Diocese of Fulda

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Diocese of Fulda
Erzbistum Freiburg Erzbistum Bamberg Erzbistum Berlin Erzbistum Hamburg Erzbistum Köln Erzbistum München und Freising Erzbistum Paderborn Bistum Aachen Bistum Augsburg Bistum Dresden-Meißen Bistum Eichstätt Bistum Erfurt Bistum Essen Bistum Fulda Bistum Görlitz Bistum Hildesheim Bistum Limburg Bistum Magdeburg Bistum Mainz Bistum Mainz Bistum Münster Bistum Münster Bistum Osnabrück Bistum Passau Bistum Regensburg Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart Bistum Speyer Bistum Trier Bistum Trier Bistum WürzburgMap of the Diocese of Fulda
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Basic data
Country Germany
Ecclesiastical province Paderborn
Metropolitan bishopric Archdiocese of Paderborn
Diocesan bishop Michael Gerber
Auxiliary bishop Karlheinz Diez
Emeritus diocesan bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen
Vicar General Christof Steinert
Episcopal Vicar Karlheinz Diez
surface 10,318 km²
Dean's offices 10 (December 31, 2018)
Parishes 209 (December 31, 2018)
Residents 1,723,473 (December 31, 2018)
Catholics 382,442 (December 31, 2018)
proportion of 22.2%
Diocesan priest 253 (December 31, 2018)
Religious priest 36 (December 31, 2018)
Catholics per priest 1,323
Permanent deacons 60 (December 31, 2018)
Friars 42 (December 31, 2018)
Religious sisters 174 (December 31, 2018)
rite Roman rite
Liturgical language German
cathedral Fulda Cathedral
address Paulustor 5
36037 Fulda
Website www.bistum-fulda.de
Ecclesiastical province
Erzbistum Freiburg Erzbistum Bamberg Erzbistum Berlin Erzbistum Hamburg Erzbistum Köln Erzbistum München und Freising Erzbistum Paderborn Bistum Aachen Bistum Augsburg Bistum Dresden-Meißen Bistum Eichstätt Bistum Erfurt Bistum Essen Bistum Fulda Bistum Görlitz Bistum Hildesheim Bistum Limburg Bistum Magdeburg Bistum Mainz Bistum Mainz Bistum Münster Bistum Münster Bistum Osnabrück Bistum Passau Bistum Regensburg Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart Bistum Speyer Bistum Trier Bistum Trier Bistum WürzburgMap of the church province of Paderborn
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The diocese of Fulda ( Latin Dioecesis Fuldensis ) is a Roman Catholic diocese in the north and east of Hesse and, to a lesser extent, in the west of Thuringia (area around Geisa ) and in north-west Bavaria (exclave Ostheim in front of the Rhön ). It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Paderborn . The bishop's seat is the Fulda Cathedral .


The diocese of Fulda goes back to the foundation of the monastery of St. Boniface in 744 on the Fulda in the area of ​​the Karlmann donation . Boniface appointed his student Sturmius as the first abbot of the Fulda monastery .

On November 4, 751 granted Pope Zacharias the requested Boniface Zacharias privilege , which the monastery directly to the Holy See assumed. Fulda’s special bond with Rome is still expressed today in the large statue of Peter in Fulda Cathedral. As a legal consequence, the jurisdiction and the right of consecration in the widely ramified possessions of the monastery remained with the respective diocesan bishop in whose diocese they were, but were bound to the previous invitation by the abbot and the convent. They were able to protect the monastery and its property from unwanted interference, but the monastery had not yet obtained an exemption from the diocesan association. Nevertheless, the Zacharias privilege represents the basis for the later development, which in the 17th century brought about a quasi-episcopal position of the Fulda abbot and which was completed in 1752 with the elevation of Fulda to the prince-bishopric.

Due to the transfer of the body of Boniface, venerated as a martyr , to Fulda, the Fulda monastery with the Boniface tomb quickly developed into a place of pilgrimage of supraregional importance, which it has not lost until today. Saints Boniface and Sturmius became the patron saints of the monastery and later of the diocese.

View of the monastery (1655). The Ratgar Basilica can be seen in the middle.

