One of the largest of the sees of central Germany. Originally a part of the Thuringian kingdom, the district about the central course of the Main became Frankish by the victory of Theuderich I. in 531, and the Thuringian forest became the boundary between the Franks and Thuringians. The region was thinly populated and wholly by non-Christians until the Frankish immigration. The bishop of Mainz seems to have claimed jurisdiction over it in the seventh century; under Dagobert (623-634) it was closely connected with his kingdom, but he made it a duchy, and under his successor Sigibert III. it separated from the kingdom. Celtic missionaries worked there so that in the beginning of the eighth century it was partly Christianized, but not organized ecclesiastically, though there were a number of monasteries of Frankish origin. Through the activities of St. Boniface (q.v.) after 719 the remains of heathenism were eradicated and ecclesiastical organization was effected in 741. The first bishop was his pupil Burchard, who had followed him from England, and the see was constituted by Pope Zacharias Apr. 1, 743, since which time it has continued to exist. The land of the Wends was formerly included within the limits of the diocese, but was separated when the bishopric of Bamberg was instituted (q.v.; 1007).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sources are Monumenta Boica, vols. xxxvii-xlv., Munich, 1864 sqq; the " Annals " and " Chronicles" of Würzburg, in MGH, Script., vols. ii (1829), vi (1844), xvi (1859), xxiv (1879), also the list of bishops in xiii (1881), 337-340; Wirtembergische Urkundenbuch, 8 vols., Stuttgart, 1849 sqq.; J. P. von Ludewig, Geschichtsschreiber von dem Bischofthum Würzburg, Leipsic, 1713; J. Gropp, Collectio novissima scriptorum et rerum Wirceburgensium, 2 vols., Frankfort, 1741-44. Consult further: J. G. von Eckart, Commentarii de rebus . . . episcoporum Wircebergensium, 2 vols., Würzburg, 1729; A. Ussermann, Episcopatus Wirciburgensis, St. Blasien, 1794; F. Stein, Geschichte Frankens, 2 vols., Schweinfurt, 1883-86; J. Hofmann, Die Heiligen und Seligèn des Bisthums Würzburg, Würzburg, 1889; F. J. B. Stamminger, Franconia Sacra, 3 parts, Würzburg, 1889-97; J. Baier, Geschichte der beiden Karmelitenklöster in Würzburg, ib. 1902; S. Göbl, Würzburg, 5th ed., ib., 1904; A. F. Ludwig, Weihbischof Zirkel von Würzburg, 2 vols., Paderborn 1904-06; K. Wild, Staat und Wirtschaft in den Bistümern Würzburg und Bamberg, . . .1729-48, Heidelberg, 1906; Rettberg, KD, ii. 313 sqq.; Hauck, KD, vols. i-iv.
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