Eberhard Billick, Provincial
It seemed to Billick that his services to the emperor led him to neglect his duties as provincial, but in fact at the various diets he was able personally to approach the princes and delegates of the cities in which the Order’s houses were threatened. Influential friends of the emperor lent their support. In writing to magistrates at home, Billick was able to use imperial messengers to lend force to his demands.
Billick never succeeded in recovering the houses already lost when he took office in 1542, but at least while Charles V was victorious over Protestant princes, he managed to fend off secular control over threatened houses in Mörs, Kreuznach, Weinheim, Speyer, Hirschhorn, and Frankfurt. However, after the defeat of the imperial forces at Innsbruck in 1552, Billick was left without resources, and the province also suffered materially from the war.
In his efforts to salvage the province, Billick stood firm on the legal property rights of the Order. In this he was largely successful. Although the province suffered a serious diminution of personnel, relatively few houses were lost. He was unsuccessful in obtaining the reconstruction of the convent in Düren, torn down by imperial troops in the defense of the town. Mörs was sold to Maurice of Nassau in 1614. Kreuznach, Hirschhorn, and Weinheim remained in Protestant hands, but the Order never relinquished its rights and later, around 1625, managed to repossess them. Husen, too, the community of which had embraced Lutheranism, was reopened in 1694.