Between 791 and 819, the Ratgar basilica was built in the Fulda monastery based on the model of the old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and was the largest church building north of the Alps. The Fulda monastery gained more and more influence in the following centuries through donations and in the 9th century, under Abbot Rabanus Maurus, it became the scientific center of the empire. 1220 the abbey was by Emperor Frederick II. To Fürstabtei levied.

Early modern age

Prince Abbot Balthasar von Dernbach (1570–1606) endeavored to promote the Counter Reformation and in 1571 settled the Jesuits in Fulda, who made a considerable contribution to this. Balthasar's efforts, in particular to improve the Fulda cathedral chapter, however, angered both this and the Protestant princes against him, so that in May 1576 they asked the Würzburg prince-bishop Julius Echter to take over government power in the Fulda monastery . The expelled Balthasar fled to Mainz, where he asked the Pope and Emperor for help. The takeover of Fulda was declared null and void and Pope Gregory XIII. Echter threatened to be banned from the church if Würzburg did not return Fulda. Echter insisted on a judicial clarification, which took place in a 26-year trial before the Reichshofrat on August 7th, 1602: Würzburg had to return the monastery, the Fulda cathedral chapter, the knighthood and the cities were sentenced to a fine and jointly had the legal costs take over. After his return, Balthasar continued his policy and had Balthasar Nuss carry out witch trials . He achieved the complete restoration of Catholicism in the city and in Fulda Abbey.

Cathedral of St. Salvator in Fulda.
The grave of St. Boniface in the Fulda Cathedral.

The Ratgar basilica was demolished in 1700 by order of Prince Abbot Adalbert von Schleifras and replaced by a baroque new building by Johann Dientzenhofer , partly on the old foundations and including rising masonry; with the establishment of the diocese, the monastery church became a cathedral. The Salvastor patronage was retained, which was transferred from its original location in the high choir of the west apse of the Ratgar basilica in 1420, but certainly before 1478 in the west crypt, to the Boniface tomb under the high altar of the baroque building.

Since the end of the 16th century, the Fulda abbots strove to obtain quasi-episcopal powers. After Pope Clement VIII had already applied the phrase nullius dioecesis (“not assigned to any diocese”) to the abbot and chapter of Fulda in 1593 , the abbot obtained the iurisdictio quasi-episcopalis (“quasi-episcopal jurisdiction”) in the Hammelburg Treaty of 1604 1662 was confirmed between Prince Abbot Joachim von Gravenegg and Johann Philipp von Schönborn , who had united the Archbishopric of Mainz and the Würzburg diocese in his hand since 1647. A legal dispute initiated again by Würzburg in 1688 was decided in 1721 by the Roman Curia in favor of Fulda. In the Karlstadt contract of 1722, the Hammelburg contract was then essentially confirmed.

Under Prince Abbot Adolf von Dalberg , Stefan Cloth received the episcopal ordination as titular bishop von Derbe on January 25, 1727 and has since acted as auxiliary bishop of Fulda . After his death, Amand von Buseck succeeded him in 1728 as auxiliary bishop in Fulda , who succeeded Dalberg as prince abbot in 1737. For the first time the prince abbot himself was able to exercise the right of consecration.

Elevation to the diocese

On October 5, 1752, as a consequence of this development, the prince abbey was raised to the rank of diocese by Pope Benedict XIV and Amand von Buseck as the prince-bishop, the first diocesan bishop of the new diocese. This ended the competence disputes with the Archdiocese of Mainz and, above all, the Diocese of Würzburg, in which the majority of the Fulda possessions were located, with scientific ( Johann Friedrich Schannat ; Johann Georg von Eckhart ) and legal means up to decades of trials before the Curia.

In 1802, with the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss, the clerical principality and its monasteries were dissolved. Its territory was added to the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda in the course of secularization . As a jurisdiction , the diocese remained not only canonical, but also factually. Prince-Bishop Adalbert von Harstall worked as shepherd until 1814 . After his death, the diocese was administered by the Apostolic Vicar Heinrich Freiherr von Warmsdorf OSB . The use of the title Prince Bishop and the use of the secular symbols of dignity associated with it (such as the prince's hat and coat ) was not approved until 1951 by Pope Pius XII. formally abolished. By the bulls Provida solersque 1821 and Ad dominici gregis custodiam 1827, the diocese was rewritten as the Electorate of Hesse. In 1857 the Catholics of the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar also came under the suzerainty of the Diocese of Fulda. After Kurhessen fell to Prussia in 1866, the bishopric remained vacant during the Kulturkampf from 1873 to 1881.

