Evangelical Church in the Rhineland

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Logo of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland
Map of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland
Basic data
Area : 26,571 km²
Leading clergyman: President Manfred Rekowski
Seat of the
regional church office:
Membership: EKD , KKR , CPKE , UEK , ÖRK
Church districts : 37
Parishes : 668
Parishioners: 2,453,400 (January 1, 2020)
Share of the
total population:
20.2% (January 1, 2019)
Official Website: www.ekir.de/

The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (EKIR), based in Düsseldorf, is one of 20 member churches ( regional churches ) of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and a member of the Conference of Churches on the Rhine , which since May 31, 2008 has been a regional group of the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe (CPCE) represents. Like all regional churches, it is a corporation under public law . It is after the Lutheran Hanover Lutheran Church is the second largest Lutheran Church in Germany and has about 2.45 million parishioners in 668 Parochial- and two institutional parishes (January 2020) . The EKIR is one of the united churches within the EKD and belongs to the Union of Evangelical Churches .

The regional church maintains an Evangelical Academy (seat: Bonn-Beuel).

Territory of the regional church

The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland covers the area of ​​the former Prussian Rhine Province within the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union . After the state of Prussia was dissolved after the Second World War , the Rhine Province became part of the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The eastern exclave of the Rhine province ( Wetzlar area ) had already been assigned to the province of Hessen-Nassau in 1932 and thus became part of the state of Hesse in 1945, but still belongs to the Rhineland in terms of church. The area of ​​the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland thus comprises the following areas in four countries :


Before 1800, the area of ​​the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland belonged to a large number of rulers who changed their borders several times in the course of history. The electoral princes of Cologne , Trier and the Palatinate as well as the dukes of Jülich-Kleve-Berg and Palatinate-Zweibrücken had the largest share in the area . Aachen , Cologne and Wetzlar were imperial cities during the Reformation .

Beginnings of the Reformation

Even before the Reformation , there were communities in many places in the Rhineland, such as the Beguines and Begarden or the Brothers of Common Life , who were critical of the doctrine of grace of the Roman Catholic Church and the authority of the Pope . The forerunners of the Reformation on the Lower Rhine include Johannes Pupper (around 1400–1475) from Goch or Johann Wessel called von Gansfort (1419–1489). Spiritual currents that created an open climate for the ideas of the Reformation were the Devotio moderna , scholastic nominalism and humanism .

Even before the 95 theses were posted , Martin Luther (1483–1546) had been in Cologne in April / May 1512 as the delegate of his order to the provincial chapter of the Augustinian Hermits . In 1520, Luther's writings were publicly burned in Cologne's cathedral courtyard by the Nuncio Cardinal Hieronymus Aleander (1480–1542).

But Luther also found supporters in western Germany early on. Rhenish students were enrolled in Wittenberg from 1520. Already at the beginning of the 1520s, Johann Campanus († around 1575) in Jülich , Johann Klopreis (around 1500–1536) and Adolf Clarenbach (around 1497–1529) on the Lower Rhine , Heinrich Himmel (1486–1529), Gerhard Westerburg († 1558) and Theodor Fabricius (1501–1570) in Cologne or Nikolaus Faber († 1567) in Meisenheim the Protestant teaching. In 1523 the Augustinian Johannes van Esschen , who presumably came from Essen , was burned together with Hendrik Vos in Brussels for preaching the Reformation. The Cistercian Gottschalk Moncordius , who probably represented Reformation views, was summoned to appear before the clerical court in Cologne in 1524/25. Because of his lectures on the Pauline letters, he was dismissed from Heisterbach Abbey at the instigation of the inquisitor Arnold von Tongern († 1540) "as head of the Lutheran party" and deprived of his paternal inheritance.

The Ebernburg after Conrad Faber von Kreuznach , 1523

Important Rhenish humanists such as Hermann von Neuenahr (1492–1530), Jakob Sobius (1493–1527 / 28), Johannes Caesarius (1468–1550), Konrad Heresbach (1496–1576) or Petrus Medmann (1507–1584) corresponded with Luther and Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560) in Wittenberg or Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575) in Zurich and were partly known to them personally.

Some smaller rulers turned to the Reformation very early on. Franz von Sickingen (1481–1523), the Electoral Palatinate bailiff in Kreuznach , had the Lord's Supper "in both forms" distributed in 1522 by the castle chaplain Johannes Oekolampad (1482–1531) at his Ebernburg castle . Ulrich von Hutten (1488–1523), Martin Bucer (1491–1551), Johann Schwebel (1490–1540) and Kaspar Hedio (1494–1552) were accepted into his "Herberge der Gerechtigkeit" (Hutten), Caspar Aquila (1488– 1560) became the preceptor of his sons. Norheim and Traisen (church district on Nahe and Glan) also belonged to Sickingen's rule .

From the Diet of Speyer in 1526 to the Peace of Augsburg in 1555

Memorial stone for Adolf Clarenbach and Peter Fliesteden on the Melaten cemetery

After the Diet of Speyer of 1526, which relaxed the provisions of the Edict of Worms of 1521, the Landgraviate of Hesse , to which Sankt Goar , Rhens , Werlau and Pfalzfeld belonged in the Lower County of Katzenelnbogen (communities in the church district of Koblenz), ruled the Wetterauer Grafenvereins (parishes in the parish of Wetzlar) and the imperial rule Wickrath of Messrs. Quadt (parishes in the parishes of Gladbach-Neuss and Jülich) initiated the Reformation. Adam Krafft (1493–1558) worked as a reformer in the Hessian areas on the Middle Rhine and around Wetzlar .

On the trip to the Marburg Religious Discussion in 1529, the Zurich reformer Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) and Martin Bucer stopped in Meisenheim and St. Goar. On September 28, 1529, Adolf Clarenbach and Peter Fliesteden († 1529) were burned as Lutheran heretics in the Melaten cemetery in Cologne .

In the county of Veldenz and in the Duchy of Veldenz-Pfalz-Zweibrücken , in which Johann Schwebel had been appointed court preacher in 1523 and Nikolaus Faber, who had studied in Wittenberg, had been serving the Lord's Supper in Meisenheim since Whitsun 1526, the Reformation finally introduced in 1533 (parishes in the church districts of Trier, Simmern-Trarbach, An Nahe and Glan and Obere Nahe).

Only the Landgraviate of Hesse (from 1531) and the County of Nassau-Weilburg (parishes in the parish of Wetzlar) (from 1537) took part in the Protestant Schmalkaldic Confederation . The Electoral Palatinate and the United Duchies of Jülich-Kleve-Berg took on an intermediary position and were close to the federal government. The intention of Archbishop Hermann von Wied (1477–1552; reigned 1515–1547) to convert Kurköln into a secular Protestant duchy was only half-heartedly supported by the Schmalkaldic League.

