Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt

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Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt
Erzdiözese Salzburg Erzdiözese Wien Diözese Eisenstadt Diözese Feldkirch Diözese Graz-Seckau Diözese Gurk Diözese Innsbruck Diözese Linz Diözese St. PöltenMap of the Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt
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Basic data
Country Austria
Ecclesiastical province Salzburg
Metropolitan bishopric Archdiocese of Salzburg
Diocesan bishop Josef Marketz
Vicar General Johann Sedlmaier
surface 9,533 km²
Dean's offices 23 (2016 / AP 2017 )
Parishes 336 (2016 / AP 2017 )
Residents 557,641 (2016 / AP 2017 )
Catholics 381,000 (2016 / AP 2017 )
proportion of 68.3%
Diocesan priest 239 (2016 / AP 2017 )
Religious priest 46 (2016 / AP 2017 )
Catholics per priest 1,337
Permanent deacons 58 (2016 / AP 2017 )
Friars 57 (2016 / AP 2017 )
Religious sisters 206 (2016 / AP 2017 )
rite Roman rite
Liturgical language Latin , German
cathedral Klagenfurt Cathedral
Co-cathedral Gurk Cathedral
Website www.kath-kirche-kaernten.at
Ecclesiastical province
Erzdiözese Salzburg Erzdiözese Wien Diözese Eisenstadt Diözese Feldkirch Diözese Graz-Seckau Diözese Gurk Diözese Innsbruck Diözese Linz Diözese St. PöltenMap of the ecclesiastical province of Salzburg
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Development of membership numbers

The diocese of Gurk ( Latin Dioecesis Gurcensis , Slovenian Krška škofija , now also known as the Catholic Church of Carinthia ) is a Roman Catholic diocese that belongs to the ecclesiastical province of Salzburg (Austria). The bishopric is located in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee . Its territory today includes the federal state of Carinthia . In addition to a German-speaking majority, the southern part of the diocesan area is also populated by Carinthian Slovenes . For this reason, the central diocesan structures are bilingual (German, Slovenian). For example, in addition to the Carinthian church newspaper, there is also a counterpart in Slovenian, the Nedelja ( Sunday ). In 69 parishes in Southern Carinthia, Slovenian is the liturgical language alongside German.


Expansion to 1131 (gray)
Coat of arms of a prince-bishop with princely and episcopal heraldic symbols.
Carinthian parishes with a bilingual (German-Slovenian) liturgy

The diocese was founded in 1072 as the first of Salzburg's own dioceses. The seat of the bishop was Gurk in Carinthia. A nunnery ( Stift Gurk ), abandoned by Archbishop Gebhard and founded by Countess Hemma von Gurk , served as the material basis . Hemma is therefore one of the founders of the diocese. Günther von Krappfeld was ordained as the first bishop . The Gurk bishop should be fully dependent on Salzburg and act as vicar for the archbishop . It was not until 1131 that a small diocese was allocated. An attempt was made to get out of Salzburg's clutches by means of large-scale forgery of documents , but this failed. A lengthy process for the diocese was carried out at the Council of Basel .

The seat of the bishops of Gurk was Strasbourg Castle for centuries (until 1783), then Pöckstein Castle for a short time . As part of the Josephine church reforms in 1787, the bishopric was relocated to Klagenfurt and the diocese was considerably enlarged: 96 parishes were ceded from Salzburg, 56 from Gorizia , 5 from Laibach and from Lavant . When the Lavant bishopric was moved to Marburg an der Drau in 1859 , the Lavant valley became part of the Gurk diocese; since then the diocesan borders of Gurk coincide with those of the federal state of Carinthia . At no point was the name of the diocese changed in favor of Klagenfurt, the official name remains Diocese Gurk .

The bishops of Gurk held the title of Prince-Bishop in the Holy Roman Empire . The use of this title and the use of the secular symbols of dignity associated with it (such as the prince's hat and coat ) was approved by Pope Pius XII in 1951 . also formally abolished.

Cardinal Franz II. Xaver von Salm-Reifferscheidt , organizer of the first ascent of the Grossglockner , has become known beyond church history . Balthasar Kaltner was the last bishop of Gurk to speak as a virilist in the Carinthian state parliament.

Forestry in the Gurktal

Situation of the diocese after the departure of Bishop Alois Schwarz

Alois Schwarz , Bishop of Gurk-Klagenfurt since 2001, was introduced as Bishop of St. Pölten on July 1, 2018 . After his departure the question was raised in the diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt whether the bishop in Carinthia had "abused" his powers economically and personally. As the Carinthian bishop, Schwarz was the fiduciary administrator of the largest canteen in Austria. In connection with the Alois Schwarz case, the Archdiocese of Salzburg announced on December 20, 2018 that the Archbishop of Salzburg, Franz Lackner, had been appointed by Pope Francis as Apostolic Visitator for the Diocese of Gurk.

