Archdiocese of Cologne

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Archdiocese of Cologne
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 Archdiocese of Cologne
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Basic data
Country Germany
Ecclesiastical province Cologne
Diocesan bishop Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki
Auxiliary bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp
Ansgar Puff
Rolf Steinhäuser
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Klaus Dick
Vicar General Markus Hofmann
founding 4th century
surface 6,181 km²
Dean's offices 15 (January 2018)
Parishes 527 (December 31, 2018)
Residents 5,490,036 (December 31, 2018)
Catholics 1,942,733 (December 31, 2018)
proportion of 35.4%
Diocesan priest 771 (December 31, 2018)
Religious priest 188 (December 31, 2018)
Catholics per priest 2,026
Permanent deacons 281 (December 31, 2018)
Friars 258 (December 31, 2018)
Religious sisters 1,238 (December 31, 2018)
rite Roman rite
Liturgical language German , Latin
cathedral Cologne cathedral
address Marzellstrasse 32
50668 Cologne
Suffragan dioceses Aachen
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 Cologne
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Logo of the Archdiocese of Cologne
Archbishopric coat of arms

The Archdiocese of Cologne ( Latin Archidioecesis Coloniensis) is a Roman Catholic diocese in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia and in northern Rhineland-Palatinate . It is one of the oldest and with around 1.94 million Catholics in the diocesan area (as of December 31, 2018) the largest diocese in the German-speaking area.

The Archdiocese of Cologne, together with the suffragan dioceses of Aachen , Essen , Limburg , Münster and Trier, form the ecclesiastical province of Cologne , of which the Archbishop of Cologne is the Metropolitan . Cathedral is the Cologne Cathedral .

Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki has been Archbishop of Cologne since September 20, 2014 . He was previously Archbishop of Berlin .



Early Christian baptistery east of the Cologne cathedral choir, in May 2006

The Archdiocese of Cologne goes back to the early Christian community in the city. At that time Cologne was Roman and the first Christians probably had to gather secretly. The Lyon bishop Irenäus mentions in his work "Against the Heretics" (Adversus haereses) Christians who live in Germania. From this it is often concluded that there are Christian communities in the provincial capitals of Cologne and Mainz. The first bishop of Cologne mentioned in the sources is Maternus , who is mentioned in the sources because of his participation in a synod in Rome in 313 and in the one in Arles in the capacity of bishop of Cologne. The first bishop with a Frankish name is St. Evergislus (Eberigisil) in the 6th century. As a reward for his service at the court Bishop received Hildebold by Charlemagne 794/5 the title of archbishop , which he was initially awarded only as a personal honorary title. The pallium as a sign of metropolitan violence was the first Archbishop Gunthar obtained in 858/60 from Pope Nicholas I.

High and late Middle Ages

"Holy Cologne". Woodcut from Die Cronica van der hilliger stat van Coellen , 1499
Medieval depiction of the martyrdom of Saint Ursula
St. Gereon in Cologne - one of the oldest Roman Catholic. Churches of Germany (4th century) - Thebaic Legion

Under Archbishop Rainald von Dassel a territorial policy of the Archdiocese began, which was intensified under his successor Philip I von Heinsberg . Rainald's policy was primarily directed against Konrad von Staufen , the Count Palatine near the Rhine , and Count Heinrich von Arnsberg , but in Westphalia it was also possible to strengthen the archbishop's position in Cologne against the resistance of Henry the Lion . For the spiritual significance of the diocese it was significant that Rainald transferred the alleged "bones of the Three Kings " in 1164 . With this event Cologne became one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Christian world. The multitude of other "Cologne saints" such as B. St. Ursula and St. Gereon contributed to the fact that Cologne from then on bore the title "Sancta" (holy) in the city name. The full title of Cologne was "Sancta Colonia Dei Gratia Romanae Ecclesiae Fidelis Filia" - Holy Cologne, daughter faithful to the Roman Church by the grace of God.

The old Carolingian cathedral was soon no longer able to cope with the pilgrims and the importance of the archbishopric, and so the foundation stone for the new Gothic cathedral was laid in 1248 by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden .

Since the 12th century the urban population of Cologne strived more and more for civil autonomy, whereby the relationship with the Archbishops of Cologne as secular rulers of the Archbishopric of Kurköln deteriorated more and more. The differences reached a climax in the course of the Limburg War of Succession in 1288, when the citizens of Cologne sided with their archbishop's opponents in the Battle of Worringen . As a result of the battle, the archbishops lost their secular power over the city of Cologne and had to accept the final smashing of their approximately 100 years of supremacy in the Lower Rhine and southern Westphalia; so the archbishopric lost the feudal rule over its most important noble vassals - even those who had remained neutral in the conflict or had even fought on the side of the archbishops.

