Diocese of Halberstadt

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Diocese of Halberstadt
The coat of arms of the Diocese of Halberstadt
The Halberstadt Cathedral , Cathedral of the bishops of Halberstadt

The Diocese of Halberstadt (before 902 to 1648) is a lost historical diocese . It belonged to the ecclesiastical province of Mainz .

The territorial possession of the diocese, the prince-bishopric or also Hochstift Halberstadt , passed in 1648 as a secular principality as a result of the Peace of Westphalia into the possession of the Elector of Brandenburg .


The date of establishment is unknown. A certificate of incorporation is missing. The document of Louis the Pious dated September 2, 814, in which reference is made to a foundation by Charlemagne , is a forgery from the 12th century. Hildegrim, who was identified as bishop in it, was not bishop of Halberstadt, but exclusively bishop of Châlons and, at the instigation of the Archbishop of Mainz, was sent from there to the area around what would later become Halberstadt to missionize among the Saxons.

With this posting, the Franconian rulers followed a pattern that can also be observed in other Saxon mission areas. Hildegrim's sphere of activity should initially not have exceeded the distance of a day's journey, i.e. around 20 to 30 km. The boundaries of his sphere of activity or even of a diocese were not specified.

For the first time in the year 859, with the consecration of the cathedral, the erection of a church building in Halberstadt is documented. In 902 the diocese already existed. A certificate of immunity for Ludwig the child dates from this year . Then the diocese reached in the north to the Aller and Ohre , in the east to the Elbe and Saale , in the west to the Oker , in the southwest to the areas of Unstrut , Helme and Wipper and in the south to Merseburg and Zeitz .

Around the same time, in the Quedlinburg annals, Bishop Sigimund, who resided in Halberstadt, was the first to name a bishop as Bishop of Halberstadt . The region owes its economic and cultural boom to missionary work. Otto I's plans to relocate the diocese to Magdeburg initially failed due to resistance from Halberstadt's Bishop Bernhard von Hadmersleben . Under his successor, Halberstadt then lost the eastern part of his diocese to the Archdiocese of Magdeburg .

From Heinrich III. The Halberstadt diocese received numerous count rights, which were used in the immediate vicinity to build up their own territory, the Halberstadt Monastery . From 1036 to 1059 Burchard , the former Chancellor of Konrad II , was Bishop of Halberstadt. He was followed by Burchard II , a nephew of the Archbishop of Cologne , Anno , who was a supporter of Hildebrand, who later became Pope Gregory VII , and so supported the election of Alexander II , which is why he got into serious conflicts with Emperor Heinrich IV .

In 1479 Ernst von Magdeburg became an administrator - a personal union that was not broken until 1566 when Bishop Heinrich Julius took office . He became the first non-Catholic bishop of Halberstadt.


In 1521 the Reformation began in the imperial territory , which was not without consequences for the Halberstadt diocese. Around 1540 the citizens bought freedom of religion from the Archbishop of Magdeburg. By 1549 the towns, villages and the knighthood of the diocese had converted to the Lutheran creed. Only the cathedral chapter, the monasteries and the monasteries remained in the Catholic denomination.

In 1566, however, the cathedral chapter first elected an officially Protestant bishop, Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel , after his predecessor Sigismund von Brandenburg had already supported the Reformation. Nonetheless, it achieved biconfessionality, i.e. the peaceful coexistence of the Catholic and Lutheran denominations. The choice was not confirmed by the Pope. There were public debates about Heinrich Julius' inauguration in 1578 . The reign of Heinrich Julius and his Protestant successors was marked by the conflict between the Catholic chapter and the bishop.

Due to the complex situation, the diocese remained bi-denominational until 1648. In that year the Thirty Years War ended with a peace treaty that secularized the Halberstadt diocese and granted its territory to Brandenburg-Prussia as the Principality of Halberstadt . The remaining Catholics went up in 1669 in the Apostolic Vicariate of the North .

2004 was the year in which the anniversary “1200 years of the founding of the Halberstadt diocese” was celebrated with activities, events, exhibitions, concerts and guided tours.

Expansion and organization

At the beginning of the 13th century the diocese, in whose spiritual supervisory area there were around 100 monasteries, monasteries and commanderies, was divided into 13  archdeaconates , which then grew to 37 by 1400. These were mostly in the hands of canons, who were often represented by Archipresbyters . The officials had an apparatus of officials that enabled them to a small extent to exercise secular jurisdiction in addition to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The official was supported in this by special officials acting in certain border areas of the diocese.

See also


  • Gustav Schmidt (Ed.): Document book of the Halberstadt bishopric and its bishops. Vol. 1: Until 1236 , Leipzig 1883 ( digitized ).
  • Gustav Schmidt (Ed.): Document book of the Halberstadt bishopric and its bishops. Vol. 2: 1236-1303 , Leipzig 1884 ( digitized version ).
  • Gustav Schmidt (Ed.): Document book of the Halberstadt bishopric and its bishops. Vol. 3: 1303-1361 , Leipzig 1887 ( digitized version ).
  • Gustav Schmidt (Ed.): Document book of the Halberstadt bishopric and its bishops. Vol. 4: 1362-1425 , Leipzig 1889 ( digitized version ).
  • Gerrit Deutschländer, Ralf Lusiardi, Andreas Ranft (eds.): Document book of the Halberstadt Monastery and its bishops. Vol. 5: 1426–1513 , Cologne 2014, ISBN 978-3-412-22282-6 .