In 1929, the diocese lost earlier Kurhessian areas in the city of Frankfurt to the diocese of Limburg , but got this from the diocese of Paderborn , primarily a Catholic Commissariat Heiligenstadt and the deanery Erfurt . In 1930, the Grafschaft Schaumburg district , which was until 1866, moved to the diocese of Hildesheim .

Post war history

The division of Germany after the Second World War made it increasingly difficult for the Bishop of Fulda to exercise his official duties in the parts of the diocese in the eastern zone. Therefore, in 1946, Erfurt Cathedral Provost Joseph Freusberg was appointed vicar general with his seat in Erfurt, who also became auxiliary bishop in 1953, for the eastern areas of the diocese of Fulda . His successor Hugo Aufderbeck was appointed Episcopal Commissioner in 1968. With the reorganization of the Catholic Church in the GDR in 1973, the areas of the dioceses Fulda and Würzburg were assigned to the new Episcopal Office of Erfurt-Meiningen by decree of the Holy See . Head of the episcopal office was an apostolic administrator as titular bishop .

On November 17 and 18, 1980, Pope John Paul II was enthusiastically welcomed by more than 100,000 believers on the Cathedral Square during his visit to Boniface's tomb and celebrated a Holy Mass there. From 1983 to 2000, Archbishop Johannes Dyba was in charge of the diocese, a man in demand beyond Fulda, but also a controversial man.

According to a contract between the Holy See and the Free State of Thuringia on the establishment of the Diocese of Erfurt on June 14, 1994, the Episcopal Office of Erfurt-Meiningen was elevated to a diocese by Pope John Paul II on July 8, 1994 with the Apostolic Constitution Quo aptius assigned to the church province of Paderborn . Only the dean's office Geisa in the Thuringian Rhön remained with the diocese of Fulda due to historically very close connections.

In order to adjust the diocese to a decline in church attendants, priests and financial resources, Bishop Algermissen launched the “Pastoral Process” in 2002, in the course of which the parishes were grouped into 48 pastoral associations in 2006 (whereby the parishes retained their independence) and in 2007 the number the deanery was reduced from 21 to 10. 392,951 Catholics live in the diocese of Fulda (as of 2016).

Abbots and Bishops of Fulda

Prince-Bishop Henry VIII of Bibra

After the monastery was founded in 744, Sturmius was first abbot in the Fulda monastery. He was followed by another 46 abbots, including Ratgar (802-817), Rabanus Maurus (822-842) and Gernot von Fulda (1165). After the monastery was raised to a prince abbey in 1220 by Emperor Friedrich II, 69 prince abbots ruled by Konrad III in Fulda. from Malkes (1221–1249) to Balthasar von Dernbach (1570–1576 and 1602–1606) to Adalbert von Schleifras (1700–1714), Konstantin von Buttlar (1714–1726) and Adolf von Dalberg (1726–1737) in the wedding of baroque architecture in Fulda.

Under Prince Abbot Amand von Buseck (1737–1756) the abbey was finally raised to a diocese in 1752 . He was followed by Adalbert II von Walderdorff (1757–1759) and Heinrich von Bibra (1759–1788). The last prince-bishop until the ecclesiastical principality was dissolved in 1803 was Adalbert von Harstall (1789–1814).

Since 1803, 14 men have held the office of Bishop of Fulda. The last so far were Adolf Bolte (1959–1974), Eduard Schick (1975–1982) and Johannes Dyba (1983–2000), who retained the personal title of Archbishop from his previous Vatican diplomatic period as Apostolic Nuncio and Titular Archbishop of Neapolis in Proconsulari . From 2001 to 2018 Heinz Josef Algermissen was Bishop of Fulda; he was supported by Auxiliary Bishop Karlheinz Diez and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Johannes Kapp . Since Algermissen's resignation on June 5, 2018, the diocese has been vacant .

