Christoph Bernhard von Galen

Christoph Bernhard Freiherr von Galen (12 October 1606, Drensteinfurt – 19 September 1678) was Prince-bishop of Münster. He was born into a noble Westphalian family.

Christoph Bernhard von Galen 1670
Christopher Bernhard von Galen

Background, education and conversion to Roman Catholicism

Christoph Bernhard von Galen was born on 12 October 1606 to Lutheran parents of the aristocratic Von Galen family. His father, Dietrich von Galen, had estates in the Baltic region and bore the title of Marshal of Courland. During a state assembly in Münster, Dietrich von Galen killed the Münster hereditary marshal, Gerd Morrien zu Nordkirchen, on 15 February 1607, and consequently had to spend twelve years in detention at Bevergern Castle. Because his wife accompanied him voluntarily, in 1616 the young Christoph Bernhard was placed under the care of his uncle, the Canon of Münster, Heinrich von Galen. He gave him a Catholic education by Jesuits at the Paulinum in Münster.

In 1619, at 13, he took his first job working for the cathedral chapter in Münster. In 1626, when he had reached the required age, he moved to Cologne and Mainz, to complete his education at a Jesuit school. An educational journey took him to Bourges and Bordeaux in France, from where he returned to Münster in July 1627. The time of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) affected him. In 1630 he became treasurer of the cathedral and in 1634 a spiritual advisor (Geistlicher Rat). At that time, not many canons were active politically. Von Galen was given numerous diplomatic missions. He repeatedly took part in negotiations with the imperial generals in Westphalia.


Christoph Bernard von Galen on Horse by Wolfgang Heimbach
Christoph Bernhard von Galen

Reduced to poverty through the loss of his paternal inheritance, he took holy orders; but this did not prevent him from fighting on the side of Emperor Ferdinand III during the concluding stages of the Thirty Years' War. In 1650 he was elected prince-bishop of Münster, succeeding Ferdinand of Bavaria.

After restoring a degree of peace and prosperity in his principality, Galen had to contend with a formidable insurrection on the part of the citizens of Münster; but in 1661 this was solved by the occupation of the city. At the head of the largest ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire, the prince-bishop, who maintained a strong army, became an important personage in Europe. In 1664, he was chosen one of the directors of the imperial army raised to fight the Turks, but his troops came too late to fight; after the peace which followed the Christian victory at the Battle of St. Gotthard in August 1664, he aided Charles II of England in his Second Anglo-Dutch War with the Dutch, until the intervention of Louis XIV and Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg compelled him to make a disadvantageous peace in 1666 in Cleve.[1]

Christoph Bernhard von Galen wapen
Coat of Arms of Christopher Bernhard von Galen

When Galen again attacked the Dutch Republic six years later in the Franco-Dutch War, he was in alliance with Louis XIV, who helped him take Groenlo. His troops went more east and north and conquered not only Deventer and Coevorden. His army got stuck before the city of Groningen, failing to occupy the coast in the north, because of the deliberate flooding of the fields and marshes that became almost impassible. In October 1674 he withdrew his troops from the Dutch Republic and gave up his attempts to restore Catholicism to the Eastern provinces. In 1675 he deserted his former ally, and fought for the emperor Leopold I against France. In conjunction with Brandenburg and Denmark he attacked Charles XI of Sweden, and conquered the Duchy of Bremen in the Bremen-Verden Campaign during the Swedish-Brandenburg War. Von Galen died at Ahaus.[1]

He proved himself anxious to reform the church, although his chief energies were directed to increasing his power and prestige,[1] in the course of which he succeeded in getting rid of foreign armies, occupying Westphalia since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

In popular culture

In the Netherlands he carries the nickname "Bommen Berend" ("Bombing Bernard") because he unsuccessfully laid siege to the Dutch city of Groningen using artillery. A holiday with this name is still celebrated in the city of Groningen on 28 August to commemorate the breaking of the siege.[2]


  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Galen, Christoph Bernhard, Freiherr von" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 398. This has the following references:
    • K. Tücking, Geschichte des Stifts Münster unter C. B. von Galen (Munster, 1865)
    • P. Corstiens, Bernard van Galen, Vorst-Bisschop van Munster (Rotterdam, 1872)
    • A. Hüsing, Fürstbischof C. B. von Galen (Münster, 1887)
    • C. Brinkmann in the English Historical Review, vol. xxi . (1906).
    • There is in the British Museum a poem printed in 1666, entitled Letter to the bishop of Munster containing a Panegyrick of his heroick achievements in heroick verse.
  2. ^ Groningen tourism site Archived 2008-12-10 at the Wayback Machine

External links

Christoph Bernhard von Galen
Born: 12 October 1606 in Drensteinfurt Died: 19 September 1678 in Ahaus
Catholic Church titles
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ferdinand I of Bavaria
Prince-Bishop of Münster
as Bernard
Succeeded by
Ferdinand II of Fürstenberg

1606 (MDCVI)

was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1606th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 606th year of the 2nd millennium, the 6th year of the 17th century, and the 7th year of the 1600s decade. As of the start of 1606, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.



was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1678th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 678th year of the 2nd millennium, the 78th year of the 17th century, and the 9th year of the 1670s decade. As of the start of 1678, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.


