EICHSTAETT, aiH'stāt, BISHOPRIC OF: A German bishopric named from a city of Germany, 42 m. w.s.w. of Regensburg. The diocese was established by St. Boniface, and in 740 had a monastery on the wooded height above the Altmühl. On Oct. 22, 741, the Anglo-Saxon Willibald (q.v.), who was the abbot of this cloister, was consecrated bishop by Boniface, primarily for missionary work among the neighboring Wends. The actual diocese, however, first came into existence two years later, when Odilo of Bavaria was obliged to cede the northern portion of his domains to Karlman and Pepin, whereupon, to secure the incorporation of the new possession in Frankish territory, the Frankish district of Suala was united with it to form a bishopric. The diocese lost a small portion of its territory when the see of Bamberg was established (1015), but the modern diocese practically corresponds to the ancient.
(A. HAUCK. )
Bishop Gebhard I. (1042-57) became first an imperial minister of great force, and then pope as Victor II., still, however, retaining his German bishopric and for a time, as administrator of the Empire after the death of Henry III., uniting the highest temporal and spiritual power. Few events of general interest occurred until the episcopate of William of Reichenau (1464-96), whose achievements in statesmanship, economic and intellectual improvements, and building were notable; the University of Ingolstadt was now founded, with William for its first chancellor. The Reformation made marked headway in the diocese in spite of the stalwart opposition of Bishop Martin of Schaumberg (1560-90), who founded at Eichstätt the first seminary in Germany as prescribed by the Council of Trent. A period of great prosperity for the diocese was the episcopate of Conrad of Gemmingen (1593-1612), but the Swedish army laid it in ruins and burned the see city in 1634. The secularization of 1802 divided the diocese between Bavaria, Prussia, and Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany, until in 1805 the fragments were reunited under Bavarian rule. Bishop Joseph von Stubenberg (1790-1824), though no longer a temporal magnate, recovered the full extent of his diocese in the Concordat of 1817, and many evidences of spiritual life were shown during the remainder of the nineteenth century.
Bibliography: Sources for history are: Gundechari, Liber pontificalis Eichstetensis, 741-1074, ed. L. C. Bethmann in MGH, Script., vii (1846), 239 sqq.; the same volume, pp. 253 sqq., contains Anonymus Haserensis de episcopis Eichstetensibus, 741-1058; Gesta episcoporum Eichstetensium 1279-1445, MGH, Script., xxv (1880), 590-609. Consult: M. Lefflad, Regesten der Bischöfe von Eichstätt 741-1297, Eichstätt, 1871-74; J. Sax, Geschichte des Hochstifts und der Stadt Eichstätt, ib. 1858; Hauck, KD, i. 518-519.