TITULAR PRINCE-ARCHBISHOPRIC OF TRIER

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Prince Clemens von Sachsen
last reigning Prince-Archbishop and Elector of Trier

* Arch-Chancellor was an office granted to the highest dignitaries of the Holy Roman Empire. The Golden Bull of 1356 (the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire) confirmed the office of Arch-Chancellor of Germany for the Prince-Archbishop of Mainz, Arch-Chancellor of Italy for the Prince-Archbishop of Cologne, and Arch-Chancellor of Gaul for the Prince-Archbishop of Trier.

The Prince-Archbishopric and Electorate of Trier was an important state within the Holy Roman Empire. The Prince-Archbishop not only rule the territory and served as its spiritual leader, he was also one of the ecclesiastical Electors who elected the Holy Roman Emperor. The expansion of the temporal power of this See occurred under its Archbishop, Baldwin of Luxembourg, brother of Emperor Henry VII. The Electorate held the third rank among spiritual princes of the Empire, after Mainz and Cologne. Baldwin assumed the title of Arch-Chancellor of Gaul and Burgundy, an office that continued with the Prince-Archbishopric.*

During the Middle Ages, the Holy City of Trier, as it was known, became a great center of monastic learning. Its education system became dominated by the Jesuits, and its university was founded in 1473.

During the Thirty Years War, the Prince-Archbishop sided with France. He was taken prisoner when the Spanish captured the city, but was restored to power in the Treaty of Westphalia. Much of the territory of the Electorate was annexed by the French under Napoleon, and the Prince-Archbishop abdicated in 1802. One of his last acts was to grant tolerance to the Protestants. After the fall of the Napoleonic Empire, Trier was effectively entirely absorbed into Prussia.

A new spiritual diocese was established in 1821 without temporal authority. Today the dignity of Prince-Archbishop of Trier is held in trust by the See of Saint Stephen. It is granted to an Archbishop, who also serves as Governor-General of the Patriarchal See.


Below: The arms of the Electorate and Prince-Archbishopric of Trier (within the yellow border)
as depicted on the quaternion eagle of the Holy Roman Empire 1510.

Below: The arms of the Electorate and Prince-Archbishopric of Trier (within the yellow border)
as depicted on the quaternion eagle of the Holy Roman Empire 1806.


Trier Cathedral
(Photo: Berthld Werner, via Creative Commons license.)


Map of the Electorate of Trier


Electoral Palace of Trier in Koblenz


Electoral Palace of Trier in Koblenz
(Photo: Holger Weinandt, via Creative Commons license.)

 

 

 

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