Seminary in Speyer

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Episcopal seminary St. German - Pastoral seminar of the diocese of Speyer
Seminar type Pastoral seminar
Contact At Germansberg 60
67346 Speyer
E-mail address
Website URL
opening hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (gate occupied)
carrier Diocese of Speyer
founding year 1827 (re-establishment)
management Regens Markus Magin

The Episcopal Seminary St. German at a historically significant location in the south of the city of Speyer serves as the pastoral seminary of the Diocese of Speyer. The first task of the diocese's training institute is the responsibility for the training of future priests, deacons, pastoral and parish officers. In addition, it is open to all groups in the diocese, parishes and church associations as a spiritual conference center. The St. German library of the pastoral seminar with its large collection of books can be used as a public library by anyone looking for literature or religious-educational-catechetical materials in the scientific-theological area as well as in the pastoral-practical area. The seminary church of St. German regularly invites to church services.


The Episcopal Seminary St. German - Pastoral Seminary of the Diocese of Speyer - serves as a training center for the care and training of candidates for the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Speyer. In addition, since January 1, 2019, he has also been entrusted with the training of future deacons, as well as the pastoral and parish officers of the diocese. The main focus is on a pastoral seminar. In the St. German seminary, the common parts of the pastoral course training of the priestly candidates of the Archdiocese of Bamberg , as well as the dioceses of Eichstätt and Würzburg are designed (Metropolie Bamberg).

Study phase

Since the diocese of Speyer does not have its own theological training center, the priest candidates, as well as the applicants for the occupation of pastoral and parish clerks, study at foreign universities or colleges and technical colleges. During this time, the applicants are accompanied by the on-site study guides as well as by the respective training management of the home diocese of Speyer. The priest candidates live during the study phase in the seminary at the place of study (Bamberg, Eichstätt or Munich).

The Speyer pastoral seminar serves as a contact point and meeting point during the study phase. From here, the entire training is responsible, supervised and administered.

Pastoral education

The actual training task of the Speyer seminar begins after the study phase. After completing their studies, the candidates for the priesthood of the diocese, the future pastoral and parish clerks, return to Speyer. There they complete a two-year pastoral training course. Their main subjects are homiletics (practicing the preaching activity), liturgy (practicing leading a church service), pastoral theology (introduction to pastoral practice) and religious education (preparation for the service as a religious teacher). In addition, there are course units on spirituality and spiritual life, communication and conversation, voice training and liturgical singing and many other practical pastoral topics.

After two years of pastoral courses, candidates for the priesthood are ordained, and applicants for the occupations of pastoral and parish clerks are sent to the pastoral service of the diocese. Now the last training phase follows, the chaplain or assistant time. The pastoral seminar is also responsible for the phase that concludes with the second service examination for priests and pastoral consultants.

Deacon training

Permanent deacons work in the diocese of Speyer mostly in the civil profession. That means that they exercise their diaconal service in parishes, charitable institutions or other places in addition to their civil profession on a voluntary basis. This results in the need for the training to design a very individual training concept. Applicants for the permanent diaconate complete their theological training with the correspondence course of the Würzburg Cathedral School (basic and advanced course in theology). The practical pastoral training takes place in weekend units in the Speyer seminary.

Metropolitan cooperation

Since 2008 there has been a cooperation between the four dioceses of the metropolitan (ecclesiastical province) of Bamberg regarding the training of priests. This includes the division of the formation tasks among the seminaries of the four dioceses. The one-year preparatory course takes place in Bamberg. The seminaries for priests in Eichstätt and Munich (Herzogliches Georgianum) are study seminars. As a pastoral seminary, the Speyer seminary is responsible for pastoral education. In spring 2013, the bishops of the ecclesiastical province signed a framework by which the training cooperation, which was previously in a trial phase, was finally confirmed. Those responsible for training are currently working on behalf of the bishops to expand cooperation in pastoral training to all four pastoral professional groups.

Conference house

Since the general renovation of the seminary building between 2015 and 2017, the building has served as a training center for future priests and deacons and pastoral staff as well as a conference center for the diocese. Numerous larger and smaller conference rooms (for groups of 3 to 150 people) with modern media technology, as well as comfortable overnight rooms (38 single rooms, including 2 speaker rooms and 4 double rooms) are available. The kitchen of the house offers mainly regional and seasonal specialties and prepares them fresh. All areas of the house are barrier-free.

Special focus of the pastoral seminar is the accompaniment of the full-time staff of the diocese, the training, further education and further training of volunteers, the networking of the work of full-time and volunteers, as well as the various institutions of the diocese and the design of the main topic 'Participatory Church Development'.


St. Ludwig Church

The Speyer seminary was founded after the re-establishment of the Speyer diocese as a training center for the diocese. In 1827 it moved into the rooms of the former Dominican monastery near the Speyer Cathedral. The local church of St. Ludwig became a seminary church. In 1840 the diocese also founded a so-called small seminary, the Episcopal Konvikt. Here boys were brought to university entrance qualification.

Since after the Second World War there was no longer enough space for the seminary and the Konvikt, a new seminar building was built on the site of today's St. German seminary and put into service in 1956. The St. German Church was consecrated in 1957. This location is of great historical importance. As early as the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century AD, Christians settled here and buried their dead. Relatively soon there was also a small monastic community at this point around a small German church. Around 1000 an impressive early Romanesque monastery was built, which was lost in the 15th century.

Library of St. German

The library of the Episcopal Seminary St. German also serves as the diocesan library for the diocese of Speyer . It has an inventory of well over 250,000 books and more than 300 current magazines. The focus of the collection is practical theology (pastoral theology, homiletics, liturgy, religious education) as well as literature on St. Edith Stein and medieval book illumination.

