Austrian-Hungarian Eccleastical Establishments

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Female Heads of Austrian-Hungarian Royal Eccleastical Establishments

In Bohemia there were 4 cases of a female "office-nobility" Amtsadels, who were all raised to the position of Princess of the Realm (Fürstenstand), The Abbess of St. Georg at the  Hradschin in Prauge (Äbtissin zu St. Georg auf dem Hradschin zu Prag), the Abbess of the Free Wordly Chapter for Noble Ladies of the Holy Angels in the New Town of Prague (Äbtissin des freiweltlich adeligen Damenstifts zu den Heiligen Engeln auf der Neustadt in Prag), the Abbess of the Theresian Royal and Imperial Ladies Chapter of the Castle of Prague (Äbtissin des k.k. Theresianischen adeligen Damenstifts ob dem Prager Schlosse) and The Prioress of the Duchal Savoyian Ladies' Chapter in Vienna (Oberin des Herzoglich Savoyschen Damenstiftes in Wien)

Also see Austria Heads of State and Czech Eccleastical Establishments

Göss bei Leoben
A socalled Kanonissen or Chorfrauenstift it was founded around 1000 by Countess Palatine Adala of Bavaria. The abbot or provost administered the estates of the clerical ladies, arranged the statues and appointed the prioress. In 1020 her grandchild, Aribo III handed it over to the protection of Emperor Heinrich II, who granted it immunity and raised it to the status of an
Imperial Immediacy (reichsunmittelbaren Abtei) - the only one in Austria - and removed the Chapter from the influence of the Metropolits of Salzburg. The Abbess became a Prelate of the Realm in 1242 and member of the bank of the Swabian Prelates of the Realm in the Imperial Diet - Schwäbisches Reichsprälatenkollegium. The chapter was secularised in 1783.

1020-after 27 Kunigunde I of Bayern
She was sister of Count Palatine Aribos, and was the first abbess with the title of a Princess of the Realm (geistlichen Reichsfürstin)

Around 1052 Wilburgis

Circa 1066-? Richardis
She recived the full pastorial rights for the Church of the Chapter from the Archbishop of Salzburg in 1070

1000s Margaretha I

1000s/1100s Hemma

Before 1148-after 78 Adelheid von Sponheim
Also known as Alhedis

Before 1188-1230 Otilia von Gutenberg

Before 1239-69 Chunigunde II
During her reign, the ornate of the chapter was created.

Before 1271-83 Herburgis von Ehrenfels

1283-98 Euphemia

1298-1322 Herradis von Praitenfurt

1322-38/39 Bertha von Pux

Before 1340-49 Dimudis
Also known as Dietmut

1349-54 Katharina von Strettweg

1355-81 Gertrud I von Hanau

1381-after 98 Katharina von Truthan

1399-1421 Aloisia von Herbersdorf

1421-28 Gertrud II von Helfenberg

1428-63 Anna I von Herbersdorf
She is known in a folkstale as "Frau Hitt", a cruel and despotic ruler of the Chapter and surrounding territories.

1463-74 Begina Grassler

1474-97 Ursula von Silberberg

1497-1505 Margaretha II von Harbach

1506-14 Veronika von Radmannsdorf

1514-23 Margaretha III von Mindorf
She was member of a noble family from Steiermark. During her reign the new gothic church was finished.

1523-43 Barbara I von Spangstein

1543-66 Amalia von Leisser

1566-73 Barbara II von Liechtenstein-Murau

1573-76 Anna II von Harrach

1576-1602 Florentina von Putterer

1602-10 Regina von Schrattenbach

1610-40 Margaretha IV von Khünburg
(d. 1640)

1640-57 Maria Johanna von Kollonitsch
Her family originally came from Croatia and moved to Austria in the 15th century and were given a Countly title, held high offices in the army or in the church. She was a great promoter of the chapter.

1657-95 Maria Benedicta Schrattenbach
In an official document from 1660, she is named as Frau Maria Benedicta, Äbtissin des fürstlichen Stiftes Göss, geborener Gräfin von Schwarzenpach and in the Topograhy of the Duchy of Steiermark from 1681, the entry about the chapter is called "Das Hoch Adeliche Iungfraw Closter Göss.

1695-1706 Katharina Benedicta von Stürgkh

1706-37 Maria Mechtildis Berchtold

1737-51 Maria Antonia Überacker

1751-78 Maria Henrica von Poppen
Member of a family of Slesian Barons (Freiiherren), she was highly educated, gifted painter and promoter of arts and culture. At her seal she used the titulature: Marin Henrick Freyin v. Poppen, Äbtissin zu Göss.

