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Count Hieronymus von Colloredo
Count Hieronymus Joseph Franz de Paula Graf Colloredo von Wallsee und Melz (31 May 1732 in Viennamarker, Austriamarker20 May 1812 in Vienna) was Prince-Bishop of Gurk from 1761 and Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg from 1771 until 1803, when the Archbishopric was secularized.


He was the second son of Count Rudolf Wenzel Joseph Colloredo von Wallsee und Melz (1706-1788), a high-ranking Imperial official. He was educated at the Theresian Military Academymarker, and served in various ecclesiastical appointments.


The Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg fell vacant in December 1771, and (with considerable pressure from the Imperial court in Vienna), he was elected Prince-Archbishop on 14 March 1772 on the 13th ballot. According to Clive (1993) "it was an unpopular choice in Salzburg whose citizens remained cool to him until the end."Clive continues, "he was extremely autocratic and his dictatorial attitude at times provide the hostility of the cathedral chapter and of civic officials."


During his thirty years as ruler of Salzburg, Colloredo implemented reforms similar to those carried out in the Austrian Empire under Joseph II; see Josephinism. According to Halliwell, he "was ultimately successful in his main aims, but the struggle was a perpetual one ... Colloredo had to establish like-minded people in each institution -- ecclesiastical, educational, legal, medical, fiscal, administrative and publicistic -- and persuade the reluctant populace to change its entire mentality." Halliwell adds that Colloredo "attracted European-wide admiration for his efforts."

Colloredo also resembled Joseph II in moving the Roman Catholic religion within his domains in a direction similar to Protestantism. Halliwell writes: "Pilgrimages and superstitious practices were banned, processions were restricted, church decoration was limited, musical settings of the Mass were shortened and sacred German hymns introduced ... These changes led to deep resentment, and Colloredo and the architect of the pastoral letter [that implemented the policy], Johann Michael Bönike, were called 'secret Lutherans'.

The end of Colloredo's rule

Colloredo was still the head of state when the Napoleonic wars began, destabilizing political arrangements throughout Europe. On 12 December 1801, as French troops under Napoleon drew near to occupying the city, Colloredo fled Salzburg, never to return. In 1803, Salzburg was secularized,ending the long-standing arrangement whereby Salzburg was ruled by a Prince-Archbishop. Colloredo resigned as head of state,Salzburg was awarded instead to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who had lost his own state in the Napoleonic upheavals. Later, Salzburg was incorporated into Austria (1805), then Bavaria (1809), then finally into Austria again (1816).

Colloredo remained the eccleciastical head of the diocese (but not in residence) until his death in 1812.

Colloredo and Mozart

Colloredo is well known to history as a patron and employer of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He became exceptionally annoyed with Mozart's frequent absences. After a number of arguments, he ultimately dismissed him with the words, "Mai er verlassen, ich brauche ihn nicht!" ("May he leave, I don't need him!"). Leopold Mozart stayed in Salzburg but "continued to bemoan the failure to replace musicians who had left or died, and the consequent shambles in the court music." Colloredo "sometimes played the violin in the court orchestra."

Salzburg coin of Colloredo, 1780


  1. Catholic-Hierarchy page
  2. Clive 1993, 39
  3. Source for all material in this paragraph: Clive 1993, 39
  4. Clive 1993, 40
  5. Halliwell 2006, 99
  6. Halliwell 2006, 99
  7. Halliwell 2006, 99
  8. Halliwell 2006, 99
  9. Source for material in this paragraph, except as indicated: Clive 1993, 39
  10. Halliwell (2006, 99)
  11. Halliwell, same page
  12. Halliwell, same


  • Clive, Peter (1993) Mozart: a biographical dictionary. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Halliwell, Ruth (2006) "Colloredo, Hieronymus Joseph Franz de Paula von" The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia, edited by Cliff Eisen & Simon Keefe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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