Michael Gerber , former auxiliary bishop of Freiburg, was after the election by the Fulda Cathedral Chapter on December 13, 2018 Pope Francis as successor to Heinz Josef Algermissen appointed Bishop of Fulda and on 31 March 2019 a festive service in Fulda Cathedral in his office introduced.

Cathedral chapter

The cathedral chapter is a legal person under both church and state law. It is responsible for the solemn organization of the services in the High Cathedral in Fulda and also supports the bishop in the management of the diocese. In the event of the vacancy of the episcopal chair, it elects the diocesan administrator and, in accordance with Article 6, Paragraph 1 of the Prussian Concordat, the new bishop.

Membership in the Fulda monastery or later cathedral chapter was reserved for the nobility until the end of the bishopric. On the occasion of the elevation of the abbey to the diocese in 1752, the number of members was limited to 15 people. The dean at the head of the chapter and the eight, since 1735, nine oldest capitulars each held provosts that had emerged from secondary monasteries and had developed into independent administrative offices over time. Traditionally, the Neuenberg priory was associated with the office of dean. The following priests existed:

In the course of the reorganization of the Catholic Church in Germany after the Congress of Vienna, the Bull Provida solersque 1821 stipulated that the Fulda cathedral chapter consists of the cathedral dean and four other cathedral chapter members. Since 1929 (Art. 2 para. 7 Prussian Concordat) the chapter has consisted of the dean and five other capitulars. The bishop appoints the cathedral capitulars alternately after hearing and with the consent of the chapter. The cathedral dean is elected by the chapter and then confirmed by the bishop.

Members of the chapter are (as of April 2017):

The cathedral chapter also includes four cathedral praise dates .

Diocese structure

Development of membership numbers

The area of ​​the diocese covers an area of ​​almost 10,000 km² and extends from the Frankfurt district of Bergen-Enkheim along the Hessian-Bavarian border to East Hesse and into the former dean's office in Geisa in Thuringia . In addition, the north of Hesse, poor in Catholics, and the region around Marburg belong to the diocese. The Vogelsberg is enclosed on three sides by the diocese borders, but belongs to the diocese of Mainz .

Since the elevation of the episcopal office of Erfurt-Meiningen to the Diocese of Erfurt , the area of ​​the diocese largely corresponds to that of the former Electorate of Hesse and is also largely congruent with the territory of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck .

A specialty is the Ostheim vor der Rhön Curate , which as a former Thuringian exclave still belongs to the Diocese of Fulda under canon law , but has been pastoral care by the Diocese of Würzburg since 1945.


In 2002, Bishop Heinz Josef Algermissen initiated the establishment of 48 pastoral associations in the diocese of Fulda as part of the “Pastoral Process”. A pastoral association is a pastoral care district of binding cooperation and joint action of legally independent, neighboring parishes in the sense of can. 374 § 2 CIC . In 2014 “Principles for Pastoral Care in the Diocese of Fulda” were drawn up, whereupon the “Diocese 2030” process was set in motion. This will include a reduction in the number of parishes to around 45 parishes. The pastoral associations that have existed so far will then be dissolved.

Dean's offices and pastoral associations

Since April 1, 2007, the diocese of Fulda has been divided into 10 deaneries with a total of 48 pastoral associations made up of 224 parishes. The number of pastoral associations was reduced to 43 through mergers by 2011.

Monasteries and religious orders

View of the Frauenberg monastery
View of the seminary and library in Fulda, 1850

In total, there are a little more than 20 religious orders located or active in the diocese of Fulda.

The original Benedictine monastery founded by Bonifatius , which for a long time formed Fulda's spiritual, scientific and political center, was dissolved with the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803. Since then, the seminary and cathedral mechanics have been housed in the former monastery buildings.

Notable religious branches in the diocese

Benedictine women live in the Abbey of St. Mary in the city center of Fulda and run handicraft workshops, a monastery garden and a monastery shop.