However, the Archbishops of Cologne continued to symbolize their continued claim to the city in the future, for example by indefatigably referring to “our city of Cologne” in documents. The Archbishops of Cologne also retained reservation rights over the city, above all the high jurisdiction, since the city did not shake off archbishop rule until 1475 de iure by recognizing imperial freedom. More or less permanent disputes about competencies within Cologne were thus open the door for a long time. De facto, however, the archbishops, at least in their capacity as secular territorial princes, remained strangers in the imperial city, which had been free since 1475, and had to ask for access at its barriers in an equally obvious way.

The Archbishop of Cologne was one of the electors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation until 1803 .

The time of the Reformation

While the church structure in the greater area of ​​the Archdiocese of Cologne was already established around the year 1000 and remained largely constant throughout the Middle Ages, modern history has brought about a number of rather complicated changes. To understand them, one has to keep in mind the fact that “Cologne” denotes three different reference values ​​with the imperial city, the secularly ruled smaller archbishopric and the ecclesiastically administered archdiocese, which, however, were historically often intertwined.

The development of the Reformation had passed the Archbishopric of Cologne relatively imperceptibly in the 16th century: Probably not much more than around a tenth of the parishes switched from the Catholic to the Protestant, i.e. Lutheran or Reformed, confession. Some of these were places that moved away from the Catholic faith of their own accord and against the declared will of the sovereign, such as Wesel or Soest . In some cases, however, it was only the later religious influence of the sovereigns in the sense of the so-called sovereign church regiment that was decisive for a religious reorientation. The fact that the Dukes of Kleve, who ruled Jülich , Kleve , Berg , Mark and Ravensberg until their extinction in 1609 and the subsequent division of the country , did not (or did not openly) convert to the Evangelical Church, should prove to be stabilizing for the Archdiocese of Cologne almost entirely spanned these territories. It was not until Brandenburg-Prussia took over the Duchy of Kleve and later Moers in 1609 that a Protestant dynasty ruled in an area belonging to the Archdiocese of Cologne, which tried to block the Catholic Counter-Reformation .

The complicated denominational relationships caused by a political stalemate in the territories divided between Brandenburg-Prussia and Palatinate-Neuburg in 1609 are to be seen against the background of the Jülich-Klevian succession dispute (1609–1666). At the end of this period, reciprocal toleration provisions applied to the Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed denominations, which - whether in his opinion positive or negative - were in any case beyond the control of the Archbishop of Cologne: he saw himself being referred to his small, secular domain, which was with Except for Linz on the Rhine to the left of the Rhine. In view of the extremely strong position of the estates , however, he was severely limited in his ability to govern from the second half of the 15th century.

It could thus be asserted in a deliberate exaggeration that the Archbishop of Cologne was unable to act effectively as a secular prince as well as an ecclesiastical “shepherd” since the late Middle Ages, whereby not infrequently personally unsuitable bishop personalities seemed unsuitable, the structurally adverse circumstances to get a grip on the diocese administration.

The resignation of two bishops ( Friedrich von Wied and Salentin von Isenburg ) and, more importantly, the attempts at Reformation by Hermann V von Wied in 1543 and in particular Gebhard Truchseß von Waldburg in 1582, which had the goal of turning the Archdiocese of Cologne into a hereditary, Protestant duchy transform, left no long-term consequences for the Archdiocese due to Gebhard's defeat in the Truchsessian War . The inclinations of Hermann and, even more, Gebhard were nevertheless felt by the opposite side to be extremely dangerous. With the possible Protestantization of the archbishopric, the Catholic faction in the empire was not unjustly faced with an overturning of denominational relationships on a broad level: Since the Cologne elector had one of seven votes in the election of the emperor, a Protestant empire even seemed long-term with unforeseen consequences possible for the entire system of rule at European level.

The "Bavarian Rule" (1583–1761)

Ferdinand of Bavaria as Archbishop of Cologne , painting in the chapter house of Cologne Cathedral

The relative confessional stability of the Archdiocese of Cologne in the face of rapid Protestantization elsewhere must be seen against the background of overarching political interests. The fact that “the Rhinelander” remained mostly Catholic in the 16th and 17th centuries was probably not because they were particularly strong in faith or were fundamentally averse to the Reformation. Rather, the Catholic powers that remained around the middle of the 16th century (namely the Curia, Spain and the House of Habsburg, the Bavarian Wittelsbachers in association with a number of smaller dynasties dependent on the supply points in the cathedral chapters) proved to be strong.

Above all, the predominance of Catholicism in the west was permanently strengthened by the fact that the Bavarian Wittelsbachers had been able to secure a kind of permanent entitlement to the principal bishoprics of West Germany - and thus also Cologne - since the late 16th century. Specifically, this means that the Wittelsbach dukes or (from 1623/1648) electors exercised influence on the 24 electoral cathedral capitals - or unpopular (Protestant) cathedral capitals simply removed ("horrified") from office. In doing so, they secured election results in their church-political sense. One should not overlook the enormous importance of the episcopal office for the proper care of the younger sons who were intended for the clerical status: This was all the more true for the Bavarian-Munich house, which had had many children since the late 16th century, as the dynastic house laws had been in effect since 1505 the principle of primogeniture prevented a division of their own country among the later sons.