From 1541 the Wittelsbachers of the Electoral Palatinate reformed their "Viertälergebiet" around Bacharach on the Middle Rhine (communities in the Koblenz church district). Wetzlar and Wesel became Protestant in 1542. The Reformation was introduced in the county of Wied between 1542 and 1556 (parishes in the church districts of Altenkirchen and Wied). In 1543, the Reformation prevailed in the former imperial city of Duisburg , which was pledged to Kleve . Around 1543 the county of Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck became Protestant (until 1650; parishes in the parish of Gladbach-Neuss). A Protestant congregation was established in Aachen in 1544, but it was subsequently subjected to reprisals until all Protestants were expelled in 1614. In 1546/47 the Reformation gained a foothold in the rule of Meiderich of Mr. Quadt zu Wickrath (parishes in the church district of Duisburg). Around 1548 the Wild and Rhine County and the Dhaun rule became Protestant (parishes in the church districts of Simmern-Trarbach, An Nahe and Glan and Obere Nahe). The Reformation found its way into the Oberwinter condominium in Jülich-Simmern under the influence of the fiefdoms Quadt and Manderscheid in 1549. From 1552 the Reformation was introduced in the Gimborn rule (parishes in the parish on the Agger). The county of Solms-Braunfels , whose Count Philipp (1494–1581, ruled 1547) had already supported Protestant pastors in a conflict against the Trier elector in 1549, followed in 1554 (parishes in the Braunfels parish). At this time, Count Arnold II of Bentheim-Steinfurt  a. L. (1497–1553) introduced the Reformation in his rule of Wevelinghoven (parish in the parish of Gladbach-Neuss).

After the Peace of Augsburg in 1555

Hermann von Neuenahr , who introduced the Reformation in the county of Moers, statue in Krefeld next to the main portal of the old church

After the Augsburg Imperial and Religious Peace of 1555, Frederick the Pious (from 1559 Elector Palatinate ), to whom 3/5 belonged to the Vordere Grafschaft Sponheim , introduced Protestantism in 1557 (parishes in the church districts of An Nahe and Glan and Simmern-Trarbach) . However, there was a condominium with the Margraviate of Baden-Baden , which had been Catholic since 1569 and 1622 , which held a 2/5 stake in the county and also had an influence on denominational relationships. From 1685 the Electoral Palatinate was ruled by a Catholic line ( Pfalz-Neuburg ); Baden-Baden, on the other hand, fell to the Protestant line of Baden-Durlach in 1771 .

The rear county of Sponheim was also a condominium of the Count Palatine near Rhine (initially Palatinate-Simmern , but 1559 Duchy Palatinate-Zweibrücken , from 1569 Palatinate-Birkenfeld ) and the Margraves of Baden (mostly from the Baden-Baden line). Although nominally both sovereigns had the same rights, as a rule the count palatine could assert themselves in religious matters. The Reformation was introduced in the entire county in 1557 by Frederick the Pious. When Friedrich became elector of the Palatinate in 1559, the Palatinate share in the rear county of Sponheim was transferred to the Pfalz-Zweibrücken line and later Palatinate-Birkenfeld, so that the congregations in the back of Sponheim remained Lutheran (congregations in the church districts of Simmern-Trarbach, Obere Nahe, Trier and Koblenz).

Around 1557 Gotthardt von Mirlaer-Milendonk († 1575/79) reformed the reign of Frohnenbruch-Hoerstgen (parishes in the parish of Moers). The reformation of the County of Manderscheid-Schleiden , to which the County of Virneburg also belonged at the time , (parishes in the church districts of Aachen, Cologne-South, Koblenz and Trier) ended after the death of Count Dietrich VI. (1560-1593). The county of Moers became Protestant in 1560 (parishes in the church districts of Moers, Krefeld-Viersen and Cologne-Nord), in 1561 the county of Sayn (parishes in the church districts of Altenkirchen and Koblenz) and the rule Quadt - Landskron (parishes in the church districts of Bad Godesberg-Voreifel and Koblenz). 1563 the city was food against the resistance of the pin food Protestant, the same year the imperial rule Homburg (municipalities in the church district at the Agger). In the Broich rule , the Reformation asserted itself under the Counts of Daun-Falkenstein from 1552/54 to 1591 (parishes in the An der Ruhr church district). In 1566/67 the rule Werth of the county Pallandt-Culemborg (parishes in the parish of Wesel) was reformed, around 1571 the rule of Hardenberg der Bernsau (parishes in the parish of Niederberg).

The attempt to introduce the evangelical confession in the county of Nassau-Weilburg-Saarbrücken in 1574 (parishes in the church districts Saar-West and Saar-Ost) was reversed after the French occupation in 1680 by a recatholicization under Louis XIV (1638-1715) ; Among the old federal states, Saarland is still the region with the clearest diaspora situation for the Protestant church. There were multiple changes of denomination in the Reichsherrschaft Wildenburg (parishes in the parish of An der Agger).

In 1609 and 1614 ( Treaty of Xanten ) the Duchy of Kleve and the County of Mark (parishes in the church districts of Oberhausen, Essen, Wuppertal and An der Agger) fell to the Protestant Duchy of Brandenburg-Prussia .

During the Eighty Years 'War (1568–1648) and the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), in the Dutch War (1672–1679), in the Reunion War (1683–1684) and in the Palatinate War of Succession (1688–1697) large parts of the Rhineland were devastated. Especially in the Rhenish Oberland, regions and municipalities often changed occupiers and thus confession several times. In the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and in the religious negotiations between Brandenburg-Prussia and Palatinate-Neuburg (secondary religious recession in the Treaty of Kleve 1666; comparison of religions by Cölln 1672), with certain exceptions, the ownership status of the normal year was established for the ownership of churches and schools and thus the public practice of religion Established in 1624 (1609 for the Duchy of Kleve).

During these wars, which were often understood as religious wars, many Dutch, Walloon and French Protestants immigrated to the Rhineland and founded independent refugee communities here - e . B. in Aachen, Burtscheid, Wesel, Emmerich am Rhein, Kleve, Rees, Büderich, Duisburg, Cologne, Ludweiler , Wetzlar - some of which continued into the early 19th century.

In 1655, Kurbrandenburg founded the Old University of Duisburg (transferred to the University of Bonn in 1818 ), where numerous Reformed theologians from the Rhineland studied, who otherwise often attended the neighboring high school in Herborn or Dutch universities. A preferred university for the Rhenish Lutherans was the University of Strasbourg, which emerged from an academy in 1621 .

