Bishop’s crozier and executioner’s sword (at left in the wall showcase) symbolise the spiritual and secular functions of the archbishop of Salzburg
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Where Does The Archbishop Rule? Where The Prince?



Sovereign Prince of the Land

The archiepiscopal foundation of Salzburg grows slowly. In the Early Middle Ages, the bishops possess only widely scattered bishoprics and rights of usage. Around 1000, they start to form an integrated territory by concentrating sovereignty rights. During the thirteenth century, they attain full supremacy in the Land – and in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the archiepiscopal foundation is twice as large as Salzburg today, for it also covers areas in what is now Bavaria, Tyrol and Carinthia.

The archbishop of Salzburg rules as secular prince over this area – a country of its own, the archiepiscopal foundation (Erzstift) of Salzburg – until 1803. He has absolute rule in his principality; he possesses all rights, from power of legislation to criminal jurisdiction.


Archbishopric and the Salzburg Ecclesiastical Province

As a church dignitary, the archbishop is the head of the archbishopric of Salzburg, which still covers the northeast part of Tyrol. For a long period, the dioceses of Brixen, Freising, Regensburg, Passau, Wiener Neustadt and Vienna are also under the authority of the archbishop. He even has the sole right of electing the bishops himself in the individual dioceses of Seckau, Gurk and Lavant, an absolutely extraordinary privilege. Since 1818, the archbishopric has included the present-day Federal Province of Salzburg and north-eastern Tyrol.


Primas Germaniae

The high European standing enjoyed by the person of the archbishop of Salzburg is based on his double function in the secular and the ecclesiastical spheres. Since the seventeenth century, he bears the title Primas Germaniae, which expresses his primacy – more symbolic than real – among the German bishops. In 1803, during the Napoleonic Wars, the archbishop loses all secular prerogatives of rule.

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