Archbishopric of Utrecht

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The Bishopric of Utrecht is a Diocese based in the Dutch city of Utrecht. It was one of the Prince-Bishoprics of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Bishopric of Utrecht continued as a state of the Holy Roman Empire from 1024 until 1528, when the secular authority and territorial possessions of the bishopric and its entire worldly power were secularized by Emperor Charles V. The diocese itself continued to exist as an ecclesiastical entity, and in 1559 was elevated to an archbishopric.

By 1580 the Protestant Reformation in Utrecht and surrounding regions rendered impossible several attempts to effectively continue the ecclesiastical archdiocese, after the death of archbishop Frederik V Schenck van Toutenburg. The ecclesiastical archbishopric or archdiocese was reinstated in 1853 as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Utrecht by Pope Pius IX.

Since the early 18th century Old Catholic dissidents have claimed the restoration of the archdiocese took place as early as 1723 by the election and episcopal consecration of Cornelius van Steenoven, enthroned, consecrated and elevated in a so-called schuilkerk by certain members of Utrecht Catholic clergy without papal approval.




The Diocese of Utrecht was established in 695 when Saint Willibrord was consecrated bishop of the Frisians at Rome by Pope Sergius I. With the consent of the Frankish ruler, Pippin of Herstal, he settled in an old Roman fort in Utrecht. After Willibrord's death the diocese suffered greatly from the incursions of the Frisians[citation needed], and later on of the Normans. Willibrord was most probably instated as archbishop, having received the pallium during his life; but it is uncertain why and when exactly this title was lost in later times.

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