Kolowrat Plenary from the Treasury of the Saint Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle
Kolowrat Plenary from the Treasury of the Saint Vitus
Cathedral at the Prague Castle

Hanuš II. Lord of Kolowrat

(† 1483)

Canon of Prague and Vyšehrad (April 14, 1467)
Administrator of the Prague archdiocese (December 12, 1468)

Hanuš II. was the son of Hanuš I. of Kolowrat (about 1390-1450), the governor of the Pilsen region and the towns of Prague, one of the six administrators of the kingdom after the death of Zikmund of Luxembourg and Anna of Stráž. Hanuš II. had already been involved in wartime actions against the Hussites as a young man, with his father. After his father's death in 1450 he inherited all of the family property. He first settled at Žebrák Castle, which a year later he ceded to King George of Poděbrady, who did not want to leave important castles in the hands of devout Catholics. In return, Hanuš received a lifetime certificate of earlier property pledges and settled at Zbiroh Castle. He married Catherine of Sternberk (d. 1465), with whom he had a son, Albrecht II., Supreme Chancellor and Hofmaster and a daughter, Catherine. He was interested in the arts of which he was a patron, theology and canonical law. After the death of his wife, he gave up the secular life and decided to become a priest. Because he had participated in many battles, he had to petition Pope Pius II. to remove the obstacles to his being ordained as priest. This was accomplished by a Papal dispensation dated 14 April 14, 1467, after which he became the canon of Prague and Vyšehrad. After the death of the Bishop of Wroclaw and the provost of the metropolitan St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, Jošta of Rožmberk, he was elected as one of the two administrators of the Prague Archdiocese on December 12, 1468, with the election confirmed by Pope Paul II. This was a personal political triumph over his longtime rival, George of Poděbrady. The archbishopric, with its confused holdings and incomes, was then administered by the so-called upper consistory (the Archbishop's Advisory Forum). He summoned his first chapter to Zbiroh Castle. The canons gathered for it from the various locations where they were in exile. This credited him with the return of the Prague Metropolitan Chapter from exile in Pilsen to its original seat at the Prague Castle. As a devout Catholic, Hanuš II. of Kolowrat became the enemy of George of Poděbrady, whom he called on to return to the Catholic Church. King George tried to win him over and explained to him in letters why he could not do so. When the king, despite the repeated calls of the Pope, did not pledge himself to the Catholic faith, on 29 August 1469, the Pope declared an interdict against him in the magnificent chapel of Zbiroh castle. The Pope later rescinded this interdict. Hanuš II. became an ally of the Green Mountain Unity and Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus. Because he stood on the side of the Hungarian king who claimed the Czech throne, he was forced to flee Prague. The chapter returned in 1472, but he himself did not return until six years later. The years-long, costly wars had financially exhausted Hanuš II., and devastated his possessions. Because of this, he was deeply in debt, and in 1477 was forced to sell the Zbiroh estate to his brothers-in-law, Jaroslav and Zdeslav of Šternberk. Hanuš II. was a lover of Gothic cathedral art. In both of his castles, he had the chapels rebuilt and decorated. He was shown to be a generous donor to temple art, mainly to the Saint Vitus Cathedral Treasure. To this treasure, he donated his silver, precious-jewel inlaid Kolowrat plenary with relics of Czech patrons, including two pieces of wood from the Holy Cross, which was the work of the goldsmith Martin from the year 1465. He also donated a chalice with paten and embroidered chasuble. He bequeathed the illuminated manuscript of his travel breviary and various first printings – incunabula, to the Chapter Library. One of these was, for example, The History of the Jewish People by Josef Flavio, printed in Lübeck in 1476, which he had ordered hand-colored and decorated with his birth sign. He died September 23, 1483 and was buried at the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle.