Burchard II (bishop of Halberstadt)

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Burchard II (or Burchard of Veltheim) (also Burckhardt, Bucco, or Buko) (ca. 1028 – 7 April 1088) was a German cleric and statesman, the Bishop of Halberstadt from 1059 until his death, and a nephew of the archbishops Anno II of Cologne and Werner of Magdeburg.

In 1057, Burchard became provost of the church of SS Simon and Judas in Goslar. In 1059, through the intervention of his uncle, Anno, he succeeded Burchard I in the diocese of Halberstadt.

In 1062, it was the decision of a German-Italian synod held at Augsburg to send Burchard, high in the favour of the regent of the young Henry IV, Empress Agnes, to Rome to mediate a disputed Papal election between the legitimate Pope Alexander II and the Antipope Honorius II. Although the German crown stood by Honorius, Burchard vowed to stand by Hildebrand, the great Papal reformer, and supported Alexander. In gratitude, Alexander bestowed on Burchard the coveted pallium.

In the dead of winter 1067–1068, Burchard, crossing frozen marshland, invaded the country of the Wilzi, razed the pagan temple at Radgosc, and returned to Saxony riding the sacred black horse. As late as the early twentieth century, children of the region around Halberstadt still sang nursery rhymes in memory of this feat:

Buko von Halberstadt,
Bring doch meinen Kinde wat.
"Wat sall ik em denn bringen?"
"Goldne Schoh mit Ringen."

Buko of Halberstadt,
Bring something to my child.
"What shall I bring to him?"
"Golden shoes with buckles."[1]

In 1073, Burchard sided with the Saxon rebels against Henry IV. On 13 July 1075, he was captured at Hohenburg on the Unstrut and handed over to the Bishop of Bamberg. In 1076, he was banished to Hungary, but he escaped and returned to Halberstadt. Thereafter, Burchard sided with every imperial opponent of Henry IV, including the anti-kings Rudolf of Rheinfelden and Herman of Salm. After a resolution in 1085, Henry sought to depose Burchard at the synod of Mainz, but he was only briefly successful in removing him from his diocese.

Finally, Burchard entered into a dispute with Egbert II, Margrave of Meissen, who sought to be elected anti-king in succession to Rudolf. The bishop was injured in a skirmish and died soon after at the monastery of Ilsenburg in the Harz Mountains.



  1. ^ Thompson, 417 n1.
Preceded by
Burchard I
Bishop of Halberstadt
Succeeded by