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Ernest of Bavaria.jpg

Ernest of Bavaria (German: Ernst von Bayern) (1554 - 1612) was the Archbishop of Cologne from 1583 until 1612, the Bishop of Freising from 1566 until 1612, the Bishop of Hildesheim (as Ernest II) from 1573 until 1612, the Bishop of Liège from 1581 until 1612, and the Bishop of Münster from 1584 until 1612.

Ernest was a son of Duke Albert V of Bavaria. He was educated and trained by the Jesuits. He was elected the Bishop of Freising in 1566 at age 12 and the Bishop of Hildesheim in 1573 at age 19. In 1577 he was not elected the Archbishop of Cologne, with Gebhard of Truchsess Waldburg defeating him 12 votes to 10. In 1581 he was elected the Bishop of Liège.

When Archbishop Gebhard of Truchsess Waldburg converted to Protestantism in 1583, Ernest was elected the Archbishop of Cologne on 22 May 1583. With Spanish and Bavarian troops he quickly drove Gebhard into Werl in the Cologne War. 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 Empire, 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 on 17 February 1612 in Arnsberg and was buried in Cologne Cathedral.

Preceded by:

Ernest of Bavaria

Succeeded by:

Gebhard II of Truchsess Waldburg Archbishop of Cologne
1583 - 1612
Ferdinand of Bavaria
Maurice of Sandizell Bishop of Freising
1566 - 1612
Stephen von Seiboltsdorf
Burchard of Oberg Bishop of Hildesheim
1573 - 1612
Ferdinand of Bavaria
Gerard van Grösbeek Bishop of Liège
1581 - 1612
Ferdinand of Bavaria
John William of Jülich-Cleves-Berg Bishop of Münster
1584 - 1612
Ferdinand of Bavaria