Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Principality of Waldeck

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
Principality of Waldeck

by Hermann Sacher


(Or WALDECK-PYRMONT).

A former state of the German Empire, with an area of 433 square miles; in 1910 it had 61,723 inhabitants; in 1905, 59,127. The principality consisted of two parts:


  • the southern principality, called Waldeck, surrounded by the Prussian Provinces of Hesse-Nassau and Westphalia, and having an area of 407 square miles, with a population, in 1905, of 49,965;
  • the northern principality, called Pyrmont, surrounded by the Principality of Lippe, the Duchy of Brunswick, and the Prussian Province of Hanover, with an area of 26 square miles and a population, in 1905, of 9162.

The entire principality contained, in 1905: 56,341 Protestants; 1890, or 2 per cent, Catholics; and 629 Jews. The country is named from the fortified castle of Waldeck situated on the Eider, a western branch of the Fulda. About 1150 Widukind V of Schwalenberg took the castle and called himself Count of Waldeck. From 1438 Waldeck was a fief of Hesse, a relation virtually dissolved by the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806, and finally in 1846 by a decision of the Diet of the German Confederation. In 1631, when the Countship of Gleichen became extinct, the Countship of Pyrmont fell to Waldeck. In the war of 1866, between Prussia and Austria, Waldeck supported Prussia and entered the North German Confederation. The administration was transferred to Prussia by the Treaty of Accession of 1867. In 1877 this treaty was renewed for ten years, and in 1887 for an indefinite period, subject to two years' notice of abrogation. Prince Friedrich (b. 1865) became the ruler in 1893. Before the great religious schism of the sixteenth century Waldeck belonged in ecclesiastical matters partly to the Archdiocese of Cologne, partly to the Diocese of Paderborn, while scattered parishes also belonged to the Archdiocese of Mainz. The new doctrine was introduced into the country in 1527-43 by Count Philip III. The Catholic Faith was maintained longest in the town of Korbach (until 1543). A portion of the Countship of Düdinghausen, consisting of the parish of Ebbe with the townships of Hillershausen and Niederschleidern, was annexed by an agreement with its feudal lord, the Archbishop of Cologne. Thus Waldeck once more had a Catholic parish. Even now, the townships of Ebbe and Hillershausen are almost entirely, while Niederschleidern is still half, Catholic. The ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the parish of Ebbe was retained by the Archbishop of Cologne, but in 1821 the Bull "De salute animarum" transferred it to the Bishop of Paderborn. Waldeck received another Catholic parish in 1900, that of Arolsen, a settlement established by Prince Friedrich Anton Ulrich. A third parish, Korbach, was formed in 1911.

The Principality of Pyrmont was in the Middle Ages a fief of the bishops of Paderborn. It became entirely Protestant. Towards the end of the eighteenth century Franciscans from Lüdge held missions there during the season of the year when it was frequented as a watering-place. In 1853 the State permitted regular Sunday services, and in 1861 the parish of Pyrmont was formed. Before appointing a parish priest the bishop had to present the name of one candidate to the Government of Waldeck, or, in the case of Arolsen, the names of two candidates. The Government had the right of objecting to each appointment. The candidate had to swear to observe the Constitution of Waldeck. The stipends of the priests were paid out of the revenue of the church fund, the church taxes, and allowances made by the Government and the prince.

The houses of female orders are:


  • at Arolsen an institution for preparing communicants called the St. Marienstift, conducted by Sisters of St. Vincent from Paderborn;
  • at Bad Wildungen, a lodging-house and sanitarium, called St. Liboriushaus, conducted by Franciscan Nuns;
  • in Pyrmont, St. Georgstift conducted by Franciscan Nuns.

There are no male orders, nor are there any state laws as to the admission of orders. The Catholic community is increased in summer by the numerous Polish agricultural labourers and in Pyrmont and Bad Wildungen by a large number of visitors for the cures. Historically, the public primary schools were Lutheran. In places where there was a Catholic minority, the Catholics could demand the opening of a Catholic public school at the public expense, if for the previous ten years there had been on an average at least fifty Catholic children of school-age. There have been three Catholic primary schools since the middle of the seventeenth century: at Ebbe, in 1910, at Hillershausen, and at Niederschleidern. In 1911 there was added to these three the Catholic school at Arolsen, which was founded in 1845 and had been until 1911 a private school. The Catholic parish in Pyrmont opened a school in 1882. A Catholic primary school opened in Korbach in 1911. Hermann Sacher.