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Cathedral Chapter St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral Chapter

Originally founded by Duke Rudolf IV, it now acts as an advisory body to the bishop and looks after Cathedral matters


Msgr. Mag.
Dr. Ernst Pucher
Cathedral Provost
Ecclesiastical Judge
Cathedral Capitular since:
April 12, 1990

Univ. Prof.
Dr. Rudolf Prokschi
Cathedral Capitular
Cathedral Capitular since:
September 01, 2010

Canon Msgr. 
Dr. Walter Mick
Head of Episcopal Chancery
Cathedral Capitular since:
October 1, 1998


Canon Msgr. 
Mag. Franz Schuster
Cathedral Capitular since:
May 23, 1999

Mag. Anton Faber
Cathedral Priest
Cathedral Capitular since:
November 1, 2000

 Mag. Dr. Franz Scharl 
Suffragan Bishop
Cathedral Capitular since:
April 23, 2006



Dipl. Ing. Mag.
Stephan Turnovszky
Suffragan Bishop
Cathedral Capitular since:
May 12, 200

Msgr DDr.
Michael Landau
Caritas Director
Cathedral Capitular since:
May 3, 2008

Lic. Dr. Nikolaus Krasa
Vicar General
Cathedral Capitular since:
May 30, 2008




Dr. Richard Tatzreiter
Regens des Wiener
Cathedral Capitular since:
January 1, 2017 

DDr. Peter Schipka
Generalsekretär der
Österr. Bischofskonferenz

Cathedral Capitular since:
September 1, 2017

The Cathedral Chapter... a body of senior clergy at a cathedral church, a prayer community for the higher glory of God which is appointed to hold solemn acts of worship and to support the bishop as his senate and council. This age-old legal institution embodies the Church's concern about the cultus, relieves the burden of episcopal administration and constitutes, as it were, a 'counterweight' to the primacy of episcopal rule.

The Cathedral Chapter has its origins in the clergy of the urban-based episcopate. Ever since the 4th century, cathedral clergy have come together to enjoy a certain 'vita communis' or communal life. The title 'Cathedral Capitular' originated in the reading out of chapters taken from the book of rules.

A distinction was made between the various dignitaries: the provost was the supreme head of the chapter; the dean was responsible for matters of discipline, administration of cathedral assets and religious assets; the custos was entrusted with taking care of religious services, the cathedral treasures and its reliquia; the cantor was responsible for the liturgy and choir-singing, and the scholasticus was entrusted with the supervision of the cathedral schools and endowed schools. This kind of chapter was also the one founded in 1365 at St Stephen's parish church - as it was at the time - in Vienna. From the very start, the church was closely linked to the history of the country.

When on March 16, 1365 an exempt collegiate chapter (of today's Cathedral Chapter, exempt in this sense meaning independently of the bishop) was established at a St. Stephen's church which now featured a splendid extension in the Gothic style, the young Hapsburg Duke Rudolf IV ( 1365) known as the Founder succeeded in fulfilling a vital condition for 'his' St. Stephen's church to be elevated to a cathedral.

Even so, it was not until some 100 years later, in 1469, that Emperor Friedrich III ( 1493) managed to obtain permission from Pope Paul II to found two small episcopates in Vienna and Wiener Neustadt while he was on a pilgrimage to Rome. The bishopric of Vienna was established under Canon law by virtue of the papal bull: 'In supremae dignitatis specula' of January 18, 1469. Due to the persistent protest of the Bishop of Passau, however, the solemn promulgation was delayed until September 17, 1480.

In the particular case of St. Stephen's, the crucial matter at hand was how best to eliminate Passau's objections given that the Duke and the bishop had both staked a claim to the patronage of St. Stephen's Church. Consequently, the founding of the bishopric underwent a somewhat complicated birth. After the death of his father Albrecht II in 1358, Rudolf requested that the Pope allow him to establish a collegiate foundation for the chapel he had established in the castle. Innocence VI gave his blessing to this upstanding petition in two papal edicts dated December 31, 1358. The first allowed Rudolf to constitute the collegiate chapter with a provost permitted to bear the full pontificalia or insignia of a bishop, 24 canons and 26 chaplains together with their prebendaries (honorary canons); the second provided for the exemption of the newly established chapter from the jurisdiction of both the Archbishop of Salzburg and the Bishop of Passau.

Finally, on March 16, 1365, the three papal commissioners, Bishop Johannes of Gurk, Bishop Heinrich of Lavant and the abbot of the Schottenstift monastery, Clemens of Vienna, by virtue of the papal authority invested of them on that day, certified both the elevation of St. Stephen's to a collegiate church and the establishment of the collegiate chapter itself, which has remained without interruption the Cathedral and (as of 1722) Metropolitan Chapter right up to the present day.

Hence the establishment of St. Stephen's as a collegiate church under Canon law was accompanied by the solemn appointment of the first canons to their offices. The Duke presented this 'endowment gift' with his first founding letter; in the second, the 'great founding letter', he regulated the lives, rights and obligations of the canons right down to the last detail. He also took great personal pains to ensure that his endowment was distributed generously.
Each member of the Chapter was required to live in the Cathedral. The whole of St. Stephen's church was designated as the seat of the Chapter, with the Duke appointing the west gallery as the house of the capitulars. The centre choir was the place of joint prayer. The seats here, among them the seat of the provost, were arranged with great precision. In particular, the privilege of having full pontificalia together with the staff was an enormous distinction for a mere provost - one only rarely accorded to secular provosts in medieval times. The conferral of such privileges to a provost from on high was intended to signal both the beneficence of ducal power and its high rank within the hierarchy.

Consequently, Albert II, the Bishop of Passau, had little option than to accept the fait accompli.

So Duke Rudolf IV may not have brought a bishop to Vienna: but he did succeed in gaining permission for the appointments of a considerable number of the clergy headed by a provost who, just like a bishop, was permitted to wear a mitre during solemn acts of worship

Subsequently, however, the fate of the collegiate chapter was to change dramatically on All Saints' Day, particularly after the moment had arrived when the primary goal had been achieved and in Vienna, finally, a bishop was allowed to reside.

Source: St. Stephen's Cathedral Parish Gazette, 56th year/No. 2, December 2000