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Albert II of Riga


Archbishop of Riga; b. Cologne, late 12th century; d. 1273. Albert Suerbeer is frequently said to have been a Dominican, though this is probably an error. The assertion that he studied at Paris and took a master's degree there is also doubtful. He taught at the cathedral school in Bremen and in 1229 was nominated bishop of Livonia, but the chapter at Riga refused to accept him, choosing instead a Premonstratensian, Nicholas. In 1240 Albert was appointed archbishop of armagh, where he supported the English king, Henry III, against the rebellious barons in the struggle over church property and promoted the canonization of edmund of abingdon. Albert took part in the First Council of Lyons, 1245, and in 1246 was appointed archbishop of Prussia, Livonia, and Esthonia and papal legate for these countries and adjacent lands. Local opposition prevented him from exercising his authority in these posts, and from 1247 to 1253 he acted as apostolic administrator of the See of Lübeck. In 1253, on the death of the incumbent Nicholas, he was elected by the chapter to the See of Riga; two years later he was confirmed by alexander iv as archbishop and metropolitan. His efforts to extend the influence of his see met with strong opposition from the powerful local military order, the knights of the sword, which in 1238 had been assimilated to the teutonic knights. This opposition caused the archbishop to be imprisoned briefly in 1268, though his cause was supported by the citizens of Riga.

Bibliography: p. von goetze, Albert Suerbeer, Erzbischof von Preussen, Livland, und Ehstland (St. Petersburg 1854). m. h. macinerny, A History of the Irish Dominicans (Dublin 1916). g. allmang, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 1:1563. m. hellmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 1:281.

[p. m. starrs]

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