Ecclesiastical Map of Western Europe in the Middle Ages

June 7, 2022

Our homegrown ecclesiastical map is now available by clicking its button in the top right corner of the 'Uses' or the 'Research/Generic Synopsis' menu. The map is a vector graphics image so that you can enlarge and print it in any size without loss of quality. You can also open and download it in pdf format.

Topographically, the map is based on a hydrographic chart of Western Europe and presents the traditional geographic boundaries according to the Latin Rite. Every ecclesiastical province is rendered with its frontiers in red; its archepiscopal see is represented by dual cross and identified by capital letters. Dioceses are displayed with simple crosses and minuscules. Their number includes primarily those that published printed service books before the Council of Trent, but a few others documented by reliable manuscripts have also been admitted.

Historically, the map represents the European ecclesiastical situation around the end of the 13th century. It seems that this was the end of the creative period for devising local liturgical Uses; later founded dioceses mostly adopted the books that had been used in the same place.

As in our list of Uses, the standard form of the place names follows the preferred language and spelling of the current 21st-century state. Although this may rightly seem anachronistic from the perspective of medieval scholarship, we made this decision for compelling reasons. First, settlements can be more easily found in digital resources via present-day nomenclature. Second, we tried to avoid an excessive Anglicization and honour local identities, especially where even English place names could not synthesize linguistic variants. Third, the national attitudes toward the historical and the actual political affiliation of certain cities in Europe are so intricate that one cannot find a just and overall solution that will not offend anyone and thus we adhered to coherence and actuality. As compensation, all the other relevant names can be searched in the 'Uses' and the many divergent historical situations are always carefully registered.

Back to Improvements