Archdiocese of Warmia

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Archdiocese of Warmia
Map of the Archdiocese of Warmia
Basic data
Country Poland
Diocesan bishop Józef Górzyński
Auxiliary bishop Janusz Ostrowski
Emeritus diocesan bishop Edmund Piszcz
Wojciech Ziemba
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Julian Wojtkowski
Vicar General Edward Michoń
founding July 24, 1243
surface 12,000 km²
Parishes 260 (December 31, 2015 / AP 2017 )
Residents 706,000 (December 31, 2015 / AP 2017 )
Catholics 689,000 (December 31, 2015 / AP 2017 )
proportion of 97.6%
Diocesan priest 430 (December 31, 2015 / AP 2017 )
Religious priest 101 (December 31, 2015 / AP 2017 )
Catholics per priest 1,298
Friars 107 (December 31, 2015 / AP 2017 )
Religious sisters 244 (December 31, 2015 / AP 2017 )
rite Roman rite
Liturgical language Polish
cathedral Frauenburg Cathedral in Frombork
Co-cathedral St. James Church in Olsztyn
Suffragan dioceses Diocese of Elbląg
Diocese of Ełk

The Diocese of Warmia ( Archidioecesis Varmiensis in Latin , Archidiecezja warmińska in Polish ), which was raised to the Archbishopric in 1992 , is a Catholic diocese in the Polish Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship , on the territory of the former East Prussia with the formerly exempted Principality of Warmia .

Frauenburger Dom - Cathedral of the Assumption and St. Andrew in Frombork
St. James' co-cathedral in Olsztyn
Heilsberg Castle , residence of the Prince-Bishops


The Diocese of Ermland was founded in Prussia, part of the Teutonic Order , in 1243 . It was under the Archdiocese of Riga for about three centuries . In the late Middle Ages, the bishops of Warmia gained secular rule over part of their diocese and thus became prince-bishops . With the fall of the ecclesiastical province of Riga through the Reformation (1563), the Catholic diocese of Warmia was exempted, i.e. it was no longer subject to an archbishopric. The few Catholics in Zambia ( Samland ) were also subordinate to the Warmia prince-bishop. The bishop held the title of Episcopus Varmiensis et Sambiensis (Bishop of Warmia and Samland) and Princeps Sacri Romani Imperii (Prince of the Holy Roman Empire ).

After the first partition of Poland , the Prussian state no longer hindered the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the few Catholics in the Kingdom of Prussia . In terms of canon law, however, it was still available to the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order in the capacity of “Administrator of Prussia”, which reflected a theoretical claim and completely ignored the practical needs of Catholic pastoral care. The bull De salute animarum (1821) made Warmia's diocesan borders along the Russian border congruent with those of the province of East Prussia . There was no congruence of provincial and diocesan borders with the neighboring province of West Prussia. While z. B. Elbing, Neuteich and Tolkemit belonged politically to West Prussia, but on the Catholic side to Warmia, Catholic parishes in parts of the East Prussian districts of Mohrungen, Neidenburg and Osterode were part of the diocese of Culm. The exemption of the Diocese of Warmia was confirmed.

The historical seat of the Warmia bishops was the Cathedral of the Assumption and St. Andrew in Frombork until 1945 , where Nicolaus Copernicus was the canon. In 1909 the diocese of Warmia had 327,567 Catholics and around 2,000,000 Protestants. In 1940 there were 375,394 Catholics and 2,084,241 non-Catholics.

After the changes to the East Prussian borders in 1920 (the Versailles Peace came into force), the Holy See adjusted the diocese borders in 1925 in such a way that all previously culmic Catholic parishes in East Prussia, which remained with Germany, and in the newly added administrative district of West Prussia belonged to the diocesan area, and all parishes that had come to Poland were parted from the diocesan area. On April 4, 1926, the four Catholic parishes of Memelland left the diocesan area. From 1926 to 1991 the last 14 parishes there formed the Free Prelature of Memel (Klaipėdos prelatūra) . From April 1926 to February 1939 the diocesan area was actually congruent with the province of East Prussia.

After the Prussian Concordat of 1929, the Diocese of Warmia with the new dioceses Diocese of Berlin and Free Prelature Schneidemühl became part of the new East German Church Province in 1930 under the direction of the newly raised Archdiocese of Breslau . Ermland's Bishop Maximilian Kaller served as Apostolic Administrator of the Free Prelature of Memel from June 1939 until his death, which now has eight Catholic parishes, after the Memelland was annexed to East Prussia in March 1939.

