Knight of the Order of the Sword, 1202-1237
The Order of the Sword or the Brothers of Christ army (Latin Fratres militia Christi; it. Schwertbruderorden) - German Catholic spiritual-knightly order in Livonia (modern Latvia and Estonia), which existed during the years 1202-1237, the predecessor of the Livonian Order.
In 1201 the Germans had established a fortress city Riga. A year later Bishop of Riga Albert von Buxhoeveden (1165-1229) and his sworn brother and deputy Theodoric (Dietrich) with the support of Pope Innocent III instituted the Order of Brothers of the sword. Order of the united German (mostly Saxon) knights and aimed to capture the eastern Baltic region with the appeal of the local pagan population to Catholicism. In the new territories Knights Swordbrothers built fortified castles and a large part of the occupied land conveyed Bishop of Riga. In 1207 Livonia was recognized as a province of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, in 1225 - Margravate, Bishop Albert was awarded the title of an imperial prince.
The Order of the Sword on the Charter of the Order of the Knights Templar. Orders brothers were divided into knights, priests and employees. Knights of the vow of celibacy, and brought the oath of allegiance to the Pope and Bishop. At the head of the Order was a master. He obeyed Commanders (comtur) in charge of military affairs, collects of church taxes, a secular court and the supervision of jurisdictions. Master and comtur included in the governing council - the Chapter. Knights of the Order wore a distinctive white robes with an image scarlet cross and the sword. The first Master of the Order was Wines von Rohrbach (1202-1208), the second and last - Folkvin von Vintershtatten (von Vintershtayn, Volguin von Naumburg) (1208-1236).
Activities of the Sword in the Baltic is constantly intersect with the interests of the west Russian principalities and cities, especially Novgorod and Pskov. Its interests here were the Danes, based in the north of Livonia in 1219, a fortress Revel (Tallinn). In 1234, Prince of Novgorod - Jaroslav Vsevolodovich defeated the Order's troops under Yuriev (Dorpat), and concluded with the knights of the world on favorable terms. In 1236 Pope Gregory IX declared a crusade against Lithuania (pagan). In the battle of Saule (Šiauliai) on 22 September the army of the Lithuanian prince Vykint inflicted a heavy defeat to the Order. Master and 48 knights were killed and the surviving brothers were placed under the patronage of the Teutonic Order.
May 12, 1237 in Viterbo (Italy), Pope Gregory IX and the grandmaster of the Teutonic Knights Herman von Salz perform the ceremony of accession remnants of the Order of the Sword to the Teutonic Order. In Livonia arrived detachment of the Teutonic Knights, led by Herman Beam, who became a landmaster Livonia. Updated award was renamed the Order of the Teutonic House of St. Mary in Livonia and the Livonian Order. Decree of Pope symbolism of the Order of the Sword was abolished.