An archdeacon was an ecclesiastical administrative unit, specifically a subunit of a bishopric, often self again could include several deaneries. He stood in front of an archdeacon ( Archdeacon ), whose spatial territorial sovereignty as a spell, its revenues could be described as synodalia. A further subdivision of the Archidiakonate or deaneries also occurred in sedes, ie Erzpriestersitze. The term of the archdeaconry dates from the 11th century.

Originally, at the Archdeacon to its dependent deputy of the bishop. In the heyday of the archdeaconry in the 12th and 13th century, the archdeacons had a separate benefice and an independent, "ordinary " jurisdiction. The archdeacons were able to independently inspect parishes, punish pastors and deans, they impose duties or suspend them from their positions. They even had to excommunicate the right.

Archdeacons Due to the variety of their trades authorized even from the 12th century Officials and vicars with the actual administration. However, the precise rights in the individual dioceses were very different, as many of the rights were not addressed in the general Church law. So the Mainz provincial council spoke of 1310 the Archdeacon in the dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Mainz concerned only a lower ecclesiastical jurisdiction in matrimonial matters and the matters to which churches, investiture and usury, up to the sum of 20 shillings, while all the other things the diocesan bishops and their particular officials remained reserved.

From the 13th century to the archdeacons were limited in their rights further and further, especially in the Council of Trent. In some dioceses the Archidiakonate had been received before this council, in others this was done in the 17th and 18th centuries. From the beginning of the 19th century was archdeacon in the Catholic Church only as an honorary title.

Since the central places of Archidiakonate later often lost their prominent position, are found particularly in northern Germany often in small villages large, structurally hardly changed Archidiakonatskirchen from the Romanesque period.