Here in the Rhineland as elsewhere, the bottom line was that the religious conditions were not dictated by the free decision of the subjects, but by the partly political, partly denominationally motivated decisions of the respective territorial rulers.

The diocese reform in 1559

Cologne Cathedral seen from the opposite side of the Rhine

The Cologne church organization in the early modern period was changed primarily through administrative cuts. The first was the dispute between Spain and its Dutch provinces in the immediate vicinity of the archdiocese. In 1559 , King Philip II, who ruled in the Netherlands , pushed Pope Paul IV through a fundamental redesign of the diocese structure in the region. Allegedly, Philip was concerned with fighting the rampant Protestantism with suitable church-political means. However, the Habsburgs had unmistakably strong domestic political interests in the north-west of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , which they hoped to strengthen with increased control of the ecclesiastical apparatus. Up until then, only six, relatively large dioceses had existed in the Netherlands, the number of which, at Philip's instigation, has now been increased to 19 through divisions and new foundations. A diocese of Roermond , which survived until 1801, was founded, into which parishes of the Archdiocese of Cologne in the area of Nijmegen and the Maas and Niers rivers in the so-called Upper District of Geldern were branched off. The Cologne suffragan diocese of Utrecht was reduced even more proportionally and completely detached from the Cologne church province , but at least (like Mechelen and Cambrai ) increased to an archdiocese. Other Cologne suffragans like Munster also suffered losses in 1559, which, from the point of view of the ruling prince-bishops, were primarily due to the loss of fees such as B. made noticeable in pastors' stables (appointments).

The Revolutionary Period (1794-1813)

With the occupation of the entire area on the left bank of the Rhine by French troops until October 1794 and their further spreading into the area on the right bank of the Rhine, the Archdiocese of Cologne experienced a decline both internally and externally: not only in the radical Jacobin phase of the French Revolution , but also at the time of the Directory of From 1795 to 1799 the Catholic cult was massively suppressed in the occupied territories as in France itself. It was Napoleon Bonaparte who put an end to the fight against Christianity, whereby he was guided not by tolerance, let alone religious conviction, but by the calculation of being able to distinguish himself as a restorer of deeply rooted traditions. Important in this context is u. a. the return to the Gregorian calendar and the publication of a so-called imperial catechism in 1806.

Napoleon did not intend to make any political concessions to the imperial church, which was in decline: after the Treaty of Lunéville on February 9, 1801, the entire area on the left bank of the Rhine fell to France under constitutional law, Napoleon dissolved the Archdiocese of Cologne for its French-left parts of the Rhine The diocese structure was reorganized without any problems, thereby putting an end to a tradition of church history in the Rhineland that was over a thousand years old. As a replacement for Cologne, he created a diocese of Aachen under the episcopal direction of his follower Marc-Antoine Berdolet , which was subordinate to the Archdiocese of Mechelen as a suffragan.

Prussian period (from 1815)

Cologne diocesan area before 1802 (red) and rewrite 1821 (blue)
The unfinished cathedral around 1824. After Max Hasak : The Cologne Cathedral , 1911.

With the end of Napoleonic rule over the German west in 1814/1815, there was a renewed reorganization of church conditions: With the State Church Treaty between the Curia and Prussia , which was concluded in 1821 and which assumed rule over almost the entire Rhineland at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and the circumscription bull De salute animarum (July 16, 1821), the diocese of Aachen was dissolved again, while Cologne was revived. The former Aachen ecclesiastical areas were now distributed between Cologne and Munster in a way that corresponded more to Prussia's administrative needs than to church-historical traditions: The Cologne Sprengel comprised the administrative districts of Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf, so it was aligned with state districts. On the northern Lower Rhine, where ancient Cologne traditions such as Xanten or Kempen were located, the short-lived Prussian administrative district of Kleve and the parishes gathered there were incorporated into the diocese of Münster. Its deaneries Kleve, Wesel, Recklinghausen and Warendorf still form the border with the Archdiocese of Cologne, the Diocese of Essen , established in 1957, and Paderborn in the east, which was later elevated to the Archbishopric .

Prussia's great concession towards the curia in re-establishing the Cologne archbishopric is seen as the cause of the conflicts between state and church on the Rhine that arose in the decades that followed.

Their central event was the confusion in Cologne . Its high point is the arrest of the ultra - montane -minded Archbishop of Cologne, Clemens August von Droste zu Vischering, in 1837 by the Prussian state . It was about the legal status of interdenominational marriages , which Droste zu Vischering did not accept. The subsequent two-year imprisonment of the bishop then ensured a fundamental determination of the relationship between the Prussian state and the Catholic Church. Many historians see this event as the beginning of the Kulturkampf in the later German Empire . In the so-called " res mixtae ", those areas whose regulation was claimed by both sides (school system, marriage and jurisdiction, etc.), Prussia thus enforced the separation between state and church.

