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Diocese of Laibach

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Austrian bishopric and suffragan of Görz, embraces the territory of the Austrian crown-land of Carniola (Krain).


The Diocese of Laibach was founded in the fifteenth century. From the overthrow of the Kingdom of the Avars (811) to the date of the erection of the new see, the region now included in the diocese always belonged ecclesiastically to the Patriarchate of Aquileia, of which is formed one of the five archdiaconates. The German emperors repeatedly invested the patriarchs of Aquileia with the title and authority of Margrave of Krain (as in 1077, 1093, 1210), but the patriarchs were never able to maintain themselves in this position for any length of time. Rudolf of Habsburg secured the territory for the House of Habsburg, and as in the later Middle Ages the secular power of the patriarchs of Aquileia had been almost entirely acquired by the Republic of Venice, Frederick III decided in 1461 to found a separate diocese in order to detach the province ecclesiastically also from Aquileia. The erection of the Diocese of Laibach was confirmed in 1462 by Pius II , who made it directly dependent on the Holy See. The first bishop was Sigismund von Lamberg (1463-88). The new diocese did not include the whole of Carniola, large portions of which were subject to the bishops of Brixen and Freising, while on the other hand parts of Carinthia and Styria, where the episcopal resident of Oberberg was situated, belonged to Laibach. The work of the bishops was greatly hampered by this irregular distribution of their territory. The teachings of Luther gained a footing in the diocese under the second bishop, Christoph Rauber (1495-1536), and still more under his successor, Franciscus Kazianer von Katzenstein (1534-44). The new doctrines found warm supporters in two cathedral canons, Primus Truber and Paul Wiener, so that by the middle of the sixteenth century the greater part of the nobility and almost a majority of the middle class professed Protestantism.

Bishop Johann Tautscher (1580-97), who lived most of the time at Graz with Archduke Karl, energetically combated the further advance of the new doctrine, and labored incessantly for the reform of the clergy, the promotion of church services, and the reestablishment of the Catholic Faith. Still greater credit is due to his successor, Thomas Chroën (1598-1630), called the "Apostle of Krain ", who in a few years brought about the triumph of the counter-Reformation in the city and diocese. His success was largely due to the aid received from the Archduke Ferdinand, who had become Emperor Ferdinand II in 1597, and from the Jesuits who had been called to Laibach. In 1616 the bishop sent a detailed report of his labors to Pope Paul V (cf. Joseph Schmidlin, "Die kirchlichen Zustande in Deutschland vor dem Dreissigjahrigen Krieg", I, Freiburg, 1908. pp. 33-50; concerning Bishop Chroen see the monograph by Stepischneg, Salzburg, 1856). On the reorganization of the dioceses by Joseph II, Laibach was raised to an archdiocese (1787), the elevation being confirmed by Pius VI in 1788. The Archdiocese of Görz was suppressed (see GORZ), and Laibach received as suffragans the dioceses of Zengg-Modrus, Gradisca, and later also Triest. In 1807 Pius VII dissolved the Archdiocese of Laibach, and made it once more a simple diocese directly dependent on the Holy See. On the re-elevation of Görz to an archdiocese in 1830, Laibach was made suffragan to it and given its present boundaries. The then Bishop of Laibach, Antonious Aloysius Wolf (1824-59), received as compensation the title of prince-bishop. The present bishop is Antonius Bonaventura Jeglic (b. 20 May, 1850, at Begunje; consecrated 12 September, 1897, at Serajevo ).


The diocese is divided into 5 archdeaneries: Laibach, Upper Krain, Interior Krain Middle Krain, and Lower Krain. These are subdivided into 22 deaneries. At the beginning of 1909 the see contained 17 cathedral prebends, 296 parishes (of which 28 were vacant ), I vicarship, 3 ancient chaplaincies, 17 Exposituren (i.e. filial churches joined to the mother church only by some unimportant link to recall their former relations), 235 positions for assistant clergy (95 vacant ), 36 other benefices, 321 parish churches, 1000 dependent churches, 11 monastery churches, 229 chapels. Besides the prince bishop there are 16 canons, 444 parish priests, 76 ecclesiastics in other positions, 51 priests retired on pensions, 134 regulars. The population consists of 572,613 Catholics, about 400 Protestants, 290 Orthodox Greeks, 145 Jews. The language spoken by the great majority of the inhabitants of the diocese (about 94 per cent.) is Slovenian. German is spoken in the larger cities like Laibach and Rudolstadt, and in the German-speaking centre of Gotschee. The cathedral chapter consists of 12 regular and 6 honorary canons; they are nominated in part by the emperor, in part by noble families and the provincial council, and are partly the free appointment of the bishop. Since 1493 a collegiate chapter has also existed in connection with the parish church of St. Nikolaus at Rudolfswert; it consists of a mitred provost and 4 members. The consistory of the prince-bishop is made up of the cathedral chapter, 2 honorary canons, and 2 other members. The training of the clergy is provided for by a diocesan theological institute, founded in 1791, which has a pro-rector, 8 professors and 3 instructors; a diocesan clerical seminary with 63 students, and a seminary for boys, the Collegium Aloysianum , founded in 1846, which has 36 students. Ecclesiastical professors give religious instruction in the gymnasium of St. Veit near Laibach (190 students), in the 3 gymnasia and the upper high school at Laibach, also in other schools.

The religious orders and congregations for men in the diocese are: Cistercians, 1 abbey at Sittich, 12 priests, 3 clerics, and 14 lay brothers ; Carthusians, 1 monastery at Pletrije, 29 priests, 31 brothers, Franciscans, 5 monasteries, 49 priests, 17 clerics, 32 lay brothers ; Capuchins, 2 monasteries, 8 priests, 6 brothers; Brothers of' Mercy, 1 monastery, 1 priest, 18 brothers; Jesuits, 1 residence, 7 priests, 3 coadjutors; Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 1 mission house, 9 missioners, 9 1ay brothers; Priests of the Teutonic Order, 1 branch monastery, 8 priests, 2 clerics, 1 1ay brother; Salesians, 2 houses, 10 priests, 24 clerics, 33 novices, 7 lay brothers . The religious orders and congregations for women in the diocese are: Ursulines, 187 in 3 houses with which are connected primary schools and 2 seminaries for female teachers; Discalced Carmelite Nuns, 1 convent with 16 sisters ; Sisters of Christian Charity, 284 sisters in 17 houses, nearly all of which are connected with hospitals, orphanages, insane asylums, and similar institutions; School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, 68 sisters in 4 houses; 1 orphan asylum, and 3 schools ; Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross, 7 sisters attached to the home for girls, Josephinum, at Laibach. Among the religious associations of the diocese are: the Society of St. Hermagores which, like the Society of St. Charles Borromeo, encourages the diffusion of good literature; the Society of Sts. Cyrillus and Menthodius, which aims to promote religious and national instruction in the elementary schools ; the Third Order of St. Francis; the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Congregation of Mary.

The Cathedral of St. Nikolaus was built 1700-07 in Renaissance style by the Jesuit Andrea Pozzo . Hardly any large churches of the early Middle Ages still exist, on account of the repeated incursions of the Turks into Krain from 1396. The largest Gothic church of the earlier ages still standing is that of Krainburg, built in 1491, of which the church at Bischoflack, erected in 1532, is a copy. The finest churches in the Barocco style are: the Franciscan church at Laibach (1546), the church of St. Peter (eighteenth century) at the same place, and the church of St. Jakob (1714), also at Laibach.

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