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Sebastian von Rostock

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Bishop of Breslau, b. at Grottkau, Silesia, 24 Aug. 1607; d. at Breslau, 9 June, 1671. He studied classics at Neisse and from 1627 to 1633, philosophy and theology at Olmutz. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1633 he was assigned to pastoral duty at Neisse, and was distinguished for his courage and oratorical talent. When the Swedes captured the city in 1642, Rostock was taken prisoner and deported to Stettin. After his release he was ennobled by the emperor, but remained pastor of Neisse until his transfer in 1649 to the cathedral of Breslau. Henceforth he played a prominent part in the administration of the diocese, and in 1653 was appointed vicar-general. It was largely through his efforts that the right of reformation ( jus reformandi ), granted the emperor by the peace of Westphalia, was effectively exercised in the territory of Breslau, so that 656 Catholic churches which had been seized by the Protestants were restored to their former owners. Considerable difficulty was experienced in providing suitable priests for these numerous churches, and in infusing new religious life into an almost completely-ruined diocese. But Rostock consecrated his life to the task, in spite of the additional difficulty from the almost uninterrupted absence from their diocese of the three bishops under whom he served. In 1664 he was himself elected bishop, and shortly after the civil administration of the district was also placed in his hands. He continued with greater independence in work of Catholic reorganization, endeavoured to suppress the power of the Protestants over affairs of the Catholic Church and to neutralize the anti-Catholic influence of Protestant teachers. He succumbed to an attack of apoplexy, superinduced by an imperial decree which suspended a decision that had been previously granted and which was favourable to Catholic interests.

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