On 2 January 1672 John Hugh's uncle Archbishop Charles Casper of the Leyen appointed him as coadjutor of Trier and his successor. Charles Casper died in 1676, and John Hugh became the archbishop on the 1st of June. Upon taking the archbishopric throne, John Hugh demanded a sum of 150,000 Thalers, however due to the poverty of the country only 86,000 Thalers were collected. John Hugh became immediately concerned with the annexations and expansion of France under King Louis XIV, which pressed on Trier. John Hugh appealed to the Holy Roman Emperor on 22 June 1680 for assistance against France, but Leopold I had adopted a policy of cordiality towards France and as such was not willing to assist.
The French captured and occupied Trier in June and July of 1684 following their conquest of Luxembourg. In 1688 the exceptionally devastating Nine Years' War broke out over the succession in the Palatinate, and the French invaded the Archbishopric. Cochem, Wittlich, Mayen, and other cities were destroyed and the countryside pillaged. On 24 January 1690 during the war John Hugh participated in the election of the 11-year old Joseph of Austria as Holy Roman Emperor. In 1692 when the College of Electors was expanded to include the Duchy of Hannover, John Hugh and the Elector Palatine John William opposed it.
After the War of the Spanish Succession broke out, John Hugh allied with England and the Netherlands against France in 1702. John Hugh hoped that this alliance would save the archbishopric from the kind of destruction caused by the Nine Years' War, however the French general Tallard captured Trier in October captured Trier and again laid waste much of the archdiocese. It was only after the English victory at the Battle of Höchstädt in 1704 that the reconquest of Trier began. On 24 September 1710 he appointed Charles Joseph of Lorraine, the second son of Duke Charles V of Lorraine, his coadjutor.
John Hugh died in Philippsburg of Ehrenbreitstein in Coblenz in early 1711. John Hugh was unfortunate to have reigned unescapably through two of the most destructive wars of the era, although he managed to secure the survival of the Archbishopric of Trier.
John Hugh of Orsbeck
|Charles Casper of the Leyen||Archbishop of Trier|
1676 - 1711
|Charles Joseph of Lorraine|
|Lothar Frederick of Metternich||Bishop of Speyer|
1675 - 1711
|Henry Hartard of Rollingen|