The Archbishop of Cologne is an archbishop representing the Archdiocese of Cologne of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany and was ex officio one of the electors of the Holy Roman Empire, the Elector of Cologne, from 1356 to 1801.
Since the early days of the Catholic Church, there have been ninety-four bishops and archbishops of Cologne. Seven of these ninety-four retired by resignation, including four resignations which were in response to impeachment. Eight of the bishops and archbishops were coadjutor bishops before they took office. Seven individuals were appointed as coadjutors freely by the Pope. One of the ninety-four moved to the Curia, where he became a cardinal. Additionally, six of the archbishops of Cologne were chairmen of the German Bishops' Conference.
All names before Maternus II are to be approached with considerable skepticism, as little contemporary evidence is available. Maternus was present at a council in Rome in 313. The bishops between Severinus and Charentius are also apocryphal. Domitianus was the Bishop of Maastricht (Mosa Traiectum). The given dates of office before Gunther are also conjectural, at best.
|Konrad von Hochstaden||1238||1261|
|Engelbert II von Falkenburg||1261||1274|
|Siegfried II of Westerburg||1274||1297|
|Wikbold I von Holte||1297||1304|
|Heinrich II von Virneburg||1304||1332|
|Walram von Jülich||1332||1349|
|Wilhelm von Gennep||1349||1362||First Elector of Cologne under the Golden Bull of 1356|
|Adolf II von der Marck||1363||1363|
|Engelbert III von der Marck||1364||1369|
|Kuno von Falkenstein||1370||1371|
|Friedrich III von Saarwerden||1372||1414|
|Dietrich II von Moers||1414||1463|
|Ruprecht of the Palatinate||1463||1480|
|Hermann IV of Hesse||1480||1508|
|Philip II of Daun-Oberstein||1508||1515|
|Hermann V von Wied||1515||1546||Sought to reform religious practice in the Electorate; converted to Protestantism; deposed and excommunicated.|
|Adolf III of Schauenburg||1546||1556|
|Anton of Schauenburg||1556||1558|
|Gebhard I von Mansfeld-Vorderort||1558||1562||A founding member of the Schmalkaldic League|
|Friedrich IV of Wied||1562||1567|
|⋅||Salentin von Isenburg-Grenzau||1567||1577||Upon the deaths of his younger and older brothers, there were no more brothers to carry on the family name; he left Church administration in 1577, married, had two sons and conducted a successful military career. He died in 1610.|
|Gebhard II Truchsess von Waldburg||1577||1583||Converted to Calvinism in 1582; married Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben (cousin once removed of the archbishop and Prince-Elector Gebhard I von Mansfeld-Vorderort); Competing archbishop elected; Cologne War decides the outcome.|
|Ernest of Bavaria||1583||1612||Brother of William V, Duke of Bavaria; Papal Nunciature established permanently in Cologne.|
|Ferdinand of Bavaria||1612||1650||Brother of Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, nephew of Ernest of Bavaria. Principle of Secundogeniture.|
|Maximilian Henry of Bavaria||1650||1688||First cousin of Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria|
|Joseph Clemens of Bavaria||1688||1723||Brother of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria. Put under Imperial ban for siding with France in the War of the Spanish Succession.|
|Clemens Augustus I of Bavaria||1723||1761||Brother of Charles, Elector of Bavaria and Emperor. Last Wittelsbach to hold the office.|
|Maximilian Frederick of Königsegg-Rothenfels||1761||1784|
|Maximilian Franz of Austria||1784||1801||The electorate's left-bank territories were seized and annexed by France in 1795|
|Anton Viktor of Austria||1801||1803||The electorate's remaining territories were secularized and given to the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1803.|
Anno II (c. 1010 – 4 December 1075) was Archbishop of Cologne from 1056 until his death. From 1063 to 1065 he acted as regent of the Holy Roman Empire for the minor Emperor Henry IV. Anno is venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church.Bruno the Great
Bruno the Great (German: Brun(o) von Sachsen, "Bruno of Saxony"; Latin: Bruno Magnus; May 925 – 11 October 965 AD) was Archbishop of Cologne from 953 until his death and Duke of Lotharingia after 954. He was the brother of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.Bruno was the youngest son of Henry the Fowler and his second wife Matilda. While he was still a child, it was decided that he should pursue a clerical career. In the early 940s he was educated in Trier by the leading scholar, Israel the Grammarian. In 951, Otto appointed Bruno as his archchaplain.
