Eighteenth Archbishop of Magdeburg in Saxony, date of birth unknown; d. 1232. He was the son of Gunther III, Count of Kevernburg, and began his studies at Hildesheim, completing them later at Paris and Bologna. At an early age he was made a prebendary of the Magdeburg cathedral, and in 1200 was appointed Provost of the Cathedral Chapter by Innocent III. Through the influence of the Bishop of Halberstadt, he was nominated as the successor of Ludolph, Archbishop of Magdeburg (d.1205). After receiving the papal approbation, which was at first withheld, partly on account of those who had taken part in his election and partly on his account of his attitude towards Philip of Suabia, Albert proceeded to Rome, where he was consecrated bishop by the Pope (Dec., 1206) and received the pallium. He entered Magdeburg on Palm Sunday, 15 April, 1207, and five days later a conflagration destroyed many of the buildings in the city, including his own cathedral. One of his first cares was to repair the damage wrought by fire, and in 1208 he laid the corner-stone of the present cathedral, which, though completed 156 years later, serves as his most fitting memorial. He likewise rebuilt a large part of the city, and is regarded as the founder of the Neustadt. Magdeburg was also indebted to him for several valuable privileges which he obtained from Otto IV after the death of Philip of Suabia. Albert did much to further the interest of religion. He established the Dominicans (1224), and the Franciscans (1225) in the city, and also founded a convent for women in honour of St. Mary Magdalen .
But Albert's activity was not confined to his diocese. He also played a prominent part in the great struggle for the imperial crown, which marked the close of the twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries. Even before his consecration, he had inclined to the side of Philip of Suabia, who sought the crown in spite of his nephew Frederick, the son and heir of Henry VI (d.28 Sept., 1197). But later, accepting the papal "Deliberation", he gave his support to Otto IV, second son of Henry the Lion, who had been set up as anti-king by a party headed by Adolphus of Cologne and crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle. After the assassination of Philip (July, 1208) Albert did much his rival acknowledge as king. Otto proceeded to Rome, accompanied by Albert, where hi was crowned by the Pope on 4 Oct., 1209, and soon after seized Ancona and Spoleto --part of the papal territories. Upon attempting to enter Sicily he was excommunicated by Innocent III ( Maundy Thursday, 1211), and his subjects released from their allegiance. Albert, after some hesitation, published the bull of excommunication and thenceforth transferred his allegiance to Frederick II, the Hohenstaufen, son of Henry VI . In 1212 Otto returned to Germany and defied the Pope. The struggles that followed, in which Magdeburg and its neighbourhood suffered severely, did not come to an end until Otto's power was broken at the battle of Bouvines (1214). Albert is said to have died in 1232 during an interval of peace between the Empire and the Papacy.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online