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A diocese situated in Southern Bohemia, suffragan to the Archdiocese of Prague. Although projected since 1630, the diocese was not erected until the reign of Emperor Joseph II , by a papal Bull of 20 September, 1785. By the provisions of this Bull, the civil districts of Budweis, Tabor, Prachatitz, and Klattau were separated from the Archdiocese of Prague and erected into the new Diocese of Budweis, thus giving it an area of 5600 sq. miles with a population of 660,000. The church of St. Nicholas at Budweis was made cathedral, and the Archbishop of Prague contributed 3300 Rhenish marks (present value 10,080 kronen or $2,016) towards its endowment.

The following bishops have occupied the See of Budweis: (1) Johann Prokop, Count von Schaffgotsche (1785-1813), formerly rector of the Generalseminar at Brünn, and canon at Olmütz ; (2) Ernst Konstantin Ruzicka (1815-45); (3) Joseph Andreas Lindauer (1845-50); (4) Johann Valerian Jirsik (1851-83), especially noteworthy for the part he took in the development of the diocese ; (5) Franz, Count Schönborn (1883-85), later Cardinal and Archbishop of Prague, d. 1899; (6) Martin Joseph Riha (7 July, 1885-6 February, 1907), the first diocesan ecclesiastic to be appointed Bishop of Budweis. The present administrator (1907) is the Vicar Capitular, J. Hulka. In conformity with the decree of the provincial council of Prague (1860) three diocesan synods have been held (1870, 1872, 1875).


According to the organization of 1857 the Diocese of Budweis is divided into the Vicariate-General of Budweis on which depend the archdeaconry of Krummau, the provostship of Neuhaus, and 8 archipresbyterates : Budweis, Klattau, Krummau, Neuhaus, Taus, and Winterberg, with 4 vicariates each, and Strakonitz and Tabor with 5 vicariates each, making a total of 34 vicariates. Among the 432 ecclesiastical divisions for the cure of souls, there are two archdeaconries, 57 deaneries, 366 parishes, 5 expositures, and 1 administrature, with a total population (1907) of 1,123,113. This number is divided as follows: 1,106,729 Roman Catholics (an average of 98.1 per cent, in many vicariates 99.92 percent of the whole population); 1589 members of the Augsburg Evangelical Church ; 2302 members of the Helvetic Evangelical Church ; 12,447 Jews ; and 46 of no religious persuasion. The population of 282 of the ecclesiastical divisions (68.9 per cent), 761,568 is almost entirely Czech; that of 110 (15.34 per cent), 181,790, purely German; that of 25 (10.66 per cent), 119,830, predominantly Czech; and of 15 (5.1 per cent), 59,925, prevailingly German. The average population of a parish is 2000, the population of the largest, Budweis, being 45,528, and of the smallest, Korkushatten, 414.

The clergy actively engaged in the ministry number 849 secular and 136 regular priests. The latter are thus divided: 59 Cistercians from Hohenfurth, with 4 professed clerics ; 18 Brothers of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, a congregation founded at Budweis in 1888, with 5 clerics, 18 lay brothers, and 11 novices ; 11 Premonstratensians ; 11 Knights of Malta ; 3 Minorites ; 4 Reformed Franciscans, with 5 lay brothers ; 3 Calced and 4 Discalced Augustinians, with 4 lay brothers ; 6 Redemptorists, with 4 lay brothers ; 6 Servites with 4 lay brothers ; 4 Capuchins, with 4 lay brothers ; 3 Piarists. Twenty-nine parishes are attended by members of religious orders; 2 are granted by free collation, i.e. bestowed by the metropolitan ; and the rest are subject to patronage, 88 to ecclesiastical patronage. The cathedral chapter consists of a provost, a dean, who is also the urban dean of Budweis, a cantor, and 3 capitular canons to which are added 4 honorary canons; the consistory has 9 members. Young men are trained for the priesthood in the theological seminary at Budweis, which provides for those speaking the different languages found in the diocese ; it has 6 professors and 103 students, 3 in the Bohemian College in Rome. There is also in Budweis an episcopal school for boys ( petit séminaire ) without a special gymnasium attached (founded 1853).


In the diocese there are 7 orders of women, with 362 sisters, 90 novices and lay sisters, and 40 houses; 216 Poor School Sisters of Notre Dame (since 1849); 129 Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo (1842); 93 Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (founded at Budweis in 1887); 2 Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul ; 3 Sisters of the Holy Cross ; 3 Servites ; and 2 Franciscans. The great mass of the people are engaged in agricultural pursuits and are in general religiously inclined. Popular missions ( Volksmissionen ) are frequent, 450 of them being held between 1850 and 1897 in 228 parishes, 334 by Redemptorists and 112 by Jesuits. The chief confraternities are: the Confraternity of the Rosary, in 230 parishes, with 30,000 members; the Confraternity for the Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Adornment of Poor Churches, founded in 1859, in 238 parishes, which has 15,000 members and disburses yearly 5,000 kronen ($1,000); the Confraternity of St. Michael in 265 parishes, with 5,000 members, who contribute annually 4,000 kronen ($800) toward Peter's-pence.

The principal places of pilgrimage are: Brünn, founded in 1715, visited yearly by 300 processions ; Rimau, built at the end of the seventeenth century, with 100 annual processions ; Gojau mentioned as early as 1469; and Kremeschnik, built in 1632. Here, as in the rest of Bohemia, ecclesiastical edifices of earlier centuries were greatly damaged during the religious wars of the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. The prevailing architectural style is baroque. Mention should be made of the Romanesque church of Muhlhausen, built between 1184 and 1250, formerly a Premonstratensian church; the Cistercian abbey-churches of Goldenkron (1263-1300), and Hohenfurth (1259-1350), built in Gothic style; the two-naved church of St. Ægidius in Muhlhausen, originally Romanesque (in the twelfth century), in 1407 rebuilt in the Gothic style; the cathedral at Budweis (1642-49) and the parish church at Prestitz (1748-73) are examples of the baroque style, the latter designed by Kilian Dienzenhofer. Popular Catholic associations are not at present very numerous. There are but two Catholic weekly papers in the diocese. It is only within recent years that any serious attempts have been made to organize the Catholics of the diocese, both on political and non-partisan lines. These efforts have so far met with scant success; in the past, therefore, the territory of the diocese has been represented in the Austrian Parliament by Liberal deputies.

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