20th and 21st centuries

Membership decline 1950–2016
The Pope was met by hundreds of thousands of
pilgrims on the Rhine during the XX. World Youth Day (2005) received in Cologne.

In the 20th century, the Archdiocese of Cologne underwent further changes in 1956 with the separation of the Diocese of Eupen-Malmedy , the re-established Diocese of Aachen in the west and the establishment of the small, but numerous inhabitants "Ruhr Diocese" Essen.

Since 1954, the Archbishopric of Cologne has maintained a diocese sponsorship with the Archdiocese of Tokyo on the initiative of the then Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Frings . A second diocese partnership was established under Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner with the diocese of Dresden-Meißen .

Concerning the economic importance of the archdiocese, Cologne describes itself in its self-portrayal as “at the top of the dioceses in Germany” and “one of the dioceses with the largest budget worldwide” (680 million euros in 2004; 785.6 million euros in 2013).

The church tax revenues in 2009 amounted to 550.6 million euro; In 2010 it was 9 percent lower because of the economic crisis at the time.

In 2010, the Archdiocese invested primarily in day-care centers (“daycare centers”) and the renovation of school buildings.

The Archdiocese of Cologne maintains a so-called "Foundation Center". It cares u. a. about donations from the living ( donations ) or deceased ( bequests ) to the archbishopric or to institutions belonging to the archbishopric.

Like all other German dioceses, the archbishopric has suffered from a decline in membership for many years . The reasons include demographic change and leaving the church . In 2010, 15,163 Catholics left, an increase of 41 percent compared to 2009 (10,727 withdrawals).

In addition to the Archbishop, the Archbishopric of Cologne had four auxiliary bishops , and since 2004 three. Due to the decline in population and the increase in the average age of the population, the number of episcopal acts also decreased. So is z. For example, since the 1980s the number of confirmations has fallen from over 20,000 a year to less than 10,000.

In 2005 the Archdiocese of Cologne hosted the 20th World Youth Day . In 2013, it evaluated thousands of responses to a questionnaire that the Vatican had asked for; the answers and an excerpt published in December 2013 provide insights into the relationship between Catholics and their archdiocese and the doctrinal opinions of the Catholic Church.

Diocese geography

Archbishop General Vicariate Cologne

Diocese scope

The archbishopric in North Rhine-Westphalia includes the independent cities of Cologne , Bonn , Düsseldorf , Leverkusen , Remscheid , Solingen and Wuppertal , the eastern part of the Euskirchen district (cities of Bad Münstereifel [including the villages of Embken , Muldenau and Wollersheim of the city of Nideggen ], Euskirchen , Zülpich , the municipality of Weilerswist and the eastern localities of the city of Mechernich ), the district of Mettmann including the former city of Kettwig (Essen) and the district of Mülheim- Mintard , the Oberberg district , most of the Rhine district of Neuss (cities of Dormagen , Grevenbroich , Kaarst , Neuss , the municipality of Rommerskirchen as well as the district of Büderich of the city of Meerbusch and the districts of Glehn and Steinforth-Rubbelrath of the city of Korschenbroich ), the Rhein-Erft district , the Rhein-Sieg district and the Rheinisch-Bergisch district .

In addition, he owns in Rhineland-Palatinate parts of the district Ahrweiler (city Remagen only the district Rolandswerth [but without the island Nonnenwerth ] and the municipality Kalenborn (near Altenahr) of altenahr ), district Altenkirchen (Westerwald) (Verbandsgemeinden Altenkirchen [without the local church Berod bei Hachenburg ], Hamm (Sieg) , Wissen and Flammersfeld [north of the Wied ] and the local community Friesenhagen ) as well as the north of the district Neuwied ( Verbandsgemeinde Unkel , the local communities Asbach , Buchholz (Westerwald) and Windhagen as well as parts of the local community Kasbach-Ohlenberg ) on.

Diocese structure

The Archdiocese of Cologne is divided into eight district and seven city deans. As part of the reorganization of the deaneries on January 1, 2017, the deaneries assigned to the district and city deaneries were dissolved. The tasks of the deaneries were transferred to the district and city deaneries.

In some cases, the boundaries of the breakdowns differ from those of the corresponding regional authorities.

In addition to the city and district deans, the archbishopric is divided into three pastoral districts. These are not administrative districts, but each pastoral district is primarily assigned to one of the three auxiliary bishops, who regularly visits and works there and also maintains contact with the priests and parishes outside of the visitation trips .