Bruno soon received further advancement. In 953, the Archbishopric of Cologne fell vacant just when Conrad the Red, Duke of Lotharingia and Otto's son-in-law, had joined a rebellion against Otto. By appointing Bruno to the vacant position, Otto provided himself with a powerful ally against Conrad (much of Lotharingia fell under the archdiocese of Cologne) just when he needed one most. By the next year, the rebellion had collapsed. Otto deposed Conrad as Duke of Lotharingia and appointed Bruno in his place.
Bruno was to be almost the last duke of the whole of Lotharingia: in 959 two local nobles, Godfrey and Frederick, were appointed as margraves of Lower Lotharingia and Upper Lotharingia respectively. Both margraves were recognised as dukes after Bruno's death. The two duchies would only be reunited between 1033 and 1044 under Gothelo I, Duke of Lotharingia.
The combined positions of archbishop and duke — or archduke, as his biographer Ruotger called him — made Bruno the most powerful man after Otto not just in Germany but also beyond its borders. After the deaths of Louis IV of West Francia in 954 and Hugh the Great, his most powerful feudatory, in 956, Bruno, as brother-in-law to both of them and maternal uncle to their heirs Lothair, the new king, and Hugh Capet, acted as regent of west Francia.
From 962 onwards, Bruno was also appointed as Otto's regent in Germany while Otto was absent in Italy.Bruno died in Reims in 965 and was buried in the monastery of St Pantaleon, which he had founded, just outside Cologne.
Bruno's position in Cologne was little short of royal. Indeed, Otto delegated to Bruno and his successors as archbishop a number of normally royal privileges — the right to build fortifications and set up markets, to strike coins and collect (and keep) such taxes as the special ones on Jews in return for royal protection, those on market trading and tolls from traffic along the Rhine. Even though Bruno's successors as archbishops would not be dukes as well, they would be the secular as well as the ecclesiastical rulers of Cologne until the battle of Worringen three centuries later.
Bruno's court in Cologne was the main intellectual and artistic centre of its period in Germany — far more so than that of his brother Otto, which was far more peripatetic and militarily oriented. Among others, Ratherius and Liutprand of Cremona spent time at the court. Many of the next generation of German ecclesiastical leaders were educated at Bruno's court, like Everaclus of Liège, Gerard bishop of Toul, Wikfrid, bishop of Verdun, and Theoderic, bishop of Metz.
Bruno's effect on medieval Cologne was immense. Apart from building a palace, he extended the cathedral to the point where it was regarded as rivalling St Peter's in Rome (this cathedral burned down in 1248 and was replaced by the current one). He brought the area between the old Roman walls and the Rhine within the city fortifications; and built new churches to Saint Martin of Tours within this area and to Saint Andrew just outside the northern city wall and a Benedictine monastery dedicated to St Pantaleon to the south-west of the city.
Bruno translated St. Patroclus' relics from Troyes and buried them in 964 at St Patrokli Dom in Soest, where Patroclus is still today venerated.Engelbert II of Berg
Count Engelbert II of Berg, also known as Saint Engelbert, Engelbert of Cologne, Engelbert I, Archbishop of Cologne or Engelbert I of Berg, Archbishop of Cologne (1185 or 1186, Schloss Burg – 7 November 1225, Gevelsberg) was archbishop of Cologne and a saint; he was notoriously murdered by a member of his own family.Ernest of Bavaria
Ernest of Bavaria (German: Ernst von Bayern) (17 December 1554 – 17 February 1612) was Prince-elector-archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne from 1583 to 1612 as successor of the expelled Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg. He was also bishop of Münster, Hildesheim, Freising and Liège.
Ernest was born in Munich, the son of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria, and Anna of Austria. Duke Albert had destined his third son, Ernest, for the clerical vocation. He was educated and trained by the Jesuits. In 1565 he became a canon at Salzburg, and soon afterward at Cologne, Treves, and Würzburg as well; in the autumn of 1565, at the age of twelve, he likewise was elected bishop of Freising. Albert's wishes no doubt centered upon the neighboring archdiocese of Salzburg; but in 1569, when Elector Salentin VII of Isenburg-Grenzau incurred difficulties with the curia for non-recognition of the Council of Trent and was contemplating resignation, Ernest was proposed by his father, who had the support of the Spanish government at Brussels, as Salentin's successor. At the imperial Diet of Speyer (1570), the negotiations with Salentin were so far advanced that Ernest went to Cologne in November, and served his first residence there as canon till May 1571, such being the preliminary condition in the line of election.
