Ernst Adalbert von Harrach

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Count Ernst Adalbert von Harrach by Frans Luycx

Count Ernst Adalbert von Harrach (4 November 1598 – 25 October 1667) was an Austrian Catholic Cardinal who was appointed Archbishop of Prague and Prince-Bishop of Trento. His name in Czech is Arnošt Vojtěch hrabě z Harrachu.

Early life[edit]

Adalbert von Harrach was born 4 November 1598 in Vienna, Austria, the son of Count Karl von Harrach and Maria Elisabeth von Schrattenbach. He was educated by Nikolaus Walther and was later, thanks to his family's connection to Italian aristocratic families including the Borghese and Barberini,[1] admitted to the Collegio Teutonico in 1616. In 1621 he was ordained a priest at age 22[2] and became privy chamberlain to Pope Gregory XV.

Ecclesiastic career[edit]

In 1622, at only 24 years of age, Adalbert von Harrach was elected Archbishop of Prague with dispensation for not having yet reached the canonical age. He was consecrated and ordained in 1623 in the Sistine chapel by Cardinal Marcantonio Gozzadini.

In 1626 he was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Urban VIII and in 1632 he was appointed Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri where he served for 12 years. He was appointed Cardinal-Priest of Santa Prassede in 1644 and participated in the Papal conclave of 1644, which elected Pope Innocent X.

Adalbert von Harrach participated in the Papal conclave of 1655 which elected Pope Alexander VII and in 1663 he was elected Bishop of Trento with permission to retain both bishoprics (the other being Prague, which he had retained).

As primate to the Kingdom of Bohemia[edit]

Upon being elevated to Cardinal in 1626 he was made primate of the Kingdom of Bohemia and crowned Eleonora Gonzaga, wife of Emperor Ferdinand II of Austria, the following year in 1627.

He became privy counsellor to Emperor Ferdinand III in 1637 and crowned the Emperor's first wife, Empress Marie-Anne. He was named Grand Master of the Order of the Cross with the Red Star in Bohemia, Silesia, and Poland and Chancellor of the University of Prague.

Adalbert von Harrach was arrested at his palace when the Swedish took over a section of Prague in the precursor conflict to the Battle of Prague and lost a significant part of his wealth. He was eventually released after intercession by cardinal Jules Mazarin before Queen Christina of Sweden, with 15,000 écus and a letter written by him promising not to take revenge for Adalbert von Harrach's losses.[3]

The face and reverse of a medal struck for Adalbert von Harrach in 1629

He visited Rome rarely; so much so that when he did in 1643, Pope Urban VIII is said to have considered it a bad omen (as the cardinal would only otherwise have visited had the pope died, requiring a papal conclave).[4] As it turned out, the pope wasn't far from being correct and died the following year.

He became a representative of the new Pope and the Church to a number of royal courts. On behalf of the Pope he also crowned Ferdinand IV, King of the Romans (1646); Leopold and Eleonora Gonzaga, iuniore, third wife of Ferdinand II, as king and queen of Bohemia (1655); and Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor (1656). He also blessed the marriage of King Philip IV of Spain with Mariana of Austria, daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III (1648) and accompanied the new queen, in the name of the emperor, to the frontier with Italy.

Although he opposed the merger of the Charles-Ferdinand University, he participated in the ceremonial formalities bringing the two academies together in 1654.

Final appointments and death[edit]

Adalbert von Harrach participated in the Papal conclave of 1667 which elected Pope Clement IX and upon the election of the new Pope he was appointed Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina.

On his return from the conclave he died on 25 October 1667 and he was buried in his family's crypt in Vienna.

References[edit]

  1. ^ University of Wien: Ernst Adalbert von Harrach - About.
  2. ^ Catholic Hierarchy: Ernst Adalbert Cardinal von Harrach zu Rohrau
  3. ^ S. Miranda: Ernst Adalbert von Harrach
  4. ^ Pope Alexander the Seventh and the College of Cardinals by John Bargrave, edited by James Craigie Robertson (reprint; 2009)


Preceded by
Sigismund Francis, Archduke of Austria
Prince-Bishop of Trento
1665–1667
Succeeded by
Sigismund Alfons von Thun