The Franciscan monastery with guest house is located on the Frauenberg high above the city of Fulda. The headquarters of the Thuringian Franciscan Province was also located there until 2010 , which then merged with the other Franciscan provinces in Germany. In 2016 the German Franciscan Province entered into a close cooperation with "antonius - Netzwerk Mensch", which intends to set up an inclusive housing project for people with and without disabilities in the monastery buildings and to continue the guest house.

The Monastery of the Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary (OMI) in Hünfeld , East Hesse , which is why they are also known as the Huenfeld Oblates , has existed since 1895. In 2016, a youth community was opened in Fulda.

The mother house has existed since 1834 with several retirement and nursing homes, kindergartens and other nursing facilities in the diocese.

This convention of the contemplative religious order of the Sisters of Bethlehem was founded in 1991 and settled in 2000 in the former Gutsdorf Wollstein in the north Hessian Waldkappel - Harmuthsachsen .

Further branches of the order in the diocese


In the north of the diocese, in Fritzlar , the priory of St. Hermann Josef the Premonstratensian was located until it was closed in 2010 due to a child abuse scandal .


St. Peter and the "Cella St. Lioba" in the foreground

Since 1997 there has been a convent at St. Peter's Church, the "Cella St. Lioba" of the Liobash sisters from the Wald monastery . The community of Benedictine Sisters of St. Lioba was founded in 1920 by Maria Benedikta Föhrenbach in Freiburg im Breisgau.


The Schoenstatt Shrine in Dietershausen

In the Künzeller district of Dietershausen there is a center of the Schoenstatt Movement , which includes the Provincial House of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary , a motherhouse for several dioceses.


Another male order is active in the Sannerz district of Sinntal with the order of the Salesians Don Bosco . In addition to pastoral care , youth work in particular is done in the Don Bosco youth welfare center . The youth welfare center Don Bosco Sannerz is an institution sponsored by the German Province of the Salesians Don Bosco. In 1946, the Salesians of Don Bosco took over the facility for schoolchildren and school leavers in Sannerz.

Diocese saint

The main patron saint is the founder and patron of the monastery, St. Boniface buried in the cathedral , to whom the annual Boniface pilgrimage to the cathedral in Fulda is held in honor . Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia is the diocese's second patroness. Other diocese saints are Bardo , Lioba , Rabanus Maurus and Sturmius , the pupil of Boniface, all of whom also worked in Fulda.

Diocesan calendar

The regional calendar for the German-speaking area is supplemented by own celebrations that apply to the diocese of Fulda. These are listed in the diocesan calendar of the Diocese of Fulda .

Youth and adult education

Schools and colleges

Educational institutions of the diocese of Fulda

In addition to several schools, the diocese maintains its own academic university and facilities for youth work and further education.

Surname place
Bonifatiushaus Fulda
St. Michael Youth Organization "Ludwig-Wolker-Haus" in Kleinsassen and the "Thomas-More-Haus" as well as the "Pater-Löslein-Hütte" both in Hilders
Ludwig Wolker House in Kleinsassen in the Rhön
Catholic Theological Seminar Marburg
Seminary Fulda
Faculty of Theology Fulda
Girls secondary school St. Josef Grossauheim
St. Johann Abbey School Amöneburg
Ursuline School Fritzlar

Adult education

The Bonifatiushaus , house of further education in the Diocese of Fulda, addresses all people and social groups with its theological-religious and political-social education. It includes adult and youth education, family education offers, advanced training for nurses and geriatric nurses, cultural and historical events and exhibitions. The Bonifatiushaus is a member of the Catholic Adult Education - Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Hessen .

Youth work

Church youth work in the diocese, together with the episcopal youth welfare office under the direction of youth pastor Thomas Renze, is shaped by many church youth associations .

Most of the associations belong to the BDKJ . These include German youth force (DJK) -Sportjugend , German Scout Association Saint George (DPSG), Young Action of Ackermann community , Catholic Junge Gemeinde (KJG), Kolping Youth , boy- KAB , Catholic Rural Youth Movement and the Youth St. Michael borne associations J- GCL , KSJ , Maltese Youth . Furthermore, there are Bistum the Schoenstatt Boys' and -Mädchenjugend and with the seat of Germany wide wafers -Jugendbüros in youth Kloster Mario Borzaga the wafers MI in Fulda. The KJF, which only exists in the diocese of Fulda and has 500 members, was founded in 1988 by Archbishop Johannes Dyba . Many of the larger youth associations are not only active at the diocese level, but are divided into local groups at the parish level.