Salentin's resignation, however, was deferred, and in 1573 he actually submitted to the Council of Trent, and was thereupon confirmed by the curia as archbishop, foregoing the priestly consecration. That year instead saw Ernest elected, at the age of 19, as bishop of the small see of Hildesheim. In 1577, after the Bavarian court had failed in an attempt to secure Münster for Ernest, efforts looking to Cologne were resumed and prosecuted more zealously than before. Moreover, the support of the curia now heightened the hope of some practical result. Duke Ernest, who for a time, in 1572, had well-nigh thwarted all his father's plans by a suddenly outcropping disinclination to save the spiritual vocation, was sent to Rome in the spring of 1574, for a sojourn of nearly two years, by way of reward for submitting to his father's will. At Rome he won the particular good-will of the pope, so that Gregory XIII resolved to support, with all his might, Ernest's installation as coadjutor to Salentin; in fact, the advancement of Bavarian family interests appeared to be the only possible way of recovering a more secure standing for the Roman Catholic Church in Lower Germany. The status which had been gained by the election of Ernest to Hildesheim could not as yet, by itself alone, afford a very trustworthy base of support.
But against the common plans of Salentin, the curial,and Bavarian court opposition manifested itself on the side of the chapter at Cologne; when, in 1577, Salentin resigned, Ernest was defeated at the new election by twelve votes to ten by Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg, who was elected by the Protestants and the lukewarm Catholics of the chapter. Duke Albert, as well as the papal nuncio at Cologne, Bartolomeo Portia, protested against the election; but as both the emperor and the electors espoused Gebhard's cause, and as he passed for a good Catholic, receiving priestly consecration in March 1578, and swearing to the Council of Trent, the curia disregarded the Bavarian protest and in March 1580, confirmed the election.
In 1581 Ernest was elected the Bishop of Liège. When Archbishop Gebhard of Truchsess Waldburg converted to Protestantism in 1583, Ernest was elected Archbishop of Cologne on 22 May 1583. With Spanish and Bavarian troops he quickly drove Gebhard into Werl in the Cologne War (German: Kölner Krieg or Truchsessischer Krieg). In 1584 he was elected the Bishop of Münster, and also in that year the Papacy nuntiator was published. The Archbishopric of Cologne was important because it was one of the seven Imperial Electors of Holy Roman Emperor, and as three of them were already Protestant, if Cologne was ruled by a Protestant a Protestant Emperor could be elected.
By now he was the Archbishop of Cologne and the Bishop of Liège, Münster, Freising and Hildesheim, and he was called the protector of Roman Catholicism in northwestern Germany. He was an ardent supporter of the Counter-Reformation, and assisted the Catholics in Jülich-Cleves-Berg and Baden. In 1595 he selected his nephew Ferdinand of Bavaria to be the coadjutor of the bishoprics and retired from most secular affairs.
Ernest died in 1612 in Arnsberg, Westphalia, and was buried in Cologne Cathedral. He was succeeded by Ferdinand of Bavaria.Ferdinand of Bavaria (bishop)
This article covers the life and career of the archbishop, the Prince-elector of Cologne, Ferdinand of Bavaria (1577-1650).
For the life and career of his uncle, Ferdinand of Bavaria (1550-1608), see here.
For the article on Ferdinand of Bavaria 1884-1958, Infante of Spain, see Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria.Ferdinand of Bavaria (German: Ferdinand von Bayern) (6 October 1577 – 13 September 1650) was Prince-elector archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne (Holy Roman Empire) from 1612 to 1650, as successor of Ernest of Bavaria. He was also prince-bishop of Hildesheim, Liège, Münster, and Paderborn.Frederick II (Archbishop of Cologne)
Friedrich II of Berg (1120 – 15 December 1158), was Archbishop of Cologne from 1156 until his death in 1158.Frederick I (archbishop of Cologne)
Frederick I (c. 1075 – 5 October 1131) was the Archbishop of Cologne from 1100 until his death.
Frederick I was a son of Count Berthold I of Schwarzenburg. He became a canon in Bamberg and Speyer.
Frederick was appointed Archbishop of Cologne in 1100 by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV. He supported Henry V's revolt against his father, despite the wide spread support of Henry IV among the citizens of Cologne. In 1110 he conducted the wedding of Henry V and Matilda.Shortly after gaining office, he began construction of the castle of Volmarstein. Frederick took part in drawing up the Concordat of Worms which ended the Investiture Controversy in 1122. Frederick elected Lothair of Saxony over Duke Frederick II of Swabia in 1125, after first offering the crown of Germany to Charles I the Good of Flanders. King Lothar secured the south of the archbishopric through the construction of a series of castles.
