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The Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques Online (DHGE) is an unparalleled source of information for anyone interested in the history of the Church. It comprises a vast amount of information: 30 volumes, 70,000 entries and sub-entries, over 50,000 columns by specialists, aimed at an academic readership. Every year, about 1000 articles are updated to further enrich the database. Click here for a detailed overview of all articles.

Scope and aims

The DHGE has a wide coverage, including all continents and the period spanning Antiquity to the present day. The Dictionnaire’s entries are divided into three distinct groups based on whether they deal with people, places or institutions.

The people that are included in the Dictionnaire are those who have played a role in the history of the Church either through their work or their writings. Thus the reader may find out firstly about the Church’s people, i.e. the pontiff sovereigns, the cardinals, the bishops, the heads of orders, the priests and religious; then about the saints, whether martyred or not, for whom records have come down to us, and about the writers, clerks or laymen, of religious works; about converts; and finally, about heretics and schismatics.

The second type of entry in the Dictionnaire deals with the Church’s geographic history. Independently of the religious history of each country, the entries alongside the maps provide a history of the ecclesiastical provinces, i.e. the dioceses. As far as possible, a complete list of the bishops of each diocese concludes each monograph. The history and development of abbeys, priories and famous religious places can also be found in the Dictionnaire and, here also, there is a list of the abbots, priors or superiors associated with each one.

The last group are entries dedicated to the main ecclesiastical institutions described from a purely historical perspective.


Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques: view of an article

The DHGE has been enriched with the biographies drawn from the collection Die Bischöfe des Heiligen Römischen Reiches (BHRR). The BHRR contains more than 4400 biographies of bishops who officiated between 1198 and 2001.

View of a biography drawn from Die Bischöfe des Heiligen Römischen Reiches

View of a biography drawn from Die Bischöfe des Heiligen Römischen Reiches

Key Features

  • 70,000 entries and sub-entries by specialists
  • Updated yearly with new entries
  • Academic responsibility: Catholic University of Louvain and the KU Leuven
  • Text fully searchable
  • Multilingual interface (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian)
  • Live links to the bibliographic records of the Index Religiosus
  • Enrichment with more than 2200 biographical notes on bishops, drawn from the reference work Die Bischöfe des Heiligen Römischen Reiches.


The DHGE is realised under the supervision of the Université of Louvain-La-Neuve.


English version (PDF)

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Related Databases

See also the Index Religiosus.

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