• S. Loesser

The Aachen city archive presents the archive document of March 2021

The Aachen city archive regularly presents interesting items from its stack-room as document of the month. The item, together with a short accompanying text, is presented in a display case in the city archive’s foyer on Reichsweg as well as digitally on the archive's homepage. The document of the month for March 2021 shows the cathedral chapter’s invitation to the Stadt Aachen’s Oberbürgermeister (mayor) Dr. Wilhelm Rombach, to the celebrations on the occasion of Bishop Joseph Vogt’s enthronement on 25 March 1931 "in der Kathedrale zu Aachen” (in the Aachen cathedral).


Aachen was not a bishop's see until the 19th century

Although Aachen, with its cathedral, has one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Catholic world, it was not a bishop's see until the 19th century. When Aachen was part of France as "bonne ville" from 1792/94 to 1814, Napoléon first established an Aachen bishopric, which received parts of the archbishopric of Cologne as well as the bishoprics of Liège, Utrecht, Roermond and Mainz. The first Aachen bishop was Marc-Antoine Bardolet. After the end of the French rule, a papal bull from 16 July 1821 determined the de jure dissolution of the Aachen bishopric.


Joseph Vogt becomes the new Aachen bishopric's first bishop

It was to take more than 109 years until today's Aachen bishopric was established on 13 August 1930 by the papal bull "Pastoralis officii nostri". The basis for this was the so-called Preußenkonkordat (Concordat of Prussia), a state-church treaty between Prussia and the Apostolic See from 14 June 1929, which, among others, included the formation of the Aachen bishopric. The new bishopric received its territories from the archbishopric of Cologne. On 25 March 1931, Joseph Vogt was consecrated as the new Aachen bishopric’s first bishop. Vogt, born on 8 September 1865 in Schmidt near Nideggen, could look back upon a long career in the Catholic church’s service. Before his appointment as bishop of Aachen, he was the Cologne cathedral’s dean.


Vogt's appointment was considered a surprise

At the age of 65, when he took office as bishop, Joseph Vogt already had a great deal of experience in leadership tasks; he was held in high esteem in Cologne, both professionally and as a person. Nevertheless, his appointment was considered a surprise – on the one hand because of his age and a chronic illness and on the other because as a representative of the Cologne archbishopric he had clearly positioned himself against the formation of an Aachen bishopric with parts of the Cologne bishopric. It was actually expected that Hermann Josef Sträter, who had already been in charge of the Aachen region since 1922 in the rank of auxiliary bishop for the Cologne archbishopric, would be appointed . Vogt made Sträter – they were friends – his vicar general.


Vogt's enthronement in Aachen took place on 25 March 1931, six days before he had been consecrated bishop in Cologne. His motto was "Caritas urget – Die Liebe drängt” (Caritas urget – Love urges"). The Aachen major seminary traces back to bishop Vogt. He was the first Aachen bishop under National Socialism. He died on 5 October 1937 in Monschau.

Photo: The document of the month shows the cathedral chapter’s invitation for Stadt Aachen’s Oberbürgermeister Dr. Wilhelm Rombach to the celebrations on the occasion of Bishop Joseph Vogt’s enthronement on 25 March 1931 "in der Kathedrale zu Aachen”. © Stadtarchiv, Oberbürgermeisterregistratur 81-9, fol. 117


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