Bishopric of Verdun

Bishopric of Verdun
Fürstbistum Wirten (de)
Principauté épiscopale de Verdun (fr)
State of the Holy Roman Empire

Coat of arms

The Three Bishoprics of Verdun, Metz and Toul in the upper half of this map, coloured green and outlined in pink.
Capital Verdun
Government Theocracy
Historical era Middle Ages
  County established 10th century
   County ceded
    to the bishopric
   Three Bishoprics
    annexed by France
  Peace of Westphalia
    recognises annexation

Preceded by
Succeeded by
link= County of Verdun
Early modern France

The Bishopric of Verdun was also a state of the Holy Roman Empire; it was located at the western edge of the Empire and was bordered by France, the Duchy of Luxembourg, and the Duchy of Bar.


This fief also included the advowson of the church of Verdun over its possessions along the river Moselle. According to a chronist’s report, written around the year 900, the Merovingian king Childebert II (575–596) came to visit Verdun. There was not enough wine to serve the monarch and the Bishop Agericus was very embarrassed. However God rewarded him for his good deeds and miraculously increased the amount of wine. The king presented Agericus of Verdun with the Schloss Veldenz as a fief of Verdun "because of the wine".[1] Around 1156 Frederick Barbarossa confirmed the holding by Bishop Albert I of Verdun of the castle together with the surrounding land.

A story that Peter (774-798), successor of Madalvaeus, was granted temporal lordship of the Diocese by Charlemagne, but this is no longer accepted.[2]

Because of the destruction of the archives in a fire Bishop Dadon (880-923) commissioned the Gesta episcoporum Virodunensium (Chronicle of the Bishops of Verdun) from Bertharius, a Benedictine monk. This was continued to 1250 by a second monk, Lawrence, and later by an anonymous writer.[2]

A key element of Emperor Otto I's domestic policy was to strengthen ecclesiastical authorities at the expense of the nobility who threatened his power. To this end he filled the ranks of the episcopate with his own relatives and with loyal chancery clerks. As protector of the Church he invested them with the symbols of their offices, both spiritual and secular, so the clerics were appointed as his vassals through a commendation ceremony. Historian Norman Cantor concludes: "Under these conditions clerical election became a mere formality in the Ottonian empire ..."[3] The Bishop of Verdun, appointed by Otto, was totally faithful to the emperor.[4]

In 990 Bishop Haimont ordered the construction of a new cathedral[4] on the Romano-Rhenish plan: a nave, two transepts, two opposing apses, each one flanked by two bell towers. The Holy Roman Emperor Otto III bestowed the title Count on Bishop Haimont (990-1024) and his successors in 997. The bishops had the right to appoint a temporary "count for life" (comte viager), theoretically subject to the authority of the bishop. These counts were selected from the noble family of Ardennes. There was frequent conflict between the count and the bishop.[2]

With the marriage of Philip IV with Joan I of Navarre, the daughter of the Count of Champagne, Lorraine and particularly Verdun become a primary focus for the crown of France. After 1331, appointment to the episcopal see was controlled by the King of France rather than the Emperor.[4]

The Bishopric was annexed to France in 1552; this was recognized by the Holy Roman Empire in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. It then was a part of the province of the Three Bishoprics.


Fourth century

Fifth century

Sixth century

Seventh century

Eighth century

Ninth century

Tenth century

Eleventh century

Twelfth century

Thirteenth century

Fourteenth century

Fifteenth century

Sixteenth century

Seventeenth century

Eighteenth century

Until 1801 Verdun was part of the ecclesiastical province of the Archbishop of Trier. On November 29, 1801 it was suppressed and added to the Diocese of Nancy. On October 6, 1822 the diocese was re-established.

See also

External links


  1. "The first Lords of the Castle and the early Counts of Veldenz", Schloss Veldenz
  2. 1 2 3 Goyau, Georges. "Diocese of Verdun". The Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  3. Cantor, Norman F. (1994). The Civilization of the Middle Ages. p. 213, Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-092553-6
  4. 1 2 3 "Verdun, a rich history", Verduntourisme
  5. Smith, William; Wace, Henry (1887). A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines, vol 4. Little, Brown & Company. p. 436.
  6. Gerzaguet, Jean-Pierre. "Dado of Verdun". Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle, (Graeme Dunphy, ed.) Brill Online, 2016. Reference. 09 March 2016
  7. Son of Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine, cousin of predecessor.
  8. Son of René II, Duke of Lorraine.
  9. (1561-1587), bishop of Toul from 1580 to 1587, son of Nicolas de Mercœur.
  10. (1576-1623), son of Nicolas de Mercœur.
  11. Saive Numismatique

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