English: Coats of arms of the prince-bishop of...

English: Coats of arms of the prince-bishop of Bamberg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diocese in eastern Franconia in east central Germany and originally in the province of Mainz, though from 1220 it was exempt from the Archbishop’s jurisdiction and came immediately under the Pope.   The city, which now forms a Stadtkreis in the Land of Bayern, stands on the River Regnitz, very near its confluence with the Main.  There is also a Landkreis of Bamberg surrounding the Stadtkreis.

The Church at Bamberg had already been an important missionary church for the conversion of the Slavs for some time when the Emperor Henry II made it into the seat for a new Bishopric in 1007, which he endowed with property and to whose Bishop he gave various comital rights.  The Bishop acquired a princely territory around the city, which, after the extinction of the Counts of Andechs in 1248, extended eastwards along the upper Main.

Bamberg, Cathedral Français : La cathédrale de...

Bamberg, Cathedral Français : La cathédrale de Bamberg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Besides this Franconian district, the Bishop also held lands far away in the eastern Alps.  The town of Villach on the River Drave, together with a nearby district leading to an Alpine pass;  Griffin, west of Gurk;  Wolfsberg in the Lavatal, the valley that linked the valleys of the Mur and the Drave –  all these provided revenues for the distant Prince-Bishop, though in the 16th century the Habsburgs, who held the surrounding Duchy of Carinthia, took over the day-to-day administration.   The Bishop was a member of the Franconian Circle from its creation in 1500.

The lands were secularised in 1802-3 and the Franconian lands were added to Bavaria.   The last Bishop of Bamberg died in 1808, but in the new ecclesiastical order created in 1817, Bamberg became the seat of a new Archbishop, whose province included the dioceses of Würzburg, Eichstätt and Speyer and covered Franconia and the then Bavarian Palatinate.

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