Georg Golser

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Georg Golser (* in Werfen ; † June 20, 1489 in Bressanone ) was a Catholic bishop of the diocese of Bressanone .

The son of a farmer (presumably a farmer) from Werfen in the prince-archbishopric of Salzburg was enrolled at the University of Vienna in 1438 and in 1460 acquired the academic degree of Doctor of Canon Law (Doctor iuris canonici). Promoted to canon , Golser was elected to the bishopric of Brixen on September 9, 1464 according to an old tradition by the cathedral chapter as the successor of Nikolaus Cusanus . As a result of the disputes over the Council of Basel , in which his predecessors Georg von Stubai and Nikolaus Cusanus were also involved, Pope Paul II did not want to recognize the election. Both the Pope and Emperor Friedrich III. wanted to push through their own candidates. The dispute was only settled years later as a result of the successive renunciation of his opponents ( Francesco Gonzaga and Leo von Spaur ) and Golser was finally confirmed by Pope Sixtus IV on December 16, 1471 .

In 1485 Heinrich Institor came with Pope Innocent VIII's bull of witches from Rome to Brixen and there convinced the cathedral chapter of the need to search for harmful sorcery. In a circular letter, Golser commissioned the support of the inquisitor , who then went to Innsbruck and preached against the magical being there, collected denunciations and finally had several women arrested. The process was under the protection of Bishop Golser and Archduke Sigmunds of Tyrol ("the rich in coins").

Institor designed the process against the women as he saw fit, and finally asked questions about sexuality , so that one of those present, who had been summoned to the trial by Golser in his place, indignantly indicated that if this continued in this tone he would be the one Leaving court session. In one of the last court sessions, a lawyer who was present expressed criticism of the procedure and became the defender of the women accused. He pointed out that the trial did not meet legal standards and pleaded for the defendants' release, which he succeeded.

Bishop Georg Golser then declared the work of the inquisitor to be over and expelled him from the diocese; Institor only followed up after several calls in the spring of 1486. Archduke Sigmund paid for the entire process. The failure of the Inquisitor in Innsbruck is likely to have been a decisive factor in writing the “ Malleus maleficarum ” (Hexenhammer; 1486).

The fact that Golser only took action against Institor when his own sister was being persecuted by the Inquisition belongs in the realm of legend. So far nothing is known of a sister of Bishop Golser who was burned as a witch, the original files on the so-called “Innsbruck witch trial” provide no information.

In 1488, Georg Golser, who was considered ailing during his entire tenure, handed over the diocesan government to his long-time coadjutor Melchior von Meckau .


predecessor Office successor
Nikolaus von Kues Bishop of Bressanone
1464 - 1488
Melchior von Meckau