Bishopric of Havelberg

Last updated
Bishopric of Havelberg
Bistum Havelberg
Wappen Bistum Havelberg.png
Coat of arms
Hochstift Halberstadt 1250.png
Lower Saxon Prince-bishoprics of Hildesheim, Halberstadt, Magdeburg and Havelberg (violet), about 1250
Capital Havelberg
Wittstock (from about 1325)
Common languages Brandenburgisch, Polabian
Government Prince-Bishopric
Historical era Middle Ages
 Diocese founded by King Otto I
 Transformed into collegiate church
 Annexed by Brandenburg
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Northern March
Margraviate of Brandenburg Brandenburg Arms.svg

The Bishopric of Havelberg (German : Bistum Havelberg) was a Roman Catholic diocese founded by King Otto I of Germany in 946, from 968 a suffragan to the Archbishops of Magedeburg. A Prince-bishopric ( Hochstift ) from 1151, Havelberg as a result of the Protestant Reformation was secularised and finally annexed by the margraves of Brandenburg in 1598.



The episcopal seat was in Havelberg near the confluence of the Elbe and Havel rivers. The bishopric roughly covered the western Prignitz region, between the Altmark in the west and the Brandenburgian core territory in the east. While the episcopal territory was supervised by nine Archdeacons ( Pröpste ), the bishop's—considerably smaller—secular estates were subdivided into four Ämter :


King Henry the Fowler in 929 marched against the Polabian Slavs settling east of the Elbe River and defeated them in a battle near Lenzen. Occupying the eastern riverbank, Henry had a fortification built on a hill above the Havel tributary, near its mouth into the Elbe. His son Otto I continued the expeditions and in 936/37 established the Saxon Eastern March (Marca Geronis) on the conquered territories. In 948 he founded the dioceses of Havelberg and Brandenburg, initially suffragans to the Archbishops of Mainz, from 968 to the newly established Archdiocese of Magdeburg. Part of the Northern March from 968, Havelberg diocese was occupied by revolting Lutici tribes in the Great Slav Rising of 983 and merely remained a titular see.

Westwork of Havelberg Cathedral Havelberg an der Havel Dom.jpg
Westwork of Havelberg Cathedral

Not until 150 years later, King Lothair III of Germany re-occupied Havelberg in 1130; the eastern Elbe bank was finally reconquered by the Ascanian margrave Albert the Bear in 1136/37. Its first and most famous Prince-Bishop was the Premonstratensian canon Anselm of Havelberg, who had been anointed already in 1129 by the Magedeburg archbishop Norbert of Xanten. Anselm first took his seat at Jerichow in 1144. Upon the Wendish Crusade in 1147, he was able to found a cathedral chapter at Havelberg and to begin the building of Havelberg Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1170.

The diocesan and secular territory were already separated in 1151. However, the bishops held no secular rights in the town of Havelberg itself, which was enfeoffed to the Brandenburg margraves. A charter issued by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to declare the residence an episcopal city was never carried out, and in the following centuries, the Havelberg bishops gradually moved their residence to their Amt Wittstock about 50 kilometres (31 mi) to the northeast. In 1383 the Holy Blood of Wilsnack became a famous pilgrimage site, while Dietrich Man was bishop. From the 14th century onwards, the Havelberg bishops also used Plattenburg Castle as a summer residence.

After long-lasting quarrels with the mighty Brandenburg prince-electors, the Premonstratensian chapter finally gave in to transform Havelberg into a collegiate church ( Stift ). From 1514 onwards the deans of the cathedral were appointed by the Margraves of Brandenburg. In the course of the Protestant Reformation, the Bishopric of Havelberg turned Lutheran and from 1554 was administrated by Joachim Frederick of Hohenzollern, son of Elector John George of Brandenburg. The Bishopric was finally secularised and incorporated into Brandenburg in 1571. Its annexation was complete, when Joachim Frederick succeeded his father as Brandenburg elector in 1598.


Bishop Otto von Rohr Bishop Otto von Rohr cropped and slightly rotated.png
Bishop Otto von Rohr
Sede vacante 983991
Erich10081024 ?
Gottschalk1024 ?1085
Hezilobefore 10961110 ?
Bernhard1110 ?1118
Anselm 11261155
Sibodo of Stendal12061219
Heinrich I von der Schulenburg or perhaps von Kerkow12441270
Heinrich II von Sternberg12701290
Hermann of Brandenburg, son of Margrave John I 12901291
John I of Brandenburg, son of Margrave John II 12911292
John II12921304
Arnold (possibly von Plötz)13041312
Rainer von Dequede13121319
Heinrich III13191324
Dietrich I Kothe13251341
Burkhard I von Bardeleben13411348
Burkhard II, Count of Lindow-Ruppin13481370
Dietrich Man 13701385
Johann III Wöplitz13851401
Otto von Rohr14011427
Friedrich I Krüger14271427
Johann IV von Beust14271427
Konrad von Lintorf14271460
Witticho Gans zu Putlitz 14611487
Busso I of Alvensleben 14871493
Otto II von Königsmarck14931501
Johann von Schlabrendorf15011520
Georg von Blumenthal 15201521
Hieronymus Schulz, formerly Bishop of Brandenburg15201522
Busso II of Alvensleben 15221548
Frederick II of Brandenburg (Lutheran), son of Elector Joachim II Hector 15481552
Sede vacante15521554
Joachim Frederick of Brandenburg (Lutheran)15541598

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prince-Bishopric of Brandenburg</span>

The Prince-Bishopric of Brandenburg was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire from the 12th century until it was secularized during the second half of the 16th century. It should not be confused with the larger Diocese of Brandenburg established by King Otto I of Germany in 948, in the territory of the Marca Geronis east of the Elbe river. The diocese, over which the prince-bishop exercised only spiritual authority, was a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg, its seat was Brandenburg an der Havel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Archbishopric of Magdeburg</span>

