Deutschordenskommende Mülheim)
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Franconia (Ellingen)
  • "Chamber Bailiwick" of Koblenz
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Swabia-Alsace-Burgundy (Rouffach)
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick at the Etsch and in the Mountains (south Tyrol) (Bozen)
  • Utrecht
  • Lorraine (Trier)
  • "Chamber Bailiwick" of Austria
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Alden Biesen
  • Sicily
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Apulia (San Leonardo)
  • Lombardy (also called Lamparten)
  • "Chamber Bailiwick" of Bohemia
  • Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Romania (Achaia, Greece)
  • Armenia-Cyprus

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Local Leadership

Komtur

The smallest administrative unit of the order was the Kommende. It was ruled by a Komtur, who had all administrative rights and controlled the Vogteien (district of a reeve) and Zehnthöfe (tithe collectors) within his rule. In the commandry, all kinds of brothers lived together in a monastic way. Noblemen served as Knight-brothers or Priest-brothers. Other people could serve as Sariantbrothers, who were armed soldiers, and as Half-brothers, who were working in economy and healthcare.

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Special Offices

  • The Kanzler (chancellor) of the Grandmaster and the Deutschmeister. The chancellor took care of the keys and seals and was also the recording clerk of the chapter.
  • The Münzmeister (master of the mint) of Thorn. In 1246, the order received the right to produce its own coins – the Moneta Dominorum Prussiae – Schillingen.
  • The Pfundmeister (customs master) of Danzig. The Pfund was a local customs duty.
  • The Generalprokurator the representative of the order at the Holy See.
  • The Großschäffer, a trading representative with special authority.