Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria

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Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Bavaria
EKD Bayern.svg
Basic data
Area : 70,547 km²
Leading clergyman: Regional Bishop
Heinrich Bedford-Strohm
President of the Synod: Annekathrin Preidel
Head of the Regional Church Office : Nikolaus Blum
Memberships: VELKD
Lutheran World Federation
Church districts : 6th
Deanery districts : 67
Parishes : 1,537
Parishioners: 2,335,366 (December 31, 2018)
Share of
Ev. in% of the population:
17.9% (December 31, 2018)
Official Website: www.bayern-evangelisch.de/

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria (ELKB) is one of 20 member churches ( regional churches ) of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). It has its seat in Munich and, like all regional churches, is a corporation under public law .

The Church has 2,335,366 community members (as of December 2018) in 1,537 parishes , making it after the Church of Hanover and the Church in the Rhineland after its membership's third largest national church Germany. It is one of the Lutheran churches within the EKD and a member of the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Germany (VELKD) and the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe .

The official bishop's church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria is St. Lorenz in Nuremberg ; this is where the introductions of new regional bishops take place. The preaching place of the regional bishop when he is in Munich is St. Matthäus at Sendlinger Tor in Munich . After St. Matthew in Munich actually took over the functions of a bishop's church, it is referred to in semi-official documents as a bishop's church.

The church owns almost 7,000 properties in all of Bavaria, including around 2,000 churches and chapels. The entire property portfolio is currently being checked as part of the “Real Estate Security” project. The regional church maintains an Evangelical Academy in Tutzing , the Augustana University in Neuendettelsau , the Evangelical University of Nuremberg and the University for Evangelical Church Music in Bayreuth .


The area of ​​the "Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria" corresponds almost to that of the Free State of Bavaria . An exception is the parish in Mönchsroth , whose territory also includes Stödtlen in Baden-Württemberg . The parish of Hirschegg in Vorarlberg's Kleinwalsertal also belongs to the ELKB.


Until World War II

Episcopal Church of St. Lorenz in Nuremberg

The old heartland of Bavaria remained traditionally Roman Catholic even after the Reformation . When, between 1806 and 1810, the Kingdom of Bavaria was expanded to include numerous domains to its present extent, there were from then on also many Protestant areas within the state, mainly parts of Franconia (margraviate Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth ) and some free imperial cities (Nuremberg , Memmingen, Kempten, Weißenburg and Windsheim) Protestant. All Protestant ( Lutheran and Reformed ) parishes in the kingdom were therefore united in one church in 1806 (administrative union). This also included the areas "left of the Rhine" (the so-called Rheinpfalz ).

In the areas "to the right of the Rhine", ie in the main area of ​​the Kingdom of Bavaria, a "general community" was set up in Munich in 1817 under a state "upper consistory". The congregations, however, remained true to their previous confession. from 1824 the Protestant community in Bavaria called itself the Prostestant Church . In 1853, an independent synod and its own church leadership (the “Moderamen”) were set up for the Reformed parishes on the right side of the Rhine . In 1918 the Reformed parishes formally withdrew from the regional church and became independent ( Evangelical Reformed Church in Bavaria ). She later joined the Evangelical Reformed Church , which has its seat in Leer (East Frisia). The Bavarian regional church therefore comprised only Lutheran congregations from 1919 onwards and from 1921 was run under the name "Evangelical Lutheran regional church in Bavaria on the right of the Rhine". In 1921 the "Evangelical Coburg Regional Church " joined.

Former head of the "Evangelical Church in Bavaria" was the respective king of Bavaria as " summus episcopus ". The administrative authority, the senior consistory in Munich, was headed by a "president". After the First World War , the king abdicated in Bavaria and the sovereign church regiment came to an end . The president of the senior consistory therefore initially acted as head. Then the regional church received a new constitution. From then on, the head was a church president who had held the title of "regional bishop" since 1933. The administrative authority was renamed "Landeskirchenamt".

After the Second World War

When the areas "left of the Rhine" ( Palatinate ) were separated from Bavaria after the Second World War , the regional church was given its current name "Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria" in 1948.

New church constitution 1972/1999

On January 1, 1972, the church constitution of September 10, 1971 came into force, the new accents especially in the sections on church membership, the office of pastor in relation to the other church employees, the deanery district as an independent "middle level" special areas of work and forms of work and in the description of the office of regional bishop, but otherwise represented a cautious further development of the constitution of 1920.

