Evangelical Church of the Union

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Evangelical Church of the Union (EKU) was a federation of Protestant regional churches that existed from 1953 to 2003 and emerged from the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union (EKdapU). The EKU also saw itself as an independent church. That is why the EKU as a whole, like the individual regional churches united in it, was a member of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).

The seven member churches of the EKU were the Evangelical Church of Anhalt (from 1960), the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg , the Pomeranian Evangelical Church , the Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony , the Evangelical Church of Silesian Upper Lusatia , the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland and the Evangelical Church of Westphalia . On July 1, 2003, the EKU was merged with the Arnoldshain Conference to form the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK).

History and name change

On September 27, 1817 , the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III. a call for the unification (union) of the Reformed and Lutheran congregations into a "uniate" church . The driving force behind this, among others, was the insight gained from the experience of the Wars of Liberation and the Awakening that the previous demarcations between the Evangelical Reformed (here especially Huguenot) and Evangelical Lutheran Christians were out of date; the still existing different doctrinal concepts between Lutherans and Reformed people were considered to be insignificant. In the background there may have been the problem (which has existed since 1614) that the Prussian kings, as Reformed Christians, faced a Lutheran majority of the population. It was and remained unclear for a long time what legal character those of Friedrich Wilhelm III. the proclaimed Union should and could win. A joint management and administration for the two Protestant denominations in Prussia was quickly installed (a so-called administrative union). However, it was not possible to formulate a common commitment. In a few individual places there were also formal congregational associations of congregations of the Lutheran and Reformed denominations, which referred to themselves as "uniate" in terms of their confessional status.

In the course of history the name of the Prussian regional church changed several times: in 1821 it was simply called the Evangelical Church in Prussia . After the advent of various free churches in the middle of the 19th century - see especially the Old Lutheran Evangelical Lutheran Church in Prussia - she called herself to distinguish these from 1,845 Protestant country church in Prussia . In 1866 the territory of Prussia increased considerably. The Protestant regional churches ( Frankfurt (Main) , Hanover (Lutheran) , Hanover (reformed) , Hessen-Kassel , Nassau , Landeskirche Schleswig-Holstein ) in the new parts of the state ( Hanover , Hessen-Nassau , Schleswig-Holstein ) remained independent. Therefore, from 1875 onwards, the church in the parts of the country that had belonged to Prussia since 1815 officially bore the name Evangelical Church of the older provinces of Prussia . After the elimination of the sovereign church regiment in 1918, the church called itself from 1922 the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union (EKdapU). This included the old Prussian church provinces of Mark Brandenburg (with Berlin ), the State Synodal Association of the Free City of Danzig (1920–1940), the church area Danzig-West Prussia (from 1940), the State Synodal Association of the Memel area (1925–1939), the Uniate Evangelical Church in Polish Upper Silesia (1923–1937) with the status of a church province), East Prussia , Pomerania , Posen (until 1919), Posen-West Prussia (from 1923), Silesia , Saxony (Prov.) , Rhineland (with Hohenzollern 1899–1950), Westphalia and West Prussia (until 1920).

In the Third Reich, the common resistance during the church struggle in the Confessing Church against the German Christians who were loyal to Hitler shaped part of the Christians in the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union. Christians from the Reformed, Uniate and Lutheran German regional churches agreed to the Theological Declaration by Barmen (1934) - but it cannot be understood as a “Uniate Confession” because it has expressly not made this claim.

After the Second World War , the province of East Prussia and the parts of the former provinces of West Prussia and Posen that remained with the German Reich in 1919 were separated from Germany and placed under Polish administration. Furthermore, the areas of Brandenburg, Pomerania and Silesia were considerably reduced and the areas east of the Oder-Neisse line were also placed under Polish administration. Since then, all areas have been looked after by the Evangelical Augsburg Church in Poland and the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland .

