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Joseph Konrad von Schroffenberg, last Prince-provost of Berchtesgaden, c. 1790 Joseph Conrad von Schroffenberg.jpg
Joseph Konrad von Schroffenberg, last Prince-provost of Berchtesgaden, c. 1790

Prince-provost (German : Fürstpropst) is a rare title for a monastic superior with the ecclesiastical style of provost who is a Prince of the Church in the sense that he also ranks as a secular 'prince' (lato sensu: ruler), notably a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsfürst), holding a direct vote in the Imperial Diet assembly coequal to an actual Prince-abbot, as in each case treated below.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

A provost is a senior official in a number of Christian churches.

Prince of the Church

The term Prince of the Church is today used nearly exclusively for Catholic cardinals. However, the term is historically more important as a generic term for clergymen whose offices hold the secular rank and privilege of a prince or are considered its equivalent.In the case of cardinals, they are always treated in protocol of Catholic countries as equivalents of royal princes.


Berchtesgaden Provostry

The monastery of Augustinian Canons Regular at Berchtesgaden, established about 1102, had already enjoyed an immediate status within the Bavarian Circle, equal to an Imperial abbey. In 1559 the provosts were elevated to the rank of a Prince of the Empire in chief of the small lordship. The full style of the office became Fürst, Propst und Herr zu Berchtesgaden. In the course of the German Mediatisation in 1803, the Berchtesgaden Provostry was annexed by the Electorate of Salzburg, it finally fell to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1810.

Augustinians general term for various religious orders

The term Augustinians, named after Augustine of Hippo (354–430), applies to two distinct types of Catholic religious orders, dating back to the first millennium but formally created in the 13th century, and some Anglican religious orders, created in the 19th century, though technically there is no "Order of St. Augustine" in Anglicanism. Within Anglicanism the Rule of St. Augustine is followed only by women, who form several different communities of Augustinian nuns in the Anglican Communion.

Berchtesgaden Place in Bavaria, Germany

Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the Bavarian Alps of southeastern Germany. It is located in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km (19 mi) south of Salzburg and 180 km (110 mi) southeast of Munich. To the south of the city, Berchtesgaden National Park stretches along three parallel valleys.

Imperial immediacy was a privileged constitutional and political status rooted in German feudal law under which the Imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire such as Imperial cities, prince-bishoprics and secular principalities, and individuals such as the Imperial knights, were declared free from the authority of any local lord and placed under the direct authority of the Emperor, and later of the institutions of the Empire such as the Diet, the Imperial Chamber of Justice and the Aulic Council.

Prince-provosts of Berchtesgaden

Prince-elector members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire

The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.

Prince-bishop bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church

A prince-bishop is a bishop who is also the civil ruler of some secular principality and sovereignty. Thus the principality or prince-bishopric ruled politically by a prince-bishop could wholly or largely overlap with his diocesan jurisdiction, since some parts of his diocese, even the city of his residence, could be exempt from his civil rule, obtaining the status of free imperial city. If the episcopal see is an archbishopric, the correct term is prince-archbishop; the equivalent in the regular (monastic) clergy is prince-abbot. A prince-bishop is usually considered an elected monarch.

Electorate of Cologne the secular dominion of the Archbishops of Cologne

The Electorate of Cologne, sometimes referred to as Electoral Cologne, was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire that existed from the 10th to the early 19th century. It consisted of the Hochstift — the temporal possessions — of the Archbishop of Cologne and ruled by him in his capacity as prince-elector. There were only two other ecclesiastical prince-electors in the Empire: the Electorate of Mainz and the Electorate of Trier. The Archbishop-Elector of Cologne was also Arch-chancellor of Italy and, as such, ranked second among all ecclesiastical and secular princes of the Empire, after the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, and before that of Trier.

Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony, last Prince-Provost of Ellwangen Clemens Wenzeslaus.jpg
Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony, last Prince-Provost of Ellwangen

Ellwangen Abbey

The abbots of the Benedictine Abbey known as Stift Ellwangen founded in 764 had become Princes of the Empire (style Reichsabt ) in 1215 with a direct vote in the Imperial Diet. Since its conversion into a college of secular canons in 1460, the superiors retained that status, with their full style changed to Fürstliche Pröpste zu Ellwangen ("Princely Provosts of Ellwangen") in the Swabian Circle. During the German Mediatisation on 27 April 1803 it was incorporated into the Duchy of Württemberg.

Ellwangen Abbey abbey in Ellwangen (Jagst), Germany, and principality of the Holy Roman Empire

Ellwangen Abbey was the earliest Benedictine monastery established in the Duchy of Swabia, at the present-day town of Ellwangen an der Jagst, Baden-Württemberg about 100 km (60 mi) north-east of Stuttgart.

Prince-abbot cleric who is a Prince of the Church, in the sense of an ex officio temporal lord of a feudal entity (e.g. a State of the Holy Roman Empire)

A Prince-Abbot is a title for a cleric who is a Prince of the Church, in the sense of an ex officio temporal lord of a feudal entity, notably a State of the Holy Roman Empire. The secular territory ruled by the head of an abbey is known as Prince-Abbacy or Abbey-principality. The holder, however, does not hold the ecclesiastical office of a Bishop.

Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire) general assembly of the Holy Roman Empire

The Imperial Diet was the deliberative body of the Holy Roman Empire. It was not a legislative body in the contemporary sense; its members envisioned it more like a central forum where it was more important to negotiate than to decide.

Prince-Provosts of Ellwangen

Bishopric of Utrecht Former principality in Holland

The Bishopric of Utrecht (1024–1528) was a civil principality of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries, in present Netherlands, which was ruled by the bishops of Utrecht as princes of the Holy Roman Empire.

Otto Truchsess von Waldburg Catholic cardinal

Otto Truchsess von Waldburg was Prince-Bishop of Augsburg from 1543 until his death and a Cardinal of the Catholic Church.

The Prince-Bishopric of Augsburg was one of the prince-bishoprics of the Holy Roman Empire, and belonged to the Swabian Circle. It should not be confused with the larger diocese of Augsburg, over which the prince-bishop exercised only spiritual authority.

Weissenburg Abbey

The Benedictine abbey established at Alsatian Weissenburg (now Wissembourg) about 660 was eventually converted into a collegiate church (in 1524) then merged with the Bishopric of Speyer in 1546. The Speyer Prince-Bishops ruled as Provosts of Weissenburg in personal union, thereby holding two direct votes in the Imperial Diet. The 1648 Peace of Westphalia ceded Weissenburg to France, and the provostry was finally disestablished in the course of the French Revolution in 1789.

Alsace Place in Grand Est, France

Alsace is a cultural and historical region in eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland.

Wissembourg Commune in Grand Est, France

Wissembourg is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in northeastern France.

Collegiate church church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons

In Christianity, a collegiate church is a church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons: a non-monastic or "secular" community of clergy, organised as a self-governing corporate body, which may be presided over by a dean or provost. In its governance and religious observance a collegiate church is similar to a cathedral, although a collegiate church is not the seat of a bishop and has no diocesan responsibilities. Collegiate churches were often supported by extensive lands held by the church, or by tithe income from appropriated benefices. They commonly provide distinct spaces for congregational worship and for the choir offices of their clerical community.

See also


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Berchtesgaden Provostry or the Prince-Provostry of Berchtesgaden was an immediate principality of the Holy Roman Empire, held by a canonry, i.e. a collegiate foundation, of Canons Regular led by a Prince-Provost.

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