City deans former deaneries Pastoral district
Bonn Bonn-Mitte / Süd, Bonn-Nord, Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Bonn-Beuel south
Dusseldorf D-Mitte / Heerdt, D-Nord, D-Süd, D-Ost, D-Benrath North
Cologne Deutz, Dünnwald, Ehrenfeld, Lindenthal, Mitte, Mülheim, Nippes, Porz, Rodenkirchen, Worringen center
Leverkusen - center
Remscheid - North
Solingen - North
Wuppertal North
District deans former deaneries Pastoral district
Altenkirchen - south
Euskirchen Euskirchen south
Mettmann Hilden, Langenfeld / Monheim, Mettmann, Ratingen North
Oberbergischer Kreis Gummersbach / Waldbröl, Wipperfürth south
Rhein-Erft district Bedburg, Bergheim, Brühl, Erftstadt, Frechen, Hürth, Kerpen, Pulheim, Wesseling center
Rhine district of Neuss Grevenbroich / Dormagen, Neuss / Kaarst North
Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis Altenberg, Bergisch Gladbach, Overath south
Rhein-Sieg district Bornheim, Eitorf / Hennef, Königswinter, Lohmar, Neunkirchen, Meckenheim / Rheinbach , Siegburg / Sankt Augustin, Troisdorf south

Several parishes are each united in a pastoral care area with a common pastor and a common pastoral care team.

The proportion of Catholics in the total population amounts to approx. 38.7%; however, it fluctuates between 22.7% in Remscheid and Wuppertal, 26% in Solingen, 30.6% in the Oberbergisches Kreis, each with a traditionally higher proportion of Protestants, and 64% in the Euskirchen district and 50.9% in the Rhein-Erft district traditionally high proportion of Catholics.


Clemens August I. with all the signs of his spiritual and secular rule. Kurmantel and Kurhut stand for the Electorate of Cologne, the pectoral hanging on his chest, the collar of the priest's robe and the miter lying on the table behind the Kurhut symbolize his office as Archbishop of Cologne.
Cardinal Frings memorial in Neuss

Since 1031 the archbishops of Cologne with a break below were Henry V always archchancellor per Italiam the kingdom . Under the Hohenstaufen kings, the dukes of Lorraine (1151) and Westphalia (1180) were added. 1239 the archbishops of Cologne were the first time in the Elector saying Reinmar of Zweter as electors called. During the interregnum , this theoretical claim also succeeded politically for the first time in the double election of 1255/56. This claim was cemented with the Golden Bull 1356 and was preserved in the early modern period . The secular domains of the Elector Archbishop were, as Kurköln, part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation until secularization in the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss 1803 .

In his ecclesiastical function, the Archbishop of Cologne is still today Metropolitan of the Rhenish Church Province and is usually elevated to cardinal status. He has been born apostolic legate ( Latin legatus natus ) since the 13th century . As an outward sign of this position, the Archbishops of Cologne are allowed to wear legate purple in their archdiocese .

The Archbishops of Cologne included a number of intellectually and ecclesiastically outstanding figures. So was z. B. Archbishop Pilgrim papal librarian since 1024, Cardinal Johannes von Geissel was the initiator of the forerunner of the German Bishops' Conference in 1848 and Cardinal Joseph Höffner was the "founder" of the modern financial administration of the Apostolic See and the Vatican State .

In the 16th century, the denominational attitude of the Archbishops of Cologne was sometimes ambivalent. From the 17th to the end of the 18th century, the type of Simonist dominated the Cologne cathedral , i.e. H. the high nobility committed to the collection of as many lucrative and befitting church benefices as possible. The pastoral aspect clearly receded, which can already be seen from the fact that some bishops did not obtain all or even the lowest ordinations in order to keep the retreat to the secular state open.

Cardinal Woelki

It was not until the end of the 18th century that Maximilian Franz of Austria emerged as a prominent figure in the reform discourse of enlightened absolutism, whose work was blocked by internal obstacles in the electoral state and of course by the Rhineland occupation of the French revolutionary troops. In the 19th century, the Archbishops of Cologne exposed themselves in disputes with the Prussian state (see above). Since the early 20th century, they have especially distinguished themselves in the field of the universal Church . Joseph Cardinal Frings broke through the curial guardianship and thus gave the Second Vatican Council a powerful opportunity to act. Joseph Höffner was a close advisor to Pope Paul VI. and Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Joachim Meisner was also a close friend of Pope John Paul II and acted as his personal advisor. But one recognizes the importance of Cologne's archbishops in the world church by their attitude to social issues. In this way, they were able to enforce a cross-denominational stance on trade union issues, as well as to establish national and international aid agencies, which form the basis of today's papal aid agencies.

The importance of the Archbishop of Cologne is reflected in the laboriousness of filling the Cologne Erzstuhl. In the 19th century, the (Prussian) state and church had a mostly competing interest in getting their candidate through, as they had a prominent position in national church issues. In history this has often been a tug of war in which the concerns of the archdiocese itself were pushed into the background.

The Archbishop of Cologne is also President of the German Association of the Holy Land .


