Heribert of Cologne bigraphy, stories - Archbishop of Cologne

Heribert of Cologne : biography

970 - March 16, 1021

Saint Heribert (c. 970 – 16 March 1021) was Archbishop of Cologne and Chancellor of Emperor Otto III, and was canonized c. 1074.


He was born in Worms, the son of Hugo, count of Worms. He was educated in the school of Worms Cathedral and at the Benedictine Gorze Abbey in Lorraine. He returned to Worms Cathedral to be provost and was ordained a priest in 994.

In the same year Otto III appointed him chancellor for Italy and four years later also for Germany, a position which he held until Otto's death on 23 January 1002. Heribert accompanied Otto to Rome in 996 and again in 997, and was still in Italy when he was elected Archbishop of Cologne. At Benevento he received investiture and the pallium from Pope Sylvester II on 9 July 999, and on the following Christmas Day he was consecrated at Cologne.

In 1002, he was present at the death-bed of the Emperor at Paterno. While returning to Germany with the Emperor's remains and the imperial insignia, he was held captive for some time by the future Henry II, whose candidacy he at first opposed, but whom he served faithfully subsequently.

ShrineIn 1003, Heribert founded the Abbey of Deutz on the Rhine, at a strongpoint that controlled the western entry to the city of Cologne; when he died in Cologne on 16 March 1021, he was buried in his abbey church.


Heribert was already honoured as a saint during his lifetime, and was canonized by Pope Gregory VII in about 1074. His reported miracles included ending a drought; he is thus invoked for beneficial rains.

His relics were kept in the abbey church at Deutz in a golden reliquary, which is now preserved in the parish church of Neu-St.Heribert in Köln-Deutz.Ilana Abend-David, "Architectural representations on the medallions of the Heribert shrine", in Sarah Blick and Rita Tekippe, eds. Art and architecture of late medieval pilgrimage in Northern Europe.

His feast day is celebrated on 16 March.

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