History of Medieval and of Modern Civilization to the End of the Seventeenth Century

By Charles Seignobos; James Alton James | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE AGES

ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH

The Dioceses. --All the cities of the old Roman empire had preserved the diocese.1 In Germany, according as the country became christianized, the kings created bishoprics. As the church forbade the establishment of a bishop elsewhere than in a city, dioceses and cities were founded at the same time. Old or new, the dioceses were richly endowed. They had received immense domains, often an entire province. The kings had given immunity to the bishops: that is, the right to govern themselves in their own domain. "Let no public functionary," say the conditions of the immunity, "dare to enter the lands of this church, either to levy taxes or to judge, or to arrest men, bond or free, who live there." The bishop became a veritable sovereign. The bishops of Cologne, Mayence and Treves were the three foremost princes in Germany.

The Chapters. --The priests of the cathedral, so the church of the seat of the diocese was called, were at

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1
The division into dioceses established under the Romans fell into disuse. The new towns founded in the Middle Ages did not become dioceses, they remained subject to their former metropolitan city, often much smaller than they were, e. g., Montpelier to Magnelonne, Dijon to Langres.

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