Roman Catholic Diocese of Chiemsee

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Bishopric of Chiemsee
Bistum Chiemsee
Coat of arms

Bavarian until ?
Established 1216
Abolished 1808
Herrenchiemsee (left); Engraving by Merian, c. 1644
Chiemseehof, Salzburg

The Bishopric of Chiemsee was a Roman Catholic diocese. While based on the islands of the Chiemsee in Bavaria, Germany, most of its territory lay in the County of Tyrol, Austria. The bishopric ceased to be a residential see in 1808. and accordingly is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[1]


The Bishopric of Chiemsee was established by the Archbishop of Salzburg, Eberhard II of Regensberg, on the islands of the Chiemsee in 1215. It followed the precedent set by his predecessor Gebhard, who had established the Bishopric of Gurk in 1072. This system of founding quite small suffragan dioceses was to be completed by the setting up of the bishoprics of Seckau in 1218 and Lavant in 1225. It was caused by the fact, that, after a large increase in size, stretching its borders from the Inn river in Bavaria to the Hungarian border, the archdiocese of Salzburg became hard to govern. Both the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope gave their consent and support to the establishment of the bishopric in 1213.


All bishops of Chiemsee were selected by the Archbishops, for the bishops were the most important supporters of the archbishops. The bishops usually served as auxiliary bishops or fulfilled other duties for the archbishops. Locally the ruling of the bishopric rested mostly with the archdeacons who, supported by the Dukes of Bavaria, prevented the bishops from residing in the bishopric. Therefore, the Bishops never became prince-bishops of the Empire, unlike most other ecclesiarchs. Thus the bishopric should not be considered as a state of the Holy Roman Empire, but as a territory within the state of the archbishopric. Accordingly, the bishops held a seat in the archbishoprics diet.

At first, the nuns monastery of Frauenchiemsee was to be the seat of the bishopric, but subsequently, the monks monastery church of the nearbyBenedictine Abbey of Herrenchiemsee was chosen to be the diocesan cathedral. In fact, the seat of the bishopric was the so-called Chiemseehof in the city of Salzburg. This building nowadays is used by the parliament and the government of the State of Salzburg.

The bishopric was rather small, consisting of 10 parishes when it was created, and finally 11in 1804, mostly consisting of exclaves in the vicinity of St. Johann in Tirol.

The best known bishop was Berthold Pürstinger (1508 - 1525) who twice used his influence to save innocent people from (the town-councillors in 1511, and the peasants in 1524); after retiring from office became a noted humanist.


Together with the secularisation of the archbishopric in 1803, the bishopric also lost its territorial function. In 1808 the diocese was abolished after the last bishop waived his rights. Temporarily under the rule of the Ordinariate of the Bishopric of Freising, the Austrian parts returned to Salzburg and were added to the Bishopric of Brixen in 1817/18, the rest becoming regular part of newly renamed Archbishopric of Munich-Freising.

List of Bishops of Chiemsee (1216 - 1808)[edit]




Rudiger of Bergheim-Radeck 1216–1233
Albert 1234–1244
vacant 1244 - 1246
Albert Suerbeer 1246 - 1247 Administrator; Archbishop of Armagh
Henry of Bilversheim 1247 - 1252 Administrator
Henry I 1252–1262
Henry II of Lützelburg 1263–1274
John I of Ennstal 1274–1279
Conrad I of Hintberg 1279–1292
Frederick I of Fronau 1292–1293
Adalbert of Fohnsdorf 1293–1322
Ulrich I of Montpreis 1322–1330
Conrad II of Liechtenstein 1330–1354
Gerhoh of Waldeck 1354–1359
Hugo of Schärfenberg 1359
Louis I Radelkofen 1360–1361
Frederick II 1361–1387
George I of Neuberg 1387–1393
Eckart of Pernegg 1393–1399
Engelmar Chrel 1399–1422
Frederick III Theis of Thesingen 1423–1429 Bishop of Lavant
John II Ebser 1429–1438
Sylvester Pflieger 1438–1453
Ulrich II of Plankenfels 1453–1467
Bernard of Kraiburg 1467–1477
George II Altdorfer 1477–1495
Louis II Ebmer 1495–1502
Christopher I Mendel of Steinfels 1502–1508
Berthold Pürstinger 1508–1525
Ägidius Rehm 1525–1536
Hieronymus Meittinger 1536–1557
Christopher II Schlattl 1557–1589
Sebastian Cattaneus 1589–1608
Ernfried of Khünburg 1608–1619
Nicholas of Wolkenstein 1619–1624
Christopher III John of Liechtenstein 1624–1643
Francis Vigilius of Spaur 1644–1670
John of Preysing 1670–1689
Sigismund Ignatius of Wolkenstein 1689–1696
Sigismund Charles of Castel-Barco 1696–1708
John Sigismund Grag of Khünburg 1708–1711 Bishop of Lavant
Francis Anthony Adolph of Wagensberg 1712–1723 Bishop of Seckau
Charles Joseph of Khünburg 1724–1729 Bishop of Seckau
Joseph Francis Valerian of Arco 1730–1746
Francis Charles Eusebius of Friedberg and Trauchburg 1746–1772
Ferdinand Christopher of Zeil and Trauchburg 1772–1786
Francis Xavier of Breuner 1786–1797
Sigismund Christopher of Zeil und Trauchburg 1797–1805 Archbishop of Salzburg
vacant 1805 - 1808


  1. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", p. 868

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