Prince-Bishopric of Regensburg

The Prince-Bishopric of Regensburg (German: Fürstbistum Regensburg; Hochstift Regensburg) was a small ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire located near the Free Imperial City of Regensburg in Bavaria. It was elevated to the Archbishopric of Regensburg in 1803 after the dissolution of the Archbishopric of Mainz. The Prince-Bishopric of Regensburg must not be confused with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Regensburg, which was considerably larger.

Prince-Bishopric of Regensburg

Fürstbistum / Hochstift Regensburg
13th century–1803
Coat of arms
CapitalRegensburg Cathedral
GovernmentElective principality
Historical eraMiddle Ages
 Founded by St Boniface
 Gained Reichsfreiheit
13th century
 Regensburg Reichsfrei
    as Imperial City
 City annexed to Bavaria
 City adopted Reformation
 City made permanent
    seat of Reichstag
 Mediatised to new
 Ceded to Bavaria on
    Imperial collapse
January 6, 1806
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Bavaria
Principality of Regensburg
1: The Bishopric, the Imperial City and all three Imperial Abbeys were mediatised simultaneously.


The diocese was founded in 739 by Saint Boniface; it was originally subordinate to the archbishop of Salzburg. In the 13th century, the bishop of Regensburg became a prince of the Holy Roman Empire with seat and vote at the Imperial Diet. Being fully enclaved within the powerful Duchy of Bavaria, the prince-bishopric was not able to expand territorially and remained one of the smallest of the Empire.

In the course of the German mediatization of 1803, the prince-bishopric was united with the Free Imperial city of Regensburg and other territories to form the Archbishopric of Regensburg, with Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg as archbishop. In 1810, the Principality of Regensburg became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria, although it retained archiepiscopal status. This was after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 during the War of the Third Coalition.

The Bavarian Concordat of 1817 following Dalberg's death downgraded the Archdiocese of Regensburg into a suffragan diocese subordinate to the archbishop of Munich and Freising.

Famous prince-bishops

See also

Further reading

  • Josef Staber: Kirchengeschichte des Bistums Regensburg. Regensburg 1966 (in German)

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