« Brittinans, Brittinians. Brixen, Bishopric of Broad Church. »

Brixen, Bishopric of

BRIXEN, BISHOPRIC OF: A diocese which takes its name from Brixen, a town of the Tyrol, situated 40 m. s.s.e, of Innsbruck. The present Tyrol became a part of the Roman Empire 15 A.D., and the rapid spread of Christianity in north Italy gives ground for the supposition that it penetrated comparatively early into the Alpine region. The earliest authentic mention of a bishopric in southern Rhætia, however, dates from the end of the sixth century. Among the bishops of Venetia and Rhætia Secunda who addressed a letter to the emperor Maurice in 591 appears the name of a certain Ingenuinus, whom Paulus Diaconus and the author of the Versus de ordine conprovincialium pontificum describe as bishop of Sabiona, the present Seben. The existence of the bishopric seems to have been continuous from this time. It embraced to the south of the Brenner the upper Eisackthal and the Pusterthal, to the north of the Brenner almost the whole of what is now the Tyrol. Probably under Otto II., the see was removed from Seben to Brixen; in a document of 967 Bishop Richpert is designated as Prihsinensis ecclesiæ episcopus.

(A. Hauck.)

Brixen counts among the most ancient examples of exemption from the secular jurisdiction, having received it from Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. Its territory increased largely by donations from successive emperors, and Frederick I. (1179) gave its incumbent the princely title and rights. Henceforth the bishops received investiture immediately from the emperor, and had a seat and a voice in the imperial diet. The secular privileges, however, were gradually absorbed by the powerful magnates of the Tyrol, and at the Peace of Lunéville the principality was formally suppressed, to be conferred the next year on the house of Austria. Brixen was the meeting-place in 1080 of a council of imperialist prelates who undertook to depose Gregory VII. and elect Guibert of Ravenna pope in his place. Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa occupied the see from 1450 to 1464, and Caspar Ignatius, Count Künigl (1702–1747), was among the greatest and most active prelates of his day. The nomination to the see is vested in the emperor of Austria.

« Brittinans, Brittinians. Brixen, Bishopric of Broad Church. »
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