A comprehensive review of the constitutional structures in the 1990s led to the amendment of the church constitution of December 6, 1999, which, with effect from January 1, 2000, included a reorganization of the church membership law, the possibility of the lay chairmanship of the church council, which has been approved since 1993 Introduction of the official title "Regional Bishop / Regional Bishop" for the previous district deans and the introduction of a term limit for the regional bishop (one-time election for twelve years) and the other members of the regional church council (election for ten years with the possibility of re-election).

Theological attitudes

In 1997 the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria published a statement on the responsibility of the Church in the witch trials. The ordination of women and the blessing of same-sex couples are possible in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.


The church governing bodies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria are the Synod , the Landessynodalausschuss , the country's Council of Churches and the Bishop .

State Synod and State Synodal Committee

The “parliament” of the regional church is the regional synod. Its members, the synodals, are elected by the church leaders of the individual parishes. The tasks of the synod are comparable to those of political parliaments, but are limited to the ELCB.

The regional synodal committee performs the tasks of the synod outside of its two annual sessions. It includes the presidium of the synod and 12 other elected synodals. The President of the Synod also heads the Regional Synodal Committee.

Chairman of the Synod is the president of the synod or the President of the Synod .

Presidents of the Synod

Regional Council of Churches and Regional Bishop

Matthäuskirche in Munich, preaching place of the regional bishop

At the head of the regional church council is the regional bishop (until 1933 "church president"), who is elected every twelve years by the regional synod. His term of office ends when he turns 65. The regional synod can recall him beforehand under certain conditions. The regional church council consists of the regional bishop and the upper church councils of the ELKB.

Senior Consistorial Presidents, Church Presidents and Regional Bishops


Church districts with deanery districts:
  • Ansbach-Würzburg
  • augsburg
  • Bayreuth
  • Munich
  • Nuremberg
  • regensburg

  • 1 Altdorf, 2 Ansbach, 3 Aschaffenburg, 4 Augsburg, 5 Bad Berneck, 6 Bad Neustadt / Saale, 7 Bad Tölz, 8 Bad Windsheim, 9 Bamberg, 10 Bayreuth, 11 Castell, 12 Cham, 13 Coburg, 14 Dinkelsbühl, 15 Donauwörth , 16 Erlangen, 17 Feuchtwangen, 18 Forchheim (Muggendorf headquarters), 19 Freising, 20 Fürstenfeldbruck, 21 Fürth, 22 Graefenberg, 23 Gunzenhausen, 24 Heidenheim, 25 Hersbruck, 26 Hof, 27 Ingolstadt, 28 Kempten, 29 Kitzingen, 30 Kronach- Ludwigsstadt (since 2010), 31 Kulmbach, 32 Landshut, 33 Leutershausen, 34 Lohr a. Main, 35 Kronach-Ludwigsstadt (since 2010), 36 Markt Einersheim, 37 Memmingen, 38 Michelau, 39 Münchberg, 40 Munich, 41 Naila, 42 Neumarkt, 43 Neustadt adAisch, 44 Neu-Ulm, 45 Nördlingen, 46 Nuremberg, 47 Oettingen , 48 Pappenheim, 49 Passau, 50 Pegnitz, 51 Regensburg, 52 Rosenheim, 53 Rothenburg od Tauber, 54 Rügheim, 55 Schwabach, 56 Schweinfurt, 57 Selb, 58 Sulzbach-Rosenberg, 59 Thurnau, 60 Traunstein, 61 Uffenheim, 62 Wassertrüdingen, 63 Weiden, 64 Weilheim, 65 Weißenburg, 66 Windsbach, 67 Würzburg, 68 Wunsiedel
    Entrance of the regional church archive in Nuremberg

    Regional church office and administrative hierarchy

    The regional bishop is the chairman of the regional church council (LKR), ie the permanent governing body of the church ("government" of the church), to which the heads of the respective departments of the regional church office in Munich and the six regional bishops belong. The members carry the title "Oberkirchenrat". This college usually meets once a month at the regional church office.

    In the administrative hierarchy, the regional church is structured from bottom to top as follows:

    At the base are the parishes as corporations under public law with elected church councils. The members of the church council are called "church councilors". Several parishes together form a deanery district ( comparable to a district in general administration ) , headed by a dean or a couple of deans. The deanery districts are also corporations under public law and have the deanery synod as a body, the members of which are appointed by the respective parishes.

    Several deanery districts together form a church district (in general administration comparable to an administrative district ) , at the head of which is a senior church councilor, who also has the title of regional bishop . A couple has shared this role in the Nuremberg church district since 2006. This administrative level has no body. The 6 church districts together form the regional church (in general administration comparable to the federal state ) .

