According to the Combined Cathedral Chapters’ statutes, the foundation’s activities are geared toward promoting the churches in its possession and protecting and caring for church and church-owned cultural heritage, institutions, buildings and other assets to the best of its capabilities.
Preserving and presenting their exceptional cultural heritage, the Combined Cathedral Chapters play a major role in Saxony-Anhalt’s image as a state with cultural heritage. In addition to numerous other ensembles of buildings, two cathedrals, two parish churches and one abbey church, which are some of Germany’s most important religious buildings, manifest the superlative cultural heritage value of the foundation’s rich architectural heritage. With their exceptional works of art and rare religious objects, the cathedral treasuries in Merseburg and Naumburg provide fascinating insight into the sumptuous decoration of the two cathedrals. What is more, the chapter libraries and archives that grew up there from the Middle Ages onward house a unique collection of rare written records from over 1,500 years. Over 180,000 guests from all over the world come see this superb cultural heritage in Central Germany every year.
The strong ties to the Combined Cathedral Chapters’ ecclesiastical roots also became vitally evident in the 21st century. The churches in Merseburg, Naumburg and Zeitz owned by the foundation have a thousand-year tradition of worship and ministry. The preservation of these houses of worship and the promotion of active parish life are some of the top priorities of the foundation’s work.
Important churches have always patronized exceptional contemporaneous art. Naturally, the foundation is intent on involving nationally and internationally renowned contemporary artists, such as Neo Rauch, Thomas Kuzio and Heinrich Apel, in the design and decoration of their liturgical spaces and associated buildings.
Cathedral chapters were also places of learning in the Middle Ages. The cathedral schools established in Merseburg and Naumburg in the 11th century live on today in both cities as cathedral high schools. They still maintain close contact in school ceremonies and concrete educational projects. The cathedral chapters’ traditional ties to the three important Central German universities in Halle, Leipzig and Jena, forming the geographic center of the foundation’s locations, is the foundation of a dense network of collaborative relationships with these centers of research and education. The European Romanesque Center is a research institute located in the close complex of Merseburg Cathedral.
The cathedral chapter has enacted statutes of its own since the High Middle Ages, which are codified by a resolution at a meeting of the chapter. The text of the statutes is confirmed by the government of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The Combined Cathedral Chapters’ current statutes date from November 2011.