Archdiocese of Wroclaw

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Archdiocese of Wroclaw
Basic data
Country Poland
Diocesan bishop Józef Piotr Kupny
Auxiliary bishop Andrzej Siemieniewski
Jacek Kiciński CMF
Emeritus diocesan bishop Henryk Roman Cardinal Gulbinowicz
Marian Gołębiewski
Vicar General Andrzej Siemieniewski
founding 10th century
surface 8,850 km²
Parishes 300 (2014 / AP 2015 )
Residents 1,199,332 (2014 / AP 2015 )
Catholics 1,152,710 (2014 / AP 2015 )
proportion of 96.1%
Diocesan priest 624 (2014 / AP 2015 )
Religious priest 268 (2014 / AP 2015 )
Catholics per priest 1,292
Friars 335 (2014 / AP 2015 )
Religious sisters 839 (2014 / AP 2015 )
rite Roman rite
Liturgical language Polish
cathedral Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
address Kuria Metropolitalna
ul.Katedralna 13
50-328 Wrocław
Suffragan dioceses Diocese of Legnica
Diocese of Świdnica

The Archdiocese of Wroclaw ( Polish Archidiecezja Wrocławska , Latin Archidioecesis Vratislaviensis ) is a Metropolitan - Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland , based in Breslau .

Archbishopric coat of arms
Main portal of the cathedral church



The diocese of Breslau was founded on the initiative of the Duke of Poland and later King Bolesław I. Chrobry on March 15, 1000 in the act of Gniezno as a suffragan diocese of the Polish Archbishopric Gnesen by Emperor Otto III. founded in consultation with Pope Silvester II and comprised the areas of the Silesian principalities of Poland conquered by Boleslaw I a short time before . Bishop Thietmar von Merseburg reports that the first bishop of Breslau was Johannes . However, a complete list of bishops did not exist until 1051.

The statements of the chronicler Peter von Pitschen , who in his Chronica principum Poloniae, which was written between 1382 and 1385, settled the first Silesian diocese in Smogorzów ( Schmograu ) near Namysłów ( Namslau ) and states that the year 965 was founded, have now been refuted. The bishops named by him Gottfried (966–983), Urbanus (983–1005), Clemens (1005–1027), Lucillus (1027–1036), Leonhard (1036–1045) and Timotheus (1045–1051) cannot be proven . A verifiable tradition only begins again with the bishop Hieronymus Romanus (1046-1062).

With the temporary decline of the Polish Piast Empire, there was a pagan uprising in Silesia in 1037-1038, as a result of which the bishop fled Wroclaw. During this period of ineffectiveness, the remote town of Smogorzów probably offered some protection. During the Bohemian occupation of Silesia, the bishop chose Ryczyn Castle as his seat in 1041. Bishop Hieronymus was reinstated as bishop in Wroclaw in 1051 by Duke Casimir I of Poland after all church structures had been wiped out by rebellion and war. This presumably also led to the creation of legends about the first bishopric in Schmograu, which Jan Długosz continued in the middle of the 15th century in his Annales seu Cronicae incliti Regni Poloniae .

The existence of a cathedral chapter (on St. John) in Wroclaw has been documented since the year 1100. The diocese and its borders were confirmed in 1155 by Pope Hadrian IV .


Coat of arms of a prince-bishop with princely and episcopal heraldic symbols.

In the course of time, the bishops of Breslau gained secular power over the Ottmachau castellanei . Shortly before his death in 1290, Duke Heinrich IV of Wrocław granted the principality of Neisse , which emerged in this area, the privilege of sovereignty , whereby the Wrocław bishops now dubbed the “ Prince-Bishop ”.

The term of office of Bishop Preczlaw von Pogarell is known as the "golden diocese". After taking office, he placed the land under the sovereignty of the Crown of Bohemia and in 1344 acquired the town and the soft picture of Grottkau , which he united with the principality of Neisse. After that, the respective Breslau bishops used the title "Prince of Neisse and Duke of Grottkau". To secure his land and to prevent the emergence of predatory nests, Preczlaw acquired several castles in the mountain ranges on the border with Bohemia and had them expanded. He led church life to a heyday. During his tenure, the then Wroclaw Cathedral was completed.

