Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg

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Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg, portrayed by Marie Ellenrieder
Wessenberghaus Residential and death house at Wessenbergstrasse 41 in Constance
Bust of Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg, made by Hans Baur on Wessenberg's house in Constance
Epitaph Wessenberg in Constance Minster

Ignaz Heinrich Karl, Freiherr von Wessenberg (born November 4, 1774 in Dresden , † August 9, 1860 in Konstanz ) was an enlightened Roman Catholic theologian from the Swabian nobility. His brother was the Austrian minister Johann von Wessenberg .

life and work

Wessenberg studied theology in Augsburg , Dillingen , Würzburg and Vienna . In 1802 he was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Constance by Prince-Bishop Karl Theodor von Dalberg , but it was not until 1812 that he was ordained a priest . At the Congress of Vienna he tried, on Dalberg's behalf, to establish a German Catholic national church under a German primate . As Vicar General in the Diocese of Constance, Wessenberg drove far-reaching reforms in the spirit of enlightened theology in various areas such as theological training, liturgy and popular piety. In Rome this activity met with little acceptance; for example, Pope Pius VIII accused Wessenberg of wanting to abolish celibacy and not recognize the papal primacy . Cardinal State Secretary Filippo Casoni called Wessenberg a man who was as perverse as he was dangerous. In 1814, the Pope asked Karl Theodor von Dalberg to dismiss the vicar general, and after the Prince-Bishop's death he did not recognize the unanimous election of Wessenberg as vicar of the capitular . In 1822, Wessenberg was elected bishop of the new Archdiocese of Freiburg by the deans of Baden with almost two thirds of the votes , but the Baden government urged Wessenberg to resign because it was clear that he would not be a candidate for the office because of the negative attitude of the curia Question came. Wessenberg finally remained diocesan administrator until Bernhard Boll was appointed Archbishop of Freiburg in October 1827 ; after that he withdrew from church work.

From 1819 to 1827 and from 1831 to 1833 Wessenberg was a member of the First Chamber of the Baden Estates Assembly , initially by virtue of his office as diocese administrator, then as a representative of the manorial nobility above the Murg.

On July 28, 1832, Wessenberg was granted honorary citizenship of the city of Constance.

The correspondence and friendship with the evangelical poet and theologian Johann Peter Hebel was unusual for the time .

He donated his painting collection to the Grand Duke Friedrich von Baden , who in return gave 20,000 guilders for charitable purposes. The Grand Duke approved the collection to remain in Constance. Today around 80 paintings are included in the holdings of the Städtische Wessenberg-Galerie , which is under the control of the Zähringer Foundation .

Wessenberg wrote a total of around 470 publications and worked for the Freymüthigen Blätter on theology and church . He bequeathed his extensive private library of over 20,000 volumes to the city of Konstanz, which maintained and expanded it. He also donated the Wessenberganstalt . The Wessenberg Library has been accessible for research purposes as a closed book collection in the library of the University of Konstanz since 2000 .

In memory of his person, the street at his former home (part of the north-south axis in the old town) and a high school are named after Wessenberg.

Main fonts

  • The spirit of the age. Zurich 1801 (anonymous)
  • The German Church, a proposal for its new foundation and establishment. O. O. 1815
  • Flowers from Italy (poems). Orell, Zurich 1820 digitized
  • About the moral influence of the novels. One try. Constance 1826
  • The great church meetings of the 15th and 16th centuries. 4 volumes. Constance 1840
  • All seals. 7 volumes. Stuttgart 1834-54
  • About the formation of the business classes in general and in the Grand Duchy of Baden in particular. Constance, 1833


  • Kurt Aland (ed.): Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg: Unpublished manuscripts and letters. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau and others
    • Volume 1: Autobiographical Notes. 1968
    • Volume 2. The letters of Johann Philipp von Wessenberg to his brother. 1987, ISBN 3-451-14806-4
    • Volume 3. Small Fonts. 1979, ISBN 3-451-14803-X
    • Volume 4. Travel Diaries. 1970