In addition to the regular budget, which must be accounted for, the Archdiocese of Cologne does not have to account for the “ Episcopal See ” as long as no “public funds” are used in it. After the events surrounding the Limburg bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst , the Archdiocese of Cologne - like several other dioceses in Germany - gave an insight into its assets and published its financial situation for the first time in October 2013. The assets of the Episcopal See were around 160 million euros. The real estate assets of the Archdiocese and the Episcopal See were valued at 612 million euros. The presentation of real estate assets should be followed by further steps towards more transparency of diocese finances.

In October 2016, the Archdiocese presented a financial report for the third time in accordance with the requirements of commercial law : the balance sheet figures include the Archbishopric, the Cathedral and the Metropolitan Chapter , as well as foundations administered by the Archdiocese. As a result, the financial situation of the suffragan dioceses belonging to the archbishopric as well as the 527 parishes and other legal entities are not included in the balance sheet figures

The diocese generated a surplus of 52 million euros in 2015, which means that the diocese's assets rose by three percent to 3.518 billion euros. Most of the reported assets - a good 2.5 billion euros - were invested in financial assets, according to the list. Tangible assets such as real estate were valued at just under 671 million euros. The most important source of income remained the church tax, which rose by 38.7 million euros to 627.6 million euros - an increase of 6.6 percent. Vicar General Dominik Meiering was dissatisfied with the still sparse number of parishes that, like the diocese , prepared a balance sheet according to the requirements of the Commercial Code (HGB).

After the Archbishopric of Munich and Paderborn , the Archdiocese of Cologne is the third most wealthy church organization in Germany and, according to the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation, had only 3.4 billion euros at its disposal in 2016.

Church life

South portal of the cathedral during the cathedral pilgrimage in 2006

The church life of the Archdiocese of Cologne is shaped by urban areas, as the rural areas are also oriented towards the major cities along the Rhine and the Wuppertal. There is a lively pilgrimage system and a lively club life in the archbishopric. In almost every parish there are youth groups, the Catholic women's community ( kfd ), a rifle brotherhood or a Kolping family . The number of members of church choirs and altar servers is given for 2004 as over 30,000 each. In 2018, 7.8% of church members attended Mass on Sundays.

The joint responsibility of the Christians is carried out consistently through nationwide elected parish councils at the level of the individual pastoral care areas and the deaneries that arose in the Middle Ages up to the diocesan council of the Catholics in the Archdiocese of Kings.


The central identification feature of the Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cologne is the Cologne Cathedral , which was completed in 1880 . The Cologne cathedral provost Norbert Feldhoff said during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. in Cologne Cathedral on August 18, 2005: “We thank you for this visit and we are proud that Cologne Cathedral is the first cathedral outside of the Diocese of Rome that you visit as Pope. In Cologne's “modesty” we consider this to be appropriate because the Cathedral of St. Peter in Cologne is the episcopal church of the “Ecclesia Coloniensis semper sedis Apostolicae fidelis filia”. "

The group of “Christians who are socialized in the church and who are at home in the Catholic Church, who consciously feel they belong to the Church, the Archdiocese and their community and actively support them”, comprises up to 20 percent of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cologne, depending on the region. There is also the type of Rhenish or “Cologne Catholics”, “who are characterized by the fact that their Rhineland and Cologne sense of home always implies a certain bond with the Catholic Church, without defining themselves as pious or strictly Catholic. These loyal, distant people who seek encounter with the church at life transitions have the feeling that something existentially significant is still being achieved by the church, even if they can do little with the everyday life of the congregations. "

Patron saint of the archdiocese

  • Mary , with special commemoration on the solemnity of the Blessed Mother and the Virgin Mary conceived without original sin (December 8th)
  • Joseph of Nazareth , Memorial Day on March 19th

The three wise men are patron saints of the city of Cologne, not of the archbishopric. However, the commemoration of the transfer of their relics to Cologne Cathedral can be celebrated throughout the archbishopric on July 23rd.

Diocesan calendar

In the Archdiocese of Cologne, the regional calendar for the German-speaking area is supplemented by the following celebrations (followed by the rank)

Abbreviations: H = high festival, F = festival, G = mandatory day of remembrance, g = non-mandatory day of remembrance, CRG = Calendarium Romanum Generale , RK = regional calendar for the German-speaking area ,