    Church districts

    In 1921, church districts were set up in the Bavarian State Church. Originally there were only three church districts (Ansbach, Munich, Bayreuth). For reasons of church politics, the Bayreuth church district declared the area around Nuremberg to be its own church district in 1935. After the Second World War, the situation of evangelical denominations expelled from their homes in originally purely Catholic areas required the establishment of separate church districts for Eastern Bavaria (1951) and Swabia (1971).

    There are six church districts:

    Deaneries and parishes

    The 66 deanery districts in 1537 parishes divided. This number was probably somewhat lower when the parishes were formed. In the course of the following years, however, the number increased, as the parishes in cities usually became so large as a result of influxes that they were divided up and new parishes emerged. In addition, new parishes emerged in predominantly Catholic areas due to the influx of Protestants, the area of ​​which can occasionally extend to several places.

    Office for Community Service

    The Office for Community Service, founded in 1935 as the People's Missionary Office , is a supra-community central service facility of the regional church of Bavaria. The office has 37 employees (as of 2012). A wide variety of services and areas of responsibility, such as B .: Community building development, old people's home pastoral care, children's worship work, etc. a. centrally managed, materials prepared and prepared and made available to church employees (full-time and part-time employees, as well as volunteers). The Office for Community Service offers training and further education and advises the communities. The official seat is in Nuremberg.

    Beneficiary Foundation Association

    The Beneficiary Foundation has represented and administered the numerous beneficiary foundations in the area of ​​the regional church since 1935 .

    Church development service

    The Bavarian State Church took up a suggestion made by the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Uppsala in 1968 and the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany in the same year to use initially 2% and later 5% of the church tax revenue for development aid projects (the name customary at the time) . For this purpose, the Church Development Service (KED) of the Bavarian State Church (officially: "Church Development Service of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria") was founded in 1970 - similar to in other regional churches. In 1999, the KED was absorbed into the Evangelical Development Service (EED).

    Great personalities


    Further information and facts are available to the public in the ELKB regional church archive in Nuremberg.



    • Official handbook for the Protestant clergy of the Kingdom of Bavaria . Publishing house of the general Protestant Pfarrwittwen-Casse, Sulzbach 1821 ( digitized version ).
    • Hartmut Böttcher, Gerhard Grethlein, Werner Hofmann, Hans-Peter Huebner: Evangelical Church Law in Bavaria. Claudius, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-532-62166-5 .
    • Gerhard Müller ; Horst Weigelt; Wolfgang Zorn (Hrsg.): Handbook of the history of the Evangelical Church in Bavaria. Volume II: 1800-2000. EOS-Verlag, St. Ottilien 2000, ISBN 3-8306-7042-7 .
    • Axel Töllner: A question of race? The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, the Aryan Paragraph and the Bavarian parish families with Jewish ancestors in the “Third Reich” (= denomination and society. Contributions to contemporary history. Volume 36). W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-17-019692-6 .

    Hymn books

    The parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria have been singing or singing in the last few decades mainly from the following hymn books:

    • Hymnal for the entire Protestant community of the Kingdom of Baiern , Sulzbach; introduced by the approval of King Maximilian Joseph on December 26, 1810; later under the title "Hymnal for the Protestant Church of the Kingdom of Bavaria"
    • Hymnbook for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria , Nuremberg, 1854
    • Hymn book for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria , Ansbach; introduced by resolution of the regional synod of September 6, 1927 to April 1, 1928
    • Hymnbook for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria , so-called "transitional hymn book " with songs from the Evangelical Church Hymn book (EKG) , Ansbach, introduced by resolution of the regional synod of September 6, 1927 and the appendix by resolution of the regional synod of September 20, 1950
    • Evangelical church hymn book , edition for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Munich; introduced by resolution of the regional synod of May 3, 1957
    • Evangelical hymn book , edition for the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Bavaria and Thuringia, Munich and Weimar, introduced on the 1st of Advent 1994

    Church + art

    The Association for Christian Art in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria has been publishing the magazine Kirche + Kunst since 1909 .

    Web links

    Commons : Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. a b c Church membership figures as of December 31, 2018 (PDF) ekd.de. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
    2. Number of member churches , accessed on March 1, 2010.
    3. moenchsroth.de ( accessed September 8, 2016).
    4. Martin Elze: The Evangelical Lutheran Church. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001-2007; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 , pp. 482-494 and 1305 f., Here: p. 487.
    5. Hans-Peter Hübner: Evangelical Church (19th / 20th century). In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria . July 26, 2017, accessed March 10, 2018 .
    6. Witch Chase. A statement from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
    7. ^ Carsten Nicolaisen : Regional Synod. In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria . September 27, 2017, accessed March 10, 2018 .
    8. afg-elkb.de ( Memento from February 10, 2013 in the web archive archive.today )