Military Ordinariate of Austria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Military Ordinariate of Austria
Ordinariatus Militaris Austriae
Militärordinariat von Österreich
St. George's Cathedral, Burg Wiener Neustadt
Country Austria
Ecclesiastical province Immediately Subject to the Holy See
- Catholics

100 000
Parishes 21
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established Military bishopric in 1773
Military vicariate in 1959
Military ordinariate in 1986
Cathedral St George's Cathedral in Wiener Neustadt
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Werner Freistetter
Vicar General Leszek Ryzka
Emeritus Bishops Christian Werner
Website of the Diocese

The Military Ordinariate of Austria (German: Militärseelsorge Österreich, Latin: Ordinariatus Militaris Austriae) is a military ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church.

Immediately subject to the Holy See, it provides pastoral care to Roman Catholics serving in the Austrian Armed Forces and their families.


The Theresian Military Academy had been founded at the castle of Wiener Neustadt in Austria by Empress Maria Theresa in 1751. Twenty-two years, the empress created the office of military bishop in 1773, and that it was to be held by the bishop of Wiener Neustadt. However, the Diocese of Wiener Neustadt was abolished in 1785 and merged with the Archdiocese of Vienna. The last bishop of Wiener Neustadt, Johann Heinrich von Kerens, became the first bishop of Sankt Pölten. After the First World War, there was a gap over fifty years without any military bishops being appointed.

On 21 February 1959, a military vicariate was established, with Cardinal Franz König, Archbishop of Vienna appointed as the first military vicar. By the apostolic constitution decree "Spirituali militum curae", it was raised to a military ordinariate on 21 July 1986.

The current military ordinary is the Reverend Monsignor Werner Freistetter, appointed by Pope Francis on Thursday, April 16, 2015. He succeeds the Most Reverend Bishop Christian Werner, who in turn had succeeded to the post on 22 February 1994, and had been appointed Titular Bishop of Wiener Neustadt by Pope John Paul II on 11 October 1997. The military ordinary has the same status as a diocesan bishop and is a member of the Austrian Episcopal Conference. The military ordinary's seat is located at the Cathedral of St. George (St. Georgs-Kathedrale) in Wiener Neustadt.

List of office holders[edit]

From Until Name Notes
Military bishopric
1773 Ferdinand Michael Cyriakus von Hallweil Appointed Military Bishop in 1773; also was Bishop of Wiener Neustadt 1741–1773; died in office on 6 June 1773
1773 1792 Johann Heinrich von Kerens, S.J. Previously Bishop of Roermond 1770–1773; appointed Military Bishop on 6 November 1773; also was Bishop of Wiener Neustadt 1773–1785 and Bishop of Sankt Pölten 1785–1792; died in office on 26 November 1792
1792 1803 See vacant
1803 1815 Godfried Joseph Crüts van Creits Appointed Military Bishop on 28 July 1803; also was Bishop of Sankt Pölten 1806–1815; died in office on 5 April 1815
1815 1826 Joseph Chrysostomus Pauer Appointed Military Bishop on 24 April 1815; also was Titular Bishop of Dulma 1815–1823; translated to the Diocese of Sankt Pölten on 10 November 1823
1823 1833 See vacant
1833 1835 Michael Johann Wagner Appointed and Military Bishop on 27 April 1833; also was Titular Bishop of Belgrado e Semendria o Smederevo 1833–1835; translated to the Diocese of Sankt Pölten on 16 November 1835
1835 1863 Johann Michael Leonhard Previously Bishop of Sankt Pölten; appointed Military Bishop on 19 November 1835; also appointed Titular Bishop of Diocletianopolis in Palaestina on 1 February 1836; died in office on 19 January 1863
1863 1875 Dominik Mayer Appointed Military Bishop on 1 October 1863; also was Titular Bishop of Cisamus 1863–1875; died in office on 4 May 1875
1875 1878 See vacant
1878 1890 Anton Josef Gruscha Appointed and Military Bishop on 19 January 1878; also was Titular Bishop of Carrhae 1878–1890; ordained bishop on 28 April 1878; translated to the Archdiocese of Vienna on 24 January 1890
1890 1911 Koloman Belepotoczky Appointed Military Bishop on 22 July 1890; also was Titular Bishop of Tricale 1890–1914; ordained bishop on 5 October 1890; resigned as Military Bishop on 1 June 1911; died on 15 December 1914
1911 1913 See vacant
1913 1918 Emmerich Bjelik Appointed Military Bishop on 8 January 1913; also was Titular Bishop of Thasus 1913–1927; ordained bishop on 22 February 1913; resigned as Military Bishop on 11 November 1918; died on 9 May 1927
1918 1959 See vacant
Military vicariate
1959 1969 Cardinal Franz König Appointed Military Vicar on 21 February 1959; also was Archbishop of Vienna 1956–1985; resigned as Military Vicar on 7 May 1969
1969 1985 Franz Žak Appointed Military Bishop on 8 May 1969; also was Bishop of Sankt Pölten 1961–1991; resigned as Military Vicar on 27 September 1985
Military ordinariate
1986 1994 Alfred Kostelecky Previously Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna and Titular Bishop of Aggar 1986–1990; appointed Military Ordinary on 12 November 1986; transferred to the Titular Title of Wiener Neustadt on 10 February 1990; died in office on 22 February 1994
1994 2015 Christian Werner Appointed Coadjuator Bishop of the Military Ordinariate and Titular Bishop of Aeca on 9 January 1992; consecrated bishop on 2 February 1992; succeeded Military Ordinary on 22 February 1994; also appointed Titular Bishop of Wiener Neustadt on 11 October 1997
2015 Present Werner Freistetter appointed Bishop of the Military Ordinariate on 16 April 2015; consecrated bishop on 11 June 2015


Coordinates: 47°48′32″N 16°14′41″E / 47.80889°N 16.24472°E / 47.80889; 16.24472