Borculo is a town in the eastern Netherlands, in the municipality of Berkelland, Gelderland. Borculo was an independent municipality until 2005, when it merged with Eibergen, Neede, and Ruurlo. Other population centers in the municipality of Borculo were nearby Geesteren, Gelselaar, and Haarlo.

Bremen-Verden campaign

The Bremen-Verden Campaign (German: Bremen-Verdener Feldzug) was a conflict during the Northern Wars in Europe. From 15 September 1675 to 13 August 1676 an anti-Swedish coalition comprising Brandenburg-Prussia, the neighbouring imperial princedoms of Lüneburg and Münster, and the Kingdom of Denmark, conquered the Duchies of Bremen and Verden.

Bremen-Verden, a remote outpost of Sweden's Baltic Sea empire, was the third Swedish imperial fief in North Germany granted under the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, alongside Swedish Pomerania and the Barony of Wismar. Following its conquest it remained in allied hands until the end of the war in 1679, but was then fully returned to Sweden in the wake of the Treaties of Nijmegen. For the major warring parties of Sweden, Brandenburg and Denmark, this theatre of war in northwest Germany was only of secondary significance.

Chemical warfare

Chemical warfare (CW) involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for nuclear, biological, and chemical (warfare or weapons), all of which are considered "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). None of these fall under the term conventional weapons which are primarily effective due to their destructive potential. In theory, with proper protective equipment, training, and decontamination measures, the primary effects of chemical weapons can be overcome. In practice, they continue to cause much suffering, as most victims are defenceless civilians. Many nations possess vast stockpiles of weaponized agents in preparation for wartime use. The threat and the perceived threat have become strategic tools in planning both measures and counter-measures.

The use of chemical weapons is prohibited under customary international humanitarian law.

Clemens August Graf von Galen

Clemens August Graf von Galen (16 March 1878 – 22 March 1946) was a German count, Bishop of Münster, and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. During World War II, Galen led Catholic protest against Nazi euthanasia and denounced Gestapo lawlessness and the persecution of the church. He was appointed a Cardinal by Pope Pius XII in 1946. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Born into the German aristocracy, Galen received part of his education in Austria from the Jesuits at the Stella Matutina School in the town of Feldkirch. After his ordination he worked in Berlin at Saint Matthias. He intensely disliked the liberal values of the Weimar Republic and opposed individualism, socialism, and democracy. A staunch German nationalist and patriot, he considered the Treaty of Versailles unjust and viewed Bolshevism as a threat to Germany and the Church. He espoused the stab-in-the-back theory: that the German military was defeated in 1918 only because it had been undermined by defeatist elements on the home front. He expressed his opposition to modernity in his book Die Pest des Laizismus und ihre Erscheinungsformen (The Plague of Laicism and its Forms of Expression) (1932).After serving in Berlin parishes from 1906 to 1929, he became the pastor of Münster's St. Lamberti Church, where he was noted for his political conservatism before being appointed Bishop of Münster in 1933.

Galen began to criticize Hitler's movement in 1934. He condemned the Nazi worship of race in a pastoral letter on 29 January 1934. He assumed responsibility for the publication of a collection of essays that criticized the Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and defended the teachings of the Catholic Church. He was an outspoken critic of certain Nazi policies and helped draft Pope Pius XI's 1937 anti-Nazi encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (With Burning Concern). In 1941, he delivered three sermons in which he denounced the arrest of Jesuits, the confiscation of church property, attacks on the Church, and in the third, the state-approved killing of invalids. The sermons were illegally circulated in print, inspiring some German Resistance groups, including the White Rose.Despite Bishop Galen's opposition to National Socialism, he nonetheless believed Germany was the last bulwark against the spread of godless Bolshevism. Parts of a sermon he gave in 1943 were used by the Nazis to aid in the enlistment of Dutch men to voluntarily join the SS. Galen feared that German Catholics were being relegated to second-class status in Hitler's Germany and believed Hitler was missing the point that the Catholic Church and the state could be aligned against Bolshevism.. Bishop von Galen's selective opposition to elements of National Socialism never amounted to solidarity with excluded groups such as the Jews however, and whilst he spoke out against the euthanasia project he was silent on the equally important issues of roundups, deportations and mass murder of Jews.


