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Engelbert I of Cologne, St.


Archbishop; b. c. 1185; d. Schwelm, near Gevelsberg, Germany, Nov. 7, 1225. He was a younger son of Engelbert, count of Berg, and because of a medieval abuse whereby even children could receive ecclesiastical benefices, he became provost of St. George and St. Severinus in Cologne and of St. Mary's in Aachen in 1198, and of Cologne Cathedral on April 9, 1203. He was excommunicated and deposed by innocent iii in 1206 for supporting Philip of Swabia (d. 1208) against otto iv but was restored in 1208, and by way of penance he participated in the crusade against the albigenses in 1212. His efforts to settle the disputed episcopal succession in Cologne resulted in his own consecration as bishop on Sept. 24, 1217, and he received the pallium on April 24, 1218. In 1220 he was appointed administrator of Germany and guardian of the young Henry, later henry vii, the son of frederick ii, whom he had supported against Otto IV. As an administrator he struggled indefatigably to establish peace in Germany and in Berg, of which he had become count (1218) upon the death of his brother. As bishop, he was pious and charitable but unpopular because of his zeal for strict monastic discipline and administrative justice. He was murdered by his cousin Frederick of Isenberg, whom he had tried to restrain from injustice toward the nuns of Essen. Though he was never formally canonized, his cult was established on Nov. 7, 1617, when his name was added to the Roman martyrology. His relics are in the cathedrals of Cologne and Altenberg. His vita, written in 1226 by caesarius of heisterbach, still has historical value.

Feast: Nov. 7.

Bibliography: Vita by Caesarius of Heisterbach in Acta Sanctorum Nov. 3:644681, tr. as Leben, Leiden und Wunder des Heiligen Erzbischofs Engelbert von Köln, ed. and tr. k. langosch (Weimar 1955). r. knipping, Die Regesten der Erzbischöfe von Köln im Mittelalter, 4 v. (Bonn 190115) 3.1:2688. h. foerster, Engelbert von Berg der Heilige (Elberfeld 1925). w. kleist, Der Tod des Erzbischofs Engelbert von Köln (Diss. Berlin 1918). j. dubois, Catholicisme 4:199200.

[m. f. mccarthy]

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