Frederick died in 1131, and was buried in Michaelsberg Abbey.Gero (archbishop of Cologne)
Gero (c. 900 – 29 June 976) was Archbishop of Cologne from 969 until his death.
Gero originated from Saxony, probably a son of the Billung count Christian (d. 950), who ruled in the Eastphalian Nordthüringgau and Schwabengau as well as over the adjacent lands of Serimunt in the Marca Geronis. He and his brother Margrave Thietmar of Meissen were the sons of Christian's marriage with Hidda, sister of Margrave Gero the Great.In 969, Gero was elected Archbishop of Cologne by the cathedral chapter. According to the medieval chronicler Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg, he at first met with opposition from the Emperor Otto the Great. In late 971, he was an ambassador to the Byzantine court in Constantinople, in order to arrange the marriage of Otto's heir, Otto II, to the Byzantine princess Theophanu in April 972 in Rome. On that journey he also brought back some relics of Saint Pantaleon for the dedication of the new St. Pantaleon's Church in Cologne. In 972 he attended a synod at Ingelheim, and the next year was present at the emperor's funeral.
On 29 August 970, he and his brother Thietmar donated part of their inheritance for the foundation of a monastery at Thankmarsfelde. By 975 (probably in 971), this became a royal monastery and was moved (in 975) to Nienburg, a site in the founders' familial lands, where it would serve as a missionary base for work amongst the Polabian Slavs. In 974, Gero established the monastery of Gladbach at the site of a former church, which had been destroyed during the Hungarian incursions.
Gero died in 976 and was buried in the Cathedral of Cologne, where he left as his legacy the Romanesque Gero Cross, one of the oldest large crucifixes in Germany and a milestone of Western Christian iconography.
The Gero Codex was probably drawn up in 969 at the behest of Archbishop Gero at the scriptorium of Reichenau Abbey. The pericope contains an evangeliary of the liturgical year to find a use in mass services. An excellent example of Ottonian art, it is today kept at the Darmstadt University of Technology and listed in UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme.Gunther (archbishop of Cologne)
Gunther or Gunthar (German: Günther; died 8 July 873) was Archbishop of Cologne in Germany from 850 until he was excommunicated and deposed in 863.
Gunther belonged to a noble Frankish family and, if we may believe the poet Sedulius Scottus (Carm. 68 sqq. in "Mon. German. Histor.", Poetæ Lat., III, 221 sqq.), was a man of great ability. He was consecrated Archbishop of Cologne on 22 April 850 (Annal. Col., ad an. 850). For a long time he refused to cede his suffragan Diocese of Bremen to St. Ansgar who, in order to facilitate his missionary labours, desired to unite it with his Archdiocese of Hamburg. The affair was finally settled (c. 860) by pope Nicholas I in favour of St. Ansgar, and Gunther reluctantly consented.
Gunther, who had become archchaplain of King Lothair II, received an unenviable notoriety through his unjustifiable conduct in the divorce of this licentious king from his lawful wife Teutberga. At a synod held at Aachen in January, and another in February, 860, a few bishops and abbots, under the leadership of Gunther, compelled Teutberga to declare that before her marriage with the king she had been violated by her brother. Upon her compulsory confession the king was allowed to discard her and she was condemned to a convent. At a third synod held at Aachen in April, 862, Gunther and a few other Lorraine bishops allowed the king to marry his concubine Waldrada. Nicholas I sent two legates to investigate the case, but the king bribed them, and at a synod which they held in Metz, in June, 863, the divorce was approved. According to historian Baron Ernouf, Gunther was Waldrada's uncle and Thietgaud, Archbishop of Trier was her brother.Gunther and his tool Thietgaud, were bold enough to bring the acts of the synod to the pope and ask for his approval. The pope convened a synod in the Lateran in October, 863, at which the decision of the Synod of Metz was rejected, and Gunther and Thietgaud, who refused to submit, were excommunicated and deposed. The two archbishops drew up a calumnious document of seven chapters (reprinted in P. L., CXXI, 377-380) in which they accused the pope of having unjustly excommunicated them. They sent copies of the document to the pope, the rebellious Photius, patriarch of Constantinople, and to the bishops of Lorraine. The pope, however, did not waver even when Emperor Louis II appeared before Rome with an army for the purpose of forcing him to withdraw the ban of excommunication from the archbishops.
