|Bishopric of Worms|
|4th Century - 1803|
Council of Princes
|Count of Wormsgau||861|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worms originated from the ecclesiastical principality of Prince-Bishoprics of the Holy Roman Empire. It was based in Worms in eastern Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It existed from the early 4th century until 1803.
Prince-Bishopric of WormsEdit
The Bishopric was probably established around the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine I. Bishop Victor is mentioned in 346 as attending the controversial Synod of Cologne. The Frankish king Childebert II (575 - 595) probably reformed the diocese of Worms during his reign which began the rise of Worms to notability. However little mention is made of the diocese again until 614 when Bishop Berchtulf attended the Synod of Paris. Soon after the diocese began missionary work on the territories on the right bank of the River Rhine which eventually spread to Bavaria.
Various Carolingian kings chose Worms as one of their residences during the 8th and 9th Centuries which made the bishops among their closer advisors. In 770 the Bishops were granted several temporal rights by the kings, in in 861 they were given the Wormsgau (the territory around and including Worms). The bishopric was still important by the 12th Century, long after the Carolingians fell, when the diocese was reorganised. In 1156 the city of Worms was made a Free City in the Empire.
By the 14th Century the diocese had began to decline in prosperity and influence. In the early 16th Century the diocese was wracked by the Reformation and most of the parishes in the diocese were lost to it. The Diet of Worms in 1521 was one of the most important events to ever take place in the city. In 1556 plans were made to unite the failing diocese with the Archbishopric of Mainz, but these were never realised. Still by 1600 only 15 parishes, out of over 400, were Catholic. To ensure the bishopric's survival, the Cathedral chapter took to electing local influential nobility from the closer diocese as bishops. After the Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648) the chapter instead began to elect noblemen from more significant families throughout Germany. These bishops were largely absent from the diocese which gave the chapter considerable power in running the diocese.
From 1711 all bishops elected were also bishops at other sees. The cathedral chapter continued to re-Catholicise the population, and by 1732 more than 100 parishes were Catholic. In 1792 the French occupied the left bank territories of the Prince-Bishopric, which were ceded in 1795. In 1801 the right bank territories were secularised to Hesse-Darmstadt, with some territories passing to Baden two years later. The bishopric itself was abolished in 1803.