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Kirsch, Johann Peter


Church historian, archeologist, and pioneer in the history of papal finances; b. Dippach, Luxemburg, Nov. 3, 1861; d. Rome, Feb. 4, 1941. Kirsch made his seminary studies and was ordained in Luxemburg in 1884. In residence at the Campo Teutonico, Rome, from 1884 to 1890, he came under the influence of G. B. de rossi, J. hergenrÖther, H. S. denifle, F. X. kraus, and P. Battifol;

and in 1888 he became director of the Institut der Görresgesellschaft. Professor of patrology and Christian archeology at Fribourg from 1890 to 1932, he was named rector of Istituto Pontificio di Archeologia Cristiana at Rome by Pius XI in 1926, and a prothonotary apostolic in 1932.

In his scholarly activity he specialized in methodical research and provided a deeper understanding of the Reformation through his Die Finanzverwaltung des Kardinalkollegiums im XIII. und XIV. Jahrhundert (Münster 1895) and Die päpstlichen Kollectorien in Deutschland während des XIV. Jahrhunderts (Paderborn 1894). He was editor of the fourth to sixth editions of Hergenröther's Handbuch der allgemeinen Kirchengeschichte, and he joined with Bigelmair, Greven, and Veit in publishing a new church history (4 v. Freiburg 193049). He was coeditor with A. Ehrhard of Forschungen zur christlichen Literatur-und Dogmengeschichte from 1900. He investigated early Christian places of worship, especially in their relation to the liturgy, published Die römischen Titelkirchen (Paderborn 1918), Der stadtrömische christliche Festkalender im Altertum (Münster 1924), Die Stationskirchen des Missale Romanum (Freiburg 1926), and contributed 249 articles to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Bibliography: o. perler, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 35 (1941) 13. j. sauer, Historisches Jahrbuch der GörresGesellschaft 61 (1941) 467474. g. belvederi, Rivista di archeologia cristiana 18 (1941) 721. e. molitor, Mgr. J. P. Kirsch (Luxembourg 1956). The Catholic Encyclopedia and its Makers (New York 1917) 9293.

[e. molitor]

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