1779-83 Maria Gabriela Freiin von Schaffmann-Hämmerle
She was the last Abbess of the Princely Chapter. She lived (1724-1801)


Nonnberg zu Salzburg
Founded by Rupertus von Worms in 714, and has never been abolished. In 1241 Archbishop Eberhard of Salzburg gave the abbess the rank of a bishop and the right to bear the crosier, the crucifix and a mitre instead of the crown. Thus, the convent's mother superiors were put on an equal footing with the abbots from St. Peter. The requirement making admission to the convent dependent on being aristocratic was abolished in 1848. According to some sources, the abbess wore
a ceremonial crown as late as the 1920s.

714-18 Erentraud von Salzburg
Also known as Erintrudis, Erentrud, Ehrentrudis, or Ehrentraud, she was probably niece of Rupertus. (circa 650-18 in Salzburg)

Circa 720 Regintrud
Became the fourth Abbess of the Chapter after the death of her husband, Duke Theudebert of Bavaria


754 Hiltrud
Daughter of the Frankish Major Domus Karl Martell, married to Duke Odilo of Bavaria and mother of Tassilo III, and joined the convent after her husband's death. It is believed that she influenced her son in the many laws he issued, granting women rather extensive rights.


Around 1242 Gertraud von Stein
She received the "pontificalia" for her self and her successor by Prince-Bishop Eberhard II in the name of the Pope and is raised to the estate of the prelates.


1270-? Hilda
Her term in office was marked by catastrophies, wars and disputes, a large fire destroyed Salzburg, the country was hit by famine and the fights agaonst Rudolf von Habsburg against Otto of Bohemia also took its toll on Salzburg as Archbishop Erzbischof Friedrich II had sided with King Rudolf. In 1274 the chapter had to pay heavy taxes to finance the 7. crusaide and when she was accused by the Diocese of Salzburg in a dispute over land she got support by Pope Gregory X.


Around 1464  Agatha von Haunsberg
She began to reconstruct the Romanesque church which had been devoured by flames in 1423.


Royal Chapter of Hall in Tirol (Königliches Damenstift Hall) 1567-1783

1567-90 Abbess Magdalena von Habsburg
She founded the royal Chapter for royal and noble ladied and lived there with her two sisters, Margaretha and Helena. Daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I and Anna of Hungary, she lived (1532-90)


Royal Chapter in Innsbruck - Kloster für adelige Damen in Innsbruck (1765-1808)
It was founded by Empress Maria Theresia with the purpose of praying for her late husband, who died in 1765. 1807 the convent was disolved by Bavaria

1767-1805/07 Abbess Maria Elisabeth von Habsburg-Lothringen
Daughter of Emperor Franz I Stefan and Maria Theresia, she had been hit by small-pox in 1767 and she became Abbess of the Worldly Chapter for noble ladies. She became the center of the town-life because of her outgoing personality. In 1805 she fled the Napolionic troops. She lived (1743-1808)


The Duchal Savoyan Ladies' Chapter in Vienna (Herzoglich Savoyschen Damenstiftes in Wien, Savoyensches Damenstift)
Maria Theresia Anna Felicitas Duchess di Savoia-Carignan, born Princess of Liechtenstein and Heiress of Troppau bought the Palais in 1742 after the death of her husband, Duke Emanuel Thomas von Savoyen, who died after a few year's marriage. In her will she set up a Ladies Chapter for 20 women from old Bohemian and Austrian Nobility, with the Prince of Liechtenstein as Patron.  In 1772 The Prioress of the Duchal Savoyian Ladies' Chapter in Vienna (Oberin des Herzoglich Savoyschen Damenstiftes in Wien) was given the rank of Princess of the Empire.

1769-72 Head of the Chapter Theresia von Savoyen-Carignan, geb. Prinzessin zu Liechtenstein, Hereditary Duchess zu Troppau
Also known as Maria Teresa Anna Felicita di Liechtenstein, Marie-Thérèse de Savoie or  Marie Terezie Savojská vévodkyně z Lichtenštejna, she became heir of the Duchy of Troppau through her father, Fürst Johann Adam Ulrich von und zu Liechtenstein (1662-1712), who purchased the Counties of Vaduz and Schellenberg, the core of the present day's principality. Both her 2 brothers died young  she married Tommaso Emanuele de Savoie-Carignan (Savoia-Carignano), Count of Soissons, Governor of Antwerben (1687-1729) and after his death she took up residence at her family's castle in Bohemia, Škvorec. Her son, Eugene Jean François de Soissons was Duke of Troppau (1714-29-34), and married Duchess Maria Teresa di Massa e Carra, but he died before they ever met. She lived (1694-1772)

1772... Princess Abbess.........
Empress Maria Theresia issued a diploma granting her the rank as Princess (Gefürstete Äbtissin)

Until 1980 Gräfin Karoline Fünfkirchen
She was the last "ruler"/"regentin" of the chapter until her death.


Last update 28.11.08