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800 Years of the Diocese of Graz-Seckau - Set

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  • 08.06.2018
Thematics
About 800 Years of the Diocese of Graz-Seckau

The Catholic Church in Styria

In 1218 the Archbishop of Salzburg founded the diocese of Seckau in Styria and Austrian Post is congratulating it on its 800th anniversary with a commemorative stamp.

At the start of the 13th century, the Archbishop of Salzburg Eberhard II outsourced parts of his bishopric, as a result of which the diocese of Seckau was founded with the papal authorisation of 22nd June 1218. The first Bishop of Seckau was Karl I of Friesach; the episcopal seat and cathedral were the existing Augustinian Monastery in Seckau and its abbey church. However, the bishop’s residence was initially a section of Schloss Seggau near Leibnitz and then, from 1254 to the present day, the Bishop’s Palace in Graz.

Radical changes were made under Emperor Joseph II. Seckau Abbey was dissolved and it was only in the 19th century that it was reoccupied by the Benedictines. The episcopal seat was relocated to Graz in 1786, with the former court, parish and Jesuit church of St. Giles becoming the diocese’s cathedral.

The Diocese of Graz-Seckau today

Today the borders of the diocese of Graz-Seckau, its official name since 1963, largely correspond to the borders of the province of Styria. The diocese currently comprises 388 parishes. Around 1.2 million people live within its area, and more than two-thirds of them are Catholic. Since 2015 the diocese of Graz-Seckau has been presided over by Wilhelm Krautwaschl as the 58th Bishop of Graz - Seckau.

The motto “sowing the future” is the theme for the anniversary year in 2018. Existential questions on the future of the Church are being addressed in a range of events such as exhibitions, themed trails and creative projects, and an anniversary cross is being erected on the 1,218 metre-high Himmelkogel as a lasting memorial to the celebrations.

As well as being the 800th anniversary of the Diocese of Graz-Seckau, 2018 is also the 1,300th anniversary of the death of St Rupert, who, along with St Virgil, is one of the patron saints of the diocese. The design on the stamp shows a detail from a statue of St Rupert which was made by Lienhart Astl in around 1520 and comes from the daughter church of Niederhofen near Stainach. It is currently on display at the Diocesan Museum in Graz.