1958
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Bishop Hengsbach with soldiers

Bishop Hengsbach with soldiers
Source: dpa

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Precious black stone

Not a diamond but just a piece of moulded coal adorns the signet ring worn by Bishop Hengsbach in Essen Minster. On 1 January 1958 he holds his inaugural sermon in the newly created diocese of the Ruhr.

Germany's smallest diocese is home to 1.3 million Christians. Politically, the bulletRuhr industrial region does not form an administrative entity within NRW. And religiously, it has long been divided up between the Diocese of Cologne, Münster and Paderborn, whose bishops resisted any moves to reduce their territories.

In the end, however, they cannot stand in the way of Pope Pius XII. He wants to see a separate diocese created in the Ruhr, with its dense concentration of Catholics.

The first Bishop of the Ruhr is Franz Hengsbach, who is sent from the Diocese of Paderborn, where he has been suffragan bishop.

Dirk Bitzer

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