  • January 23: Bl. Nikolaus Groß , family man and martyr
  • 0February 5th: St. Adelheid von Vilich , virgin and abbess, co-patroness of the city of Bonn - g, in Bonn G
  • April 23: St. Gerhard , Bishop - g
  • April 27th: St. Petrus Kanisius , religious priest and doctor of the church - F (in CRG g)
  • April 30th: St. Quirinus , martyr in Rome, patron of the city of Neuss –g, in Neuss H
  • 21 May: St. Hermann Josef , religious priest - G (in RK g) The g of St. Christophorus Magallanes and his companions (CRG) does not exist in the Archdiocese of Cologne.
  • 0June 5th: St. Boniface , bishop, messenger of faith in Germany, martyr - F
  • June 26th: St. Josemaría Escriva de Balaguer , priest - g
  • 0July 9: St. Agilolf , Bishop - g
  • July 23: St. Apollinaris , Bishop - g (in the CRG on July 20), in Düsseldorf H
  • July 23rd: Transfer of the relics of the Three Kings - g, in Cologne G. The F of St. Birgitta of Sweden (CRG) is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Cologne on July 27th.
  • August 30th: St. Heribert , Bishop - G
  • 0September 4th: St. Swidbert , Bishop - g
  • September 11th: St. Maternus , Bishop - F
  • September 27th: Consecration of the Cologne Cathedral - F. The G des hl. Vinzenz von Paul (CRG) does not exist in the Archdiocese of Cologne.
  • 0October 3rd: The two hll. Brothers Ewald , priests and martyrs - g
  • October 10: St. Gereon and Companions, Martyrs - G (except in Bonn)
  • October 11th: St. Bruno , Bishop - G. The g of St. John XXIII (CRG) is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Cologne on June 4th.
  • October 21: St. Ursula and companions , virgins and martyrs - G, in Cologne H
  • October 23: St. Severin , Bishop - G. The g of St. Johannes von Capestrano (CRG) does not exist in the Archdiocese of Cologne.
  • October 24th: St. Evergislus (Eberigisil) , Bishop - g
  • 0November 7th: St. Engelbert , bishop and martyr - g
  • 0November 8th: Bl. Johannes Duns Scotus , religious priest - g
  • November 12th: St. Kunibert , Bishop - G. The G of St. Josaphat is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Cologne on November 14th.
  • November 15: Albert the Great , religious, bishop and doctor of the church - F. The g of St. Leopold is no longer in the Archdiocese of Cologne.
  • November 16: Bl. Josef Marxen , priest and martyr - g
  • 0December 4th: Bl. Adolph Kolping , priest - G, The g of St. Barbara and the g of St. John of Damascus are omitted in the Archdiocese of Cologne.
  • 0December 5th: St. Anno , Bishop - G (in RK g), in Siegburg H
  • December 14th: Bl. Franziska Schervier , virgin - g. The G of St. John of the Cross is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Cologne on December 15th.
  • December 15: St. John of the Cross , religious priest, doctor of the church - G (in the CRG on December 14)

In addition, the board of directors lists two festivals whose rank differs from the general calendar in only one city or is not listed there:

  • August 10, St. Laurentius , deacon, martyr in Rome, patron of the city of Wuppertal - in Wuppertal H (in CRG and RK F)
  • October 10, St. Cassius and Florentius , martyrs, patrons of the city of Bonn - in Bonn H (not in the CRG or RK)

Pilgrimage sites

Institutions and bodies

Diocesan bodies and advisory bodies to the archbishop

  • Diocesan Pastoral Council
  • Church tax and economic council and asset council
  • Diocesan Council
  • Council of priests
  • Women's Commission
  • Art commission
  • Liturgy and Church Music Commission
  • Ecumenical Diocese Commission
  • Commission for Continuing Education
  • Deacon Conference of Permanent Deacons
  • The Archbishop's Advisory Board on Sexual Abuse Issues

Institutions for the proclamation of the faith

Training for priests and deacons

Scientific institutions

Education and media


Charitable institutions

  • Diocesan Charity Association for the Archdiocese of Cologne eV
  • Caritas associations in all districts and urban districts
  • CBT - Caritas-Betriebsführung- undträgergesellschaft mbH


  • domradio and media foundation
  • Edith Stein Foundation
  • Edmund Heusgen Foundation
  • Erwin Pougin Foundation
  • Archbishop's Archive and Library Foundation
  • Archbishop's Foundation Cologne
  • Geschwister-Löhers-Foundation
  • Helmut Müller-Brühl Foundation
  • Hildegard Knappstein Foundation
  • Cardinal Meisner Foundation
  • Rogamus Foundation for Vocation Pastoral
  • Syrom Pension Fund Foundation. Mission priest
  • Foundation Monastic Communities of Jerusalem Cologne
  • Foundation for Social Purposes

Culture and sights


Cathedral chapter

The Cologne Cathedral Chapter , the High Metropolitan, Cathedral and Cathedral Chapter of Cologne, currently has 14 members, two of whom do not live at the cathedral and are referred to as "non-resident cathedral capitals". At the head of the chapter are a cathedral provost chosen by the cathedral chapter and a cathedral dean appointed by the archbishop. The cathedral capitals are appointed by the archbishop of Cologne, alternately appointing them once on the proposal of the chapter and then again after hearing the same. In Cologne, the head of the cathedral is the cathedral chapter and not the archbishop. After death or resignation, it elects a new archbishop and supports the archbishop in the administration of the diocese.