Though excommunicated and deposed, Gunther returned to Cologne and performed ecclesiastical functions on Maundy Thursday, 864. When, however, the other bishops of Lorraine and King Lothair submitted to the pope, Gunther and Thietgaud appeared before the synod which the pope convened at Rome in November, 864, asking to be released from excommunication and restored to their sees, but they were unsuccessful.
After the accession of pope Adrian II, Gunther and Thietgaud returned to Rome in 867. Thietgaud was now freed from the ban, but Gunther remained excommunicated until the summer of 869, when, after a public retraction (P. L., CXXI, 381), he was admitted by the pope to lay communion at Monte Cassino abbey.
The See of Cologne had in 864 been given by Lothair to the subdeacon Hugh, a nephew of Charles the Bald. He was deposed in 866 and Gunther regained his see. Being under the ban, Gunther engaged his brother Hilduin of Cambrai to perform ecclesiastical functions in his place. After the death of Gunther's protector, Lothair II, Wilbert was elected Archbishop of Cologne (7 January, 870). Seeing that all efforts to regain his see would be useless, Gunther acknowledged the new archbishop and left Cologne for good.
He died in 873.Heinrich II of Virneburg
Count Heinrich II of Virneburg (German: Graf Heinrich II. von Virneburg) (1244 or 1246 – 5 January 1332) was Archbishop of Cologne from 1304 to his death in 1332.Heinrich I von Müllenark
Heinrich I von Müllenark (also Mulnarken) (1190–1238) was the Archbishop of Cologne within the Holy Roman Empire from 1225 until 1237.Heribert of Cologne
Saint Heribert (c. 970 – 16 March 1021) was a German Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Cologne from 999 until his death. He also served as the Chancellor for the Emperor Otto III since 994. He also collaborated with Saint Heinrich II with whom relations were strained though were strengthened over time.Heribert's canonization was confirmed around 1075.Herman II (archbishop of Cologne)
Herman II (c. 995 – 11 February 1056), a member of the Ezzonid dynasty, was Archbishop of Cologne from 1036 until his death.Herman I (archbishop of Cologne)
Herman I (died April 11, 924) was Archbishop of Cologne from 890 to 924. He was the son of Erenfried I of Maasgau, of the Ezzonian dynasty.
As chancellor of Zwentibold, King of Lotharingia, he helped to execute in 911 his kingdom's annexation to West Francia. In 921, he was a signatory of the Treaty of Bonn and, in 922, participated in the Synod of Koblenz.
He died in 924 and was buried in the Hildebold Dom in Cologne.Konrad von Hochstaden
Konrad von Hochstaden (or Conrad of Hochstadt) (1198/1205 – 18 September 1261) was Archbishop of Cologne from 1238 to 1261.Philip I (archbishop of Cologne)
Philip I (German: Philipp von Heinsberg) (c. 1130 – 13 August 1191) was the Archbishop of Cologne and Archchancellor of Italy from 1167 to 1191.
He was the son of Count Goswin II of Heinsberg and Adelaide of Sommerschenburg. He received his ecclesiastic training in Cologne and Rheims, becoming dean of the cathedral chapter in Cologne and then provost of Liège. In late Summer 1167, he was raised to the archchancery and the archdiocese of Cologne, where he was consecrated 29 September 1168. In that year, he entered into and mediated the controversy between France and England.
As bishop, Philip continued the policies of his predecessors. He exceeded all of them, however, in his territorial expansions, buying up the lands of his vassals and selling many for a profit. Philip held his fief directly from the emperor and was the greatest of the imperial tenants-in-chief. By buying up his vassals' subvassals, he tied them closer to himself. Frederick Barbarossa, however, saw a threat in the archbishop's pretensions and allied himself to the competing baronial factions of the region, especially Henry IV of Luxembourg, who had a hereditary claim to the Hainaut. Barbarossa also made Aachen and Duisburg royal cities with trade privileges in order to weaken Cologne economically.
Despite this, Philip remained a supporter of Frederick. As archchancellor, he campaigned with him in Italy on several occasions. He was present at the disastrous Battle of Legnano on 29 May 1176, where Barbarossa's Italian ambitions were left slain on the field. On 13 April 1180, Philip was created Duke of Westphalia in the breakup of the old Duchy of Saxony following the dispossession of Henry the Lion. With Westphalia in his control, Philip was the most powerful lord of the north of the realm and threatened the power and influence of the emperor. At the great council at Mainz in 1184, he raised Baldwin V of Hainault to margravial status. Philip responded by negotiating with Pope Urban III, then at odds with Barbarossa, and Canute IV of Denmark. He also moved to support the old count of Luxembourg, who had claims to Hainault. Philip further lent his support to the anti-Imperial candidate to the Archbishopric of Trier, Folmar of Karden, and erected a fortress in Zeltingen to that purpose, The archbishop's wider attempts to align the German episcopate against the emperor failed, however.
