Archdiocese of Gniezno
|Area||8,122 km2 (3,136 sq mi)|
- Catholics (including non-members)
|(as of 2013)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Cathedral||Bazylika Katedralna Wniebowzięcia |
Najświętszej Marii Panny i św. Wojciecha
(Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
|Bishops emeritus||Józef Kowalczyk|
The Archdiocese of Gniezno (Latin: Archidioecesis Gnesnensis, Polish: Archidiecezja Gnieźnieńska) is the oldest Latin Catholic archdiocese in Poland, located in the city of Gniezno. The ecclesiastical province comprises the suffragan dioceses of Bydgoszcz and Włocławek.
The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Gniezno was established in 1000 AD on the initiative of the Polish duke Bolesław I the Brave. He had the relics of the missionary and martyr Adalbert of Prague (Wojciech) transferred to Gniezno Cathedral, which soon became a major pilgrimage site. Here Bolesław met with Emperor Otto III in the Congress of Gniezno, where the duke obtained investiture rights and created the Gniezno archbishopric, superseding the older Diocese of Poznań. Led by Adalbert's half-brother Radim Gaudentius, the ecclesiastical province then comprised the suffragan dioceses in Kraków, Wrocław, and Kołobrzeg (extinct in 1015), and from about 1075 also Poznań.
The position of the archbishops and their suffragans was confirmed in the 1136 Bull of Gniezno issued by Pope Innocent II. The Gniezno metropolitans held the right to crown the Kings of Poland and in 1412 obtained the status of a Primate of Poland. From 1572, they acted as interrex regents of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
When on 16 July 1821 the Diocese of Wrocław (Breslau) was put under direct authority of the Holy See by Pope Pius VII, Gniezno was affiliated in personal union (aeque principaliter) with the Archdiocese of Poznań. The union of Poznań and Gniezno was again dissolved with effect from 12 November 1948, when a personal union (in persona episcopi) between the Archdiocese of Warsaw and Gniezno was established. By Apostolic constitution of 25 March 1992, Pope John Paul II again divided the union between the archdioceses of Gniezno and Warsaw.