Coesfeld (German pronunciation: [ˈkoːsfɛlt]) is the capital of the district of Coesfeld in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Coesfeld Cross

The Coesfeld Cross is a so-called forked cross and is located in the Church of Saint Lambert in Coesfeld.

It is the largest of its type in Germany and is especially noted for its graphically clear portrayal of Christ's suffering. The cross is 3.24 metres high and 1.94 metres wide; the figure of Christ is 2.09 metres tall and has an arm span of 2.09 metres. The torso, which was made in the 14th century, was carved by an unknown artist from walnut wood; from a single trunk of at least 48 centimetres in diameter. The sculptor used oak wood for the arms, and the two beams of the cross. The present smooth surface was originally embellished with wounds and veins made of filler and had a more sculpted appearance as well as being painted. The head appears rather small in proportion today, because it no longer has any of the original hair, which was made of tow and glue. Holes have been bored in the left breast and head in order to attach various relics, including a true cross relic. Hence, from quite early on, the Coesfeld Cross was believed to possess miraculous properties and was the destination of many pilgrimages. A cross is still at the heart of the tradition today. For the various festivals known as Kreuztrachten, streets and houses along the route of the procession are decorated with flags and pennants, not dissimilar to the custom in other Roman Catholic regions.

Duke Bernhard of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön

Bernard of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön (31 January 1639 – 13 January 1676 in Plön) was a Danish General.

He was the fourth son of Joachim Ernest, the reigning Duke of Holstein-Plön, and his wife Dorothea Augusta of Gottorp. Joachim Ernest had his son trained militarily and Bernard became a colonel in the Spanish service at first.

In 1672, he was the commander of the Brunswick-Lüneburg infantry defending, with imperial troops, the city of Groningen against the advancing French troops and troops of Prince-Bishop Christoph Bernhard von Galen of Münster. In August 1675 he returned to Plön, where he took command of the troops there. Denmark was preparing the Pomeranian campaign of 1675, and on 25 October 1675, he was appointed Major General in the Danish army.

He died of a sudden fever in 1676 in Plön. He was succeeded as commander of the Danish troops by his older brother John Adolphus.He was not married.

Erich Hüttenhain

Erich Hüttenhain (* 26. January 1905 in Siegen ; † 1. December 1990 in Brühl) was a German academic mathematician and cryptographer (Cryptography) and considered a leading cryptanalyst in the Third Reich. He was Head of the cryptanalysis unit at OKW/Chi, the Cipher Department of the High Command of the Wehrmacht.

Ferdinand of Fürstenberg (1626–1683)

Ferdinand of Fürstenberg (German: Ferdinand Freiherr von Furstenberg), contemporaneously also known as Ferdinandus liber baro de Furstenberg, (26 October 1626 - 26 June 1683) was, as Ferdinand II, Prince Bishop of Paderborn from 1661 to 1683 and also Prince Bishop of Münster from 1678 to 1683, having been its coadjutor since 1667/68. He was brought almost complete restoration to the Bishopric of Paderborn after the devastation of the Thirty Years' War.

In foreign policy, he followed the principle of armed neutrality, but tended increasingly clearly to lean towards the French position. He distinguished himself as an author of historical works, a poet of Latin poetry and a correspondent with the great scholars of his time. He also emerged as a patron of the arts and religion and had numerous churches built or renovated. He is considered one of the most outstanding representatives of Baroque Catholicism.

Galen family

Von Galen is an old, noble, Westphalian family, historically Roman Catholic, from the County of Mark.

House of Limburg-Stirum

The house of Limburg Stirum (or Limburg-Styrum), which adopted its name in the 12th century from the sovereign county of Limburg an der Lenne in what is now Germany, is one of the oldest families in Europe. It is the eldest and only surviving branch of the House of Berg, which was among the most powerful dynasties in the region of the lower Rhine during the Middle Ages. Some historians link them to an even older dynasty, the Ezzonen, going back to the 9th century.

The Limburg-Stirum were sovereign counts within the Holy Roman Empire, until they were mediatised in 1806 by the Confederation of the Rhine. Although undisputedly a mediatised comital family, having enjoyed a dynastic status for over 600 years until the collapse of the Empire, they were omitted from the Almanach de Gotha because the branches of the family possessing mediatised lands were extinct by the time (1815) that the Congress of Vienna established the German Confederation's obligation to recognise their dynastic status.

Since the 9th century, the family counted five Counts Palatine of Lotharingia, several Dukes of Westphalia, Bavaria, Carinthia and Swabia, seven Archbishops of Cologne, one Prince-Bishop of Speyer, more than ten bishops in the Holy Roman Empire, and at least two saints of the Catholic Church (Saint Richenza, celebrated on 21 March, and Saint Engelbert of Cologne, celebrated on 7 November).