Around Whitsuntide 1187, Philip defeated an imperial army on its way to oppose Philip II of France. At this, the emperor formally accused the archbishop of unfaithfulness. In March 1188, Philip was subjected to a council in Mainz under the emperor. He made peace the next year (1189). In 1190, Philip was again playing a political rôle, this time mediating between Barbarossa and Henry the Lion. Philip accompanied the new Emperor Henry VI into Italy, to seize the Kingdom of Sicily in right of his wife Constance, in 1191 and died at the siege of Naples during an epidemic — either bubonic plague or malaria. His body was returned to Cologne.
In 1180 he began construction on Cologne's city wall. Documents dated 27 July and 18 August of the year attest to the beginning of work on what would become Europe's largest city wall until 1881. He also began the Shrine of the Three Kings, in which was found (1864) one of his coins.Pilgrim (archbishop of Cologne)
Pilgrim (Latin: Pilgrimus; c. 985 – 25 August 1036) was a statesman and prelate of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1016 he took charge of the chancery of the Kingdom of Italy, and became the first archchancellor in 1031. In 1021 he became Archbishop of Cologne. For his part in the imperial campaign against the South Italian principalities in 1022, the chronicler Amatus of Montecassino described him as "warlike".Rainer Woelki
Rainer Maria Woelki (German pronunciation: [ˈʁaɪ̯nɐ maˈʁiːa ˈvœlki]; born 18 August 1956) is a German Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He
has been Archbishop of Cologne since his installation on 20 September 2014 following his appointment by Pope Francis on 11 July to succeed Joachim Meisner in that position. He previously served as Archbishop of Berlin.Wilbert (archbishop of Cologne)
Wilbert (died 889) was the archbishop of Cologne from 870 until his death.
Wilbert was a priest in Cologne Cathedral when archbishop Gunther was excommunicated and deposed. Charles the Bald, king of West Francia, tried to install his own palatine cleric, Hilduin, as archbishop. He failed when Louis the German, king of East Francia, sent Liutbert, archbishop of Mainz, to consecrate the priest Wilbert instead. On 7 January 870, Wilbert was acclaimed by Liutbert with the consent of the clergy and people of the diocese, with Odilbald of Utrecht assisting the consecration. Pope Hadrian II sent an embassy under Wibod, bishop of Parma, carrying his letters of acceptance. His appointment was made rapidly in order to foil any attempt by Louis's rival, Charles the Bald, to fill the vacant see with a candidate favourable to him. Charles did succeed in placing Bertulf in power in the archdiocese of Trier.
Wilbert received the contested pallium from Pope Hadrian in 875. He extended the cathedral for use in holding synods, held the first provincial synod of his province there in 887, and was the first archbishop buried in the cathedral in 889. On 26 September 870, a German synod, attended by Liutbert and Bertulf, was held in Cologne with all the bishops of Saxony. The cathedral, desecrated by Gunther, was reconsecrated to Saint Peter.
On 4 July 876, Wilbert led an embassy of German bishops to Charles the Bald's synod at Ponthion to claim for Louis the German a part in the inheritance of the late Emperor Louis II of Italy. The synod rebuffed them, since Pope John VIII was a strong supporter of Charles, and forced them to take an oath of fidelity to Ansegis, one of Charles's chuchmen, whom the pope had appointed legate for all Europe north of the Alps. After Louis the German's death, Charles the Bald disputed the right of the former's heir, Louis the Younger, to receive Louis's share of Lotharingia. On 7 October 876, Charles was preparing a surprise attach on Louis the Younger, when Wilbert discovered the plot and warned Louis. The ensuing battle was a defeat for Charles.Cologne was pillaged and razed by Vikings in 881–882, but Liutbert of Mainz assisted in rebuilding it. Wilbert and Henry of Franconia met the Viking leader Godfrid, Duke of Frisia, at Herespich, an island in the confluence of the Rhine and the Waal. At the meeting, Godfrid was killed and Wilbert persuaded Gisela, his wife, to leave the island and pursue a policy of peace.