Hermann of Wied

Hermann of Wied, Archbishop of Cologne.

Hermann of Wied (German: Hermann von Wied) (14 January 1477 – 15 August 1552) was the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne from 1515 to 1546.


The fourth son of Frederick, count of Wied (d. 1487), Hermann was educated for the Church, and became elector and archbishop in 1515. He supported the claims of Charles V, whom he crowned at Aachen in 1520. At first, his attitude towards the reformers and their teaching was hostile. At the Diet of Worms, he endeavored to have Luther declared an outlaw.

A quarrel with the papacy turned, or helped to turn, his thoughts in the direction of church reform, but he hoped this would come from within rather than from without. He was initially a proponent of the Erasmian agenda of reform, which recognized certain corrupt and infelicitous religious practices but proposed no serious doctrinal change.

Over time, his program for change expanded, and his evangelical sympathies became more pronounced. With the aid of his friend Johann Gropper, he began, about 1536, to institute certain reforms in his own diocese. One step led to another, and, as all efforts at union with the Catholic Church failed, he appointed Martin Bucer his court preacher in Bonn in 1542, and sought out advice from Luther's compatriot, Philip Melanchthon.

His formal break with Rome was hailed by the Protestants, and the Schmalkaldic League declared they were resolved to defend him; but the Reformation in the electorate was set back by the military victories of Emperor Charles V over William, duke of Cleves, and moreover his theological innovations found very little support among the people of Cologne. Summoned both before emperor and pope, Hermann was deposed and excommunicated by Pope Paul III in 1546. He resigned his office in February 1547, and retired to Wied.

Hermann was also prince-bishop of Paderborn from 1532 to 1547.



    Further reading

    Hermann of Wied
    Born: 14 January 1477 Died: 15 August 1552 Altwied Castle (a part of today's Neuwied)
    Catholic Church titles
    Regnal titles
    Preceded by
    Philip II of Daun-Oberstein
    Archbishop-Elector of Cologne and
    Duke of Westphalia and Angria
    as Hermann V

    Succeeded by
    Adolf III of Schauenburg
    Preceded by
    Eric of Brunswick-Grubenhagen
    Prince-Bishop of Paderborn
    as Hermann II

    Succeeded by
    Rembert of Kerssenbrock
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