Archbishopric of Cologne


The Archdiocese of Cologne ( la, Archidioecesis Coloniensis; german: Erzbistum Köln) is an
archdiocese In church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted ...
of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wor ...

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 Press, ...
and northern
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western states of Germany, state of Germany. It covers and has about 4.05 million residents. It is the ninth largest and sixth most populous of the sixteen states. Mainz is the capital and la ...
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, German , government_ ...



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 monarchy, monarchica ...
—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 Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its D ...
. 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 th ...
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, Πέτρ ...

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 language ...
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 si ...

were occupied by
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas regions and territories. The metro ...

, 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 of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territor ...
. 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 of a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilizati ...
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 *1920–1941: Cardinal Karl Joseph Schulte *1942–1969: Cardinal Josef Frings *1969–1987: Cardinal Joseph Höffner *1989–2014: Cardinal Joachim Meisner *2014– : Cardinal Rainer Woelki


External links

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

''Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)'' {{Authority control Christianity in Cologne Roman Catholic dioceses in Germany, Cologne Cologne Cathedral Roman Catholic ecclesiastical provinces in Germany