From the beginning of 1945, many residents fled from being conquered by the Soviet Red Army . Bishop Kaller was evacuated on February 7th by order of the SS. The vicar general appointed by Kaller , Domdechant Aloys Marquardt (1891–1972), was expelled by the Polish occupiers in July 1945, before the Potsdam Conference was over. On July 28, the cathedral chapter elected the Olsztyn archpriest Johannes Hanowski as vicar of the capitular .

However, Kaller returned - coming from Halle an der Saale - in the first days of August 1945 to his diocese and took over the official business from Hanowski again. He appointed a vicar general each for the Polish (Franciszek Borowiec) and the Soviet-occupied diocesan area ( Paul Hoppe ; 1900–1988). In mid-August, Primate August Hlond Kaller urged the episcopal jurisdiction in the Polish-occupied diocesan area, but not the episcopal office, to resign, which he did. The jurisdiction in the Polish-occupied diocesan area was taken over by the Apostolic Administrator Teodor Bensch, a Pole from Buk near Posen . Immediately after this resignation, on August 18, 1945, Kaller was expelled into an Allied occupation zone in Germany. The East German ecclesiastical province remained, only in the areas west of Oder and Neisse the jurisdiction lay with the respective diocesan owners, east of which apostolic administrators officiated from September 1, 1945.

Situation after the Second World War

The German-language prayer and hymn book for the Diocese of Warmia

After Kaller's settlement in West Germany, Pius XII. him on September 26, 1946 as the pontifical special representative for the displaced Germans .

After Kaller's death on July 7, 1947, the Warmia cathedral capitulars, who were also expelled into the Allied occupation zones, elected Arthur Kather (1883–1957; until 1945 provost of St. Nikolai Church in Elbing) as the vicar capitular of Warmia, as in Sedisvakanz from the canonical Law provided. The Holy See recognized this choice, so that from then on Kather represented Warmia at the Fulda Bishops' Conference .

After Kater's death, the cathedral chapter elected Vicar General Paul Hoppe on July 29, 1957, as vicar-general , who had been expelled from the Soviet-occupied diocesan area in 1947. Hoppe then represented Warmia in the Fulda Bishops' Conference until Pope Paul VI. on June 28, 1972 ended the vacancy of Sedis and appointed Józef Drzazga as the new bishop. The boundaries of the diocese were rewritten, the Soviet-annexed diocesan area no longer belonged to the diocese. The diocese no longer remained a suffragan of Wroclaw, but became part of the ecclesiastical province of Warsaw. The East German ecclesiastical province was abolished, the German archdiocese of Wroclaw was exempted from the Apostolic Administration of Görlitz , and the German diocesan area of ​​Berlin. From 1972 Hoppe took over the newly created function of “Apostolic Visitator for the Ermland Diocesans in Germany”, which existed until 2011.


The diocese of Warmia, which is under Polish administration, was founded in 1972 by Pope Paul VI. rewritten with the Apostolic Constitution Episcoporum Poloniae coetus . On March 25, 1992, the diocese was raised to an archbishopric by Pope John Paul II with the Apostolic Constitution Totus Tuus Poloniae Populus .

The bishop no longer resides in Frauenburg as before , but now in Olsztyn (Allenstein) . Suffragan dioceses are also the newly established diocese of Elbląg (Elbing) and the diocese of Ełk (Lyck) .

The current archbishop is Józef Górzyński ; Auxiliary Bishop is Janusz Ostrowski . Emeriti are Edmund Piszcz , Wojciech Ziemba and Julian Andrzej Wojtkowski .

Dissolution of the Warmia visitation

In 2011, the German Bishops' Conference decided to assign the tasks of the visitators for pastoral care to displaced persons , repatriates and their descendants to the responsibility of associations (which are recognized by the church if possible) by the end of 2016. Visitor Lothar Schlegel , who had been responsible for the Gdansk regions of origin and the Free Prelature Schneidemühl since 2010, was retired from his post on October 4, 2011 due to old age. In 2012, the German Bishops' Conference also decided not to appoint departed visitors. Since April 2012 the grants of the German Bishops' Conference for the pastoral care of the Ermländer in Germany are no longer paid.

On November 17, 2012, the Warmia Association founded the Warmia Family Association. The registered and non-profit association took over the duties of the visitation in November 2013. In pastoral care, the association is largely supported by the Warmia Consistory and the other Warmia priests. In the future, a vom Ermlandfamilie e. V. proposed and appointed by the German Bishops' Conference to accompany the work. Since the summer 2013 edition , the quarterly magazine Ermlandbriefe, previously published by the visitor, has been published by Ermlandfamilie e. V. is responsible.

