Anno II

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Saint Anno II
Anno II..JPG
Born c. 1010
Died 4 December 1075(1075-12-04)
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized 1183 by Pope Lucius III
Major shrine Michaelsberg Abbey, Siegburg
Feast 4 December

Saint Anno II (c. 1010 – December 4, 1075) was Archbishop of Cologne from 1056 to 1075.


He was born around 1010, belonging to the Swabian family of the von Steusslingen, and was educated at Bamberg,[1] where he subsequently became head of the cathedral school. In 1046 he became confessor to the Emperor Henry III, and accompanied him on his Hungarian campaigns of 1051 and 1052. The emperor appointed him archbishop of Cologne in 1056. Due to his dominant position at court, Anno was able to influence other appointments. Anno's nephew, Burchard, was made Bishop of Halberstadt in 1059, and in 1063, his brother, Werner, became Archbishop of Magdeburg.[2]

He took a prominent part in the government of Germany during the minority of Henry IV and was the leader of the party which in 1062 seized the person of Henry in the coup of Kaiserswerth, and deprived his mother, the empress Agnes, of power.[3] For a short time Anno exercised the chief authority in the Holy Roman Empire, but he was soon obliged to share this with Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, and Siegfried I, Archbishop of Mainz, retaining for himself the supervision of Henry's education and the title of magister.

The office of chancellor of the kingdom of Italy was at this period regarded as an appanage of the archbishopric of Cologne, and this was probably the reason why Anno had a considerable share in settling the papal dispute in 1064. He declared Alexander II to be the rightful pope at a synod held at Mantua in May 1064, and took other steps to secure his recognition.[1] Returning to Germany, he found the chief power in the hands of Adalbert, and as he was disliked by the young king, he left the court but returned and regained some of his former influence when Adalbert fell from power in 1066. By 1072 he had become imperial administrator and thus the second most powerful man.[3]

In the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Cologne attained great prosperity. Local crafts flourished; the spinners, weavers, and dyers, the woollen-drapers, goldsmiths, sword-cutlers, and armour-makers of Cologne were especially celebrated. No city north of the Alps was so rich in great churches, sanctuaries, relics, and religious communities. It was known as the "German Rome,". With the growth of the municipal prosperity, the pride of the citizens and their desire for independence also increased, and caused them to feel more dissatisfied with the sovereignty of the archbishop. This resulted in bitter feuds between the bishops and the city, which lasted for two centuries with varying fortunes. The first uprising occurred under Anno II, at Easter of the year 1074. The citizens rose against the archbishop, but were defeated within three days, and severely punished.[4] It was reported he had allied himself with William the Conqueror, King of England, against the emperor. Having cleared himself of this charge, Anno took no further part in public business and died in Siegburg Abbey on 4 December 1075,[5] where he was buried.


Archbishop of Cologne showing monasteries he established (Vita Annonis Minor)

He was canonised in 1183 by Pope Lucius III.[2] He was a founder or co-founder of monasteries (Michaelsberg, Grafschaft, St. Maria ad Gradus, St. George, Saalfeld and Affligem) and a builder of churches, advocated clerical celibacy and introduced a strict discipline in a number of monasteries. He was a man of great energy and ability, whose action in recognizing Alexander II was of the utmost consequence for Henry IV and for Germany. He is the patron of gout sufferers.[3]

Anno was the subject of two important literary works, the Latin Vita Annonis, and the Middle High German Annolied.

See also[edit]



  • Vita Annonis archiepiscopi Coloniensis, R. Koepke ed., MGH Scriptores 11 (Hannover 1854) 462-518.
  • Anno von Köln, Epistola ad monachos Malmundarienses, Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für altere deutsche Geschichtskunde XIV (Hanover, 1876).
  • Dunphy, Graeme (ed.) 2003. Opitz's Anno: The Middle High German Annolied in the 1639 Edition of Martin Opitz. Scottish Papers in Germanic Studies, Glasgow. [Diplomatic edition with English translation].
  • Lindner, T., Anno II der Heilige, Erzbischof von Köln (1056-1075) (Leipzig 1869).
  • Jenal, G., Erzbischof Anno II. von Köln (1056-75) und sein politisches Wirken. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Reichs- und Territorialpolitik im 11. Jahrhundert. Monographien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters 8, 2 vol. (Stuttgart 1974-1975).
  • Schieffer, R., Die Romreise deutscher Bischöfe im Frühjahr 1070. Anno von Köln, Siegfried von Mainz und Hermann von Bamberg bei Alexander II., Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter 35 (1971) 152-174.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Hermann II of Cologne
Archbishop of Cologne
Succeeded by