Adolf of Altena, Adolf of Berg or Adolf of Cologne, (c. 1157 – 15 April 1220 in Neuss) was Archbishop of Cologne from 1193 to 1205.
Adolf was born about 1157 as the second son of Count Eberhard of Berg-Altena and his wife Adelheid.
About 1177 he became a canon of Cologne Cathedral. Later, in 1183, he became Dean of the Cathedral, and in the year 1191 Cathedral Provost. He became Archbishop of Cologne in 1193, as Adolf I, or Adolf I von Altena.
In 1194 he was instrumental in arranging the release of King Richard I of England, whom he received with considerable solemnity in Cologne shortly afterwards, at the beginning of February 1194. He was a declared opponent of the plans for a hereditary empire of Emperor Henry VI and at Christmas 1195 refused Henry's wish for the election of his son Frederick Roger. He gave up his opposition in August 1197 for the secondary election of the candidate chosen in the meantime by the other Electors. However, after the death of Henry VI, Adolf declared the election invalid, as the candidate was not baptised and the Emperor had put the Electors under pressure.
In the ensuing dynastic struggle for the throne between the Hohenstaufen and the Welfs, he crowned on 12 July 1198 the Welf Otto of Brunswick in Aachen as King of the Romans (or German king). Shortly afterwards, Pope Innocent III, who had an interest in weakening the Hohenstaufen and in breaking their power (particularly in Italy), confirmed the election of Otto. On 6 January 1205 however Adolf then crowned the Staufer competitor for the crown, Philip of Swabia, as German king. Philip had already been crowned in 1198, although only in Mainz Cathedral, but he had nevertheless been crowned with the genuine Imperial Regalia and especially the Imperial crown.
On 19 July 1205 Adolf was therefore excommunicated by Pope Innocent III and declared as deposed. In 1208 he submitted to the Pope and from then until his death was active in the archdiocese of Cologne as an auxiliary bishop: his see was not returned to him.
He died on 15 April 1220 in Neuss.
Adolf of Altena
Counts of Altena
Born: c. 1157Died: 15 April 1220 in Neuss
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bruno III of Berg
Archbishop of Cologne and Duke of Westphalia and Angria 1193–1205
Succeeded by Bruno IV von Sayn
Genealogische Handbuch des Adels, Gräfliche Häuser A Band II, 1955;
W. Gf v. Limburg Stirum, "Stamtafel der Graven van Limburg Stirum", 's Gravenhage 1878;
A.M.H.J. Stokvis, "Manuel d'Histoire, de Genealogie et de Chronologie de tous les États du Globe", Tome III, Leiden 1890-93;
W. K. Prins v. Isenburg, "Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europaischen Staaten", 2. Aufl., Marburg/Lahn, 1953.
This article is translated from that in the German Wikipedia