Society for Middle Rhine Church History

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The Society for Middle Rhine Church History is an association for the care of church history in the area of ​​the Catholic Middle Rhine dioceses.


Preliminary stages

Even before 1944, the Heidelberg professor for historical auxiliary sciences Joseph Ahlhaus (1886–1952) planned the publication of a church history journal for the diocese of Speyer . His pupil Ludwig Litzenburger (1907–1992) also received the approval of the Speyer bishop Joseph Wendel (1901–1960 ) in 1944, but without financial commitments for the church history association to be founded, which was to publish the Speyer diocesan archive. The finances were probably the reason that Ahlhaus turned to his Mainz colleague Ludwig Lenhart (1902–1971) in 1945 , who arranged a meeting with the Mainz bishop Albert Stohr (1890–1961), during which the establishment of a Middle Rhine diocesan archive was arranged took in view. In 1946 the Diocese of Limburg , which contains both parts of Mainz and Trier, also joined the Middle Rhine Church History company . Against initial political concerns, Ahlhaus was finally able to persuade the diocese of Trier to join, so that on January 21, 1947, the representatives of three dioceses met in Mainz for an "interdiocesan conference of the Central Rhine Church Historians".

Foundation and fields of work

The meeting in Mainz consisted of 30 people. Joseph Ahlhaus was elected president of the association, which now called itself the Society for Middle Rhine Church History . The historical commissions were chosen as the form of organization. The society was supposed to act as the umbrella organization for the four diocesan history associations being formed. A vice-president was elected for each diocese, namely for Limburg Domkapitular Jakob Rauch (1881–1956), for Mainz Ludwig Lenhart, for Speyer clergy Adam Fath (1881–1955), for Trier Matthias Schuler (1886–1955) and for Worms city archivist Friedrich Illert (1892–1966). The secretaries of the diocesan archivist Anton Philipp Brück (1913–1984), Mainz, and Ludwig Litzenburger, Speyer, were also elected to the board. The following were added as technical representatives: Cathedral Capitular Philipp Weindel from Speyer (1900–1988), Cathedral Capitular Jakob Schmidt from Mainz, Pastor Hans Becker (1905–1980) from Limburg, Cathedral Vicar Kramer from Würzburg, Huhn, Fulda, Hermann Tüchle from Tübingen, Leo Uedig SJ , Frankfurt, and diocese archivist Alois Thomas von Trier. In addition, the first 35 full members were appointed.

In the first meeting, the members present decided to publish, in addition to the annual archive for Middle Rhine Church history, a scientific series entitled Sources and Treatises on Middle Rhine Church History , which should primarily contain source publications. At the editorial conference on May 2, 1947 in Mainz, the design of the archive was discussed and the price was set at 10 for members and 15 RM for non-members. On September 24, 1947, the second general meeting took place, in which another 14 members of the research community were appointed and the statutes drafted by Ahlhaus were debated, some of which are still valid today.

A formal founding meeting was necessary for the licensing of the company or its magazine, which was ready for printing in the print shop, but could not appear due to a lack of paper allocation. It took place on November 10, 1948 in the Mainz seminary . Since Joseph Ahlhaus's denazification process had not yet been completed, he did not appear at the meeting. The statutes were adopted and a provisional board was elected. It included Ludwig Lenhart, Anton Brück and Privatdozent Eugen Ewig for Mainz, Adam Fath for Speyer, Alois Thomas for Trier and Pastor Hans Becker for Limburg . Ludwig Lenhart was elected chairman. On December 16, 1948, the French Military Government approved the Provisional Board, Bylaws and Society . The archive was still pending licensing .

Finally, on April 27, 1949, the company's official founding meeting took place in the Speyer Administration Academy. The final board was elected in the board meeting there. The general meeting in the afternoon called new electoral members and approved the revised statutes and the publishing contract with the Speyer publishing house Jäger. The next day there was the public publication ceremony with speeches by Joseph Ahlhaus, Ludwig Lenhart and Dompropst Hofen as representatives of the Speyer bishop. With that the society was constituted.

Maintaining the regional church history is still the main task of the society like other church history associations. Only that the company is following the accession of the Diocese of Erfurt (2017) is based on six dioceses. The journal Archive for Middle Rhine Church History and the series of sources and treatises on Middle Rhine church history as well as annual meetings in turn in the supporting dioceses with scientific lectures and excursions serve this maintenance . The lost diocese of Worms also appeared as a separate group, but is represented as part of today's diocese of Mainz by the Mainz diocese group.

The integration of the dioceses was a condicio sine qua non . Joseph Ahlhaus proposed overarching projects for this purpose. From the outset, a bibliography of church history was planned for the scholarly local history researcher, later referred to as source studies on the Middle Rhine church history , for which Ahlhaus tried to draw on as many researchers as possible by subdividing into many subject areas. Also a Monasticon of the Middle Rhine was envisaged and an Lexicon of saints from the Middle Rhine .

Consolidation and Development

Financing the archive remained precarious. The first volume was published in 1949 and was well received by experts. Ludwig Lenhart and Anton Philipp Brück acted as editors , as the company was not yet entered in the register of associations. The financing of the second volume was again questionable.

The management of a relatively heterogeneous historical society like society requires and required a strong figure of integration. Therefore, Theodor Schieffer , Mainz professor for medieval history, was elected president as successor to Ahlhaus in 1952 . The company at that time was one of five honorary members (the bishops), a founder, 151 elected members, who should also supposed to be employees, nine conveyor and four members of the ring of friends. Confirmation from the highest authority received their activity on October 22, 1953. During a quarter of an hour private audience in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Pius XII blessed . the Society for Middle Rhine Church History .

