The name cathedral for a bishop's church ist derived from the "cathedra" in the church, the seat of the bishop. As one of the successors of the Apostels, the bishop leads his diocese: in the teaching of the Word, in the liturgy, in the hierarchy. Together with his priests as well as with all the faithful he celebrates the principal worship services in the Church calendar at the altar of the Cathedral.
|View toward the choir stalls|
Trier has been the seat of a Bishop since the 2nd half of the 3rd century
The bishop has always been attended by a community of priests who directly support him in his tasks. Today these priests are primarily the members of the Cathedral chapter: they choose the bishop, advise him, and celebrate mass together with him. Every year, the bishop ordains young men as priests. During Easter week, he also consecrates the holy oils, which are distributed in the course of the year to all parishes in the diocese for liturgical purposes. He administers the sacrament of confirmation throughout the diocese.
From the Middle Ages to the so-called secularization at the beginning of the 19th century, the Trier Archbishops where territorial rulers as well and, as Electors, were endowed with secular powers. Of the seven Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, the Trier Bishop occupied a special position along with the Bishops of Cologne and Mainz. The burial altars of the bishops in the Cathedral are impressive testimony to this eventful past.
Among all the cathedrals north of the Alps, Trier is the oldest in ist structural substance: 4th century.
Printable version (opens in a new window)