Evangelical Church AB in Austria

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria , mostly abbreviated as Evangelical Church AB in Austria , is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Austria . The Augsburg Confession or Augsburg Confession of 1530 mentioned in the name is a fundamental confession of Lutheranism and serves to delimit the Evangelical Church of the Helvetic Confession, which is also represented in Austria . The constitution and the naming go back to the tolerance patent of 1781. Currently (as of 2019) the Lutheran congregations in Austria have a total of 271,296 members, which corresponds to around 3.0 percent of the total population (8,902,600 inhabitants).


16th and 17th centuries

Martin Luther's writings were reprinted in the Austrian part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation as early as the 1520s, especially in Vienna and Breslau. In 1524, Caspar Tauber, the first evangelical martyr in Austria, was executed. The Augsburg Religious Peace of 1555 granted freedom of religion in principle, but in practice only where the sovereign had introduced the Reformation. Despite several petitions from the Austrian aristocracy and the sovereign cities, the counter-reformation intensified in the hereditary lands.

Book burnings were systematically carried out from 1600 onwards ; the Lutheran documents had to be smuggled in from other parts of the empire. The residents were fined to attend Catholic worship services, which triggered several waves of emigration. After the Upper Austrian Peasants' War of 1626, the official class churchism practically ceased to exist. Protestant teaching was pushed underground; it was the time of secret Protestantism , of the Salzburg exiles and of the countrymen and transmigrants .

18th and 19th centuries

It was only through the patent of tolerance issued by Joseph II in October 1781 that it was possible to set up separate communities for the Evangelical Augsburg and Helvetic Confessions. The lower limit was 500 souls or 100 families. The houses of prayer were not allowed to have a tower. Between 1781 and 1785, 48 tolerance communities emerged in Austria. Communities from the very beginning included Ramsau am Dachstein , Bad Goisern , Gosau , Wels and Vienna . By the end of 1785, over 107,000 people had already "registered" as Evangelicals in what was then Cisleithanien .

In the 19th century, the Protestant Church in Austria could continue to build schools, churches and hospitals. From 1848 Protestant parishes had the right to keep registers . The Protestant patent was issued by Emperor Franz Joseph on April 8, 1861 . This law gave the Protestant Church relative legal equality for the first time. The structure of the church was defined in four stages: parish, senior, superintential and general parish.

20th century

After the collapse of the monarchy in 1918, the “old” Protestant church in Austria had to be divided among the successor states. For this reason, several churches still use the name Evangelical Church AB. From 1939 to 1945, the parishes were integrated into the German Evangelical Church due to the fall of independent Austria .

The General Synod A. u. HB passed a new church constitution in 1949. After the Second World War, 80,000 refugees were integrated into the Austrian church. In 1961, the Church received full legal freedom for the first time in the so-called Protestant Law (federal law on external legal relationships of the Evangelical Church). Some of the law has constitutional status. The ordination of women was allowed in the Evangelical Church AB in Austria after the Second World War. The blessing of same-sex couples in a church service is possible in the Evangelical Church in Austria.


There are areas with a high Lutheran-Protestant population in Burgenland (particularly Oberwart district ), in Central Carinthia , in the Styrian Ennstal and in the Salzkammergut .

Parishes with an evangelical majority are (2001 census):



Each of the nearly 200 communities selected one for a term of six years of Representatives . The pastors of the parishes belong to the parish council by virtue of their office as simple members. The tasks of the parish council include the election of the presbytery from among its members and the auditors as well as the approval of the budget and the accounts of the parish.

The presbytery is elected by the parish council, and the pastor automatically belongs to it. The task of the presbyters is, with the exception of the areas reserved for the parish council or the pastor's functionary, the administration of the parish, such as drawing up the budget and holding elections. The presbytery also elects representatives to the universal church.

The pastor functionary holds the spiritual direction of the community. Together with the curator (elected from the presbytery) he represents the community externally. The members of the parishes choose their pastor themselves. Most parishes have a pastor, only in larger municipalities there are several.

The lists of the parishes can be found in the individual superintendent's offices


The Evangelical Church AB consists of seven superintendents, which are largely based on the federal states of Austria:

The Vicariate Church in Hirschegg / Kleinwalsertal belongs as an exclave to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria (ELKB) , otherwise there are only ecumenical churches with the Reformed HB in Vorarlberg

Each superintendent is headed by a superintendent as spiritual director.

Universal church

The structure of the Evangelical Church AB is from the bottom up and according to presbyterial-synodal principles. Its central bodies or functionaries are the synod , the upper church council and the bishop or bishop.

