In 1909 the diocese numbered 28 vicariates, 2 provostships, 3 archdeaneries, 37 deaneries, 392 parishes, 7 Exposituren (substantially independent filial churches), 343 stations, chaplaincies, and curacies, 26 other benefices, 628 churches, 397 public chapels, 756 secular priests engaged in the cure of souls, 87 other secular priests, 140 religious priests, 1,598,900 Catholics, 33,560 Protestants, 10,400 Old Catholics, and 18,300 Jews. The Church in this diocese has much to contend with. For centuries two different races (German and Czech), and two different beliefs (Catholic and Protestant), have existed side by side, and national and religious disputes are of frequent occurrence. The Los-von-Rom movement, having its origin in Germany, sought in the Diocese of Leitmeritz, situated on the borders, a vantage ground for the propagation of its ideas, and as a result thousands of Catholics drifted away from the Church. Another difficulty is the lack of priests, over a hundred vacancies existing in the parishes. The language spoken in twenty of the vicariates is German, in six Czech, and in two is mixed. More than a third of the priests are Czech. There are 309 German parishes, 95 Czech, and the rest mixed. The cathedral chapter possesses a provost, a dean, five capitulary, and six honorary canons. The clergy are trained in the episcopal seminary and in the theological training school at Leitmeritz. The Catholic intermediate schools of the diocese are the private gymnasium of the Jesuits at Mariaschein, which is at the same time the diocesan school for boys, and five seminaries, of which two are in Reichenberg and one each at Leitmeritz, Teplitz-Schönau, and Jungbunzlau. In the public primary and secondary schools the Church has very little opportunity to impart religious instruction. For girls, however, there are several institutions for instruction and training conducted by sisters: 8 boarding schools, 10 primary schools, 2 secondary schools, and 20 advanced and industrial schools.

The following orders have foundations in the diocese (1909): Cistercians at Ossegg, 1 abbey (founded in 1293), with an extensive library and gallery of paintings; the fathers teach in the Gymnasium of Komotau; Jesuits, 1 college in Mariaschein; Piarists; Redemptorists; Dominicans; Augustinians; Reformed Franciscans; Minorites; Capuchins; Order of Malta; Crosier Fathers; Premonstratensians; the Congregation of the Sacred Heart. In 1909 the female orders and congregations in the diocese had 68 foundations, with 654 sisters, 93 novices, and 15 postulants: Congregation of St. Elizabeth, 1; Ursulines, 1; Borromeans, 23; Sisters of the Cross, 22; Poor School Sisters of Our Lady, 5; Daughters of Divine Charity, 2; Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, 4; Franciscan Sisters, 3; Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, 5; and Sisters of Christian Charity, 1 foundation. Among the charitable institutions of the diocese under religious management are 20 orphan asylums, 7 asylums for children, 14 kindergartens, 1 reformatory, and 20 infant asylums; the diocese conducts also its own institute for the deaf and dumb at Leitmeritz. Of the many associations, the following are worthy of mention: Cäcilienverein (Association of St. Cecilia), the Apostleship of Prayer, the Marian Confraternities, the Catholic Teachers' Association, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Gesellenvereine, the Catholic People's Unions (60), and others. There are 55 shrines and places of pilgrimage in the diocese, the most pouular being Mariaschein, Böhmisch-Kamenitz, Ossegg, Philippsdorf, and Krieschitz. The principal church of the diocese is the cathedral, built in 1671 in Renaissance style. The most ancient is St. Clement's in Levy-Hradec. Among others, the beautiful churches of Melnik. Nimburg, Aussig and Saaz, the chief churches of their respective deaneries, and the town church of Brüx date from Gothic times, and the cathedral, the collegiate church of Ossegg, and the pilgrimage church of Mariaschein from the Renaissance period. The churches of Eichwald, Philippsdorf, St. Vincent in Reichenberg, the church of St. Elizabeth in Teplitz-Schönau, and others, were built in the nineteenth century.

BRETFELD, Umriss einer kurzen Gesch. des Leitmeritzer Bistums (Vienna, 1811); FRIND, Die Kirchengesch. Böhmens im allgemeinen und in ihrer besonderen Beziehung auf die jetzige Leitmeritzer Diöcese (4 vols., Prague, 1864-78); SEIFERT, Die Leitmeritzer Diöcese nach ihren geschichtl., kirchl. u. topograph. Beziehungen (Saaz, 1899); ENDLER, Das soziale Wirken der kathol. Kirche in Oesterreich, XI: Die Diöcese Leitmeritz (Vienna, 1903); Directorium divini officii et catalogus universi cleri diœcesani Litomericensis (Leitmeritz, 1910).

Transcribed by WGKofron
In memory of Fr. John Hilkert, Akron, Ohio
Fidelis servus et prudens, quem constituit Dominus super familiam suam

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX
Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York