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Archbishopric of Salzburg

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Archbishopric of Salzburg
Erzbistum Salzburg
Arms-Salzburg-State
543/698 - present

Capital
Circle
Bench
Salzburg
Bavarian
Council of Electors
Established as Diocese 543 or 698
Made Archdiocese 798
Prince of the Empire 1213
Secularised as Duchy 1803

The Archbishopric of Salzburg is an Archbishopric of the Roman Catholic church, based in Salzburg, Austria. An abbot-bishopric was established in Roman Iuvavum (Salzburg) during the fourth century, but the diocese was destroyed with Salzburg in c. 482 during the Great Migrations. The diocese was later reestablished by St Rupert in either 543 or 698. The new diocese was raised to an archbishopric in 798. From 1213 the archbishops held the title of prince and ruled a large secular territory. The Archbishopric was secularised as a duchy and electorate of the Holy Roman Empire in 1803, but the archbishopric was continued.

Abbot-Bishopric (4th Century - c. 482)Edit

Around AD450, the Vita Sancti Severini reported that Salzburg was home to two churches and a monastery. Very little is known of the early bishopric, and St Maximus is the only abbot-bishop known by name. A disciple of St Severin, he was martyred in the retreat from Noricum. Salzburg was destroyed soon after in c. 482 and with it the bishopric, six years before the departure of the Roman legions from the region.

Bishopric (c. 543/698 - 798)Edit

St Rupert, Bishop of Worms and called the apostle of Bavaria and Carinthia, later came to the region and reestablished the diocese after erecting a church at Waldersee and finding the ruins of Slazburg overgrown with brambles. It is unknown whether he arrived in c. 543 during the time of Theodo I or in c. 698 when Bavaria was conquered by the Franks. In either case, it was not until after 700 that Christian civilisation reemerged in the region. The cathedral monastery was named in honour of St Peter and Rupert's niece Avendrid founded the nunnery at Nonnberg. St Boniface completed the work of St Rupert, and placed Salzburg under the primatial see of Mainz. St Boniface quarrelled with Bishop St Virgilius over the existence of antipodes, although St Virgilius began the valuable book Liber Confraternitatum, or the Confraternity Book of St Peter.

Early Archbishopric (798 - 1060)Edit

Arno enjoyed the respect of the Frankish king Charlemagne who assigned to him the missionary territory between the Danube, the Raab, and Drave Rivers which had recently been conquered from the Avars. Monasteries were founded and all of Carinthia was slowly Christianised. While Arno was in Rome attending to some of Charlemagne's business in 798, Pope Leo III appointed him Archbishop over the other bishops in Bavaria (Freising, Passau, Regensburg, and Säben). Whent he dispute over the ecclesiastical border between Salzburg and Aquileia broke out, Charlemagne declared the Drave to be the border. Arno also began the copying of 150 volumes from the court of Charlemagne, beginning the oldest library in Austria.

Archbishop Adalwin suffered great troubles when King Rastislav of Great Moravia attempted to removed his realm from the ecclesiastical influence of the Germans. Pope Adrian II appointed Methodius the Archbishop of Pannonia and Moravia, and it was only when Rastislav was captured by King Louis II that Adalwin could adequately protest the invasion of his rights. Methodius appeared at the Synod of Salzburg where he was struck in the face and imprisoned in close confinement for two and a half years. Adalwin attempted to legitimise his imprisonment, but was compelled to release Methodius when ordered by the Pope.

Soon after, the Magyars ravaged Great Moravia and not a church was left standing in Pannonia. Archbishop Dietmar I fell in battle in 907. It was not until the Battle of Lechfeld in 955 that the Magyars suffered a crushing defeat, and ecclesiastical life in Salzburg returned to normal. The following year after Archbishop Herhold allied with Duke Ludolph of Swabia and Duke Conrad the Red of Lorraine, he was deposed, imprisoned, blinded, and banished. Archbishop Bruno of Cologne, called the Bishop-Maker, appointed Frederick I archbishop and declared the Abbey of St Peter independent. In 996 Archbishop Hartwig received the right to mint money.

Investiture Era (1060 - 1213)Edit

In the era beginning with Pope Gregory VII, the Catholic church entered an era of santification and righteousness in the church. The first archbishop of the era was Gebhard, who during the Investiture Controversy remained on the side of the Pope. Gebhard thus suffered a nine year exile, and was allowed to return shortly before his death and was buried in Admont. His successor Thimo was imprisoned for five years, and suffered a horrible death in 1102. After King Henry IV abdicated and Conrad I of Abensberg was elected Archbishop. Conrad lived in exile until the Calistine Concordat of 1122. Conrad spent the remaining years of his episcopate improving the religious life in the archdiocese.

