Ernest of Bavaria was Prince-elector-archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne from 1583 to 1612 as successor of the expelled Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg. He was also bishop of Münster, Hildesheim, Freising and Liège.
Ernest was born in Munich, the son of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria, and Anna of Austria. Duke Albert had destined his third son, Ernest, for the clerical vocation. He was educated and trained by the Jesuits. In 1565 he became a canon at Salzburg, and soon afterward at Cologne, Treves, and Würzburg as well; in the autumn of 1565, at the age of twelve, he likewise was elected bishop of Freising. Albert's wishes no doubt centered upon the neighboring archdiocese of Salzburg; but in 1569, when Elector Salentin VII of Isenburg-Grenzau incurred difficulties with the curia for non-recognition of the Council of Trent and was contemplating resignation, Ernest was proposed by his father, who had the support of the Spanish government at Brussels, as Salentin's successor.