Christoph Bernhard, Freiherr von Galen - Encyclopedia

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CHRISTOPH BERNHARD GALEN, FREIHERR VON (1606-1678), prince bishop of Miinster, belonged to a noble Westphalian family, and was born on the 12th of October 1606. Reduced to poverty through the loss of his paternal inheritance, he took holy orders; but this did not prevent him from fighting on the side of the emperor Ferdinand III. during the concluding stages of the Thirty Years' War. In 1650 he succeeded Ferdinand of Bavaria, archbishop of Cologne, as bishop of Munster. After restoring some degree of peace and prosperity in his principality, Galen had to contend with a formidable insurrection on the part of the citizens of Munster; but at length this was crushed, and the bellicose bishop, who maintained a strong army, became an important personage in Europe. In 1664 he was chosen one of the directors of the imperial army raised to fight the Turk; and after the peace which followed the Christian victory at St Gotthard in August 1664, he aided the English king Charles II. in his war with the Dutch, until the intervention of Louis XIV. and Frederick William I. of Brandenburg compelled him to make a disadvantageous peace in 1666. When Galen again attacked Holland six years later he was in alliance with Louis, but he soon deserted his new friend, and fought for the emperor Leopold I. against France. Afterwards in conjunction with Brandenburg and Denmark he attacked Charles XI. of Sweden, and conquered the duchy of Bremen. He died at Ahaus on the 19th of September 1678. Galen showed himself anxious to reform the church, but his chief energies were directed to increasing his power and prestige.

See K. Tucking, Geschichte des Stifts Miinster unter C. B. von Galen (Munster, 1865); P. Corstiens, Bernard van Galen, VorstBisschop van Munster (Rotterdam, 1872); A. Hosing, Fiirstbischof C. B. von Galen (Munster, 1887); and C. Brinkmann in the English Historical Review, vol. xxi. (1906). There is in the British Museum a poem printed in 1666, entitled Letter to the bishop of Munster containing a Panegyrick of his heroick achievements in heroick verse.

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