Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek

Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek
Bisdom Ösel–Wiek (nds)
Ecclesia Osiliensis (la)
Prince-Bishopric of Terra Mariana

Coat of arms

The Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek, shown (red, upper left, across the Estonian mainland and the islands of Dagö (Hiiumaa) and Ösel (Saaremaa)) within the Livonian Confederation, 1260
Capital Leal (Lihula)
Perona (Vana-Pärnu)
Hapsal (Haapsalu)
Arensburg (Kuressaare)
Languages Low German, Estonian
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Principality
   1228–1229 Gottfried
  1542–1560 Johannes V von Münchhausen
Historical era Middle Ages
   Established October 1, 1228
   Sold to Denmark 1560
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Danish Estonia
Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569)

The Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek (Estonian: Saare-Lääne piiskopkond; German: Bistum Ösel–Wiek; Low German: Bisdom Ösel–Wiek; contemporary Latin: Ecclesia Osiliensis) was a semi-independent Roman Catholic prince-bishopric in what is now Saare, Hiiu and Lääne counties of Estonia.


The bishopric was created as a state of Holy Roman Empire on 1 October 1228, by Henry, King of the Romans. One of the five members of the Livonian Confederation, the seat of the bishop was successively Leal (Lihula), Perona (Vana-Pärnu), Hapsal (Haapsalu), and the castle of Arensburg (Kuressaare) on the island of Ösel (Saaremaa); the cathedral and chapter remained in Hapsal. Administratively the state was divided into two bailiwicks (advocaciae, Vogteien). The bishop was also the lord of the Teutonic Order over its fiefs on the bishopric's territory.

The principality ceased to exist in 1560 when its last prince-bishop, Johannes V von Münchhausen, sold it to Denmark. King Frederick II of Denmark's brother Magnus, Duke of Holstein, was elected bishop on 13 May 1560, despite being Lutheran. Denmark ceded Wiek (Lääne County) to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in exchange for parts of Ösel belonging to the Livonian Order. Later Ösel became a Danish possession.

Bishops and Prince-Bishops

External links

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