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Roskilde (Italian Roeskilde, Roschildia) is a Catholic titular see. The former see, suppressed in the sixteenth century, was Roskildemarker in Denmarkmarker.


Roskilde was suffragan to the archdiocese of Hamburg, about 991-1104, to the archdiocese of Lund, 1104-1536. The diocese included the Danish Islands of Zealandmarker, Moen, and Rügenmarker (Danish 1168-1325, therafter Pomeranian).

About 960 King Harold Bluetooth built a wooden church dedicated to the Holy Trinity at his new capital of Roskilde. Godebald (991-1021), Gerbrand (1022- 30), and Aage or Avoco (1030-48) were the first three bishops of Roskilde. Godebald and Gerbrand were both Englishmen.

Scania (Sweden) was subject to Roskilde from 991 to 1021, to Lund, 1021- 30, and again to Roskilde from 1030 to 1060, when Scania was divided between the diocese of Lund and the short-lived diocese of Dalby. Bishop William (1048-76) began, and Bishop Svend Norbagge (1076-88) finished, with the help of King Canute, the first stone cathedral at Roskilde in 1080. The following year he enlarged the existing monastery of Canons Regular, and made it into a chapter with fifteen prebendaries. Bishop Svend also completed the foundation of the Benedictine Abbey of Ringsted begun by King Svend Estridssen. During the episcopate of Arnold (1089-1124) a nobleman named Peter Bodilsen led a popular movement in Zealand directed against the marriage of the clergy.

About this time the skull of Pope Lucius I (253-55) was brought to Roskilde cathedral, of which he became the patron saint. This relic was given in the twentieth century by the Danish Government to the vicar Apostolic for Denmark. Other prominent bishops were Eskilmarker and the Danish national hero Absalon. Absalon founded Copenhagenmarker in 1168, and gave it to the See of Roskilde in 1191.

The island of Rügenmarker was incorporated in the Diocese of Roskilde by papal Bull in 1169, after Valdemar and Absalon had subdued and missioned the former pagan Principality of Rügen in an 1168 expedition. On 25 June, 1170, Valdemar I saw his father St. Canute Lavard's relics enshrined and his own son Canute (VI) crowned on the same day in the Abbey of Ringsted. It was the first Danish coronation. In 1171 Bishop Absalon published the Ecclesiastical Laws of Zealand. Peter Sunesen, a former Canon Regular of St. Augustine, and a pupil of Abbot Stephen of Saint Genevieve's Abbeymarker, Paris, and of Abbot William of Ebeltoft, succeeded Absalon as Bishop of Roskilde in 1191. He began the present cathedral of Roskilde about 1200, in imitation of the cathedral of Tournaimarker, Belgium, where Abbot Stephen was bishop from 1192 till 1203. Peter Sunesen died in 1214.

Bishop Niels Stigsen (1225-49) turned the canons of the cathedral from regulars into seculars. His successor, Jacob Erlandsen, the great champion of the claims of the Church, as against the State, who was Bishop of Roskilde from 1249 until his transition to Lund in 1254, founded schools for poor boys at Roskilde and at Lund, and greatly favoured the Franciscans. Bishop Olaf I (1301-20) added to Roskilde cathedral the lady-chapel, which was taken down in 1772 in order to make room for the building in which the Danish monarchs are still buried. Bishop Peter (V) Jensen Lodehat, formerly bishop of Växjö (Sweden) and then bishop of Aarhus, signalized his translation to the See of Roskilde in 1413 by forcibly removing the body of his benefactress Queen Margaret from Soroe abbey to the cathedral. On Bishop Peter's death in 1416 King Eric of Pomerania took possession of Copenhagen, which henceforward ceased to be episcopal property.

Bishop Jens Andersen (1416-31) refurnished the choir of the cathedral, which however was greatly damaged when most of the town was destroyed by the great fire of 14 May, 1443, during the episcopate of Jens Pedersen (1431-48). Consequently it was not till 1464 that Bishop Olaf Mortensen Baden (1461-85) was able to consecrate the restored cathedral and the Chapel of the Three Kings added to it by King Christian I of Denmark. The same monarch founded the University of Copenhagenmarker in 1479 in virtue of a Bull from Pope Sixtus IV. Bishop Baden was its first chancellor. The last truly Catholic bishop was Lage Urne (1512-29) who, like his predecessors for many generations, was also High Chancellor of Denmark. He managed to keep Lutheranism out of the diocese for the most part.

His successor Joachim Rönnov, Bishop of Roskilde 1529 to 15 36) had neither received papal confirmation, nor had he been consecrated. All episcopal functions were performed by the Franciscan Vincent Lange, titular Bishop of Gardar, Greenland. Although Rönnov made concessions to Lutheranism, he was imprisoned, like the other bishops, in 1536, and, unlike them, kept in prison until his death in the Castle of Copenhagen in 1544.


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