The church leaderships of the six provinces remaining in Germany west of the Oder-Neisse line (the greater part of Brandenburg, the rest of Pomerania, the province of Saxony, the rest of Silesia, Rhineland and Westphalia) met in Treysa (today: Schwalmstadt ) in 1945 and implemented the Already in the time of the Second World War in the Confessing Church of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union, the plan to make the previous church provinces independent into regional churches. After a constitutional reform in 1951, they formed the Federation of Churches, which from 1953 on under the name Evangelical Church of the Union (EKU). Like its member churches, this joined the EKD. In 1960, the Evangelical Church of Anhalt also joined the EKU as the seventh church.

After working together in East and West Germany after the construction of the Wall became increasingly difficult, the EKU split into two independent areas in 1972. The eastern area included the five regional churches of Anhalt, Berlin-Brandenburg, Pomerania (former name: Greifswald), the ecclesiastical province of Saxony and Silesian Upper Lusatia (former name of Görlitz church area) and the western area included the two regional churches of Rhineland and Westphalia. After the reunification of the two German states in 1990, the two areas of the EKU were formally reunited on January 1, 1992.

On July 1, 2003, the basic order of the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) came into force. This ended the almost 200-year history of the Evangelical Church of the Union (EKU). A new history of cooperation between 14 regional churches began, which - like the EKU itself - were represented in the Arnoldshain Conference .

The ICE adopted the laws and regulations of the EKU. The tasks of the Union of Evangelical Churches previously applied in a comparable way to the Evangelical Church of the Union.

Leading bishops of the EKU

The EKU was headed by the EKU Council. The council chairman was the "leading bishop of the EKU". The following persons held this office:

1951–1957: President Heinrich Held , Rhineland
1957–1960: Provost Kurt Scharf , Berlin-Brandenburg
1960–1963: President Joachim Beckmann , Rhineland
1963–1969: President Ernst Wilm , Westphalia
1970–1972: Bishop Hans-Joachim Fränkel , Görlitz church area

Area West (1972–1991)

1972–1975: President Karl Immer , Rhineland
1975–1981: President Hans Thimme , Westphalia
1981–1987: President Gerhard Brandt , Rhineland
1987–1991: President Hans-Martin Linnemann , Westphalia

East area (1972–1991)

1972–1976: Bishop Horst Gienke , Greifswald
1976–1979: Bishop Werner Krusche , Province of Saxony
1979–1983: Church President Eberhard Natho , Anhalt
1984–1987: Bishop Gottfried Forck , Berlin-Brandenburg
1989–1991: Bishop Joachim Rogge , Görlitz church area

Reunified EKU (1992-2003)

1992–1993: Bishop Joachim Rogge , Silesian Upper Lusatia
1994–1996: President Peter Beier , Rhineland
1996–1998: Bishop Eduard Berger , Pomerania
1998–2000: Church President Helge Klassohn , Anhalt
2000–2003: President Manfred Sorg , Westphalia

Presidents of the church chancellery

1951: Bishop Otto Dibelius
1952 (1.1. – 30.9.): Lothar Kreyssig
1952–1972: Franz-Reinhold Hildebrandt

East area (1972–1991)

1972–1976: Reinhold Pietz
1972–1976: Joachim Rogge
1986 (April 16 - August 31): Christa Grengel
1986–1991: Friedrich Winter

Area West (1972–1991)

1972–1976: Martin Fischer
1976–1977: Walter Knaut
1978–1988: Peter Kraske
1988–1991: Werner Radatz

Reunified EKU (1992-2003)

1992–1995: Werner Radatz
1995–2003: Wilhelm Hüffmeier


  • Joachim Rogge: Evangelical Church of the Union. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie  10 (1982), pp. 677-683.
  • The history of the Evangelical Church of the Union. A manual . Edited on behalf of the Evangelical Church of the Union by J. FG Goeters and Joachim Rogge, Vol. 1–3, Leipzig 1992–1999.

Web links

Individual references, footnotes

  1. ^ Initially, the council chairman of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union, until in December 1953 the synodians deleted the word "Old Prussian" from the name.