It was the year of the Lord 1228. Archbishop of Salzburg Eberhard established The Archdiocese of Lavant and appointed bishop Ulrich I. as the first bishop. The southern border ran down the river Drava, bellow that expanded the territory of Aquileia patriarchy. It stayed that way until 1788, when Joseph reforms changed borders of the dioceses. The territory of the diocese was now more unified and coincided with political borders of that time. However, the diocese needed to be reorganised. The episcopal see was in the utmost north in Saint Andraž that was geographically very distant, additionally 200.000 Styrian Slovenes came under The diocese of Sekau (today Graz). Anton Martin Slomšek, the bishop of Lavant, carried out the deciding reform. On the 4th of September 1859, Maribor became the new episcopal see. With the exchange of deaneries between dioceses, a new administrative territory was established.

Transition of episcopal see was the crown of Slomšek’s work. In that way, his wishes of uniting Slovenes came true. He managed to do that, because Slovenes in lower Styria united within one diocese. In that way, it was easier to form and prepare priests. Clergy in Maribor, started really working with arrival of Slomšek, educating and raising priests in Slovene spirit and preparing them for the tasks that were ahead them.

We can say that was the boundary marker of the northern border, that survived the first and the Second World War and influenced the final incorporation of Prekmurje.

Slomšek died in 1862; after that bishop Jakob Maksimiljan Stepišnik, Mihael Napotnik and Andrej Karlin. In his time the diocese became directly subordinate to the Holy See, and not the Salzburg Metropolitan Province as before. Some of the parishes from Graz, diocese Krško and Prekmurje, came under the management of the Lavant bishop. During the Second World War and in the post-war period Jožef Tomažič and Maksimiljan Držečnik were the bishops.

Difficult conditions during the Second World War, especially the process of Germanisation, which started with arrests and deportations of Slovene priests, showed what a powerful influence priests had on the development of culture and national awareness of Slovenes. People trusted in Church and the post-war government, which showed its own true colours in the end of the war, was aware of the Church’s important role.

The diocese, with parishes and orders, was taken away all the educational institutions, cultural and social centres and most of the forest and agricultural areas. There were 178 priests, 64 nuns, 11 divines and 8 order brothers in prison.

In 1964, the diocese changed its name into The Diocese of Maribor and Lavant, and Prekmurje officially became its part. Four years later, it was joined into Ljubljana’s Church region.

Bishopric borders were finalised in 2006. In that area, The Dioceses of Murska Sobota and Celje were established. The Diocese of Maribor became The Archdiocese and Metropolitan Province, which included both newly established diocese into new Maribor Church region. The bishop Franc Kramberger became an Archbishop and Metropolitan or the president of the church region. Maribor Monastery church became the seat of Metropolitan Province. Solemn declaration was on the 24th of September 2006, on Slomšek’s name day.

Events, that we experienced and celebrated, obligate us to give the Church’s new legal system, a new way and content of our work, realisation of new relationships between bishops, priests, believers, pastoral co-workers and nonprofessionals. With events in year 2006, the Church in Slovenia experienced its youth and novelty, vitality and life strength for the new evangelisation.    


From the mount Peca in the start of Koroška, through the mighty Pohorje to peaceful Dravsko polje and Ljutomerske gorice. From the mountain chain of Kozjak and Sladki Vrh, Slovenske Gorice to Konjiška gora and Boč.

A land that gave us pilgrim temples like the church of Mary the Patroness in Ptujska Gora; gracious places where people got their faith and the faith of their ancestors for centuries.

When Pope John Paul II. visited Slovenia for the first time, he noticed that Slovene land is scattered with little churches ‘’like the sky is scattered with stars’’, as he said. That is the proof that our land is enriched with a special humus of holiness.

The land that gave us thousands of saints. Some of them are well known, because people as well as the Church appointed them on the voice of holiness. On the other hand, even more of them stay hidden.

We are witness of the holiness of a father and a mother, that take care of their family and are an example of a good Christian for their children. We have also the holiness of young people, who open the door of future happiness with endeavouring for spiritual, religious and cultural values.

Recapped by a documentary film ‘’Archdiocese Maribor’’ " (TV SLO, 2006), author Boštjan Debevec