Development in the Catholic Territories of the Old Kingdom

Hermann von Wied, initiator of the failed Cologne Reformation

In some of the territories of the Rhineland that remained Catholic, Protestant communities were more or less tolerated. On February 19, 1527, the " Düsseldorf Religious Discussion " between Friedrich Myconius (Mecum) (1490–1546) and the Franciscan observant Johann Heller from Korbach took place in Düsseldorf in the Duchy of Berg , moderated by the Electoral Saxon Council Anarg zu Wildenfels († 1539) probably Konrad Heresbach and other ducal councilors were present. Mecumstraße in Düsseldorf was named after Myconius in memory of the first Protestant sermon in the city. The Illustre grammar school founded by Wilhelm V in Düsseldorf in 1545 ( transferred to the Jesuits in 1620 , today: Görres grammar school ) prepared many future Protestant Rhenish pastors for their studies under its first rector Johannes Monheim (1509–1564) and his successors.

Occasionally Protestant parishes also emerged around 1530/40 in the Duchy of Jülich (parishes in the church districts of Jülich and Cologne-South), around 1540/50 in the Duchy of Kleve (parishes in the church districts of Wesel, Kleve, Dinslaken and Duisburg), around 1550 in Werden (Parishes in the church districts of Essen, An der Ruhr and Moers), around 1550/60 in the Duchy of Berg (parishes in the church districts of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf-Mettmann, Wuppertal, Niederberg, An der Ruhr, Lennep, Solingen, Cologne-Rechtsrheinisch, An Sieg and Rhine) and the rule of Schöller (church district Niederberg) or around 1555/60 under the bailiwick of Jülich in the rule of Breisig of the Essen monastery (communities in the church district of Koblenz).

In particular, the administration of the United Duchies of Jülich-Kleve-Berg was under the dukes Johann called the Peaceful (1490–1539) and Wilhelm V called the Rich (1516–1592) humanistic - Erasmic balancing minds; In 1532 and 1533 (Old Believer) church ordinances were introduced there, and Philipp Melanchthon was involved in drafting them. Duke Wilhelm V himself celebrated the Lord's Supper from 1543 to 1570 in "both guises", and his Chancellor Johann Ghogreff (around 1499–1554) wanted to allow the pastors to do so in 1548. In 1564, Duke Wilhelm V commissioned some evangelical, Roman Catholic and Erasmus-minded councils under the leadership of Georg Cassander (1513–1566) to jointly prepare a church reform. From January 12 to 21, 1567, at the invitation of Wilhelm V, a major religious conference was held in Düsseldorf, chaired by Wilhelm Ketteler (1512–1582), in which 28 Roman Catholic, Erasmi, Lutheran and Reformed politicians and theologians took part . Delegates from Dutch refugee communities laid a basis for the church order of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands and for the introduction of presbyterial - synodal structures, which also radiated into the German communities in the duchies of Jülich-Kleve-Berg at the Wesel Convention in 1568 . This tolerant phase ended with the beginning of the governorship of Duke Alba (1507–1582) in the neighboring Spanish Netherlands in 1567 and the accession of Duke Johann Wilhelm von Jülich-Kleve-Berg (1562–1609, co-regent since 1586).

Under the archbishops Hermann V. von Wied (1477–1552) and Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg-Trauchburg (1547–1601) failed 1542 to 1547 (with the help of Philipp Melanchton and Martin Bucer) and 1582 to 1589 two attempts to reformation in the electorate To introduce Cologne. The attempt by Caspar Olevian (1536–1587) to found a Protestant congregation in Trier in 1559 was stopped by the local archbishop and elector. It was not until 1783/84 that the last elector of Trier, Clemens Wenzeslaus of Saxony, issued a very limited edict of tolerance for Protestants “in all places where a real benefit for the trade is to be hoped after preliminary investigation”.

Evangelical communities in Catholic territories on the Lower Rhine from the 16th to the 18th centuries were often subjected to oppression, were not allowed to practice their religion in public, had to organize themselves secretly and referred to themselves as "communities under the cross". Your mark was based on Rev 8,6  EU ; 14.6f EU a . a. a trumpet angel (" Geusen -Daniel") as a weather vane.

Jülich-Klevischer succession dispute and religious comparisons between Pfalz-Neuburg and Brandenburg-Prussia

Evangelical Court Church in Lövenich , 1683

When Johann Wilhelm, the last Duke of Jülich-Kleve-Berg, died childless in 1609, these duchies were ruled for a short time by Protestant princes: During the Jülich-Klevian succession dispute, the Lutheran Elector Johann Sigismund of Brandenburg (1572-1620) came to an agreement or his brother and governor, reformed since Pentecost 1610, in Düsseldorf, Margrave Ernst of Brandenburg (1583–1613) and the Lutheran Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg (1578–1653) in the Dortmund recession of 1609 to administer the disputed territories jointly for the time being . During this period, the First Reformed General Synod took place in September 1610 in the Salvator Church in Duisburg and the first Lutheran Provincial Synods in the Duchies of Jülich, Kleve, Berg and the County of Mark in 1612 in Jülich, Dinslaken and Unna . The Treaty of Xanten in 1614 then led to the division of the territories between Pfalz-Neuburg and Brandenburg-Prussia. The authorities in Kleve and Mark had been reformed to Calvinism with the conversion of Elector Johann Sigismund on Christmas Day 1613 , Count Palatine Wolfgang Wilhelm in Jülich-Berg converted secretly to Catholicism in 1613 and publicly in 1614 .

In the religious comparisons between Brandenburg-Prussia and Palatinate-Neuburg in 1666 and 1672, the evangelicals in Jülich-Berg were granted religious practice and civil equality. Both states recognized each other in the religious recess of Cölln in 1672 ( ratified only in 1683 ) as patrons of each other's denominations in the other territory. Disputes between the Catholic and Protestant camps were negotiated at religious conferences in Neuss in 1683 and Rheinberg in 1697. However, the Protestant creed was only tolerated in Jülich-Berg; Protestant churches, for example, were not allowed to be built on public traffic areas, but only as an inconspicuous house church or in backyards as a court church .

Rijswijker Clause and Electoral Palatinate Declaration of Religion

In the Electoral Palatinate, under a Catholic regent since 1685, the Reformed and Lutheran Churches were organized consistorially and subordinate to the administration in Heidelberg and Düsseldorf. After the Peace of Rijswijk in 1697, Elector Johann Wilhelm ("Jan Wellem") (1658–1716) tried to expand the position of the Catholic Church on the basis of the so-called " Rijswijk Clause " compared to 1648 or the normal year 1624. In 1705, however, a comparison was made with the Electoral Palatinate Declaration of Religion about the religious system after King Friedrich Wilhelm I in Prussia (1657–1713) had instructed his governments in Halberstadt, Magdeburg and Minden to include Catholic goods, inclines and pensions there as well as those of the Reformed in the Electoral Palatinate.

