Archdiocese of Cologne
Coat of Arms of the Archdiocese of Cologne
|Metropolitan||Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia|
|Area||6,181 km2 (2,386 sq mi)|
|(as of 2015)|
2,038,000 ( 37.8%)
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Patron saint||St. Joseph|
|Archbishop||Rainer Woelki Cardinal|
|Auxiliary Bishops||Dominik Schwaderlapp|
|Vicar General||Dominik Meiering|
|Bishops emeritus||Klaus Dick Auxiliary bishop emeritus|
Manfred Melzer Auxiliary bishop emeritus
The Archdiocese of Cologne (Latin: Archidioecesis Coloniensis; German: Erzbistum Köln) is an archdiocese of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.
The Electorate of Cologne--not to be confused with the larger Archdiocese of Cologne--was one of the major ecclesiastical principalities of the Holy Roman Empire. The city of Cologne as such became a free city in 1288 and the archbishop eventually moved his residence from Cologne Cathedral to Bonn to avoid conflicts with the Free City, which escaped his jurisdiction.
After 1795, the archbishopric's territories on the left bank of the Rhine were occupied by France, and were formally annexed in 1801. The Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803 secularized the rest of the archbishopric, giving the Duchy of Westphalia to the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt. As an ecclesial government, however, the archdiocese remained (more or less) intact: while she lost the left bank including the episcopal city itself, Cologne, to the new Diocese of Aachen established under Napoleon's auspices, there still remained a substantial amount of territory on the right bank of the Rhine. After the death of the last Elector-Archbishop in 1801, the see was vacant for 23 years, being governed by vicar capitular Johann Herrmann Joseph v. Caspars zu Weiss and, after his death, by Johann Wilhelm Schmitz. In 1821, the archdiocese regained Cologne and the right bank of the Rhine (though with a new circumscription reflecting the Prussian subdivisions) and, in 1824, an archbishop was established there again. It remains an archdiocese to the present day, considered the most important one of Germany.
Cologne, the largest (in terms of inhabitants non-Catholics included) and reportedly richest diocese in Europe, announced in October 2013 that "in connection with the current discussion about Church finances" that its archbishop had reserves amounting to 166.2 million Euro in 2012. It said the 9.6 million Euro earnings from its investments were, as in previous years, added to the diocesan budget of 939 million Euro in 2012, three-quarters of which was financed by the "church tax" levied on churchgoers. In 2015 the archdiocese for the first time published its financial accounts, which show assets worth more than £2bn. Documents posted on the archdiocesan website showed assets of EUR3.35bn (£2.5bn) at the end of 2013. Some EUR 2.4 billion (£1.8bn) were invested in stocks, funds and company holdings. A further EUR646m (£475m) were held in tangible assets, mostly property. Cash reserves and outstanding loans amounted to about EUR287m (£211m).
The following is a list of the archbishops since the Archdiocese of Cologne was re-filled in 1824.