Johann Theodor of Bavaria

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Johann Theodor of Bavaria, portrait from 1746 by Paul-Joseph Delcloche

Johann Theodor of Bavaria (3 September 1703 – 27 January 1763), a son of Elector Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria and Theresa Kunegunda Sobieska, and a grandson of King John III Sobieski of Poland. In 1743, John Theodore was a cardinal, prince-bishop of Liège from 1744 until 1763, and also prince-bishop of Freising and Regensburg.

Early life[edit]

Theodor was educated at the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria and the University of Siena.[1] He was elected bishop of Regensburg on 29 July 1721, at age 17.[1] A little more than four months later, he was elected bishop of Freising, on 5 November 1723.[1]

Even though Theodor was already a bishop-elect, he wasn't ordained as a priest until 9 April 1730.[1]


Theodor was created a Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Panisperna on 9 September 1743 by Pope Benedict XIV. He did not participate in the conclave of 1758 following the death of Benedict. He was the last representative of the Wittelsbach family to occupy the bishopric of Liège. In March 1761, shortly after the death of his elder brother Clemens August, Pope Clement XIII rejected his succession as Archbishop and Prince-Elector of Cologne because the pope entertained some doubt as to Theodor's moral conduct.

Theodor was known as a great hunter, patron of music (he played the violoncello) and theatre, and held a splendid court at Liège. He was said to have had affairs with several women despite his clerical status and was liked by the inhabitants of the bishopric. Asthmatic and tubercular, he gave into the advice of his doctor, a physician named Steppler (a German from Munich), who claimed that his sickness originated from coal vapours. He thus went for regular stays in Germany, though this did not improve his health.


Theodor died on 27 January 1763, in Liège, Belgium. He was buried in Saint-Lambert Cathedral in Liège while his heart was buried in Grace Chapel, Altötting.[1]



  • A. De Bryun, Anciennes houillères de la région liégeoises, Dricot, Liège, 1988. (ISBN 2-87095-056-X)
Johann Theodor of Bavaria
Born: 3 September 1703 in Munich Died: 27 January 1763 in Liège
Catholic Church titles
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Clemens August
Prince-Bishop of Regensburg
Succeeded by
Clemens Wenceslaus
Preceded by
Johann Franz
Prince-Bishop of Freising
Preceded by
Prince-Bishop of Liège
Succeeded by
Charles Nicholas