Establishment of Protestant congregations while belonging to the First French Republic

The electorates of Cologne, Trier and Mainz ( Bingerbrück , hamlets near Bingen and Trechtingshausen ), the imperial abbeys Kornelimünster , Burtscheid , remained almost purely Catholic until the conquest by the First French Republic in 1792/94 and until the Peace of Lunéville in 1801 . Thorn (which belonged to Übach ), Stablo-Malmedy , St. Maximin (Trier) , St. Michael ( Siegburg ), Echternach (which belonged to Dreis ), the Elten , Sterkrade (Klevian sovereignty), Saarn (within the Broich rule) and Fraulautern , the Deutschordensballei Koblenz (this included the direct imperial rule Elsen near Grevenbroich), the part of Austrian funds of the Duchy of Geldern ( Elmpt , Niederkrüchten , Wegberg ), the Spanish and Austrian Netherlands ( Alsdorf , Herzogenrath , Merkstein , Rimburg , Scherpenseel , Rurdorf , Welz and the Brabant enclaves around Kerpen and Lommersum ) and the Duchy of Luxembourg (areas around Bitburg , Neuerburg , Kro nenburg , dependent county Schleiden ), the electoral Cologne Vest Recklinghausen ( Osterfeld , today municipality of Oberhausen), the Duchy of Lorraine (area around Saarlouis; French since 1679 ), some smaller aristocratic rule and the free imperial cities of Aachen and Cologne. Only in the city of Cologne was there a small Protestant minority exposed to many reprisals, particularly due to trade and refugees from the Netherlands during the Eighty Years' War.

In these areas it was possible for the first time in the French period to found legal Protestant parishes based on the Organic Articles of 1802 (parishes in the parishes of Aachen, Cologne-Mitte, Trier, Koblenz, Krefeld-Viersen, Kleve, Leverkusen, Gladbach-Neuss, Bonn, Bad Godesberg-Voreifel, Saar-West etc.). In the area of ​​today's Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, the Roman Catholic Church still has around twice as many members as the Evangelical Regional Church.

The Protestant congregations, which were newly founded in the areas on the left bank of the Rhine annexed by France, had to assign themselves to a reformed or “Augsburg” (Lutheran) consistorial association in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Articles, but understood themselves from the beginning as unified Protestants. In the Arrondissement Simmern of the Département de Rhin-et-Moselle (Rhine and Moselle), the Reformed and Lutheran inspections were already combined in 1802 to form a joint consistory, the "Protestant Council of Churches" (Simmern Union). In the neighboring Département du Mont-Tonnerre (Donnersberg) south of the Nahe, almost 100 pastors signed a petition in 1802 calling for an administrative union, including pastors from the canton of Meisenheim in the Saardepartement near the border .

Confession stands before the Congress of Vienna

Side by side: Old Reformed Church (front) and Old Lutheran Church at Kolk , Wuppertal-Elberfeld

In the course of history, the congregations in territories under Protestant rule have often changed their denomination status between the Reformed and the Lutheran confession, sometimes several times. At the end of the French era, the internal evangelical confessional fragmentation in the Rhineland was roughly as follows:

  • Reformed or Lutheran were the parishes in the area of ​​the Grand Duchy of Berg , the former Duchies of Jülich, Kleve, Pfalz-Zweibrücken and Pfalz-Simmern and the former counties of Sayn-Altenkirchen andvorsponheim; mostly the proportion of Reformed congregations clearly predominated. In many places there were two Protestant congregations of different denominations with overlapping parochial areas (including in Düsseldorf , Kaiserswerth , Ratingen , Wesel, Emmerich , Ringenberg , Rees , Kleve , Dinslaken , Isselburg , Schermbeck , Duisburg, Velbert , Heiligenhaus , Mettmann , Elberfeld , Barmen , Cronenberg , Solingen , Hückeswagen , Düren , Mülheim am Rhein, Jülich, Bendorf , Altenkirchen , Almersbach , Daaden , Hamm , Kreuznach , today only in Ronsdorf and Radevormwald ).
  • The communities in the area of ​​the former Electoral Palatinate Viertälergebiet on the Middle Rhine, the former counties of Moers, Wied, Solms-Braunfels and the former lordships of Broich, Homburg, Werth and Oberwinter were reformed. In Moers, Krefeld, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Bacharach and Neuwied there were small Lutheran congregations alongside the larger Reformed ones.
  • The communities in the area of ​​the former counties Pfalz-Veldenz, Hintersponheim, Wild and Rheingrafschaft, Nassau-Saarbrücken, Mark, the former Hessian areas around St. Goar and Wetzlar, the former dominions of Gimborn, Breisig and the cities of Essen and Wetzlar were Lutheran . In Essen, Wetzlar, St. Goar, Saarbrücken and Ludweiler there were small Reformed congregations alongside the larger Lutheran ones.
  • The communities newly founded during the time of belonging to France and then in the former Catholic territories on the left bank of the Rhine (Electorates of Trier, Cologne, Austrian Netherlands , Duchies of Lorraine and Luxembourg, imperial cities of Aachen, Cologne, etc.) or on the right bank of the Rhine (Grand Duchy of Berg) were also united if the church union could not be formalized until later (e.g. Cologne 1801/08/26, Aachen 1802/37, Koblenz 1803/17, Neuss 1804/05/08, Geldern 1808 (amalgamation of a reformed and a Lutheran remainder) , Bonn 1816, Trier 1816/17, Mayen 1822, Siegburg 1829).

From the Congress of Vienna to the First World War

Equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm III. of Prussia on the Cologne Heumarkt

After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the two Prussian provinces of Jülich-Kleve-Berg (capital Cologne) and the Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine (capital Koblenz) were formed in the area of ​​today's Evangelical Church in the Rhineland . Until 1816, Kleve on the right bank of the Rhine and the New Prussian counties of Essen and Werden were subordinate to the Westphalian General Government between Weser and Rhine in Münster , while Siegerland and Wittgensteiner Land were still assigned to the administration in Koblenz until the beginning of 1817.

In those years the ecclesiastical administrative structures of the Rhine Province and its two predecessor provinces also emerged. In Düsseldorf a provisional consistory was formed as early as 1814, which in 1815 became the senior consistory for the province of Jülich-Kleve-Berg. On April 23, 1816 it was moved to Cologne. A senior consistory was set up in Koblenz in 1815 for the province of the Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine. The Prussian Protestant garrison communities in the federal fortresses of Luxemburg (until 1867) and Mainz were also assigned to the Koblenz consistory . In 1822 the provinces of Jülich-Kleve-Berg and the Grand Duchy of Lower Rhine were united to form the Rhine province (capital Koblenz).

Presumably in allusion to the prevailing uniform color of the Prussian Army , Protestants in areas of the southern Rhineland with a predominantly Catholic population are still sometimes referred to as "Blauköpp".

