The talented musician, Ludwig, wanted little to do with the Catholic Church or its priests, which isn’t completely surprising.
The archbishop of Cologne ruled his birthplace, Bonn, within the Holy Roman Empire of the 18th century. Only two centuries before, a religious and political conflict — the Cologne War — devastated the Electorate of Cologne.
The war began because an archbishop, never known for priestly character, resolved to marry an attractive nun without renouncing his princely position. The pair had a love affair for two years before Archbishop Gebhard von Waldburg announced his conversion “to the light” on Dec. 19, 1582.
His switch from Catholicism to the teachings of John Calvin, a French pastor and theologian, upset the delicate balance of power between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. The archbishop of Cologne was one of the seven imperial governors who elected future emperors. Previous converts had resigned from office to avoid bloodshed, but Gebhard did not...