The territorial authority of the family, counts of Berg since 1077, counts of Altena and Isenberg, then counts of Limburg since 1246, was significantly reduced following the opposition of Frederick II, Count of Isenberg to the aggression of his cousin, the Archbishop of Cologne, Engelbert II of Berg, leading to the murder of the latter. A cadet branch, the Counts van den Marck, later rose in importance as dukes of Cleves, Jülich and Berg, dukes of Nevers and Bouillon, counts of Schleiden, etc.

Today's members are mostly found in Belgium and The Netherlands.

Imperial Abbey of Corvey

The Imperial Abbey of Corvey or Princely Abbey of Corvey (German: Stift Corvey or Fürstabtei Corvey) was a Benedictine abbey on the River Weser, 2 km northeast of Höxter, now in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It was one of the Imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire from the late Middle Ages until 1792 when the abbey was dissolved and Corvey converted into a prince-bishopric. It was in turn secularized in 1803 and absorbed into the newly created Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda. In 2014, the former abbey was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen

John Maurice of Nassau (Dutch: Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen; German: Johann Moritz von Nassau-Siegen; Portuguese: João Maurício de Nassau-Siegen; 17 June 1604 – 20 December 1679) was called "the Brazilian" for his fruitful period as governor of Dutch Brazil. He was Count and (from 1674) Prince of Nassau-Siegen, and Grand Master of the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg).

Münster Cathedral

Münster Cathedral or St.-Paulus-Dom is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Münster in Germany, and is dedicated to St Paul. It is counted among the most significant church buildings in Münster and, along with the City Hall, is one of the symbols of the city.

The cathedral stands in the heart of the city, on a small hill called Horsteberg, which is encircled by the Roggenmarkt, Prinzipalmarkt and Rothenburg streets and by the Münstersche Aa river. This area, which also contains the Domplatz and surrounding buildings, was the old Domburg. Today the cathedral is the parish church for this area. West of the cathedral lies the bishop's palace and part of the old curia complex along with the current cathedral chapter.

The cathedral had two predecessors. The first cathedral (called the Ludgerus Dom, 805-1377) stood to the north of the current cathedral; the second cathedral was built in the tenth or eleventh century and was demolished during the construction of the third and current cathedral between 1225 and 1264. The imposing westwerk with its nearly identical towers was built as part of the second cathedral around 1192 and was incorporated into the current building. As a result, the cathedral is a mixture of styles, combining the Romanesque westwerk, old choir and west towers with the Gothic nave, transepts, high choir and ring of chapels.

Each of the cathedral buildings served as the cathedral church of the Diocese of Munster, but each also had additional functions, at least at times. The original Carolingian cathedral was also the Collegiate church for a cloister founded by Liudger, with the monks living under the rule of Chrodegang. Each cathedral served as a parish church, originally for the whole of Munster. As a result of the foundation of further parish churches, the parish district of the cathedral was reduced to the Old Domburg and Domimmunität in 1090. In the first half of the thirteenth century, the Church of St Jacobi was built on the Domplatz. With the completion of this church, the cathedral, which was then under construction, lost its function as a parish church entirely. Since the demolition of St Jacobi in 1812, the cathedral regained its role as parish church for the Old Domburg and Domimmunität.

The cathedral contains the tomb of the former Bishop of Munster, Clemens August Graf von Galen who became a Cardinal shortly before his death in 1946 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.


Neuenhaus is a town in the district of Grafschaft Bentheim in Lower Saxony, and is the seat of a like-named collective municipality Neuenhaus. Neuenhaus lies on the river Vechte near the border with the Netherlands and is roughly 10 km northwest of Nordhorn, and 30 km north of Enschede.

Timeline of Münster

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Wolfgang Heimbach

Wolfgang Heimbach (1615-1678) was a North German Baroque painter, mostly active in the Seventeenth Century Denmark.

Heimbach was from Oldenburg and studied in Germany and the Low Countries. He was deaf-mute but compensated by being able to read and write several languages. As court painter, he was temporarily in the services of Anton Günter, Count of Oldenburg but remained in the years 1640 to 1651 in Italy. During this period he worked for the noble houses Doria Pamphilj and Medici. From 1653 to 1662/63, he served as court painter to King Frederick III of Denmark-Norway. From 1670 until his death he was in the service of the Prince Bishop of Münster, Christoph Bernhard von Galen.

Heimbach's most important work is his painting of the homage to Frederik III in 1660. The painting is an almost photographic report.

The artist has put himself in the foreground next to the inscription section; he waves his hat triumphantly. Heimbach left Denmark in 1667; he probably died in Oldenburg.

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