As in all other Prussian provinces, the “head of the church” or both church provinces was the respective king of Prussia as “ summus episcopus ”. On October 9, 1817, King Friedrich Wilhelm III. von Prussia (1770–1840) on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the attack of the 95 theses to a union of the Lutheran and the Reformed creed. The appeal for union was written by the court preacher Ruleman Friedrich Eylert (1770-1852): In "the unhappy sectarian spirit of the time, insurmountable difficulties" should be "under the influence of a better spirit, which removes the unessential, and the main thing in Christianity, in which both confessions are one, holds ", overcome and thus a" truly religious union of the two Protestant churches, which are only separated by external differences ". In many congregations in the Rhineland, the call for union was enthusiastically taken up in 1817, and Reformed and Lutheran congregations united to form unions. In Saarland, the " Saarbrücker Union " came from October 24, 1815, when King Friedrich Wilhelm III called for a union. even before. After a Prussian cabinet order published in January / February 1817 had already allowed the formation of joint synods on May 27, 1816, it was decided in February 1817 to form a joint synod in the Kreuznach district. In Gummersbach , too , the first united district synod took place on August 27, 1817, before the call for union. In many regions, the previous confessional congregations also remained.

The regional church administration of the Reformed, Lutheran and Uniate congregations, however, was brought together even with different denominations, so that in the following period a unified church emerged within the State of Prussia, the Evangelical Church in Prussia , which changed its name several times in the following decades. This church included the following church provinces : Brandenburg (with Berlin ), East Prussia , Pomerania , Posen , Rhineland (from 1899 with the Hohenzollern Lands ), Saxony , Silesia , Westphalia and West Prussia .

Seal mark of the Consistory of the Rhine Province of Koblenz

Initially, there were two provincial church authorities in the Rhineland (in Cologne and Koblenz). When the two provinces were united to form the Rhine Province in 1822 , four years later, on February 16, 1826, a unified ecclesiastical administrative authority, the Consistory of the Rhine Province in Koblenz, was established. In 1835 the Principality of Lichtenberg was handed over to Prussia as the St. Wendel district of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha and then also ecclesiastically incorporated into the Church Province of Rhineland ; today the parishes belong to the church districts of Obere Nahe and Saar-Ost.

This and the ecclesiastical province of Westphalia received in 1835 - and thus as the first in the Evangelical Church in Prussia - a church order that strengthened the rights and powers of the presbyteries and synods. After Old Lutherans had founded the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Prussia , the Evangelical Church in Prussia strengthened its self-image as a state church and from 1845 called itself "Evangelical Church in Prussia". For the other church provinces, the Prussian Prime Minister Bismarck did not get them to catch up until 1874.

In 1850, an Evangelical Upper Church Council (EOK) called the "Upper Consistory" was established in Berlin as the highest church authority for the Evangelical Church in Prussia . In 1866 Prussia annexed several states. However, the newly acquired provinces retained their own church administrations and were not subordinated to the EOK in Berlin. The only exception was the area of ​​the Oberamt Meisenheim , which was incorporated into the church province of Rhineland; the parishes today belong to the church districts An Nahe and Glan and Obere Nahe. From 1875 onwards, the church was called the “ Evangelical Regional Church of the Older Provinces of Prussia ”. In the Hohenzollern Lands , which were annexed to Prussia in 1850 , Protestant parishes emerged in the following years, which from 1889 formed their own church district. He did not belong to any ecclesiastical province and was administratively placed under the supervision of the Consistory of the Rhine Province.

In 1880 the following church districts belonged to the Rhine Province, which were also called district communities or synods in some documents: Aachen , the An der Agger , Altenkirchen , Braunfels , Cleve , Coblenz , Synod Creuznach , Duisburg , Düsseldorf , Jülich , Lennep , Meisenheim , Mörs , Mülheim am Rhine , Niederberg , An der Ruhr , Saarbrücken , Simmern , Sobernheim , Solingen , Trarbach , Trier , St. Wendel , Wesel , Wetzlar and Wied . 576 pastors and assistant pastors looked after 989,469 believers.

Reorganization after the end of the sovereign church regiment

“Yes-Sayer and No-Sayer”; Sculpture by Ulle Hees (1941–2012) in Wuppertal to commemorate the Barmen Theological Declaration

After the First World War the King of Prussia had to abdicate, so that the sovereign church regiment fell away. As a result of the assignment of the Eupen and Malmedy districts to Belgium in the Treaty of Versailles in 1920 , the Protestant parishes of Eupen , Moresnet , Malmedy and Sankt Vith were spun off on October 1, 1922 from the Association of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union and the Aachen Church District of the Rhineland Church Province (temporarily relegated between 1940 and 1945) and member of the United Protestant Church of Belgium .

The Prussian regional church adopted a new church order in 1922 and from then on called itself the "Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union" (APU or EKapU). The name expressed the self-image of the renewed church. After the separation of religion and state through the Weimar Constitution , the old Prussian church no longer saw itself as a state church , the state name Prussia was also omitted, instead the new name referred to the Old Prussian Union of Lutherans and Reformed, a confessional event in 1817 .

The internal constitution was also democratized, the previously leading EOK became the executive body, while the “General Synod”, founded in 1846 and largely elected by lay people from 1922, now elected the newly created “Church Senate”, which led the entire Church, each under the board of the elected "Praeses" of the General Synod. From 1922 the church provinces were subordinate to the “Provincial Church Councils” elected by the “Provincial Synods”, to which the formerly influential consistories, headed by superintendents, were now subordinated as executive organs.

The area of ​​the Rhine Province changed due to municipal reorganizations in the 1920s: in 1922 Langerfeld and Nachbarebreck came from the Westphalian district of Schwelm zu Barmen (from 1929 Wuppertal ). In 1926 the Königssteele office (with Eiberg , Horst and Freisenbruch ) was incorporated from the Westphalian district of Hattingen to Steele (from 1929 Essen ). Conversely, the civil parish of Rotthausen from the Essen district was incorporated into the city of Gelsenkirchen in 1924 . These communal area changes were also implemented in the church area in 1933 through an area swap between the church province of Westphalia and the church province of Rhineland.

In the church elections imposed on July 23, 1933, German Christians won a majority in the general synod, in the Rhenish provincial synod and all other provincial synods except the Westphalian one. The predominantly German-Christian synodals largely repealed the presbyterial and synodal order. The ecclesiastical province of Rhineland became a so-called destroyed church . From May 29 to 31, 1934, the First Confessional Synod of the Confessing Church took place in Wuppertal- Barmen , where the “ Barmen Theological Declaration ” was adopted.