Church libraries have a long tradition in Speyer. The library of the cathedral chapter , which went up in flames in the total destruction of the city of Speyer in the Palatinate War of Succession in 1689, was particularly famous . The second cathedral library, which was built at the beginning of the 18th century with the return of the cathedral chapter, fared no better. What was not previously deported to Paris was destroyed in the wake of the French Revolution.

Stamp of the Ordinary Library of the Diocese of Speyer, around 1860. It was later incorporated into today's diocesan library

The St. German library is the oldest publicly accessible library in Speyer. In spite of this, the library of the seminary - unlike similar church and monastery libraries - does not have a long history. An exact date of foundation is not known. After the re-establishment of the diocese of Speyer, the seminary was opened by Bishop Martin Manl on November 4, 1827 in the building at Große Greifengasse 11 (former Konvikt or diocese house of St. Ludwig). It can be assumed that a book collection was created around the same time as the seminary, the nucleus of the later library. This is verifiable from the year 1830 through a handwritten bookplate “Ex Bibliotheca Semin. cleric. Spirensis " .

There is a lack of concrete news about the library from this period, but its current inventory of works from the 19th century shows that the inventory was steadily increasing even during this period. By the beginning of the 20th century at the latest, the seminar had a regular budget to buy new books. Bishop Konrad von Busch increased it from 100 to 300 marks for 1908. At the same time, however, he made a reservation to Regens Peter Diehl, "in order to prevent any misuse of the increased sum ... that each new work would only be acquired for the library with our prior consent" .

Even before that, in 1815, with the death of Count Damian Hugo Philipp von Lehrbach, the foundations of today's seminar library were laid: he bequeathed his private library to the diocese of Speyer. Today this forms the oldest possession of the library of the seminary. Numerous free float from the lost monasteries in the city of Speyer and the surrounding area complement the historical book inventory.

It is much bigger than long assumed. According to the handbook of historical book collections in Germany , almost 12,000 titles from the 15th to 19th centuries were counted in 1993. Today (2014) the stock from the 19th century alone is estimated at over 30,000, from the 18th century it is over 8,000, from the 16th century more than 1,200, and even with the works from the 16th century, around 500 more than twice as many counted as originally reported. Today more than 100 monasteries and around 300 historical persons as previous owners can be identified through provenance research. The library thus preserves the cultural heritage of the church and is itself the cultural memory of the Speyer diocese.

"Spira fit insignis" , these words from the dedication of the Codex Aureus , the Golden Gospel Book of Emperor Heinrich III. , are also true of the last large treasure trove of books the library received. It is probably the largest private collection of more than 400 facsimiles of medieval manuscripts from the 4th to the 18th centuries. They come from the estate of the Cologne theologian, classical philologist and Germanist Prof. Dr. Johannes Rathofer. It was thanks to him that the Speyer Gospel Book was at least returned to Speyer as a facsimile in 1995. Prof. Rathofer devoted more than ten years of intensive work to the Codex Aureus. This intensive occupation and the resulting contacts with the Speyer diocese led to the fact that the facsimile collection could be acquired for the library of the seminary in 1999 and named there as the “Prof. Dr. Johannes Rathofer ”will be continued. Parts of this collection and its theological content have been and are being presented and made accessible in numerous exhibitions in Speyer Cathedral, as well as in other places.

St. German seminary church

In connection with the new construction of the St. German seminary in the 1950s, a new seminary church was also built. It was consecrated in 1957 by Bishop Isidor Markus Emanuel. The unusual and very high-quality church building was designed by Eugen Beuerlein, the local construction management was carried out by Ottokar Hirmer. The floor plan shows an intertwining of a longitudinal hall and a hexagonal central shape. A simple, clear design language determines the overall architecture. The design of the interior, like the large, floor-to-ceiling relief with which the altar wall was designed, goes back to the artist Werner Schreiner. The glass windows as well as the ceiling play above the altar area are by Werner Braun. The two concrete glass windows in the rear wall of the church deserve special mention in this context. For the first time in the Palatinate, a concrete glass technique was used that creates a translucent-colored spatial impression.

In connection with the general renovation of the seminar building between 2015 and 2017, the church was also renovated and given a new design that corresponds to today's liturgical requirements. The Duttweiler (Neustadt / Weinstrasse) artist Bernhard Mathäß emerged from an artist competition that encompasses the entire German-speaking region. He designed a new lithurgical-spiritual center in the middle of the room.

The historic Vowels organ from 1890 is a special gem. It was acquired from England in connection with the general renovation of the church in 2017 and was installed on the gallery as the first main organ of the church.


For historical research purposes, the Speyer seminary and the attached diocesan library also operate the freely accessible online necrology , in which all clergymen who have come from the new diocese of Speyer (since 1821) or who previously worked here, deceased are recorded. To this end, many photos of the people were painstakingly collected (from death slips, parish archives, etc.) and digitized and made accessible for the first time together. The online collection is constantly being supplemented and expanded. It represents a valuable aid for local historians and is unique in Germany in this form.


  • St. German in the city and diocese of Speyer. A contribution to the history of the Episcopal Seminary Speyer , Verlag des Priesterseminar Speyer 1957.
  • Andrea Nisters / Johannes Pioth / Hans Ammerich : 50 years of the Episcopal Seminary St. German, Speyer , Pilger-Verlag, Speyer 2007, ISBN 978-3-87637-086-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Access to the online necrology of the Speyer diocese. Retrieved July 3, 2020 .

Coordinates: 49 ° 18 ′ 28.8 "  N , 8 ° 26 ′ 8.7"  E