The Archbishopric of Magdeburg was a Roman Catholic archdiocese (969–1552) and Prince-Archbishopric (1180–1680) of the Holy Roman Empire centered on the city of Magdeburg on the Elbe River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lubusz Land</span> Historical region in Germany and Poland

Lubusz Land is a historical region and cultural landscape in Poland and Germany on both sides of the Oder river.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wendish Crusade</span> Military campaign in 1147

The Wendish Crusade was a military campaign in 1147, one of the Northern Crusades and a part of the Second Crusade, led primarily by the Kingdom of Germany within the Holy Roman Empire and directed against the Polabian Slavs. The Wends were made up of the Slavic tribes of Abrotrites, Rani, Liutizians, Wagarians, and Pomeranians who lived east of the River Elbe in present-day northeast Germany and Poland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bad Wilsnack</span> Town in Brandenburg, Germany

Bad Wilsnack is a small town in the Prignitz district, in Brandenburg, Germany. The former pilgrimage site of the Holy Blood of Wilsnack has been officially recognised as a spa town (Bad) since 1929. It is the administrative seat of the Amt Bad Wilsnack/Weisen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diocesan administrator</span>

A diocesan administrator is a provisional ordinary of a Roman Catholic particular church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Catholic Diocese of Magdeburg</span> Catholic diocese in Germany

The Diocese of Magdeburg is a diocese of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, located in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. Its seat is Magdeburg; it is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Paderborn.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Catholic Diocese of Halberstadt</span>

The Diocese of Halberstadt was a Roman Catholic diocese from 804 until 1648. From 1180, the bishops or administrators of Halberstadt ruled a state within the Holy Roman Empire, the prince-bishopric of Halberstadt. The diocesan seat and secular capital was Halberstadt in present-day Saxony-Anhalt.

The Diocese of Ratzeburg is a former diocese of the Catholic Church. It was erected from the Diocese of Oldenburg c. 1050 and was suppressed in 1554. The diocese was originally a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Hamburg; in 1072 it became a suffragan of the merged entity — the "Archdiocese of Hamburg and the Diocese of Bremen". The territory of the diocese was located in what is today the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany. The cathedral church of the diocese — dedicated to Ss. Mary and John — is still extant in the city of Ratzeburg. Following its suppression as part of the Protestant Reformation, the remaining Catholic adherents were only represented by the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Germany. The whole territory of the diocese is today included in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hamburg.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diocese of Lebus</span> Roman Catholic diocese in Poland/Germany (1125-1598)

The Diocese of Lebus is a former diocese of the Catholic Church. It was erected in 1125 and suppressed in 1598. The Bishop of Lebus was also, ex officio, the ruler of a lordship that was coextensive with the territory of the diocese. The geographic remit included areas that are today part of the land of Brandenburg in Germany and the Province of Lubusz in Poland. It included areas on both sides of the Oder River around the town of Lebus. The cathedral was built on the castle hill in Lubusz and was dedicated to St Adalbert of Prague. Later, the seat moved to Górzyca, back to Lebus and finally to Fürstenwalde on the River Spree.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Catholic Diocese of Dresden–Meissen</span> Catholic diocese in Germany

The Diocese of Dresden–Meissen is a diocese of Catholic Church in Germany with its seat in Dresden. It is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Berlin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Margraviate of Brandenburg</span> Holy Roman Empire principality (1157–1806)

The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806 that played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bishopric of Merseburg</span>

The Bishopric of Merseburg was an episcopal see on the eastern border of the medieval Duchy of Saxony with its centre in Merseburg, where Merseburg Cathedral was constructed. The see was founded in 967 by Emperor Otto I at the same time in the same manner as those of Meissen and Zeitz, all suffragan dioceses of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg as part of a plan to bind the adjacent Slavic ("Wendish") lands in the Saxon Eastern March beyond the Saale River more closely to the Holy Roman Empire.

Anselm of Havelberg was a German bishop and statesman, and a secular and religious ambassador to Constantinople. He was a Premonstratensian, a defender of his order and a critic of the monastic life of his time, and a theorist of Christian history. According to Friedrich Heer, "the peculiar course of Anselm's life made this much-travelled man the theologian of development, of progress, of the right of novelty in the Church".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg</span> Ecclesiastical State of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg was an ecclesiastical State of the Holy Roman Empire. It goes back to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bamberg established at the 1007 synod in Frankfurt, at the behest of King Henry II to further expand the spread of Christianity in the Franconian lands. The bishops obtained the status of Imperial immediacy about 1245 and ruled their estates as Prince-bishops until they were subsumed to the Electorate of Bavaria in the course of the German Mediatisation in 1802.

Gisilher, Gisiler or Giseler was the second Archbishop of Magdeburg, succeeding Saint Adalbert, from 981 until his death in 1004.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Warmia</span> Roman Catholic archdiocese in Poland

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Warmia is a Metropolitan archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Catholic Diocese of Görlitz</span> Catholic diocese in Germany

The Diocese of Görlitz is a diocese of the Roman Catholic church in Germany. The current ordinary is Wolfgang Ipolt

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Slavic revolt of 983</span> Late 10th-century uprising of ethnic Slavs in the Holy Roman Empire

In the Slavic revolt of 983, Polabian Slavs, Wends, Lutici and Obotrite tribes, that lived east of the Elbe River in modern north-east Germany overthrew an assumed Ottonian rule over the Slavic lands and rejected Christianization under Emperor Otto I.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Busso X von Alvensleben</span>

Busso X von Alvensleben was a Catholic ecclesiastical diplomat and from 1523 to 1548 as Busso II, the last Catholic Bishop of Havelberg.