Archdiocese of Utrecht (695–1580)

The historic Archdiocese of Utrecht 695–1580 was a Roman Catholic diocese and from 1559 archdiocese in the Low Countries before and during the Protestant Reformation


  • 1 History
    • 11 Diocese
    • 12 Archdiocese
    • 13 Vicariate Apostolic of Batavia
  • 2 Ordinaries
  • 3 See also
  • 4 Notes
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading



For more details on the civil principality 1024–1528 which was also ruled by the bishops of Utrecht, see Episcopal principality of Utrecht

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the founding of the diocese dates back to Francia,1 when St Ecgberht of Ripon sent St Willibrord and eleven companions on a mission to pagan Frisia, at the request of Pepin of Herstal12 The Diocese of Utrecht Latin: Dioecesis Ultraiectensis was erected by Pope Sergius I in 6953 In 695 Sergius consecrated Willibrord in Rome as Bishop of the Frisians1

George Edmundson wrote, in Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 edition, that the bishops, in fact, as the result of grants of immunities by a succession of German kings, and notably by the Saxon and Franconian emperors, gradually became the temporal rulers of a dominion as great as the neighboring counties and duchies4 John Mason Neale explained, in History of the so-called Jansenist church of Holland, that bishops "became warriors rather than prelates; the duties of their pastoral office were frequently exercised by suffragans, while they themselves headed armies against the Dukes of Guelders or the Counts of Holland"5p63 Adalbold II of Utrecht "must be regarded as the principal founder of the territorial possessions of the diocese," according to Albert Hauck, in New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, especially by the acquisition in 1024 and 1026 of the counties of Drenthe and Teisterbant nl;6 but, the name "Bishopric of Utrecht" is not used in the article Debitum pastoralis officii nobis was Pope Leo X's 1517 prohibition to the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, Hermann of Wied, as legatus natus,a to summon, to a court of first instance in Cologne, Philip of Burgundy, his treasurer, and his ecclesiastical and secular subjects8b Leo X only confirmed a right of the Church, explained Neale; but Leo X's confirmation "was providential" in respect to the future schism5p72 The Bishopric ended when Henry of the Palatinate resigned the see in 1528 with the consent of the cathedral chapter, and transferred his secular authority to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor The chapters voluntarily transferred their right of electing the bishop to Charles V, and Pope Clement VII gave his consent to the proceeding1 George Edmundson wrote, in History of Holland, that Henry, "was compelled" in 1528 to formally surrender "the temporalities of the see" to Charles V9p21 Lordship of Utrecht


The diocese was elevated to an archdiocese in 15593 It was taken from Province of Cologne, in which it was a suffragan, and elevated to the rank of an archdiocese and metropolitan see1 During the administration of the first archbishop, Frederik V Schenck van Toutenburg, Calvinism spread rapidly, especially among the nobility, who viewed with disfavor the endowment of the new bishoprics with the ancient and wealthy abbeys1 The parish churches were attacked in the Beeldenstorm in 156610 The hanging of the nineteen Martyrs of Gorkum in Brielle in 1572 is an example of the persecution which Catholics suffered1 During the Dutch Revolt in the Spanish Netherlands, the archdiocese fell1 In the Beeldenstorm in 1580, the collegiate churches were victims of iconoclastic attacks and St Martin's Cathedral, Utrecht, was "severely damaged"10 "Even though approximately one third of the people remained Roman Catholic and in spite of a relatively great tolerance,"10 as early as 1573,1 the public exercise of Catholicism was forbidden,110 and the cathedral was converted into a Protestant church in 158010 The cathedral chapter survived and "still managed its lands and formed part of the provincial government" in the Lordship of Utrecht10 "The newly appointed canons, however, were always Protestants"10 The two successor archbishop appointed by Spain neither received canonical confirmation nor could they enter their diocese because of the States-General opposition1 The archdiocese was suppressed in 15803 Walter Phillips wrote, in Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 edition, the last archbishop of Utrecht, Frederik V Schenck van Toutenburg, died in 1580, "a few months before the suppression of Roman Catholic public worship" by William I, Prince of Orange4 "Suppression of dioceses," wrote Hove, "takes place only in countries where the faithful and the clergy have been dispersed by persecution," the suppressed dioceses become missions, prefectures, or vicariates apostolic This is what occurred in the Dutch Republic11c