On October 1, 1934, the Consistory of the Rhine Province moved from Koblenz to Düsseldorf . Also in 1934, the Evangelical Church of the Oldenburg region of Birkenfeld joined the Rhenish Provincial Church as a district community. There had been considerations about this for a long time, as the financial situation of this miniature regional church - it consisted of only 17 parishes - was extremely precarious. The area now formed the Birkenfeld parish , which in 2010 merged with the eastern parts of the St. Wendel parish in the Obere Nahe parish . It was only three years later that the Birkenfeld district, which had previously belonged to the state of Oldenburg, was incorporated into the Rhine province as the Birkenfeld district through the Greater Hamburg Act .

After the Second World War

After the Second World War and after the dissolution of the State of Prussia in 1947, the six remaining old Prussian church provinces became independent regional churches. The Rhenish provincial church received a new constitution on November 12, 1948 and has since called itself the "Evangelical Church in the Rhineland". The consistory became the state church office. The regional churches that emerged from the old Prussian church provinces remained members of the "Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union", which was thus transformed into a church federation. The EOK was renamed the church chancellery in 1951. In December 1953, pressure from the GDR Council of Ministers (especially Interior Minister Karl Steinhoff ) had to delete the term Prussia from the church name. This is how the “ Evangelical Church of the Union ” (abbr. EKU) came into being as its successor, which until its dissolution in 2003 also included the “Evangelical Church in the Rhineland” as a member.

The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland is a member of the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) , in which the EKU is absorbed, the Evangelical Church in Germany and the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe .

The Hohenzollern parish was incorporated into the Württemberg regional church on April 1, 1950 , after it had already taken over the administration of the Rhenish church in 1945. The previous service order was retained.

The parish of Osterfeld came in 1954 from the Evangelical Church in Westphalia to the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland in the parish of Oberhausen, after the previously Westphalian city district of Osterfeld (excluding the Vonderorts district) had already been incorporated into the Rhine Province in 1929. The parish of Kinzenbach was spun off from the Wetzlar parish of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland to the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau in 1968 after a municipal reorganization with the change to the district of Gießen . In 2000 the Brambecke residential area was reclassified from the Westphalian parish of Schwelm to the Rhenish parish of Beyenburg .

In 1931, Ilse Jonas was the first vicarary to serve the word and sacrament in the homesteads in Cologne-Riehl . In 1962 the office of “pastor” was created, but it was only open to unmarried women. Since 1975 women and men have been given equal rights in the pastoral ministry.

In 1990 EKIR had 3.27 million members; At the end of 2010 there were 2.82 million; At the end of 2014 there were 2.66 million; (January 1, 2015) In 2030 it will probably be 2 million.

In 2010, the EKIR received a church tax of 559 million euros . In 1992 it was 623 million euros (which at that time also had higher purchasing power than it does today).

In 2011 the EKiR received 570 million euros; In 2012 it should be 568 million. In 2011 there was a budget deficit of 8.4 million euros; the EKiR wants to bring its deficit to zero in ten years.

Head of the regional church

The leadership of the church lies with the regional synod , which usually meets once a year, mostly in the second week of January in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. In the meantime, the church is led by the church government, outside of which meetings by the praeses. The leadership of the synod lies with the church leadership ("government" of the church), which is also in charge of the regional church outside of the session times. The church leadership consists of the president and 15 other members, including six full-time and nine honorary members. Half of the members elected for eight years are ordained theologians and half are non-ordained members of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland. The full-time members of the church leadership bear the title of senior church councilor . The members of the church leadership are elected by the regional synod. According to the district synodal boards, the term of office is eight years, with half being elected every four years. Re-election is possible in all committees, subject to the age limits.

The praeses, an ordained theologian, presides over the regional church outside of the church leadership meetings. He has his official seat in Düsseldorf. He is also chairman of the regional synod and the church leadership. A theological vice-president and a legal vice-president, both of whom belong to the seven full-time church leadership members, are deputies of the president.

At all management levels, care is taken to ensure that the pastors do not have a majority, even if the superintendents and the praeses are always theologians. There are around four to ten presbyters with voting rights for every pastor, and there is a smaller majority of lay people in the district synods and the regional synod.


At the head of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland is the president who is elected by the regional synod . He or she must not have reached the age of 65 at the time of his or her election, but can then remain in office until the regular new election - after eight years at the latest. The Praeses is the spiritual and legal leader of the church as well as the chairman of the regional synod.

Before 1948 there were three offices in church leadership:

  • a general superintendent as spiritual director,
  • a president of the consistory as legal director and
  • the praeses as chairman of the synod.

Spiritual leaders of the Evangelical Church in Prussia were general superintendents, of whom there were a total of twelve in all of Prussia. The office of general superintendent was introduced shortly after the Reformation, later abolished and only reintroduced in 1828. However, the service instructions were not issued until 1836. Until 1877 the general superintendents in the Rhine Province were also heads of the consistory. Then the office of the consistorial president was introduced. The praeses as chairman of the synod existed in the Rhine province from 1835.

After the elimination of the sovereign church regiment in 1918, General Superintendent, President of the Consistory and Preses formed the leadership of the Rhenish Provincial Church. After the state of Prussia was dissolved in 1947, the Rhenish Provincial Church became formally independent and the new office of President was introduced, which now combines all three previous offices in one person. Since 1997 the legal vice-president has been head of the regional church office.

After 1933, the National Socialist state tried to enforce a strictly hierarchical order. In 1934 Heinrich Josef Oberheid was installed as bishop of the evangelical diocese of Cologne-Aachen. In fact, by the end of the year he was again deposed and from then on worked for the church movement German Christians (Thuringian direction).

Spiritual leaders until 1948: general superintendents

1836–1846: Wilhelm Johann Gottfried Ross
1846–1850: Johann Abraham Küpper
1851–1860: Georg August Ludwig Schmidtborn
1860–1862: Johann Heinrich Wiesmann
1862–1876: Heinrich Eberts
1877–1883: Friedrich Nieden
1883–1897: Wilhelm Baur
1898–1911: Valentin Umbeck
1911–1912: Christian Rogge
1913–1928: Karl Klingemann
1928–1948: Emil Ernst Stoltenhoff

After that, the Praeses took over the spiritual leadership of the regional church.

Spiritual leader from 1948: President

Manfred Rekowski (2019)

Before 1948 there was already a praeses, but he was only chairman of the provincial synod.

1948–1957: Heinrich Karl Ewald Held
1958–1971: Joachim Wilhelm Beckmann
1971–1981: Karl Immer
1981–1989: Gerhard Brandt
1989–1996: Peter Beier
1996–1997: Hans-Ulrich Stephan , senior church councilor and acting president
1997–2003: Manfred Kock
2003–2013: Nikolaus Schneider
since March 1, 2013: Manfred Rekowski

State Synod

The decision-making body of the regional church is the regional synod , which emerged in 1948 from the Rhenish provincial synod . Its members, the regional synodals, are sent by the district synods for four years. The task of the regional synod is comparable to that of political parliaments. It met in Bad Godesberg until 1975, and since then in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler . The President of the Synod is the President .

