Johann Peter Kirsch

Johann Peter Kirsch (3 November 1861 – 4 February 1941) was a Luxembourgish ecclesiastical historian and biblical archaeologist.

Johann Peter Kirsch
Born(1861-11-03)November 3, 1861
Dippach, Luxembourg
DiedFebruary 4, 1941(1941-02-04) (aged 79)
Rome, Italy
OccupationEcclesiastical historian and biblical archaeologist


Johann Peter Kirsch was born in Dippach, Luxembourg, the son of Andreas and Katherine Didier Kirsch. He began his high school education at the Atheneum, and then went to the seminary.[1] He was ordained a priest on August 23, 1884. That autumn he was sent to Rome to attend the Collegio Teutonico. From 1884 to 1890 he studied archeology, paleography and diplomacy at the Collegio Apollinare and at other papal universities in Rome.[2] Kirsch was a student of renowned archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi.[3] In 1887 he was a co-founder of the "Roman Quarterly".

Tomb of Johann Peter Kirsch, Campo Santo Teutonico, Rome

In 1888 Kirsch became the first Director of the Historical Institute of the Görres Society in Rome. From 1889 to 1932 he was professor of patristics and biblical archaeology at the University of Fribourg,[3] where Clemens August Graf von Galen was one of his students. In 1907 he founded the "Swiss Journal of Church History".[2] Kirsch did extensive studies on the early churches of Rome.[4] He also carried out fundamental research on curial financial management in the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1925, Pope Pius XI asked Kirsch to direct the Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana in Rome. In 1932, Kirsch was made a prothonotary apostolic.

Monsignor Kirsch contributed many articles to the Catholic Encyclopedia.[1] He died in Rome on February 4, 1941, and is buried at the Campo Santo Teutonico.


  • "Financial management of the College of Cardinals in the 13th and 14th centuries", In Church Historical Studies, vol. 2, No. 4. Münster: Schöningh, 1895.
  • The doctrine of the communion of Saints in the ancient Church : a study in the history of dogma, 1910
  • "Roman titular churches in ancient times". In Studies of history and culture in antiquity. Paderborn: Schöningh, 1918.
  • "The city of Roman in the ancient Christian feast calendar. Critical textual studies on the Roman Depositiones and the Martyrologium Hieronymianum". In Historical liturgy sources. Münster: Aschendorff, 1924.
  • "The station churches of the Missale Romanum. With an investigation of the origin and development of the liturgical station rites". In Ecclesia orans, vol. 19. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder & Co., 1926.
  • The Roman Catacombs, 1933


  1. ^ a b "Kirsch, Right Reverend Monsignor Johann", The Catholic Encyclopedia and Its Makers, 1917
  2. ^ a b Baum, Wilhelm, "Kirsch, Johann Peter", Neue Deutsche Biographie 11 (1977), p. 672
  3. ^ a b "Kirsch, Johann Peter", L'Encyclopedia Italiana
  4. ^ Rousseau, Philip. "The Roman Tituli", A Companion to Late Antiquity, John Wiley & Sons, 2012 ISBN 9781118293478

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