At the end of December 2018, the Graz public prosecutor's office initiated an investigation against former Bishop Schwarz on suspicion of embezzlement . The former had taken over the case because of possible bias of the Klagenfurt public prosecutor's office.

After completing his visitation, Archbishop Franz Lackner declared critically in March 2019 that the diocese was in an "exceptional situation"; During his visitation he felt a lot of shattered trust and fears among believers and employees in Carinthia. The cathedral chapter had accused the bishop of questionable personnel decisions as well as opaque processes in terms of office, leadership and lifestyle; further steps and consequences would now lie with the responsible Vatican Bishops' Congregation.

From July 2, 2018, on the basis of an election by the cathedral chapter, the cathedral provost Engelbert Guggenberger was active as diocesan administrator of the diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt. On June 28, 2019, Pope Francis appointed military bishop Werner Freistetter as Apostolic Administrator of the diocese. A decision on the results of the visitation is still open, said the Holy See . The replacement of Engelbert Guggenberger met with criticism. The reason it was published was that there had been a confrontation with Rome or that the administrator had acquired greater rights after a year.

On December 3, 2019, Pope Francis appointed the previous Caritas director Josef Marketz as the new diocesan bishop, who took over his office on February 2, 2020.

Diocesan saints

The patron saint of Carinthia is Saint Joseph (March 19), the patron saint of the diocese is John the Baptist (June 24), and Saint Hemma von Gurk (June 27) is the mother of the country.

See also


  • Jakob Obersteiner: Contributions to the Gurk diocese history from the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. In: Carinthia I. Volume 145, 1955, p. 575 f.
  • Jakob Obersteiner: The bishops of Gurk. 1072–1822 (= From Research and Art. 5, ISSN  0067-0642 ). Publishing house of the history association for Carinthia, Klagenfurt 1969.
  • Jakob Obersteiner: The bishops of Gurk. 1824–1979 (= From Research and Art. 22, ISSN  0067-0642 ). Publishing house of the History Association for Carinthia, Klagenfurt 1980.
  • Peter G. Tropper: Slandered? Tracked? Expelled? - On the position of the Slovene clergy in Carinthia between the years 1914 and 1921. In: Werner Drobesch , Avguštin Malle (Ed.): National question and public (= Carinthia and the national question. Vol. 2). Heyn et al., Klagenfurt et al. 2005, ISBN 3-7084-0015-1 , pp. 249-264.
  • France M. Dolinar: Carinthia's Catholic Church from the perspective of the Slovenes - From the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy to the independence of Slovenia. In: Werner Drobesch, Avguštin Malle (ed.): National question and public (= Carinthia and the national question. Vol. 2). Heyn et al., Klagenfurt et al. 2005, ISBN 3-7084-0015-1 , pp. 291-307.

Web links

Commons : Roman Catholic Diocese of Gurk  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Franz Gall : Austrian heraldry. Handbook of coat of arms science. 2nd edition Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 1992, p. 219, ISBN 3-205-05352-4 .
  2. Diocese of Gurk: Largest wealth of mensal goods. In: religion.orf.at. April 16, 2014, accessed December 29, 2018 .
  3. Mensal property from Bishop Schwarz is being checked. In: kaernten.orf.at. July 16, 2018, accessed December 21, 2018 .
  4. Archbishop Lackner appointed visitor for Gurk. In: religion.orf.at. December 20, 2018, accessed December 20, 2018 .
  5. ^ Public prosecutor's office is investigating Bishop Alois Schwarz. In: kurier.at. December 28, 2018, accessed December 29, 2018 .
  6. Apostolic visitor sums up Lage Gurk-Klagenfurt. In: domradio.de. March 15, 2019, accessed June 29, 2019 .
  7. ^ Press statement from Provost Msgr. Engelbert Guggenberger. In: kath-kirche-kaernten.at. June 28, 2019, accessed June 29, 2019 .
  8. ^ Nomina dell'Amministratore Apostolico sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis di Gurk (Austria). In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office , June 28, 2019, accessed June 28, 2019 (Italian).
  9. Dichiarazione del Direttore “ad interim” della Sala Stampa della Santa Sede. In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office, June 28, 2019, accessed June 28, 2019 (Italian).
  10. ^ Black critic replaced in Carinthia. In: noe.orf.at. June 27, 2019, accessed June 29, 2019 .
  11. ^ Werner Freistetter: Military bishop should pacify Carinthia. Pope appoints Freistetter as Apostolic Administrator. Guggenberger on confrontation with Rome. In: kurier.at. June 27, 2019, accessed June 29, 2019 .
  12. There has never been a replacement for an administrator. The replacement of the diocesan administrator is a unique process in church history. Engelbert Guggenberger would soon have had more skills. In: kleinezeitung.at. June 27, 2019, accessed June 29, 2019 .
  13. ^ Nomina del Vescovo di Gurk (Austria). In: Daily Bulletin. Holy See Press Office, December 3, 2019, accessed December 3, 2019 (Italian).