1835–1846: Franz Friedrich Gräber
1847–1851: Georg August Ludwig Schmidtborn
1853–1860: Johann Heinrich Wiesmann
1862–1864: Johann Karl Friedrich Maaß
1865–1877: Friedrich Nieden
1877–1888: Stephan Friedrich Evertsbusch
1890–1893: Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Kirschstein
1893–1898: Valentin Umbeck
1899–1905: Friedrich Wilhelm Schürmann
1908–1912: Albert Hackenberg
1914–1917: Georg Hafner
1919–1932: Friedrich Walter Paul Wolff
1932–1934: Friedrich Schäfer
1934–1935: Paul Humburg
1935–1948: Friedrich Horn

After 1948, the praeses became the leading clergyman and head of the regional church office (formerly the consistory). Today the regional church office is headed by the vice-president. This position is held by a lawyer qualified to be a judge. However, the Church President chairs the college of senior staff of the national church office.

Youth Synod

Youth Synod of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.jpg
Lohrengel (left) and Paulus (right)

A youth synod of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland met for the first time from January 4 to 6, 2019. The committee was made up of 50 delegates each from the Rhenish Synod and the Protestant Youth in the Rhineland. In addition, a total of ten representatives from the voluntary confirmation work, from student and school communities as well as ecumenical guests participated. The youth synod was chaired by Miriam Lohrengel (Chair) and Fiona Paulus (Vice Chair). At the end of the conference five resolutions were taken on the topics of participation, refugees / EU external borders, youth and family poverty, community forms and youth work.

Administration of the regional church

Consistorial President

The office was introduced in 1877. Before that, the respective general superintendent headed the consistory. After 1949 the office was taken over by the President.

1877-1892: Karl Snethlage
1892–1905: Eduard Grundschöttel
1905–1911: Albert Peter
1911–1920: Gisbert Groos
1920–1933: Johann Freiherr von der Goltz (also Hans von der Goltz; 1864–1941), previously President of the EPCAAL Board of Directors from 1914 to 1920
1933–1937: vacancy: Goltz deposed on September 30, 1933, from March 1, 1936 to November 20, 1937 Otto Jung (provisional)
1937–1946: Walter Koch
1945–1949: Joachim Beckmann (chairman of the provisional leadership of the church)

Regional church office and administrative hierarchy

Regional Church Office

The regional church office has its seat in Düsseldorf- Golzheim , Hans-Böckler-Straße 7. It is headed by the vice-president, currently Johann Weusmann . This position is held by a lawyer qualified to be a judge. The Praeses presides over the college of leading employees of the regional church office. The regional church office is divided into five departments , which are divided into departments:

  • Department 1 Theology and Ecumenism
  • Department 2 Human Resources; Head: Vice President Christoph Pistorius, Deputy President
  • Department 3 Education
  • Department 4 Law and Politics; Head: Vice President Johann Weusmann, Head of the Regional Church Office
  • Department 5 Finance and Diakonia

Administrative hierarchy

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

The basis is formed by the parishes as corporations under public law with an elected governing body, the presbytery . Their honorary members are called presbyters . The parish priests also belong to the presbytery. The presbytery is re-elected every four years. All church members who are confirmed or at least 16 years old have the right to vote. Congregation members between the ages of 18 and 74 are eligible for election as presbyters. Close relatives of other presbyters and ordained theologians are excluded. Church employees may be elected as employee presbyters with restricted rights. In a few parishes, the presbytery is not elected directly by the parishioners, but through a co-optation process.

Several parishes together form a church district ( comparable to a district in general administration ) , which is also a corporation under public law. It is chaired by the district synod, which meets once or twice a year. Members are the pastors (by virtue of their office) as well as other delegates who are sent by the presbyteries of the parishes in relation to the number of parish parishes. In order to ensure that the non-theological delegates make up the majority of the synod, an additional non-theological delegate is appointed by the district synodal committee for each parish pastoral office.

In the time between the synodal meetings, the church district is led by the district synodal committee. This is headed by the superintendent , who is also the representative of the church district and superior to the pastor. The district synod board is elected by the district synod for a term of eight years, with half of the members being elected every four years. In addition to the superintendent, the district synodal board includes two other pastors of the church district, namely the assessor as the first deputy of the superintendent and the Skriba as secretary and second deputy, as well as four to six synod elders (non-theological members). For every synod elder of the district synod board there is a representative who has the right to vote in the case of representation. There is also a first and second substitute for the Skriba, who move up accordingly in case of substitution. The members of the District Synodal Board including the Superintendent, exercise their office on a voluntary basis. However, the superintendent is generally relieved of his actual parish duties.

The church districts together form the regional church (in general administration comparable to a federal state ). The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland does not have a middle instance ( comparable to an administrative district in general administration ) .

Church districts

Currently (January 2019) the number of church districts is 37. Up until the beginning of the 1960s there were significantly fewer, but then, especially in the conurbations on the Rhine and Ruhr, many church districts were divided because of their size. For some years now, the opposite has been done: neighboring church districts, which are often in the same city, are being merged.

The boundaries of the church districts are mostly historical and are not always based on the boundaries of the districts and urban districts.

The historical name of the Cologne church districts was for a long time Synod Mülheim am Rhein ; The four independent Cologne church districts, which go beyond the Cologne area, have joined forces for common tasks to form the Evangelical Church Association Cologne, which is headed by one of the superintendents.

Parishes and denominations

The 38 church districts are made up of 668 parishes. This number was lower at the time the parishes were founded. Over the years, however, the number has increased because the parishes in the cities had mostly grown due to immigration and people were forced to split them up. In the meantime, the number has been decreasing again, as more and more neighboring municipalities merge in order to save administrative costs or because the shrunk municipalities can no longer fully perform their tasks.

According to the Rhenish Church Ordinance , Basic Article II, the parishes follow either the Lutheran, the Reformed creed or what both creeds have in common.

Lutheran and Reformed Working Groups in the Rhineland

As a United Church, the EKiR unites Lutheran, Reformed and United Christians. A (small) part of the respective church members work together in denominational organizations. On the Lutheran side there is the Lutheran Convention in the Rhineland and on the Reformed side the Reformed Convention in the Ev. Church in the Rhineland , which feels connected to the Reformed Covenant . Within the regional church, they represent theological convictions based on their denominational tradition and help their members to “carry out their service in the community of Jesus Christ today by listening to the testimony of all of Holy Scripture and the” Reformation confessions that interpret it.

