Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Anno

Article

(Or Hanno).

Archbishop of Cologne in 1055. When very young he entered the ecclesiastical state, under the guidance of his uncle, a canon of Bamberg. He had formerly adopted the profession of arms. His attainments both in sacred and profane learning, as well as his unusual virtue, attracted the attention of the Emperor Henry III who called him to court. He is said to have been a man of remarkably handsome presence and of rare eloquence and in a very special way adapted for great undertakings. A lover of right and justice, he defended them fearlessly in all circumstances. He was made Archbishop of Cologne, and his consecration was a scene of unwonted splendour, though very trying to him, as he accepted the office with the greatest repugnance. At the death of Henry, the Empress Agnes made him regent of the empire, and entrusted him with the education of the young prince, afterwards Henry IV, who had already been corrupted by the flatterers who surrounded him. The Archbishop’s strictness was soon found to be distasteful to the prince, and he was deprived of his office of regent, but the disorders which followed on account of the exactions and injustice of those who were attached to Henry became so unbearable that in 1072 Anno again resumed the reins of government.

The Church at that time was torn by the schisms of antipopes. Anno joined with Hildebrand and Saint Peter Damian in the work of order and reformation. Hergenröther, however, speaks of “the discontent of the court of Germany because of the frequent sharp reprehensions addressed to the powerful Anno by Pope Nicholas II”. It was probably because of a plea for more power to be given to the German emperors in papal elections. The feeling was so bitter in Germany that a union was made with the bad elements of Italy, and an antipope in the person of Cadalus, the Bishop of Parma, was put forward. The rightful Pope, at the time, was Alexander II. At a great assembly held at Augsburg in 1062, Anno pronounced a discourse in favour of Alexander; the Empress Agnes had been won over by Saint Peter Damian; but the influence of the Adalbert, Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, and others prevailed to such an extent that it was impossible to separate Germany altogether from Cadalus, who, however, died four years later. According to Hergenröther, the autocratic nepotism of prelates, so common then, was shared by Anno, and he instances the giving of the Archbishopric of Trier to his nephew Cunon, who because of it was assassinated shortly after his appointment. Whether or not this be true, it is certain that the cares of state did not prevent Anno from fulfilling his duty as a bishop. His prayer was continuous, his austerities extreme, his preaching incessant, his charity inexhaustible. He reformed all the monasteries of his diocese and established five new ones for the Canons Regular and Benedictines. He died 4 December 1075, and was canonized shortly afterwards.

MLA Citation

  • Thomas Campbell. “Saint Anno”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 March 2013. Web. 14 July 2014. <>