|Bishopric of Ratzeburg|
|c. 1050 - 1066 & 1154 - 1648|
Council of Princes
|Prince of the Empire||1230|
|Secularised as principality||1648|
The Bishopric of Ratzeburg was a Roman Catholic diocese based in Ratzeburg in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It existed from circa 1050 until 1066 and again from 1154 until 1648, although the Cathedral chapter converted to Lutheranism in 1566.
The establishment of the DioceseEdit
From the 6th Century onwards, the region around Ratzeburg had been occupied by the Obodrites. The Emperor Charlemagne forced both tribes to pay him tribute after his conquest of Saxony, but after his death the tribes were again independent. King Henry I (916 - 936) again managed to extract tribute from the tribes in circa 928. Otto I the Great organised the region as a march and placed Ratzeburg ecclesiastically under the Bishopric of Oldenburg. In 983 the Slavs rose in revolt and all traces of German civilisation here were destroyed. Eventually the Emperors managed to ally with the Wends after a common enemy arose in Poland. In circa 1050 the bishoprics of Ratzeburg and Mecklenburg were established. St Aristo was appointed the first bishop of Ratzeburg, and appears to have worked predominantly as a wandering missionary. But in 1066 the Wends again rose in revolt and again destroyed all traces of Christian and German civilisation in the region. In 1154 Duke Henry III the Lion and Hartwig I of Stade, Archbishop of Hamburg, refounded the diocese of Ratzeburg.
The diocese was established before Henry the Lion had endowed them with enough rights, a fact which he used to invest the bishops. A cathedral chapter was created in 1157. The right of Henry to invest the bishops was confirmed at the Diet of Goslar in 1154, but after he was defeated by the Emperor in 1180 the right of investiture was revoked. In 1230 the Bishops were made Princes of the Empire and in 1236 were given by the Emperor the territory around Butin. The bishops managed to retain this principality from the Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg. In 1504 the canons were made secular with papal consent.
In 1542 the Bishopric was pillaged by Protestant forces lead by Count Volrad of Mansfeld. George of Blumenthal (1524 - 1550) was the last Catholic bishop. The cathedral chapter converted to Lutheranism in 1556. The diocese itself was ruled by a series of Protestant administrators from 1554. In 1648 the Bishopric was secularised as the Principality of Ratzeburg and was given to the Duchy of Mecklenburg.
|Lower Saxon Circle|
|Blankenburg | Bremen (duchy) | Bremen (city) | Brunswick-Calenberg | Brunswick-Grubenhagen|
Brunswick-Lüneburg | Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel | Goslar | Halberstadt | Hamburg | Hildesheim | Holstein
Holstein-Glückstadt | Holstein-Gottorp | Lauenburg | Lübeck (bishopric) | Lübeck (city) | Magdeburg
Mecklenburg | Mecklenburg-Güstrow | Mecklenburg-Schwerin | Mecklenburg-Strelitz | Mühlhausen
Nordhausen | Rantzau | Ratzeburg | Regenstein | Schwerin
Bremen | Halberstadt | Magdeburg | Ratzeburg | Schleswig | Schwerin