Bishopric of Chur
Political Information
949 - Present
Prince of the Empire
Lands Secularized

The Bishopric of Chur is a Roman Catholic diocese based in Chur in the Graubünden canton of Switzerland. The diocese covers the Swiss cantons of Graubünden, Zürich, Glarus, Uri, Schwyz, Nidwalden and Obwalden, and the Principality of Liechtenstein. The Bishops were sovereign princes in the Austrian Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, and had a seat in the Bench of Spiritual Princes until 1803.

Ancient and medieval history of the BishopricEdit

Local legend says the first bishop was St Lucius, supposedly a King of Britain, who was martyred in circa 176, and whose relics are contained within the cathedral. The first mention of a bishop of Chur occurred in 451/2 when St Asimo attended the Synod of Milan, although the Bishopric was probably established a century earlier. The see was at first suffragan to Milan. After the collapse the bishopric was made part of the kingdoms of the Ostrogoths and the Lombards, both of which forced the bishopric to survive against attempts to introduce Arianism.

During the Carolingian Empire, the bishops obtained large temporal powers, which increased greatly when in 831 the Bishps were made dependent on the emperor alone. The Treaty of Verdun (843) made the diocese suffragan to Mainz. During the dispute between the Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III, the Bishops sided with the emperor and were rewarded with the dignity "Prince of the Empire" in 1170. The bishops became the head of the League of Gods House (originally formed against them in 1367) in 1392. In 1526 following the Reformation, the bishops were deprived of temporal powers and could only be appointed with permission from the League.

Later history of the BishopricEdit

The struggles of the Swiss for independence during the 14th Century and the Protestant teachings of Zwilgi and Calvin during the 15th did great harm to the diocese. The bishops neglected their spiritual duties. The Reformation was first publicly proclaimed in Chur in 1524, and the two catholic churches of St Martin and St Regula were given to the Protestants. The bishop fled, and his administrator Theodore Schlegel was publically beheaded on 1 January 1529. Bishop Thomas Planta (1548 - 1565) tried without success to suppress Protestantism, and he died after a probable poisoning. St Charles Borromeo sent the Capuchins to the diocese twenty years later, but Bishop Peter II of Rascher refused to admit them.

His successor, Bishop John V Flugi d'Aspremont, endeavored to restore the Catholic faith, and was forced to flee three times (1607, 1612, and 1617), and for a while there was a bloody war between Catholics and Protestants. Eventually the Capuchins were invited in 1621, and the first leader of them, St Fidelis of Sigmaringen, was killed on 24 April 1622. In 1801, all territories of the bishops were secularised to the Graubünden. Two years later, the Bishops' seat in the Imperial Diet was revoked.

See alsoEdit

Austrian Circle
on the Adige | Austria (bailiwick) | Breisgau | Brixen | Carinthia | Carniola | Chur | Friuli
Further Austria | Gorizia | Lower Austria | Styria | Tarasp | Trent | Tyrol | Upper Austria

Earlier Members:
Austria (archduchy) | Gradisca | Gurk | Hardegg | Lavant | Losenstein | Rogendorf
Schaunberg | Seckau | Wolkenstein-Rodenegg