The Stift (translated into English as Diocese) is an administrative and geographical organization used by various Christian denominations. The geographical area is under the jurisdiction and leadership of a Bishop (within the Roman Catholic Church a Diocese can be a Monastery that is lead by a group of Monks or an Abbot.) Multiple Dioceses are grouped together and called an Ärke Stift (Arch Diocese) under the jurisdiction and leadership of an Ärke Biskop ( tranlated as Arch Bishop.)
In Sweden multiple Dioceses make up a Arch Diocese that is under the direction of the Arch Bishop. Every Diocese is under the direction of a Bishop. Each Diocese belongs to a central administrative organization called Domkapitlet. The Diocese has authoritative jurisdiction over the Pastorats.The Bishops work together in leading the Swedish Lutheran Church with the Arch Bishop in Uppsala holding the leading position of "primus inter pares" (Latin meaning first among equals.) In the Diocese reorganization after the reformation another position was added called “superintendentia” or Superintendent.
- Authorities from the Diocese would periodically visit the Pastorats to inspect the book keeping and accounts.
- Although the format of the church records were never standardized throughout the kingdom, you will often see similarities of formats used by the Pastorats in the same Stift.
- The local authorities in the Pastorats would often notify (or invite) the Stift authorities to be involved in more serious judgements or decisions of the Pastorat. You can search the Stift records for more clues if your ancestor was involved in a more serious matter, for example divorce, or convicted for a crime.You can search the Stift records by contacting the Landsarkiv that has resonsibility for the location you are working in.
Sveriges Släktforskarförbund Wiki Community., "Stift". Wiki-Rötter, January 2011. http://www.genealogi.se/wiki/index.php/Stift