Geissel, Johannes von

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Cardinal, archbishop of Cologne; b. Gimmeldingen (Rhine Palatinate), Germany, Feb. 5, 1796; d. Cologne, Sept. 8, 1864. After studying in the diocesan seminary in Mainz, he was ordained (1818). He was much influenced in an ultramontane direction by the theological circle at Mainz and maintained close ties with the Holy See throughout his life. He became bishop of Speyer (1836), coadjutor to Abp. droste zu vischering of Cologne (1841), archbishop (1845), and cardinal (1850). While coadjutor he administered the archdiocese and helped end the Cologne mixed marriage dispute. He was one of the outstanding German bishops of his century, an energetic and far-sighted leader who fostered clerical education, the introduction of religious orders into his archdiocese, and the founding of Catholic societies; and he vigorously combated the followers of gÜnther and hermes. Under King Friedrich Wilhelm IV (184061), who was well disposed to Catholics, he notably improved Church-State relations. In the King's presence he laid the cornerstone for continuing construction of the cathedral of Cologne, and saw its completion in 1863. Geissel organized and directed the first conference of the German episcopate at Würzburg, which proved very important for Church renewal. He was also responsible for the Cologne provincial council (1860), whose decrees were heeded elsewhere. He also won esteem as a preacher and writer.

Bibliography: j. von geissel, Schriften und Reden Geissels, ed. k. t. dumont, 4 v. (Cologne 186976). Cardinal Geissel, 2 v. (Freiburg 1895). a. beck, Die Kirchenpolitik des Erzbischofs von Köln, Johannes Kardinal von Geissel (Geissen 1905). f. schnabel, Deutsche Geschichte im neunzehnten Jahrhundert, v.4 (2d ed. Freiburg 1951) 7680, 149155, 251259. r. lill, Die Beilegung der Kölner Wirren 18401842 (Düsseldorf 1962); Die ersten deutschen Bischofskonferenzen (Freiburg 1964). r. haas, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 4:608.

[r. lill]