Parents: Reinold I, count of Dassel
Date of Birth: circa 1120
Predecessor: Frederick II von Berg
Reign: 1159 – 1167
Summary: Born into a wealthy Saxon noble family, Rainald was not the eldest son in the family and was destined for ecclesiastics rather than a life in politics or in the military. He began his schooling at Hildesheim in 1146 where he obtained the position of subdeacon. By 1148, he was a general provost and attended the Council of Rheims where he opposed changes to clerical dress. With the embassy of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I, Rainald ventured to Rome in 1153 where he met Pope Eugene III and first revealed his political acumen. In 1154, he was made provost of Petersberg at Goslar and St. Mortiz at Hildesheim and was offered the episcopal seat at Hildesheim, but he declined the position. Two years later, Emperor Frederick made Rainald chancellor of the Empire, one of the highest posts in the Imperial bureaucracy. At the Diet of Besançon in 1157, Rainald fought for the rights of the German kings over that of the papacy, suggesting that while Catholicism should be emphasized and strengthened in Germany, the pope and all of Rome should submit to Imperial authority. With these proclamations, Rainald became one of the most politically contentious clerics in Christendom. For his devotion to Frederick, Rainald was made archbishop of Cologne while he was away in Italy.
When a schism occurred between Pope Alexander III and an antipope, Victor IV, Rainald supported the antipope and, in 1160, went to France and England to try and convince the kings there to support the claims of Victor IV. While passing through Milan, he was almost killed and forced to flee. For this injustice, Frederick sacked the city in 1162 after a prolonged siege. Nor surprisingly, Pope Alexander excommunicated Rainald in 1163 for supporting the wrong pope. Rainald responded by proclaiming the right of the emperor to dispose of the papal see. When Victor died in 1164, Rainald elected Paschall III to replace him as antipope. Soon after, the archbishop returned to Germany bringing with him relics of the Three Magi taken from the ruins of Milan. Germany was up in arms against the legitimate pope because of Reinald's rabble-rousing. With the tentative support of the king of England, Rainald took a leading role in the attempted canonization of Charlemagne in 1165. With Christian I of Buch, the archbishop of Mainz, Rainald travelled back to Italy in 1167 where he defeated a Roman army at the Battle of Monte Porzio. But the overpowered archbishop of Cologne died soon after, probably from a malarial infection, and was buried at Cologne Cathedral. Much of his progress and legacy died with him.
Date of Death: 14 August 1167
Successor: Philip I von Heinsberg
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