Bishopric of Halberstadt

Bishopric of Halberstadt
Bishopric of Halberstadt
Bistum Halberstadt
State of the Holy Roman Empire
Duchy of Saxony
1180–1648 Wappen Mark Brandenburg.png

Coat of arms

Prince-Bishoprics of Hildesheim, Halberstadt
and Magdeburg (violet), about 1250
Capital Halberstadt
Government Theocracy
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Diocese founded 804
 - Prince-Bishopric 1180
 - Joined
    Lower Saxon Circle
 - Albert of Brandenburg
 - Secularized to
    Principality of Halberstadt
 - To Province of Saxony 1816

The Bishopric of Halberstadt (German: Bistum Halberstadt) was a Roman Catholic diocese from 804 until 1648 and an ecclesiastical state of the Holy Roman Empire from the late Middle Ages. Its capital was Halberstadt in present-day Saxony-Anhalt, north of the Harz mountain range.

Halberstadt Cathedral


In the aftermath of the Saxon Wars, Emperor Charlemagne in 804 established a missionary diocese at Osterwieck (then called Seligenstadt) in Eastphalia, in the course of the Christianization of the pagan Saxons and Polabian Slavs. Under its (supposed) first bishop Hildegrim of Châlons the capital was moved to Halberstadt, confirmed by Charles' son Louis the Pious in a 814 deed. The bishopric's boundaries originally reached the Elbe and Saale rivers in the east, nevertheless, when Emperor Otto I founded the Archbishopric of Magdeburg in 968, Halberstadt lost the eastern half of its district to it.

The Halberstadt bishops rivalled with Magdeburg to gain political influence in the days of the Ottonian and Salian dynasty. Under the rule of Emperor Henry III they were vested with further territorial rights and in 1062 Bishop Burchard II was sent to Rome as an Imperial mediator in the conflict between Pope Alexander II and Antipope Honorius II. However the former favourite of Dowager Empress Agnes of Poitou and her son Henry IV in 1073 allied with Pope Gregory VII in the Investiture Controversy and became one of the leading figures of the Great Saxon Revolt. After the deposition of the Saxon duke Henry the Lion the Halberstadt territory evolved to an Imperial State.

In 1479 the Saxon prince-elector Ernest of Wettin pushed the election of his 13-year-old son Ernest II, Archbishop of Magdeburg since 1476, as administrator in place of the resigned Prince-Bishop Gebhard von Hoym. In 1513 Albert of Hohenzollern, younger brother of Elector Joachim I Nestor of Brandenburg, succeeded him and the Magdeburg archbishops from the House of Hohenzollern remained administrators, while in 1540 the Halberstadt territories became Lutheran during the Protestant Reformation. In 1566 two-year-old Henry Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel became the first Lutheran administrator, after which Halberstadt remained with Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel until in 1623 Henry Julius' son Christian, the "mad Halberstadter", resigned during the Thirty Years' War. He was succeeded by Christian William of Hohenzollern, son of Elector Joachim III Frederick of Brandenburg.

In the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, the bishopric was secularized as the Principality of Halberstadt, and finally given to the Hohenzollern rulers of Brandenburg-Prussia. After the 1815 Congress of Vienna, its territory was incorporated into the Prussian Province of Saxony.


After the foundation of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg, the Diocese of Halberstadt covered the following Saxon Gau counties: Balsamgau, Derlingau, the western part of the Nordthüringgau, Harzgau, Schwabengau, and Hassegau. Thus, it stretched from the Oker river near Hornburg in the west, where it bordered on the Bishopric of Hildesheim, to the Saale in the east, where the bishops acquired the former Principality of Aschersleben in 1315. The city of Brunswick, located on both sides of the Oker, was originally split between Halberstadt and Hildesheim until it passed to Duke Henry the Lion in 1142, who made it his residence.

Bishops of Halberstadt

Name From To
Hildegrim of Châlons 804 827
Thiatgrim 827 840
Haymo 840 853
Hildegrim II 853 886
Agiulf 886 894
Sigismund 894 923
Bernard 926 968
Hildeward 968 996
Arnulf 996 1023
Branthog 1023 1036
Burchard I 1036 1059
Burchard II 1059 1088
Hamezo (antibishop) 1085 1085
Dietmar 1089 1089
Herrand 1090 1102
Frederick I (antibishop) 1090 1106
Reinhard of Blankenburg 1107 1123
Otto von Kuditz 1123 1135
Rudolf 1136 1149
Ulrich 1149 1160
Gero von Schowitz 1160 1177
Ulrich 1177 1181
Dietrich von Krosigk 1181 1193
Gardolf von Harbke 1193 1201
Konrad von Krosigk 1201 1209
Frederick II of Kirchberg 1209 1236
Ludolf von Schladen 1236 1241
Meinard von Kranichfeld 1241 1252
Ludolf II von Schladen (not acknowledged by the pope) 1253 1255
Volrad von Kranichfeld 1254 1295
Hermann von Blankenburg 1296 1304
Albert I of Anhalt 1304 1324
Albert II of Brunwick-Lüneburg, son of Duke Albert the Fat 1324 1358
Giselbrecht von Holstein (antibishop) 1324 1343
Albrecht von Mansfeld (antibishop) 1346 1356
Ludwig von Meissen, son of Margrave Frederick II 1357 1366
Albert III of Saxony 1366 1390
Ernest I von Hohnstein 1391 1399
Rudolf of Anhalt 1401 1406
Heinrich von Warberg 1407 1411
Albert IV, son of Konrad IV, Count of Wernigerode 1411 1419
Johannes von Hoym 1419 1437
Buchard von Warberg 1437 1458
Gebhard von Hoym 1458 1479
Administrated by the Archbishops of Magdeburg
Ernest II of Saxony 1480 1513
Albert of Mainz 1513 1545
Johann Albrecht of Brandenburg-Ansbach son of Margrave Frederick I 1545 1550
Frederick III of Brandenburg, son of Elector Joachim II Hector 1550 1552
Sigismund of Brandenburg, half-brother of Frederick III 1552 1566
Protestant administrators
Henry Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 1566 1613
Henry Charles of Brunswick 1613 1615
Rudolf of Brunswick 1615 1616
Christian of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 1616 1623
Christian Wilhelm of Brandenburg, son of Elector Joachim Frederick 1624 1628
Catholic administrator
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria
(Catholic administrator due to lacking canonical qualification)
1628 1648

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