Konrad von Oels was the first bishop of the same to in 1422 Upper governor of Silesia was appointed.

The outbreak of the Hussite Wars and the Reformation ended the medieval heyday of the diocese. Religious life almost came to a standstill. After the Habsburgs took Bohemia in 1526 , this also meant a return to Catholicism for the neighboring Silesia . The influence of the Bohemian kings on the occupation of the bishop's seat was great; in return, almost all prince-bishops now also held the office of governor.


After Prussia had conquered most of the country in the First Silesian War in 1742, the diocese spanned two countries. The majority had become Prussian, a tenth of the diocese remained with Austria and was called Austrian Silesia . In 1919 it became part of the newly founded Czechoslovakia , partly also of Poland .

In the course of secularization , Prussia abolished all sovereign rights and property of the diocese in 1810 (the last prince-bishop was Prince Joseph von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Bartenstein , who was bishop from 1795 to 1817 ). The only thing left to the prince-bishops was the rich estates in Austrian Silesia, which were administered from the summer residence of the bishops, Johannesberg Castle in Jauernig . In 1948 these were also confiscated by the Czechoslovak state.

Since the Prussian era, the borders of the diocese have often been adapted to changes in political borders. In 1821, with the bull De salute animarum, the suffragan diocese of Breslau was removed from the Polish church province of Gniezno by Pope Pius VII and placed directly under the Holy See. At the same time, the provinces of Brandenburg (with Berlin, but without Niederlausitz , which belonged directly to the prince-bishopric) and Pomerania (without the districts of Bütow and Lauenburg iP ) as a “prince-bishop delegation” were placed under the diocese of Breslau.

Wroclaw's first diocesan conference took place in September 1854 with 150 participating priests under the direction of Prince-Bishop Heinrich Förster , who was newly appointed in October 1853 . After Förster's dismissal by the Prussian Court of Justice for Church Affairs on October 6, 1875, Schuckmann's government councilor was appointed state commissioner for the administration of the diocese's assets. According to a blocking law, only a third of the previous budget was paid out, vacancies could no longer be filled and a pastoral emergency arose in the diocese.

When parts of Upper Silesia were annexed to Poland in 1922, where the Upper Silesian Diocese of Katowice was established in the same year , the Diocese of Wroclaw lost significant areas.

On August 13, 1930, the diocese of Breslau - presumably to compensate for the territorial losses of 1922 - was raised to the archbishopric of the East German ecclesiastical province , to which the prince-bishop's delegation of Brandenburg-Pomerania , which was raised to the diocese of Berlin at the same time , the formerly exempte diocese of Ermland and as suffragans belonged to the newly formed Free Prelature Schneidemühl .

Post war

After the death of Archbishop Adolf Bertram on July 6, 1945, the Wroclaw Cathedral Chapter elected the Cathedral Dean Ferdinand Piontek as vicar of the Chapter on July 16 . On August 12, the Primate of Poland, August Cardinal Hlond , caused Piontek to renounce the part of the archdiocese east of the Oder-Neisse border that was now under Polish administration . At the same time, Hlond divided the now Polish diocese share into three administrative districts and appointed their apostolic administrators on August 15, 1945:

The administrators were appointed to their office with effect from September 1st. As it turned out later, Hlond's special powers did not refer to the formerly German dioceses, so that they had no basis under canon law. From 1947 Ferdinand Piontek administered the remainder of the archbishopric west of the Oder-Neisse border from Görlitz .