Resident cathedral capitulars are currently: Gerd Bachner (2005/2015, cathedral provost until April 2020), cathedral dean Robert Kleine (2012/2012), official and cathedral preacher Günter Assenmacher (2004), auxiliary bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp (2004), Josef Sauerborn (2004), Hans -Josef Radermacher (2006), Vicar General Markus Hofmann (2012), Auxiliary Bishop Ansgar Puff (2013), Dominik Meiering (2015), Thomas Weitz (2015), Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Steinhäuser (2015) and Markus Bosbach (2018), from September 2020 Dompropst Guido Assmann (canon, non-resident since 2017).

Non-resident cathedral capitular: Heinz-Peter Teller (2013)

Emeritus Cathedral Capitulars: Auxiliary Bishop Klaus Dick (em. 2003), Ludwig Schöller (em. 2004), Norbert Feldhoff (em. 2015), Robert Kümpel (em. 2015), Anno Burghof (em. 2018).

See also:

See also

Portal: Cologne Cathedral  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Cologne Cathedral


  • Ulrich Helbach and Joachim Oepen , eds. Metropolitan Chapter of the High Cathedral of Cologne: Archbishops of Cologne and their resting places since 313, 10th edition, Verlag Kölner Dom, Essen 2017.
  • Wilhelm Neuss, Friedrich Wilhelm Oediger: The diocese of Cologne from the beginning to the end of the 12th century . Cologne 1964 ( 3 1991) (History of the Archdiocese of Cologne 1).
  • Wilhelm Janssen : The Archdiocese of Cologne in the late Middle Ages. 1191-1515 . 2 half volumes, Cologne 1995/2003 (History of the Archdiocese of Cologne 2).
  • Hansgeorg Molitor : The Archdiocese of Cologne in the age of religious struggles. 1515-1688. Cologne 2008 (History of the Archdiocese of Cologne 3). ISBN 3-7616-1346-6 .
  • Ulrich Helbach / Joachim Oepen: Small illustrated history of the Archdiocese of Cologne . JP Bachem Verlag, Cologne 2013, ISBN 978-3-7616-2702-0 .
  • Eduard Hegel : The Archdiocese of Cologne between Baroque and Enlightenment. From the Palatinate War to the end of the French period 1688–1814 . Cologne 1979 (History of the Archdiocese of Cologne 4). ISBN 3-7616-0389-4 .
  • Eduard Hegel: The Archdiocese of Cologne. Between the 19th century restoration and the 20th century restoration. 1815-1962. Cologne 1987 (History of the Archdiocese of Cologne 5). ISBN 3-7616-0873-X .
  • Martinus Henriquez de Strevesdorff: Archidioeceseos Coloniensis descriptio historica . Cologne 1662 ( digitized version )
  • Franz Gescher: The archiepiscopal curia in Cologne from its first beginnings to the present. A legal historical sketch. In: Annals of the Historical Association for the Lower Rhine. Volume 118, 1931, pp. 1-31.


  • Forma iuxta quam in visitatione cleri & [et] populi civitatis & [et] dioecesis colonies. inquisitio: secundum ecclesiarum, monasteriorum, ordinum, personarum & locorum diversas conditiones ac rationes institui vel fieri debeat . - Gennepaeus, Coloniae Agrippae 1550 ( digital copy )

Web links

Commons : Archdiocese of Cologne  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Topographia Colonia et al.  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

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  2. AP2019
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  5. ^ H. Seibert: Cologne, B. Archbishopric . In: LexMA V, col. 1261-1268, here col. 1262.
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  9. See M. Groten: Cologne. A. Stadt, II. Middle Ages, in: LexMA V, Sp. 1256–1261, here Sp. 1256.
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  11. M. Groten: Cologne. A. Stadt, II. Middle Ages, in: LexMA V, Sp. 1256–1261, here Sp. 1256.
  12. M. Groten: Cologne. A. Stadt, II. Middle Ages, in: LexMA V, Sp. 1256-1261, here Sp. 1258f.
  13. a b c Z. Kiaupa: Worringen, Schlacht v., In: LexMA IX, Sp. 337.
  14. M. Groten: Cologne. A. Stadt, II. Middle Ages, in: LexMA V, Sp. 1256–1261, here Sp. 1259.
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  32. ^ E. Schubert: Kurfürsten, in: LexMA V, Sp. 1581–1583, here Sp. 1581
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  39. to the other legal entities u. a. Further financial statements in the 2017 financial report . In: Retrieved October 28, 2018 .
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  43. Quotation: " The Cologne Church [is] the always faithful daughter of the Apostolic See " Norbert Feldhoff: Welcome at the Marien-Portal of Cologne Cathedral on Thursday, August 18, 2005. (PDF; 500.11 kB) In: Announcements of Apostolic See No. 169: Sermons, addresses and greetings as part of the Apostolic Journey of Pope Benedict XVI. to Cologne on the occasion of the XX. World Youth Day. Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference, August 18, 2005, p. 32 f. , accessed on August 20, 2019 .
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  45. Markus Bosbach appointed Cathedral Chapter. Retrieved October 25, 2019 .
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