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Hermann Of Wied

HERMANN OF WIED (1477-1552), elector and archbishop of Cologne, was the fourth son of Frederick, count of Wied (d. 1487), and was born on the 14th of January 1477. Educated for the Church, he became elector and archbishop in 1515, and ruled his electorate with vigour and intelligence, taking up at first an attitude of hostility towards the reformers and their teaching. 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, and with the aid of his friend John Cropper (1503-1559), began, about 1 536, to institute certain reforms in his own diocese. One step led to another, and as all efforts at union failed the elector invited Martin Bucer to Cologne in 1542. Supported by the estates of the electorate, and relying upon the recess of the diet of Regensburg in 1541, he encouraged Bucer to press on with the work of reform, and in 1543 invited Melanchthon to his assistance. His conversion was hailed with great joy by the Protestants, and the league of Schmalkalden declared they were resolved to defend him; but the Reformation in the electorate received checks from the victory of Charles V. over William, duke of Cleves, and the hostility of the citizens of Cologne. Summoned both before the emperor and the pope, the elector was deposed and excommunicated by Paul III. in 1546. He resigned his office in February 1547, and retired to Wied. Hermann, who was also a bishop of Paderborn from 1532 to 1547, died on the 15th of August 1552.

See C. Varrentrapp, Hermann von Wied (Leipzig, 1878).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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