The use of the title prince (arch) bishop and the use of the secular signs of dignity associated with it (such as the prince's hat and coat ) was approved in 1951 by Pope Pius XII. also formally abolished. Also in 1951, the three administrators were forbidden from continuing to exercise office by the communist rulers. They were recalled from the administered office and were banned from staying in their previous residences. After the death of Bolesław Bierut and the temporary political and religious liberalization by party leader Władysław Gomułka , Bolesław Kominek was allowed to return to Wrocław in 1956 as auxiliary bishop and capitular vicar.

After the ratification of the German-Polish treaty , Pope Paul VI decreed . With the Apostolic Constitution Episcoporum Poloniae of June 28, 1972, the canonical reorganization of the former German dioceses:

The part of the Archdiocese of Breslau ( Moravian-Silesia ) in Czechoslovakia was ceded to the Archdiocese of Olomouc in 1978 and in 1996 again spun off as its suffragan diocese of Ostrau-Troppau .

The Silesian dioceses were further restructured in 1992 with the creation of the dioceses in Legnica and Gliwice .

Blessed and saints of the Archdiocese of Wroclaw

Archbishop's residence
  • Saint Hedwig von Andechs (Polish św. Jadwiga Śląska ) (* 1174, † 1243), Duchess of Silesia
  • Saint Edith Stein (* 1891 in Breslau, murdered in 1942 in Auschwitz concentration camp), Catholic nun of Jewish origin
  • Blessed Ceslaus von Breslau (Polish. Bł. Czesław Odrowąż ) (* 1184, † 1242), Dominican priest

See also


in order of appearance

  • Gustav Adolf Harald Stenzel , Ed .: Documents on the history of the diocese of Breslau in the Middle Ages . Breslau 1845 ( full text ).
  • Johann Heyne: Documented history of the diocese and bishopric Breslau. From documents, files, older chroniclers and newer historians . Volume 1, Korn, Breslau 1860 ( full text ).
  • Johann Heyne: Memories from the Church and Diocesan History of Silesia. From the introduction of Christianity in Silesia to Bohemian supremacy (966–1355) . Breslau 1860 ( full text ).
  • Karl Kastner: Wroclaw Bishops. Wroclaw 1929.
  • Franz Xaver Seppelt : History of the diocese of Breslau. Breslau 1929 (= Real Handbook of the Diocese of Breslau. Volume 1).
  • Jan Copyc : Diocese of Wroclaw . In: Erwin Gatz : The dioceses of the Holy Roman Empire up to secularization . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2003, ISBN 3-451-28075-2 , pp. 128-144
  • Józef Pater: The resettlement of Lower Silesia in the context of the re-establishment of the diocese of Breslau from 1945 to 1951 . In: Matthias Theodor Vogt (ed.): Cultures in encounter . Collegium Pontes, Wrocław and Görlitz 2004, ISBN 83-7432-018-4 , pp. 87-92.

Web links

Commons : Archdiocese of Wroclaw  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Sachs: 'Prince Bishop and Vagabond'. The story of a friendship between the Prince-Bishop of Breslau Heinrich Förster (1799–1881) and the writer and actor Karl von Holtei (1798–1880). Edited textually based on the original Holteis manuscript. In: Medical historical messages. Journal for the history of science and specialist prose research. Volume 35, 2016 (2018), pp. 223–291, here: p. 276.
  2. Michael Sachs (2016), p. 278.
  3. ^ Evelyne A. Adenauer: The Christian Silesia 1945/46. How the Archdiocese of Breslau and the Ecclesiastical Province of Silesia of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union ended and Polish Catholic Apostolic Administrations were established in Silesia . Lit, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-643-11822-6 , pp. 340–371.
  4. ^ Evelyne A. Adenauer: The Christian Silesia 1945/46. How the Archdiocese of Breslau and the Ecclesiastical Province of Silesia of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union ended and Polish Catholic Apostolic Administrations were established in Silesia . Lit, Berlin 2014, pp. 182–203.
  5. ^ Franz Gall : Austrian heraldry. Handbook of coat of arms science. 2nd edition Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 1992, p. 219, ISBN 3-205-05352-4 .