Christoph Demke

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Christoph Demke (born May 3, 1935 in Bunzlau , Lower Silesia , † July 20, 2021 in Lehnin ) was a Protestant theologian and from 1983 to 1997 Bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony .


The pastor's son Demke fled with his family in 1945 to Hohenmölsen ( Weißenfels district ). After attending grammar school from 1945 to 1951 at the Heimoberschule Schulpforta near Naumburg (Saale) , he obtained his Abitur in Görlitz in 1952 and then studied Protestant theology at the Humboldt University in Berlin from 1953 to 1958 , where he received his doctorate in 1962 . From 1958 to 1963 Demke worked as a tutor at the Evangelical Language Convict in Berlin and at the same time as a vicar in Sachsenhausen (near Oranienburg). After his ordination in 1964, he became a lecturer in the New Testament , and from 1970 also rector of the Sprachenkonvikt Berlin (until 1977).

From 1975 Demke was initially part-time, from 1977 to 1981 full-time secretary of the Theological Commission of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR (BEK) . At the same time he was deputy head from 1977 and from 1981 to 1983, as the successor to Manfred Stolpe , head of the secretariat of the BEK, in which he worked until he took office as bishop in Magdeburg in 1983. In preparation for the Luther year 1983, he had been secretary of the church's Lutheran Committee since 1980. From 1983 to 1997, Christoph Demke was Werner Krusche's successor at the head of the Evangelical Church in the ecclesiastical province of Saxony . From 1986 to 1990 Demke was initially deputy, then in 1990/91, as successor to Werner Leich , chairman of the Conference of Evangelical Church Leaders in the GDR .

In September 1989 he spoke out openly for social changes in the GDR and was one of the first to sign the appeal “ For our country ” at the time of the change and peaceful revolution in the GDR . Since 1990 he has advocated a "careful" reappraisal of the history of the GDR.

After his bishopric, Christoph Demke lived with his wife in Berlin from 1997. From 1998 to 2006 he was national chairman of the Evangelical Working Group on Conscientious Objection and Peace (EAK).

Demke dealt with essays, publications and lectures on current questions about the church and society, in particular on problems of the German unification process . He encouraged the Christians of the East German churches to get involved in the unification debate. He was involved in the Loccum Talks , which led to the merger of the Protestant regional churches in East and West Germany to form the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).

Demke died on July 20, 2021 in the hospice of the Luise-Henrietten-Stift on the site of the former Cistercian monastery Lehnin (municipality of Kloster Lehnin , district of Lehnin).

Works (selection)

  • Questions of “modern” theology. Evangelical Publishing House, Berlin 1973.
  • The Uniqueness of Jesus: Theological Information for Non-theologians . Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1980, ISBN 3-7887-0641-4 .
  • (Ed.): Thomas Müntzer: Inquiries to theology and church . Evangelical Publishing House, Berlin 1977.
  • Christoph Demke, Manfred Falkenau, Helmut Zeddies (eds.): Between adaptation and refusal: documents from the work of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR . Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 1994, ISBN 3-374-01549-2 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Former Bishop Christoph Demke has died . Press release of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany from July 21, 2021, accessed on the same day.