- Roman Catholic Diocese of Metz
Diocese of Metz
Location Country France Metropolitan Immediately Subject to the Holy See Statistics Area 6,226 km2 (2,404 sq mi) Population
(as of 2004)
Information Rite Latin Cathedral Metz Cathedral Patron saint Saint Clement of Metz Current leadership Bishop Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin, O.P.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Metz is a Diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in France. In the Middle Ages it was in effect an independent state, part of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by the bishop who had the ex officio title of count. It was annexed to France by King Henry II in 1552; this was recognized by the Holy Roman Empire in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. It then was part of the province of the Three Bishoprics.
Metz was definitely a bishopric by 535, but may date from earlier than that.
Originally the diocese was under the metropolitan of Trier. After the French Revolution, the last prince bishop, Cardinal Louis de Montmorency-Laval (1761-1802) fled and the old organization of the diocese was broken up. With the Concordat of 1801 the diocese was re-established covering the departments of Moselle, Ardennes, and Forêts, and was put under the Archdiocese of Besançon. In 1817 the parts of the diocese which became Prussian territory were transferred. In 1871 the whole diocese became part of Germany, and in 1874 became immediately subject to the Holy See. After World War I it was returned to France. In 1940, after the French defeat, it became German again till 1944 when it became French again. The bishop of this see is nominated by the French government.
As of 1910 there were about 533,000 Catholics living in the diocese of Metz.
According to the traditional list of bishops, the current bishop Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin is the 105th bishop of Metz. According to this list, the first bishop was Saint Clement, supposedly sent by Saint Peter himself to Metz. The first fully authenticated bishop however is Sperus or Hesperus, who was bishop in 535. Many of the bishops were declared holy or blessed, like Saint Arnulf (611-627), Saint Chrodegang (742-766) or Saint Agilram (768-791). Adelbero was bishop of Metz in 933 AD. The bishop of Metz is appointed by the President of the Republic.
Bishops since 1900
- Willibrord Benzler, O.S.B., 1901-1919
- Jean-Baptiste Pelt, 1919-1937
- Joseph-Jean Heintz, 1938-1958
- Paul Joseph Schmitt, 1958-1987
- Pierre René Ferdinand Raffin, O.P., since 1987
- Website of the diocese
- Catholic hierarchy
- "Metz". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
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