Engelbert of Berg (German: Engelbert von Berg) (1185/6 - 1225) was the Archbishop of Cologne (as Engelbert I) 1216 - 1225 and the Duke of Berg 1218 - 1225. He was the younger son of Count Engelbert I of Berg, the ruler of an important territory in northwestern Germany. Engelbert is therefore called "Engelbert II" to differentiate between father and son.

Early lifeEdit

Engelbert was born in the Castle Burg. As the younger son of the Count of Berg, Engelbert was destined for a life in the church. He was educated at the Cathedral Chapter of Cologne as a youth. From age 12 or 13 he gained the position of Provost of St. George in Cologne, and in the following year also gained the post of the Cathedral Provost of Cologne. Engelbert later obtained further provostships: St. Severin in Cologne, Aachen, Deventer, and Zutphen. He was elected the Bishop of Münster in 1203 although he declined due to his age.

Engelbert was excommunicated by the Pope Innocent III in 1206 due to his supporting of his cousin, the Archbishop of Cologne Adolph I of Berg in the interests of Philip of Swabia against Otto of Brunswick. With his submission in 1208 he was pardoned. As an act of penance, he took part in the Albigensian Crusade fought in the south of France in 1212. He pledged alliegence to the future Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Stupor Mundi in 1214 following the Battle of Bouvines.

Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of BergEdit

Engelbert was elected the Archbishop of Cologne on the 29th of February 1216. The Archbishopric was in disarray following a long period of civil unrest in Germany. Engelbert gained the trust of Frederick II and became an Imperial administrator, as well as the guardian and tutor of his son Henry. He crowned Henry the Holy Roman Emperor in 1222 in Aachen. It is unknown how much input Engelbert had in the Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis of 1220, although he must surely have some infuence as the administrator of Germany.

Engelbert campaigned heavily against the Dukes of Limburg and their allies the Dukes of Cleves, and also signed alliances with the Dukes of Brabant and Namur. He later had to defend his rights of inheritance of the County of Berg in 1218 from the Limburgers after his brother Adolph V died without male heirs, and Walram III of Limburg's son Henry was married to Adolph's daughter Irmgard. Engelbert won two feuds in the matter, and he finally signed peace with the Dukes whereby he was heir in exchange for a years' revenue. Nevertheless, after Engelbert's death in 1225 the Limburgs inherited Berg.

Death of EngelbertEdit

Engelbert was a tireless campaigner for the rights of the clergy in Germany, and he often resorted to war. Since 1180 the Archbishops were also granted the title "Duke of Westphalia" and the Archbishops, Engelbert included, often warred and quarrelled with the Westphalian nobility to gain rulership over the large territory. It was often said of Engelbert that despite his piety he was a monarch more than an archbishop.

When Frederick I, the Count of Altena and Isenberg and also Engelbert's cousin, was defrauding the nuns of Essen of revenue, Engelbert championed their cause. After a court meeting at Soest did not settle the matter, Frederick and several members of the disaffected Westphalian nobility planned an ambush for Engelbert at Gevelsberg on his return to Cologne in 1225. Engelbert was killed in the fighting, although it is unknown if that was the intent or if he was supposed to have been taken hostage and released only once he capitulated to their demands. Engelbert's corpse was taken to Cologne on a dung cart, and 47 wounds were found on it upon examination.


Engelbert was hailed as a martyr as he died defending the rights of nuns. Biographical works were written of him in preparation of his canonisation but for some reason it never took place. Engelbert is, nevertheless, hailed as a saint and his feast day is the 7th of November.

Preceded by:

Engelbert of Berg

Succeeded by:

Theodoric I of Hengebach Archbishop of Cologne
1216 - 1225
Henry I of Mulnarken
Adolph V Duke of Berg
1218 - 1225
Irmgard and Henry IV of Limburg