See also


  • Anton Eichhorn : The auxiliary bishops of Warmia . In: Magazine for the history and archeology of Warmia . Volume 3, year 1864–1866, Braunsberg 1866, pp. 139–165.
  • Erwin Gatz : files on Prussian church policy in the dioceses of Gnesen-Posen, Kulm and Ermland. 1885-1914. From the political archive of the Federal Foreign Office . Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag, Mainz 1977, ISBN 3-7867-0591-7 ( publications of the commission for contemporary history, series A, sources 21).
  • Adam S. Ornatek: The Warmia Diocesan Synods 1922 and 1932 . Self-published by the Historisches Verein für Ermland , Münster 2001 ( magazine for the history and antiquity of Ermlands, supplement 15, ISSN  0342-3387 ; also: Warsaw, Akad. Für Kath. Theologie, Diss., 1998).
  • Gerhard Reifferscheid: The Diocese of Warmia and the Third Reich . Böhlau, Cologne a. a. 1975, ISBN 3-412-10874-X ( magazine for the history and antiquity of Warmia, supplement 1; Bonn contributions to church history  7; also: Bonn, Univ., Diss., 1972).
  • Ernst Manfred Wermter: History of the Diocese and the Hochstift Warmia - An overview . 2nd revised and supplemented edition. Self-published by the Historical Association for Warmia, Münster 1977, DNB 780568885 .
  • Henryk Żochowski: The pastoral care in Warmia under Bishop Christoph Andreas Johann Szembek 1724-1740 . Self-published by the Historisches Verein für Ermland, Münster 1993 ( magazine for the history and antiquity of Ermland, supplement 11, ISSN  0342-3387 ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See the title of Prince-Bishop Christoph Andreas Johann Szembek on the title page of a collection of synodal resolutions from 1726 .
  2. a b Entry on Territorial Prelature of Klaipeda / Territorialis Praelatura Klaipedensis on ; Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  3. a b Cf. Bishop Maximilian Kaller , on:, Apostolic Visitator Warmia , website of the Apostolic Visitator for the Warmia diocesans in Germany.
  4. Jerzy Pietrzak: kard Działalność. Augusta Hlonda jako wysłannika papieskiego na Ziemiach Odzyskanych w 1945 r. ( Memento from July 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). Chapter Początki polskiego duszpasterstwa na ziemiach zachodnich .
  5. a b c d e Jerzy Pietrzak: Działalność kard. Augusta Hlonda jako wysłannika papieskiego na ziemiach odzyskanych w 1945 r. ( Memento from July 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). Chapter Rezygnacja niemieckich hierarchów z jurysdykcji .
  6. a b c Cf. Paul Hoppe , on:, Apostolic Visitator Warmia , website of the Apostolic Visitator for the Warmia diocesans in Germany.
  7. ^ Andreas Kossert: East Prussia: History and Myth , Munich: Siedler, 2005, ISBN 3-88680-808-4 , p. 359.
  8. ^ A b Hans Preuschoff: Since 1945 the Warmia has been two-pronged. In: Warmia letters. 1981, Christmas edition, a version is online at Kreisgemeinschaft Braunsberg (Ostpreußen) e. V. ( Memento of March 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) accessed on April 9, 2018.
  9. Cf. Arthur Kather , on:, Apostolic Visitator Warmia , website of the Apostolic Visitator for the Warmia diocesans in Germany.
  10. Paulus Episcopus servus servorum Dei ad perpetuam rei memoriam : Constitutio Apostolica Vratislaviensis - Berolinensis et aliarium , Acta Apostolicae Sedis 64 (1972), n. 10, pp. 657f.
  11. Ioannes Paulus II: Const. Apost. Totus Tuus Poloniae populus , AAS 84 (1992), n.3, pp. 1099-1112.
  12. Ermlandbriefe, Summer 2013, title page
  13. under “Bishops, Visitors, Administrators” / legal successors in Germany., archived from the original on August 5, 2006 ; accessed on January 6, 2017 .
  14. Warmia letters, summer 2013, title page; Warmia letters, Christmas 2013, page 12, DOD Deutscher Ostdienst, news magazine of the Federation of Expellees, No. 11/2013, page 7
  15. Warmia letters, Christmas 2012
  16. Warmia letters, Christmas 2013, p. 12 and imprint p. 28.
  17. DOD German Ostdienst, news magazine of the Federal of the displaced, no. 11/2013, p. 7
  18. Warmia letters, summer 2013, front page and Warmia letters, Christmas 2013, p. 12.
  19. Warmia letters, summer 2013, title page and imprint on p. 28.