Dean's office

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A deanery (formerly also partly deanery; from Latin decanatus to decem 'ten': originally an area of ​​about ten parishes ) is the office or district of a dean or dean and thus above all the term for an ecclesiastical administrative unit. In larger cities, so-called city ​​dean's offices are sometimes set up in order to do justice to the special pastoral mandate in urban areas. Two or more Dekanate be in some places to a common Dekanat region (Regional Dean's office) within a diocese or Landeskirche summarized that a regional Dean, nichtresidierender Domkapitular or Regional Bishop protrudes.

Roman Catholic Church

According to the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church , deaneries as pastoral units of the middle level are a possible subdivision of a diocese . Several neighboring parishes are united to form a deanery , with the primary goal of promoting pastoral care through joint action.

The deanery is the dean or dean before, by the Dean's Office conference (also called Conveniat or pastoral conference) of full-time staff ( priests , deacons , pastoral , parish officials , deanery cantors ) and Dekanatsrat is supported.

The main task of the dean is to promote and coordinate joint pastoral activities in the dean's office:

The office of dean / dean is always held by a priest from the dean's office.

"For the office of dean, which is not connected with the office of pastor of a particular parish, the bishop has to choose a priest whom he considers suitable after weighing the local and temporal circumstances."

Most of the deaneries that exist today have grown historically. Originally, they were consistently associated with the most important parish in a region, such as a mother parish , or as a special privilege of a main town (deanery parish ). In recent years there has been an increasing shift in practice from this permanent seat of a deanery. It is common practice that the pastors of the parishes located in the deanery elect one of their own at the deanery conference and propose to the bishop for his appointment. The office often changes in rotation.

Often the more modern parish associations (several parishes with only one parish office) are combined into new deaneries. Nevertheless, the informal title of the deanery church (deanery parish church ) has been retained regionally , and a number of parishes, especially in the central European area of ​​Catholicism, are still official deanery parishes, and the pastor there is always the dean. In 2012, the Diocese of Innsbruck still ran 11 of the 16 deaneries as deanery parish offices.

See also category: deanery church

Protestant churches

Some German regional churches know the regional division into deaneries. These include the Evangelical Church in Baden , the Evangelical Church in Württemberg , the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria , the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate and the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau . Each dean's office is headed by a dean.

In other Protestant regional churches, the deaneries are referred to as church districts or provosts . The term church district (for example in Baden and Württemberg) must be differentiated from the dean's office as a church supervisory district of a dean . This is the corporation whose territory is usually congruent with the Dean's office. In Austria, the senior council comes closest to the Roman Catholic deanery, but without the right to visit.

Old Catholic Church

In the Old Catholic Church in Germany , a deanery is a collection of parishes. The dean's office itself has no tasks, but the dean responsible for the dean's office does. This includes:

  • Promotion and coordination of pastoral activity
  • Strengthening the solidarity between clergy, church councils and parishes
  • Regulation of representation of the clergy
  • Supervision of the ministry of the clergy
  • Visitations of the communities
  • Reporting to the bishop

The dean, a priest of the dean's office, is appointed by the bishop on the basis of an election made by a meeting of the clergy and church councils of the dean's office.

Anglican churches

Many Anglican churches for example, Church of England , share their Archidiakonate ( English archdeaconries ) in deaneries (deaneries), the number of parishes ( parishes ) include. There is also the more formal term rural deanery ("Landdekanat"), the dean of which is then called rural dean ("Landdekan") - in urban areas in some dioceses the title area dean is also used . The establishment of the rural deaneries is old and originally corresponded to the subdivision into Hundreds ("Hundreds"). The current deanery limits of the Church of England go back to the Archdeaconries and Rural Deaneries Act 1874 (37 & 38 Vict., Cap. 63).

The deanery of the Church of England is presided over by a synod , presided over by the dean.

Dean's office

In the Middle Ages, the office of dean was relatively high, just as the bishop corresponded to the rank of prince , the dean corresponded to that of a count , and his area of ​​influence was about the same size. Wherever the administrative structure - before the creation of the secular political community - was based on parishes, the dean played an important role and administered a not inconsiderable fortune (cf. the term Widum and the fortune of the parish priests ). Therefore, the parish offices of the deanery churches were expanded into representative properties called Dechanthof .


Older (by publication date):

  • Andreas Müller: Lexicon of Canon Law and the Roman Catholic Liturgy: In relation to the former with constant consideration of the latest Concordate, papal paraphrase bulls, and the special conditions of the Catholic Church in the various German states. Volume 2 (of 5) D – F, 2nd edition Etlinger publishing house, 1838, keyword Decani rurales: Dechante in the country and Decanate. Pp. 13–99 - detailed article on the historical position and tasks (pp. 24–75 Austria, from p. 75 other German states; Google eBook ).
  • Dean . In: Religion Past and Present. (RGG). 3. Edition. 1958, volume 2.

Individual evidence

  1. Section of the Code of Canon Law on the duties of the dean. on
  2. can. 554 § 1 CIC
  3. “The office of dean is not tied to a specific parish.” E.g. statute for deans . (PDF) Diocese of Linz, 2008; or statute for the dean . (PDF) Diocese of Graz-Seckau, 2007.
  4. Pfarrämter ( Memento of November 25, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ Bishop and Synodal Representation of the Catholic Diocese of Old Catholics in Germany (ed.): Church regulations and statutes . Bonn 2013, ISBN 978-3-934610-82-8 , Synodal and municipal regulations (SGO), p. 27 f . ( [PDF]).
  6. Very rarely in German, cf. Land Dean's Office . In: Former Academy of Sciences of the GDR, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences (Hrsg.): German legal dictionary . tape 8 , issue 3 (edited by Heino Speer and others). Hermann Böhlaus successor, Weimar 1986, ISBN 3-7400-0006-6 ( ).
  7. FL Cross (Ed.): The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church . Oxford University Press, London 1957, pp. 1188 .
  8. ^ EL Cutts: A Dictionary of the Church of England . 3. Edition. S. P. C. K., London 1895, p. 532 f .