The associations Schoenstattjugend, KJF and OMI-Jugend, as well as the Malteser Jugend , which are not represented in the BDKJ, organize the annual diocesan youth festival Festival of Faith in the Schoenstatt Center Dietershausen in cooperation with the Episcopal Youth Welfare Office , in which usually more than 500 young people take part. The Episcopal Youth Welfare Office and the KJF also organize the diocesan World Youth Day every year on Palm Sunday .


The following Catholic organizations and associations are active in the diocese:

See also

Web links

Commons : Diocese of Fulda  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Steinert becomes the new vicar general. In: bistum-fulda.de. Episcopal Vicariate General Fulda, June 28, 2019, accessed on January 20, 2020 .
  2. {{{title}}}. In: osthessen-news.de. Medienkontor M. Angelstein GmbH & Co. KG, April 1, 2019, accessed on May 19, 2020 .
  3. a b c d e f g h i The diocese in numbers. In: bistum-fulda.de. Episcopal Vicariate General Fulda, June 28, 2019, accessed on January 2, 2020 .
  4. Friedrich Merzbacher (ed.): Julius Echter and his time. Echter-Verlag Würzburg 1973.
  5. Eva Krause: The Ratgerbasilika in Fulda. A historical research study (= sources and treatises on the history of the abbey and diocese of Fulda. 27). Parzeller, Fulda 2002, ISBN 3-7900-0342-5 , pp. 76-78.
  6. Werner Kathrein: Fulda. Pp. 335-340.
  7. ^ Winfried Romberg: The dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Mainz. The Diocese of Würzburg. Volume 8: The Würzburg Bishops from 1684–1746. (Germania sacra 3, 8). de Gruyter, Berlin Boston 2014, p. 305.
  8. Werner Kathrein: Fulda. P. 339.
  9. ^ Entry on Heinrich (Philipp Ernst) von Warnsdorf on catholic-hierarchy.org ; accessed on March 28, 2018.
  10. ^ Franz Gall : Austrian heraldry. Handbook of coat of arms science. 2nd edition Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 1992, p. 219, ISBN 3-205-05352-4 .
  11. ^ Nomina del Vescovo di Fulda (Germania). In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office , December 13, 2018, accessed March 12, 2019 (Italian).
  12. ^ Ceremonial inauguration. Diocese of Fulda, accessed on March 12, 2019 .
  13. Berthold Jäger: Adalbert von Walderdorff, Prince-Bishop of Fulda (1757-1759), in: Hundred Years Historical Commission for Hesse 1897-1997, Volume 1, p. 568 ff., Marburg 1997
  14. ^ Prelate Steinert new cathedral chapter. In: bistum-fulda.de. August 4, 2014, accessed April 24, 2017 .
  15. Implementation of the strategic goals for the orientation of pastoral care in the diocese of Fulda. In: bistum-fulda.de :. Diocese of Fulda, June 1, 2017, accessed on June 2, 2017 .
  16. Growing together. Strategic goals for the orientation of pastoral care in the diocese of Fulda. (PDF: 3,840.51 kB) In: bistum-fulda.de. Bishop of Fulda, 2017, accessed September 29, 2019 .
  17. Diocese map. (PDF; 6,425.3 kB) In: bistum-fulda.de. Retrieved September 29, 2019 .
  18. The diocese in numbers. In: bistum-fulda.de. Diocese of Fulda, December 31, 2018, accessed on September 29, 2019 .
  19. Dean's offices, pastoral associations, parishes. In: bistum-fulda.de. Diocese of Fulda, accessed on September 29, 2019 .
  20. Bonifatiushaus. Retrieved September 29, 2019 .
  21. The KJF. In: Catholic youth in the diocese of Fulda. Episcopal Vicariate General Fulda, accessed on July 23, 2019 .
  22. Festival of Faith in Dietershausen. In: bistum-fulda.de. Diocese of Fulda, September 13, 2007, accessed on July 25, 2019 .