Anno II (c. 1010 - 1075) was the Archbishop of Cologne from 1056 - 1075.

Early lifeEdit

Anno II was the uncle of the Bishop of Halberstadt Burchard II of Veltheim, and was a member of a Swabian noble family. Anno was sent to Cologne to train and enter the clergy in early childhood. From 1046 he was a teacher in the Cathedral of Bamberg. The Holy Roman Emperor Henry II the Black later appointed him an Imperial chaplain. In 1054 he was raised to a Provost in Goslar.

Archbishop of CologneEdit

Henry the Black appointed Anno II Archbishop of Cologne in 1056. Anno was an avid reformer of the church institutions in the Lower Rhine, although he never had success in reforming the archdiocese itself. He reformed the Abbacy of Malmedy after temporarily taking it from the Abbacy of Stablo. He defeated the Count Palatinate of the Rhine in 1071 with the aid of the emperor, thus securing the archdiocese as the main power in the Lower Rhine. The last abbacy he reformed was that of Siegburg, which he reformed in the same manner as the Abbacy of Fruttuaria in northern Italy.

When Henry the Black died and his wife Agnes of Poitou took the regency of their six year old son Henry III, Anno became the leader of the German princes opposed to her. He led a coup d'etat which comprised of such powerful nobles as the Archbishop of Mainz Siegfried I and Duke Otto II of Bavaria. succeeding in taking the young king and the Imperial Insignia in April 1062. In 1063 he made himself the regent of Germany, however Anno's position was not secure. Thus in Italy at the Synod of Mantua in 1064 he had Pope Alexander II recognised as the true pope in his power as the Arch-Chancellor of Italy. Anno lost his regency of Germany in 1065.

In 1068 the first dissonances between the Pope and Anno occurred, and Anno's power began a rapid decline. In 1073 he was the mediator between the King and the Duke of Saxony. In 1074 the people of Cologne rebelled (mainly due to high taxes, misrule by Anno, and the controversy over Malmedy) and Anno locked himself and his supporters in the Cathedral. After a priest in the city was killed after being falsely recognised as Anno, Anno and some supporters fled from the Cathedral and the city, to return in four days with a powerful army. The gates of Cologne were opened when it was clear that the rebels could not defeat his army. The ringleaders of the rebellion were tortured and killed, and all people which took part in it were excommunicated.

Around Easter of 1075 the health of Anno II declined severely, and he died on 4 December that year. He was buried in the Abbacy of Siegburg. A year after his death, monks at the Abbacy began writing a biography of Anno in preparation for his canonisation. He was beatified in April 1083, and his feast day is the fourth of December.

Preceded by:

Anno II

Succeeded by:

Herman II Archbishop of Cologne
1056 - 1075