  • Joseph Beck : Freiherr Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg. His life and work. At the same time a contribution to the history of modern times. Based on handwritten notes from Wessenberg. Wagner, Freiburg im Breisgau 1862 (2nd edition 1874).
  • Karl-Heinz Braun : Heinrich Schreiber and Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg - late reconnaissance. In: Achim Aurnhammer , Hans-Jochen Schiewer (Ed.): Poets and Professors. A literary history of Freiburg in portraits. Rombach, Freiburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7930-9588-0 , pp. 169-191.
  • Karl-Heinz Braun (ed.): Education with Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg (1774–1860) - "... how innumerable many have not yet got over the dry letters!". Conference reports of the Catholic Academy of the Archdiocese of Freiburg. Freiburg 2014.
  • Karl-Heinz Braun: Hermann v. Vicari and Ignaz Heinrich v. Wessenberg. Two prelates in a comparison of church politics. In: Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv 107, 1987, pp. 213-236.
  • Karl-Heinz Braun: Wessenberg, Ignaz Heinrich von (1774-1860). In: Erwin Gatz (Ed.): The bishops of the German-speaking countries 1785/1803 to 1945. A biographical lexicon. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1983, ISBN 3-428-05447-4 , pp. 808-812 ( digitized version ).
  • Victor Conzemius: Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Christina Egli: Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg. His relationship with the Bonapartes at Arenenberg Castle . In: Writings of the association for the history of Lake Constance and its surroundings . 132nd issue, 2014, ISBN 978-3-7995-1720-1 , pp. 119-148 .
  • Karl Kühner: Ignatz Heinrich Freiherr von Wessenberg and his contemporaries. Light figures from 19th century Catholicism. Hörning, Heidelberg 1897.
  • Karl Hausberger : Wessenberg, Ignaz Heinrich Freiherr von. In: Manfred Heim (Ed.): Theologians, Heretics, Saints. Small lexicon of people on church history . CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-47977-4 , p. 398 f.
  • Erwin Keller: The Konstanz liturgical reform under Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg (= Freiburg Diocesan Archive. Vol. 85). Herder, Freiburg 1965 ( digitized version ).
  • Klaus Oettinger : Baron Ignaz von Wessenberg. On its history of validity in the church public. In: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings , 128 (2010), pp. 119–137 ( digitized version ).
  • Johann Ulrich Schlegel: The relationship between Johann Gaudenz von Salis and Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg. Juris, Zurich 1976, ISBN 3-260-04126-5 .
  • Johann Friedrich von SchulteIgnaz Heinrich Karl Freiherr von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 42, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1897, pp. 147-157.
  • Manfred Weitlauff : Dalberg as Bishop of Constance and his Constance Vicar General Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg. In: Karl Hausberger (Ed.): Carl von Dalberg. The last spiritual prince (= series of publications of the University of Regensburg. Vol. 22). Universitätsverlag, Regensburg 1995, ISBN 3-930480-40-9 , pp. 35-58.
  • Manfred Weitlauff: Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg (1774–1860). Cathedral Capitular of Constance and Augsburg, Vicar General of the Diocese of Constance. Church reformer and church politician between secularization and reorganization of the Church in Germany. With a source and document attachment. On the 150th anniversary of death (= yearbook of the Association for the History of the Augsburg Diocese. Vol. 44). Augsburg / Lindenberg 2010.
  • Klaus-Gunther WesselingIgnaz Heinrich von Wessenberg. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 13, Bautz, Herzberg 1998, ISBN 3-88309-072-7 , Sp. 976-988.

Individual evidence

  1. Quoted from Karl-Heinz Braun: The Wessenberg Causa . In: Karl-Heinz Braun (Ed.): Church and Enlightenment - Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg (1774-1860) . Munich / Zurich, S. 36, fn. 37 .
  2. ^ Franz Xaver Bishop: The end of the diocese of Constance . Stuttgart / Berlin / Cologne 1989, pp. 520 .
  3. ^ Ludwig Bauer: The members of the First Chamber of the Baden Estates Assembly in the years 1819 to 1890 . Karlsruhe 1890, p. 57, 59 .
  4. ^ Chronicle of the city of Constance
  5. ^ Südkurier, September 30, 2006
  6. ^ Website of the municipal Wessenberg gallery in Constance
  7. Dominik Burkard:  Plant, Benedikt Alois. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 20, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-00201-6 , p. 346 ( digitized version ).

Web links

Commons : Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg  - Sources and full texts