  • The synod determines the theological guidelines of the church and has to approve the budgets and accounts of the individual communities.
  • The Oberkirchenrat , based in Vienna, heads the church, is its highest administrative body and represents it externally.
  • The Bishop is elected by the Synod AB with a two-thirds majority for a term of office of twelve years, unless the Synod AB decides to extend the term of office. Re-election is possible. An academic pastor training is a basic requirement. The official is responsible for the spiritual direction of the Evangelical Churches AB

Lutheran and Reformed Church

The Evangelical Church AB is together with the Evangelical Reformed Church (HB) part of the Evangelical Church AuHB in Austria . As a church, the umbrella organization and the two particular churches are legally recognized , while the Evangelical Church AuHB is a corporation under public law . Joint administrative matters are handled here. The two churches have a common constitution and manage religious instruction and church fees together.

The Lutheran Church (AB) in Austria has over 22 times as many members as the Reformed Church (HB).

Evangelical center

The headquarters of the administration is the Evangelical Church Office AB, located in the Evangelical Center in Gersthof (Severin-Schreiber-Gasse 1–3). This center has a long history: In 1958, the Evangelical Women's School acquired the so-called “Steinhaus”, a spacious private villa in the coveted cottage district of the Währing district , from private ownership. In 1970 the church office of the Evangelical Church AB erected a new building in the park of the women's school, which was connected to the old building in 2002 by an extension.

In this Evangelical Center there is also a location ("Campus Wien-Gersthof") of the Ecclesiastical Pedagogical University of Vienna / Krems for the training of Protestant religion teachers , as well as the Evangelical Preachers' Seminar and - since 2007 - the international seat of the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe .

Interdenominational and international cooperation

In addition, the church AuHB represents the two particular churches in the international World Council of Churches (World Council of Churches) .


In most parishes, parish letters are published regularly.

Other media work (epdÖ - Protestant Press Service , SAAT - Evangelical Newspaper for Austria , Radio and Television Office for ORF broadcasts) is carried out by the Evangelical Church AuHB

See also


  • Rudolf Leeb et al. a .: History of Christianity in Austria. From antiquity to the present. Uebereuter, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-8000-3914-1 (standard work with 60 pages of literature).
  • Gerhard May : The Protestant Church in Austria. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen u. a. 1962.
  • Gustav Reingrabner : Evangelicals in Austria. Exhibition catalog. Evangelical Press Association in Austria, Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-85073-675-X .
  • Gustav Reingrabner: Protestants in Austria. History and documentation. Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 1981, ISBN 3-205-07140-9 .
  • Harald Zimmermann (arrangement): The Protestant Church A. and H. B. in Austria. Herder, Vienna 1968.

Web links

Commons : Evangelical Church AB in Austria  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Evangelical Church publishes statistics for 2019. In: Kathpress . February 26, 2020, archived from the original on February 26, 2020 ; accessed on April 6, 2020 . Adrian Langer: Statistics Austria: Austria grows to almost 9 million inhabitants. In: mein district.at. February 12, 2020, accessed February 26, 2020 . Facts and figures. Evangelical Church in Austria, February 16, 2018, accessed on May 31, 2018 .

  2. ^ Peter Barton: Evangelical in Austria . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1987, ISBN 3-205-05096-7 , pp. 35-48 .
  3. ^ Peter Barton: Evangelical in Austria . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1987, ISBN 3-205-05096-7 , pp. 75-77 .
  4. ^ Peter Barton: Evangelical in Austria . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1987, ISBN 3-205-05096-7 , pp. 110-115 .
  5. ^ Peter Barton: Evangelical in Austria . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1987, ISBN 3-205-05096-7 , pp. 130-148 .
  6. ^ Peter Barton: Evangelical in Austria . Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1987, ISBN 3-205-05096-7 , pp. 184-187 .
  7. GGG.at: Evangelical Church welcomes the opening of marriage in Austria , December 6, 2017.
  8. Pastoral care for homosexuals (PDF document)
  9. Constitution of the Evangelical Church in Austria AuHB f, adopted by the General Synod on 17 May 2005, p. 21
  10. Constitution of the Evangelical Church AuHB in Austria , adopted by the General Synod on 17 May 2005, Article 89
  11. § 1. (1) and (2) I. Protestant Law 1961 , Stf. Federal Law Gazette No. 182/1961; Legally recognized churches within the meaning of Article 15 of the Basic State Law of December 21, 1867, RGBl. No. 142.
  12. ^ Upper Church Council: Evangelical Center
  13. List of Community of Protestant Churches in Europe , p. 2 ( Memento from June 22, 2014 in the web archive archive.today ), leuenberg.net
  14. ^ Member churches / Europe / Austria , World Council of Churches, oikoumene.org

Coordinates: 48 ° 13 '53 "  N , 16 ° 19' 53.1"  E