  • Dieter Berg (Ed.), Valentin Arnrich (participation): Citizens, mendicants and bishops in Halberstadt. Studies on the history of the city, the mendicants and the diocese from the Middle Ages to the early modern period (= Saxonia Franciscana . Volume 9). Dietrich-Coelde-Verlag, Werl 1997, ISBN 978-3-87163-224-2 .
  • Christoph Bethmann: Episcopi Halberstadenses . Conrad Horn, Wolfenbüttel 1563 ( digitized version ).
  • Uwe Grieme: On the informative value of diocese chronicles and bishops' catalogs of the Halberstadt diocese in the high and late Middle Ages . In: Concilium Medii Aevi . Volume 3, Edition Ruprecht, Göttingen 2000, pp. 185–203 ( PDF ).
  • Karlotto Bogumil : The Diocese of Halberstadt in the 12th century. Studies on the imperial and reform policy of Bishop Reinhard and on the work of the Augustinian Canons (= Central German Research . Volume 69), Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Vienna 1972, ISBN 978-3-412-82972-8 .
  • Kurt-Ulrich Jäschke : The oldest Halberstadt episcopal chronicle. Investigations into Central German historical sources of the high Middle Ages. Volume 1 (= Central German Research . 62/1). Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Vienna 1970, ISBN 978-3-412-04870-9 .
  • Günter Maseberg, Armin Schulze (ed.): Halberstadt. The first diocese in Central Germany. Testimonies from Emperor Charlemagne to the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg (= publications of the City Museum Halberstadt . Volume 29). City Museum Halberstadt, Halberstadt 2004, ISBN 978-3-934245-04-4 .
  • Christof Römer : Beginning in Halberstadt, not in Osterwieck - on the invention of a founding history of the diocese . In: Harz-Zeitschrift 67 , Lukas Verlag für Kunst- und Geistesgeschichte, Berlin 2015, pp. 13–26 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Franz Schrader : City, Monastery and Pastoral Care. Contributions to the city, monastery and Pastoral history in the area of ​​the medieval dioceses Magdeburg and Halberstadt. Collected essays . 1st edition, St. Benno Verlag, Leipzig 1988, ISBN 978-3-7462-0137-5 .
  • Adolf Siebrecht (Ed.): History and culture of the Halberstadt diocese 804–1648 , Halberstädter Dr.-Haus, Halberstadt 2006, ISBN 3-00-017849-X .
  • Klaus Thiele (ed.), Liselotte Thiele (photographs): 1200 years of the Halberstadt diocese. Early mission and early Protestant imagery (= Harz research . Volume 21.) 1st edition, Lukas Verlag für Kunst- und Geistesgeschichte, Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-936872-63-7 .
  • Walter Zöllner : The Halberstadt bishops from the end of the 12th to the middle of the 15th century . Lecture in plenary session on May 9, 2003. Hirzel, Stuttgart / Leipzig 2004, ISBN 978-3-7776-1312-3 .

Web links

Commons : Diocese of Halberstadt  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. D LdF 15.
  2. Theo Kölzer : The documents of Ludwig the Pious for Halberstadt (BM 2 535) and Visbek (BM 2 702) and a serious misunderstanding. in: Archives for Diplomatics , Volume 58 (2012), pp. 103–124 ( doi: 10.7788 / afd.2012.58.jg.103 ).
  3. ^ Theo Kölzer : The beginnings of the Saxon dioceses in the Carolingian era. in: Archiv für Diplomatik , Volume 61 (2015), pp. 11–38, here p. 15 ( doi: 10.7788 / afd-2015-0105 ).
  4. The Braunschweigische Reimchronik reports at the end of the 12th century that the bishopric had been moved from Seligenstadt (today Osterwieck ) to Halberstadt.
  5. ^ Theo Kölzer: The beginnings of the Saxon dioceses in the Carolingian era. in: Archiv für Diplomatik , Volume 61 (2015), pp. 11–38, here p. 26.
  6. ^ Theo Kölzer: The beginnings of the Saxon dioceses in the Carolingian era. in: Archiv für Diplomatik , Volume 61 (2015), pp. 11–38, here p. 15, note 18 with the corresponding sources.
  7. ^ Theo Kölzer: The beginnings of the Saxon dioceses in the Carolingian era. in: Archiv für Diplomatik , Volume 61 (2015), pp. 11–38, here p. 31.
  8. D LdK 15.
  9. ^ Dörthe Gruttmann: The limits of Lutheran confessionalization. The Halberstadt bishopric under the postulated bishop Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (1566–1613) , in: Yearbook for the History of Central and Eastern Germany , Volume 57 (2011), pp. 1–36 ( doi: 10.1515 / 9783110236651.1 ).