Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ancient See of Westeraas

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
Ancient See of Westeraas

by Arthur Whitcombe Taylor


(AROSI, AROSIENSIS).

Located in Sweden. The Catholic diocese included the lands of Vestmanland and Stora, Kopparberg (Dalecarlia, Dalarne), and the district of Fellingsbro in the land of Orebro. The see was founded at Munktorp, then removed about 1100 (not 1050) to Westeraas by the English Cluniac missionary St. David, Abbot of Munktorph, Bishop of Westeraas, and one of the patron saints of Westeraas cathedral. Before 1118 the Diocese of Sigtuna was divided into those of Upsala and Westeraas, and Henry, Bishop of Sigtuna (1134), was transferred to Westeraas. Heathenism was not extinct in 1182. Charles (1257-1277) was a great benefactor, and Israel Erlandsson, O.S.B. (1260-1332; bishop, 1309- 1332), mined copper in Dalecarlia and wrote "De Vita et Miraculis S. Erici" (Ser. rev. Svec., II, I, 272-276). Otto (1501-1522) completed the cathedral. Peter Sunnanvader (1522-1523), formerly chancellor to Sten Sture, was executed for alleged treason in 1527. The last Catholic bishop, Petrus Magni (1524-1534), was consecrated on 1 May, 1524, at Rome, In 1527 a Diet was held at Westeraas which Protestantized the Swedish Church and separated it from Rome. Petrus Magni consecrated various bishops in 1528 and 1531 under protest. Though subjected latterly to humiliating tutelage by Gustavus Vasa, he retained the see until his death. The Dalecarlians rose repeatedly in defence of their religion, but were overcome by the cunning and violence of Gustavus I. Even now they retain many Catholic beliefs and usages. The cathedral of Westeraas and the parish church of Mora are the only important churches in the diocese.

At Westeraas there were a Franciscan convent (founded 1234) and a Hospital of the Holy Spirit (founded 1345). Munktorp Abbey was extinct before 1318. The Cistercian Abbey of Husby (Gudsberga, Mons Domini) in Dalecarlia, founded in 1477, and colonized from Aalvastra in 1486, lasted until 1544. Its ruins are extensive. There are now scarcely any Catholics in the diocese.

Historiskt-geographiskt och statistiskt Lexikon ofver Sverige, VII (Stockholm, 1866), 316-18; FANT, Scriptores rerum Svecicarum (Stockholm, 1818- 1876); LILJERGREN, Diplomatarium Svecanum, I-III and Indices I-II by KARLESON (Stockholm, 1829); SILFVERSTOPLE, Svenskt Diplomatarium, 1401-1420 (Stockholm, 1875); KRONINGSSVARD AND LIDEN, Diplomatarium Dalekarlicum (Stockholm, 1842); Konung Gustaf den Forstes Registratur. ed. GRANLUND IV (Stockholm, 1868); Breviarium Arosiense (Basle, 1853); Acta SS., IV (Paris, 1868); JORGENSEN, Den nordiske Kirkes Grundloeggelse, II (Copenhagen, 1878), 856-857, suppl. 96, 97; RENTERDAHL, Swenska kyrkaus historia (Lund, 1838); Israel Erlandsson (Lund, 1850); MARTIN, Gustave Vasa et la Reforme en Suede; SOHLBERG, Domkyrkan i Westeraas (Westeraas, 1834); HALL, Bidrag till; Kannedomen om Cistercienserorden i Sverige (Gefle, 1899).

W. TAYLOR