The Archbishops again took the side of the Pope during the strife between them and the Hohenstaufens. Archbishop Eberard I of Hilpolstein-Biburg was allowed to reign in peace, but his successor Conrad II of Austria earned the Emperor's wrath and died in 1168 in Admont a fugitive. Conrad III of Wittelsbach was appointed the Archbishop of Salzburg in 1177 at the Diet of Venice, after the partisans of both Pope and Emperor were deposed.

Prince-Bishopric (1213 - 1803)Edit

Archbishop Eberard II of Truchsees was made a prince of the Empire in 1213, and created three new sees: Chiemsee (1216), Seckau (1218) and Lavant (1225). Eberard was excommunicated in 1245 after refusing to publish a decree deposing the emperor and died suddenly the next year. During the German Interregnum, Salzburg also suffered confusion. Philip of Carinthia refused to take priestly consecrations, and was deposed by Ulrich, Bishop of Seckau.

King Rudolph I of Habsburg quarrelled with the archbishops through the manipulations of Abbot Henry of Admont, and after his death the archbishops and the Habsburgs made peace in 1297. The people and archbishops of Salzburgs remained loyal to the Habsburgs in their struggles against the Wittelsbachs. When the Black Death reached Salzburg in 1347, the Jews were accused of poisoning the wells and suffered severe persecution. The Jews were expelled from Salzburg in 1404. Later, the Jews were allowed to return but were forced to wear pointed hats. The Renaissance was a period of cultural decay due to the poor rulership of the archbishops and poor conditions in the empire during the reign of Frederick IV.

Conditions were at their worst during the reign of Bernard II of Rohr. The country was in depression, local authorities were raising their own taxes and the Turks were ravaging the archdioecese. In 1473 he summoned the first provincial diet in the history of the archbishopric, and eventually abdicated. It was only Leonard of Keutschach (reigned 1495 - 1519) who reversed the situation. He had all the burgomasters and town councillors (who were levying unfair taxes) arrested simultaneously and imprisoned in the castle. His last years were spent in bitter struggle against Matthäus Lang of Wellenburg, Bishop of Gurk, who succeeded him in 1519.

Matthäus Lang was largely unnoiticed in official circles, although his influence was felt throughout the archbishopric. He brought in Saxon miners, which brought with them Protestant books and teachings. He then attempted to keep the populace Catholic, and during the Latin War was besieged in the Hohen-Salzburg, declared a "monster" by Martin Luther, and two later uprisings by the peasants lead to suffering to the entire archdiocese. Later bishops were wiser in the ruling and spared Salzburg the religious wars and devastations seen elsewhere in Germany. Archbishop Wolfgang Theodoric of Raitenau gave the Protestants the choice of either to live Catholic or leave. The Cathedral was rebuilt in such splendour that it was unrivalled by all others north of the Alps.

Arhcbishop Paris of Lodron lead Salzburg to peace and prosperity during the Thirty Years' War in which the rest of Germany was thoroughly devastated. During the reign of Leopold Anthony of Firmian, Protestants emerged more vigorously than before. He invited to Jesuits to Salzburg and asked for help from the emperor, and finally ordered the Protestants to recant or emigrate - about 30,000 people left and settled in Württemberg, Hanover and East Prussia, and a few settled in Georgia in the United States of America. The last Prince-Archbishop, Hieronymus of Colloredo, is probably the most well known for his patronage of Mozart. His reforms of the church and education alienated himself from the people.

Modern Archbishopric (1803 - present)Edit

In 1803 Salzburg was secularised as the Grand Duchy of Salzburg. In 1805 it came to Austria, and in 1809 to the Bavaria, who closed the University of Salzburg, banned monasteries from accepting novices, and banned all pilgrimages and processions. The Congress of Vienna restored Salzburg to the milder Austrians in 1814, and ecclesiastical life was again normalised by Archbishop Augustus John Joseph Gruber (reigned 1823 - 1835).

See alsoEdit


Bavarian Circle
Ecclesiastical Bench
Berchtesgaden | Freising | Niedermünster | Obermünster | Passau
Regensburg (bishopric) | St. Emmeram | Salzburg


Secular Bench
Bavaria | Breiteneck | Ehrenfels | Haag | Hohenwaldeck | Leuchtenberg | Neuburg
Ortenburg | Regensburg (city) | Sternstein | Sulzbach | Sulzbürg and Pyrbaum

Earlier Members
Chiemsee | Degenberg | Kaisheim | Mönchröden | Waldsassen

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