His parents decided early that he would have church life, and they sent him to the Jesuit school at Ingolstadt for education in early 1587. He quickly became a canon in: Mainz, Cologne, Würzburg, Trier, Salzburg, and Passau. In 1595 he became the Provost of Berchtesgaden and the coadjutor of his uncle Ernest of Bavaria (1554-1612). His uncle retired from most duties associated with his office leaving Ferdinand to run the many lands he ruled. When Ernest died in 1612, Ferdinand was elected the Archbishop of Cologne and the Bishop of Liège, Hildesheim, Münster, and, from 1618, Paderborn. Ferdinand never received priest or bishop consecration in his lifetime though. Ferdinand is responsible for numerous executions due to fanatic Witch-hunt in his dioceses.
Ferdinand worked hard throughout his reign to promote Catholicism in his lands through reforms and adoption of the Council of Trent's objectives, and improve the position of the Wittelsbachs in Germany. In 1612 he attempted to get his brother Duke Maximilian I. von Bayern (1573-1651) of Bavaria elected the Holy Roman Emperor, although Maximilian rejected the crown.
In 1618 the Thirty Years' War broke out. Ferdinand had initial success in supporting the Catholic leaders and keeping his dioceses safe from war with Spanish aid, although after Sweden entered the war the lands were devastated. By the end of the war, Swedish, Spanish, France and Imperial armies had all fought in and raided the bishoprics. In 1642 he appointed Maximilian Henry von Bayern (1621-1688), the son of his brother Albert VI. von Bayern (1584-1666), coadjutor and he retired from most of the temporal affairs of the dioceses. Ferdinand died in 1650 in Arnsberg and was buried in Cologne Cathedral.
Ferdinand von Bayern (1577-1650)Born: 1577 Died: 1650
Ernest of Bavaria
| Archbishop of Cologne|
| Succeeded by|
Maximilian Henry of Bavaria
| Bishop of Münster|
| Succeeded by|
Bernhard von Galen