Charles of Austria, Bishop of Wroclaw

Charles of Austria
Prince-Bishop of Wrocław
Native name Karl
Appointed 1608
Predecessor Johann VI of Sitsch
Successor Karol Ferdynand Vasa
Other posts Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights
Personal details
Born (1590-08-07)August 7, 1590
Died December 28, 1624(1624-12-28) (aged 34)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Charles II, Archduke of Austria (1540–1590) and Maria Anna of Bavaria (1551–1608)

Charles of Austria, nicknamed the Posthumous, (Graz, August 7, 1590 – Madrid, December 28, 1624) was Prince-Bishop of Wrocław, Bishop of Brixen and Grandmaster of the Teutonic Knights.

He was the youngest son of Charles II, Archduke of Austria (1540–1590) and Maria Anna of Bavaria (1551–1608). Born after his father's death, he was nicknamed "Charles the Posthumous". As the youngest of 15 children, he was destined for a career in the Church.

In 1602 he was appointed to a canonry of Salzburg Cathedral and in 1605 to a canonry of Passau. Further canonries in Trent and Brixen followed in 1606, and in Cologne Cathedral in 1618. These were for the most part absentee appointments that provided him with an income from ecclesiastical revenues. In 1608 he was appointed Prince-bishop of Breslau (Wrocław). In 1613 he became Bishop of Brixen and in 1619 he succeeded Maximilian III as Grandmaster of the Teutonic Knights.[1]

Charles was a staunch Catholic. In 1609, he strongly protested against the decision of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor to treat all religions equally in Silesia. After the Battle of White Mountain he forcefully reintroduced Catholicism in the Nysa Region. He founded a Jesuit college there in 1622.

In 1624 he travelled to Madrid to become Viceroy of Portugal, at the request of King Philip IV of Spain, but he fell ill and died before taking up his post.


  1. Matthias Schnettger, "Karl [III.], Erzherzog von Österreich", in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, vol. 17 (Bautz, Herzberg 2000), pp. 759–762.
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