The Archdiocese of Cologne ( la, Archidioecesis Coloniensis; german: Erzbistum Köln) is an
archdiocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, pro ...
of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
in western
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia (german: Nordrhein-Westfalen, ; Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Pre ...
and northern
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''T ...
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...



Electorate of Cologne The Electorate of Cologne (german: Kurfürstentum Köln), sometimes referred to as Electoral Cologne (german: Kurköln, links=no), was an ecclesiastical principality A principality (or sometimes princedom) can either be a monarchical ...
—not to be confused with the larger Archdiocese of Cologne—was one of the major ecclesiastical principalities of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. The city of
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

as such became a free city in 1288 and the archbishop eventually moved his residence from
Cologne Cathedral Cologne Cathedral (german: Kölner Dom, officially ', English: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτ ...

Cologne Cathedral
Bonn The Federal city The term federal city is a title for certain cities in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official langua ...

to avoid conflicts with the Free City, which escaped his jurisdiction. After 1795, the archbishopric's territories on the left bank of the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

were occupied by
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

, and were formally annexed in 1801. The
Reichsdeputationshauptschluss The ' (formally the ', or "Principal Conclusion of the Extraordinary Imperial Delegation"), sometimes referred to in English as the Final Recess or the Imperial Recess of 1803, was a resolution passed by the ' (Imperial Diet) of the Holy Roman Empi ...
of 1803 secularized the rest of the archbishopric, giving the Duchy of Westphalia to the
Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt (german: Landgrafschaft Hessen-Darmstadt) was a State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The S ...
. As an ecclesial government, however, the archdiocese remained (more or less) intact: while she lost the left bank including the episcopal city itself, Cologne, to the new Diocese of Aachen established under Napoleon's auspices, there still remained a substantial amount of territory on the right bank of the Rhine. After the death of the last Elector-Archbishop in 1801,
the see was vacant
the see was vacant
for 23 years, being governed by
vicar capitular :''See: Catholic Church hierarchy#Equivalents of diocesan bishops in law'' A diocesan administrator is a provisional ordinary Ordinary or The Ordinary often refer to: Music * Ordinary (EP), ''Ordinary'' (EP) (2015), by South Korean group Beast ...
Johann Herrmann Joseph v. Caspars zu Weiss and, after his death, by Johann Wilhelm Schmitz. In 1821, the archdiocese regained Cologne and the right bank of the Rhine (though with a new circumscription reflecting the Prussian subdivisions) and, in 1824, an archbishop was established there again. It remains an archdiocese to the present day, considered the most important one of Germany.


Cologne, the largest (in terms of inhabitants non-Catholics included) 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. In 2015 the archdiocese for the first time published its financial accounts, which show assets worth more than £2bn. Documents posted on the archdiocesan website showed assets of €3.35bn (£2.5bn) at the end of 2013. Some € 2.4 billion (£1.8bn) were invested in stocks, funds and company holdings. A further €646m (£475m) were held in tangible assets, mostly property. Cash reserves and outstanding loans amounted to about €287m (£211m).

List of archbishops of Cologne since 1824

The following is a list of the archbishops since the Archdiocese of Cologne was re-filled in 1824. *1824–1835:
Ferdinand August von Spiegel Count Ferdinand August von Spiegel zum Desenberg und Canstein (25 December 1764, inHandbuch des Erzbistums Köln 1966, Bd. 1, S.48 Marsberg Marsberg () is a town in the Hochsauerland district, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. History Although i ...
Clemens August von Droste-Vischering Baron Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary, in various European countries, either current or historical. The female equivalent is baroness. Typically, the title denotes an aristocrat who ranks higher than a lord or ...
*1845–1864: Cardinal
Johannes von Geissel Johannes von Geissel (5 February 1796 – 8 September 1864) was a Germany, German Roman Catholic Church, Catholic Archbishop of Cologne and Cardinal (Catholicism), Cardinal from the Electorate of the Palatinate. Life Gessel was born in Gimm ...
*1866–1885: Cardinal
Paul Ludolf Melchers
Paul Ludolf Melchers
*1885–1899: Cardinal
Philipp Krementz Philipp Krementz (1 December 1819 – 6 May 1899) was a Germany, German Roman Catholic Church, Catholic bishop, created Cardinal (Catholicism), Cardinal in 1893. Philipp Krementz was born, the son of a butcher, in Koblenz in 1837 and began to stud ...

Philipp Krementz
Hubert Theophil Simar
Hubert Theophil Simar
*1902–1912: Cardinal Anton Hubert Fischer *1912–1919: Cardinal
Felix von Hartmann Felix von Hartmann (15 December 1851 – 11 November 1919) was a German prelate A prelate () is a high-ranking member of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious t ...
*1920–1941: Cardinal
Karl Joseph Schulte
Karl Joseph Schulte
*1942–1969: Cardinal
Josef Frings Josef Richard Frings (6 February 1887 – 17 December 1978), was a German Cardinal Cardinal or The Cardinal may refer to: Christianity * Cardinal (Catholic Church), a senior official of the Catholic Church * Cardinal (Church of England), two ...
*1969–1987: Cardinal Joseph Höffner *1989–2014: Cardinal
Joachim Meisner Joachim Meisner (25 December 1933 – 5 July 2017) was a German cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was the immediate past Archbishop of CologneImage:Balduineum Wahl Heinrich VII.jpg, Cologne was one of the seven electorates of the Holy Roman Em ...
*2014– : Cardinal
Rainer Woelki Rainer Maria Woelki (; born 18 August 1956) is a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also Ge ...


External links

List of Bishops and Archbishops of Cologne
''Archdiocese of Cologne (Erzbistum Köln)''

''Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)'' {{Authority control Christianity in Cologne
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...
Cologne Cathedral Roman Catholic ecclesiastical provinces in Germany