Court chapel (office)

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The court chapel was created under the Carolingians as a central spiritual institution at the royal court . It was the only institutional administrative unit in the Franconian Empire and its successors in Europe. Starting from the royal court, court chapels also developed at other royal and bishop's courts.

All of the clerics working at the royal court are grouped together in the court chapel . These performed both religious and secular tasks. They were responsible for the sacred acts and church services at court. The name chapel and hence the chaplain is derived from the relic of the mantle of St. Martin , which was called cappa or capella in Latin and the keeping of which fell under the duties of the court clergy. In the administrative area, the chaplains were responsible for the written administrative tasks , i.e. the drawing up of documents and capitularies . The court chapel was the central organ of the secular and spiritual order of the empire. The execution of the administration of the empire was in the hands of the counts .

At the head of the chapel has been the arch chaplain (Latin archicapellanus ) since Ludwig the German . The first arch chaplain was Bishop Baturich of Regensburg. Because of the chancellery function of the court orchestra, the latter was soon called Arch Chancellor ( archicancellarius ).

From 870 this office was held by the Archbishop of Mainz . Otto the Great , however, had to grant the archbishops of Cologne and Vienne (later Trier ) the title of arch-chancellor. From this the three ecclesiastical ore offices developed , which were responsible for the realms of Germany (Mainz), Italy (Cologne) and Burgundy / Arelat (Trier).

Due to the frequent absence of the arch-chancellor from the royal court, the (imperial) chancellor ran the business during this time and thus became an important advisor to the king.


  • Lioba Geis : Court Chapel and Chaplains in the Kingdom of Sicily (1130-1266) , de Gruyter, Berlin 2014.
  • Josef Fleckenstein : The court chapel of the German kings .
    • Volume 1: Foundation. The Carolingian court chapel . Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1959, ( writings of the Monumenta Germaniae historica 16, 1, ISSN  0080-6951 ).
    • Volume 2: The court chapel as part of the Ottonian-Salian imperial church . Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1966 (= writings of the Monumenta Germaniae historica 16, 2, ISSN  0080-6951 ).