Vicariate Apostolic of Bataviaedit

Main article: Vicariate Apostolic of Batavia Holland For more details on the creation of "the Roman Catholic Church of the Old Episcopal Clergy", an independent sect, instituted during the vicariate, see Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands and Old Catholic Archdiocese of Utrecht

The Holland Mission started when the vicariate was erected by Pope Clement VIII in 159212 "For two centuries after the 1648 Peace of Westphalia much of Holland was under vicars apostolic as mission territory, as England was in the same period; although some areas had archpriests dependent on the nuncios in Cologne and Brussels"13


For a list of the ordinaries of this period, see Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Utrecht

The article Dutch Mission contains a similar list of the vicars apostolic of Batavia

See alsoedit

  • History of religion in the Netherlands


  1. ^ "As papal power increased after the middle of the eleventh century these legates came to have less and less real authority and eventually the legatus natus was hardly more than a title"7
  2. ^ Joosting and Muller noted that Leo X also promulgated another bull, in which he commissioned that the Bishop of Utrecht, his treasurer and his subjects informed that they were empowered to disregard privileges formerly granted to others and to prosecute offenders while setting aside formerly specified legal process8
  3. ^ Changes of this nature were not regulated by canon law, according to Hove who wrote in 190911


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Lins, Joseph 1912 "Archdiocese of Utrecht" In Herbermann, Charles Catholic Encyclopedia 15 New York: Robert Appleton 
  2. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Mershman, Francis 1912 "St Willibrord" In Herbermann, Charles Catholic Encyclopedia 15 New York: Robert Appleton 
  3. ^ a b c "Archdiocese of Utrecht" Catholic-Hierarchyorg David M Cheney Retrieved 2014-01-14 
  4. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Edmundson, George; Phillips, Walter A 1911 "Utrecht" In Chisholm, Hugh Encyclopædia Britannica 27 11th ed Cambridge University Press pp 823–824 
  5. ^ a b This article incorporates text from a work in the public domain: Neale, John M 1858 History of the so-called Jansenist church of Holland; with a sketch of its earlier annals, and some account of the Brothers of the common life Oxford; London: John Henry and James Parker OCLC 600855086 
  6. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Hauck, Albert 1908 "Adalbold" In Jackson, Samuel Macauley New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge 1 third ed London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls p 32 
  7. ^ La Monte, John L 1949 The world of the Middle Ages: a reorientation of medieval history New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts p 393 OCLC 568161011 
  8. ^ a b This article incorporates text from a work in the public domain: Pope Leo X Debitum pastoralis officii nobis in Latin  From Joosting, Jan G C; Muller, Samuel 1912 "Verbod van Paus Leo X aan den aartsbisschop van Keulen als legatus natus, Philips bisschop van Utrecht, diens fiscus en diens kerkelijke en wereldlijke onderdanen in eerste instantie naar keulen te doen dagvaarden" Bronnen voor de geschiedenis der kerkelijke rechtspraak in het bisdom Utrecht in di middeleeuwen Oude vaderlandsche rechtsbronnen in Dutch 's-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff pp 59–62 Retrieved 2014-01-09  This book contains documents relating to the limit of the jurisdiction of the bishop of Utrecht This book was published in Werken der Vereeniging tot Uitgaaf der Bronnen van het Oud-Vaderlandsche Recht 's-Gravenhage:Martinus Nijhoff 214 OCLC 765196601
  9. ^ Edmundson, George 1922 History of Holland Cambridge historical series Cambridge: Cambridge University Press LCCN 22004345 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "History" Domkerk Utrecht Utrecht Archived from the original on 2014-01-16 Retrieved 2014-01-16 
  11. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Hove, Alphonse van 1909 "Diocese" In Herbermann, Charles Catholic Encyclopedia 5 New York: Robert Appleton 
  12. ^ "Mission "Sui Iuris" of Batavia Holland Mission" Catholic-Hierarchyorg David M Cheney Retrieved 2014-01-14 
  13. ^ "The hierarchy in Holland" The Tablet London 1953-05-16 p 20 Retrieved 2014-01-14 

Further readingedit

  • Ring, Trudy; Watson, Noelle; Schellinger, Paul, eds 1995 "Utrecht" International dictionary of historic places 2 Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn p 761 ISBN 188496401X 

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