In 1954, the first volume of the sources and treatises was the dissertation of the later abbot of Himmerod, Ambrosius Schneider, Die Cistercienserabtei Himmerod in the late Middle Ages .

Because of the still difficult financial and membership situation, Schieffer suggested transforming the company into an association. In the meantime, the Speyer diocese group had the project Palatia Sacra , churches and benefice description of the Palatinate in the pre-Reformation period due to the preparatory work of the Geh. Archives Councilor Franz Xaver Glasschröder brought into being. Head of the Glasschröder Commission was Anton Ludwig Doll (1919–2009), Speyer. Today's Palatia Sacra Commission of the Society is headed by Hans Ammerich , Speyer.

Since Theodor Schieffer followed a call to Cologne, Eugen Ewig , now professor in Mainz, succeeded him in 1955 . Under his aegis, the society was transformed into an association and redefined as a joint effort by church historians and friends of church history .

In 1964, Eugen Ewig accepted a position at the university in his home town of Bonn. This is why Otto Graf von Looz-Corswarem, head of the Koblenz State Archives, was elected President in 1965. In 1966 the Koblenz archivist Franz-Josef Heyen replaced library councilor Hans Knies as managing director. Heyen put the financing of the association and the publishing house on a new basis. The Trier diocese archive was responsible for storing and distributing the publications. The special role of the diocese of Worms in the administrative board was given up after the death of the vice-president and city archivist Friedrich Illert in 1967. Since then, Worms has been represented by the Mainz diocese group. The statutes were revised. The DFG made considerable funds available for the Palatia Sacra project, so that employees could even be hired at times.

Ludwig Lenhart died in 1971. Until his death he was the chief editor of the archives and editor of the sources and essays . He was succeeded as chief editor by Anton Philipp Brück. The sources and treatises were published in future by Franz Rudolf Reichert, head of the library of the Trier seminary . Count Looz retired in 1971. Franz-Josef Heyen became his successor. In addition, in 1974 the society joined the general association of history and antiquity associations. In 1980 Isnard W. Frank , Mainz, took over the publication of the sources and treatises . In 1984 Anton Philipp Brück died. Anton Ludwig Doll, Speyer, took over his function as chief editor of the archive until 1988. He was followed by Friedhelm Jürgensmeier , Mainz, who held this office for 25 years. Michael Oberweis, Mainz, has been the main editor of the archive since 2014 .

In 1987 the diocese of Fulda joined the society . The Fulda side wanted to open up the former Mainz parts of the diocese to more research. The archive was also able to publish since 1986 the organ for the church's historic preservation, the regular reports on their work here. In 1989 Heyen's presidential term ran out. He was succeeded by the Mannheim legal historian Pirmin Spieß. For the first time, Spieß organized large scientific symposia alongside the annual meetings: for example in 1991 in Trier on reform ideas and reform politics in the Late Sali-Early Staufer Empire ( Stefan Weinfurter ), in Frankfurt in 1994 for the Frankfurt Council of 794 ( Rainer Berndt ), in 1995 in Worms for the Worms Reichstag of 1495 ( Michael Matheus ) and in 2000 to Bishop Burchard v. Worms ( Wilfried Hartmann ) also in Worms. More recently, the society has organized symposia for the reception of the Second Vatican Council in the Middle Rhine dioceses (Mainz 2014; Joachim Schmiedl) and for the 1000th anniversary of the Worms Cathedral (Worms 2018; Ludger Körntgen ).

In 1998 the 50th anniversary of the company was celebrated in Speyer and the long-time managing director Martina Knichel ( Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz ) created a commemorative publication, which appeared as volume 85 of the sources and treatises. The attempt to win the diocese of Erfurt as the supporting diocese of the company was not successful after the fall of the Wall. Before that, Erfurt was represented by a councilor in the Fulda diocese group. However, two councilors were appointed to the board of directors as advisory and non-voting representatives. The company's research horizon was expanded to include the area of ​​the Erfurt diocese. At the annual meeting in Mainz (2017), the diocese of Erfurt was finally accepted as the sixth supporting bishopric of the society and hosted the annual meeting in Heiligenstadt in 2018.

In 1997, Franz Staab took over the position of editor of the sources and essays and in 2001 the presidency of the society . Editing of the sources and treatises went to Peter Walter , Freiburg. Staab died on April 26, 2004. Peter Walter was elected to succeed him as President. The publication of the series went to Claus Arnold (Frankfurt am Main). In 2009, Joachim Schmiedl (Vallendar) succeeded him in this position. In 2015, Helmut Streicher (Kapsweyer) was elected to succeed the long-time treasurer Heinrich Götz. Bernhard Schneider (Trier) has been president since the 2017 annual conference . The company's office has been located in the Institute for Church History in Mainz, Heringsbrunnengasse 4, since 2019, and Gabriela Hart (Mainz) was elected as managing director.

Since 1980, the society has been awarding a plaque at its annual meetings to honor personalities who have rendered services to church history in the Middle Rhine region. Since 2019, a glass sculpture by the glass artist Reiner Eul (Hadamar) has been presented as an honorary gift instead of a plaque. The self-publishing of the sources and treatises and the archive for Middle Rhine church history was replaced in 2019 by the transfer to Verlag Aschendorff .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Institute for Church History in Mainz