The Combined Chapters of the Cathedrals of Merseburg and Naumburg and the Collegiate Church of Zeitz are a German institution with an extremely rich tradition. Whereas the Combined Cathedral Chapters go back to 1930 in their present-day form as a public nonprofit foundation, the combined cathedral chapter has existed without interruption for over 1,000 years.
The roots of the Combined Cathedral Chapters extend back into the 10th century when Emperor Otto the Great and his successors transformed the Central German region between the Unstrut, Saale, Harz and Elbe into the heartland of their realm and thus created one of Europe’s most important cultural landscapes. In keeping with Emperor Otto the Great’s plans, the two episcopal Sees of Merseburg and Zeitz were established in 968. Whereas the Diocese of Merseburg was reestablished by Emperor Heinrich II in 1004 after a brief interruption, the bishop of Zeitz moved with his cathedral chapter to the new See of Naumburg in 1028. That same year, a collegiate chapter was installed at venerable Zeitz Cathedral. These three important medieval ecclesiastical institutions (Merseburg Cathedral Chapter, Naumburg Cathedral Chapter and Zeitz Collegiate Chapter), to which two funds, Zeitz Church Chest and Zeitz Procuratorship, were added in the 16th and 17th century, survived as formally independent separate institutions well into the 20th century. When the devastating economic consequences of the First World War and the collapse of the Prussian state imperiled their existence once again, the individual institutions underwent a profound legal transformation in 1935 into public nonprofit foundations under joint administration in Naumburg and under a single supervisory board and became the Combined Cathedral Chapters. Today, the preservation of its rich cultural heritage and the promotion of current public services are the mission guiding the foundation’s work.