Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne

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This article is about the modern archdiocese. For the former electoral state, see Electorate of Cologne.
Archdiocese of Cologne
Archidioecesis Coloniensis
Erzbistum Köln
Wappen Erzbistum Köln.png
Coat of Arms of the Archdiocese of Cologne
Country Germany
Ecclesiastical province Cologne
Metropolitan Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia
Area 6,181 km2 (2,386 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2006)
2,191,905 (40.9%)
Parishes 680
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established 2nd Century
Cathedral Cologne Cathedral
Patron saint St. Joseph
Immaculate Conception
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Archbishop Sede Vacante
Auxiliary Bishops Manfred Melzer
Dominik Schwaderlapp
Ansgar Puff[1]
Apostolic Administrator Dr. Stefan Heße
Vicar General Dr. Stefan Heße
Emeritus Bishops Joachim Meisner Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus (1989-2014)
Karte Erzbistum Köln.png
Website (German)
The archdioceses of Central Europe, 1500. The archdiocese of Cologne was larger than the Electorate of the same name and included suffragant dioceses. In Germany, the territory of the dioceses and archdioceses (spiritual) was usually much larger than the prince-bishoprics and archbishoprics/electorates (temporal), ruled by the same individual.

The Archdiocese of Cologne (Latin: Archidioecesis Coloniensis; German: Erzbistum Köln) is an archdiocese of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.


The Electorate of Cologne - not to be confused with the larger Archdiocese of Cologne (see map on the left) - was one of the major ecclesiastical principalities of the Holy Roman Empire. The city of Cologne as such became a free city in 1288 and the archbishop eventually moved his residence from Cologne Cathedral to Bonn to avoid conflicts with the Free City, which escaped his jurisdiction.

After 1795, the archbishopric's territories on the left bank of the Rhine were occupied by France, and were formally annexed in 1801. The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803 secularized the rest of the archbishopric, giving the Duchy of Westphalia to the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt. Cologne was, however, reestablished as the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop in 1824, and is an archdiocese to the present day.


Cologne, the largest and reportedly richest diocese in Europe, announced in October 2013 that "in connection with the current discussion about Church finances" that its archbishop had reserves amounting to 166.2 million Euro in 2012. It said the 9.6 million Euro earnings from its investments were, as in previous years, added to the diocesan budget of 939 million Euro in 2012, three-quarters of which was financed by the "church tax" levied on churchgoers.[2]

List of archbishops of Cologne since 1824[edit]

The following is a list of the archbishops since the Archdiocese of Cologne was re-established in 1824.

External links[edit]