Historical church ordinances

  • Rahtschlage, so Hertzog Ludwig Pfaltzgrave on Keyser Carls deß Fifth Edict, has had Johannem Schvebelium put in a number of certain articles concerning religion, and then the Euangelium, according to the content of Divine Word, vn [d] the main piece of Christian doctrine, to his land of the Fürstenthu [m] bs Zweybrvck, obviously ordered to preach , probably around 1526
    • (reprinted in :) Johann Schwebel: The first part of all German books and writings of the godly teacher Mr. Iohannis Schvvebelii . Caspar Wittel, Zweibrücken 1597, pp. 95–124 ( digital copy from the Bavarian State Library, Munich)
  • Form and measure as it should be kept by the preachers of the Principality of Zweybrvck in subsequent complaints against the Vnterthanen in several places (written by Johann Schwebel), 1533.
    • (reprinted in :) Johannes Schwebel: The other part of all Teütschen books and writings of the godly teacher Mr. Iohannis Schvebelii, which were written by him, in the highly praiseworthy principality of Zweybrvck, between Anno Christi 1530 and 1540 . Caspar Wittel, Zweibrücken 1597, pp. 236–247
  • Hermann von Wied: Einfaltigs Bedencken , threw a Christian Reformation based on the Word of God into the doctrinal practice of the Holy Sacraments ... bit on one ... Nationals Concilij ... improvement ... seye (written by Martin Bucer and Philipp Melanchthon), Laurenz von der Mühlen (Mylius) , Bonn 1543 ( digitized 2nd edition 1544 from the property of Albert Hardenberg of the Johannes a Lasco Library Emden)
  • Church order , as it is with Christian doctrine, holy sacraments, and all sorts of other ceremonies in my gracious Lord, Mr. Otthainrichen , Pfaltzgrauen bey Rhein, Hertehmen im Niedern and Obern Bairen ... Fürstenthumb (written by Andreas Osiander ), Nuremberg: Johannes Petreius 1543 ( Digital copy from the Bavarian State Library in Munich)
Two pages from the church ordinance of Duke Wolfgang of Pfalz-Zweibrücken
  • Church order , How it is with the Christian Empty ... In Vnser Wolffgangs by God's Genaden Pfaltzgrau bey Rhein, Hertzogens in Beyern vnd Grauens zu Veldentz Fürstenthumb (written with the help of Philipp Melanchthon), Nuremberg: Johann vom Berg / Ulrich Neuber 1557; New edition under Count Palatine Philipp Ludwig , Nuremberg: Dieterich Gerlatz 1570 ( digital copy from the Bavarian State Library in Munich)
  • Church regulations for the County of Moers and the Lordship of Bedburg by Count Hermann von Neuenahr , 1561
  • Church rules , how it ... in ... Mr. Friderichs Pfaltzgraven by the Rhine ... Churfürstenthumb by the Rhine is held, Heidelberg: Johann Maier 1563 ( digital copy of the Bavarian State Library in Munich)
  • Church order , how the pastors and pastors in each vocation with empty and preaching all kinds of ceremonies and good Christian discipline and church discipline should keep: For the churches in the principality [m] b Hessen, Marburg: Andreas Kolbe Erben 1566 ( digital copy of the university and State Library Saxony-Anhalt)
  • Renewal and improvement of the order of the Counts Sebastian and Adolf commemorative commemoration by Count Hermann IV. Von Sayn , 1574 (manuscript)
  • Church regulations Vnd Reformation , from our Albrechts and Philipsen brothers, Grauen zu Nassaw, zu Sarprücken vnd zu Sar Werden, Herr zu Loher ..., Frankfurt am Main: Paul Reffeler / Sigmund Feyrabent 1576
  • Church regulations , how it should be held ... in the ... Mr. Ludwigen Pfaltzgraven near the Rhine ... Chur- und Fürstenthumb, Heidelberg: Jakob Müller 1577 ( digitized version of the Bavarian State Library in Munich)
  • Church order , ... in Unser Heinrichs Graf zu Sayn , Herr zu Homburgk, Moncklahr and Mentzburgk etc. Graff- und Herrschafften ..., Frankfurt am Main: Johann Spies 1590 ( online edition of the Society for History and Local History Bendorf)
  • Statute or Jülich-Bergische church ordinance from 1654, revised in 1671
  • Clevish and Märckian Church Order , o.O. 1662 ( Google Books )
  • Summarized term , as it ... the unchanged Augsburg Confession churches, in the Principality of Gülich and Berg, should be kept, decided by the General Synod in Volberg, 1677 ( Google Books )
  • Church order of the Christian Reformed congregations in the states Gülich, Cleve, Berg and Marck , [Sl] 1680 ( digitalized )
  • Clev and Märckian Evangelical Lutheran Church Order , Kleve: Silberling 1687 ( Google Books )
  • Evangelical church order , as it should be kept in the Wild and Rhine counties ... (written by Albrecht Helbach), Frankfurt am Main: Andreae 1693
  • Church regulations of the Christian Reformed congregations in the countries Gülich, Cleve, Berg and Marck, o. O. [Duisburg] o. J. [1754] ( digital copy of the Bavarian State Library in Munich)
  • Loi relative à l'Organisation des Cultes with the Articles organiques de Cultes protestans . In: Bulletin des Lois de la République française, 3 e série book, 172 [Franco-German edition]. Imprimerie de la République, Paris 1802 (= An XI), pp. 2–47 (N. ° 1344) ( PDF , 2.9 MB; original text on the legal texts portal of the government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg)
  • Church regulations for the Protestant communities in the Province of Westphalia and the Rhine Province, 1835 ( Google Books )

Hymn books

The parishes of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland sing or sang mainly from the following hymn books:

  • Gesangbüchlein Geistlicher Psalme [n] (Bonner Gesangbuch), 1544/1545 and other editions.
    • Song books of clergy psalms, hymns, songs and prayers, diligently collected by several servants of the churches in Boñ and arranged in neat orderly very beautifully for practice and custom of the Christian community. Auffs new gemehret…, o. O. [Wittenberg] 1561 ( digitized version of the Bavarian State Library in Munich)
    • (revised by the Palatinate court preacher Jacob Heilbronner) Essendisches Gesang-Buch . Johann Zeisse, Essen 1614
  • Singing and Klingende Berge, that is: Bergisches Gesang-Buch , compiled by Franz Vogt. 1697.
    • Singing and sounding mountains, that is: Bergisches Gesang-Buch , consisting of 630 ... psalms and spiritual lovely songs. For the evangelical, without [changed] Augspurgische Confession, congregations belonging to the Hertzogthümern Jülich and Berg ... along with a short prayer book. Peter Abraham Proper, Mülheim am Rhein 1768 ( digitized version of the University and State Library Düsseldorf)
  • The singing and sounding mountains of the other part ... Appendix to the Bergisches Gesang = book according to the order of the first part. Proper Erben, Mülheim am Rhein, 1762 ( digitized version of the University and State Library of Münster)
    • Singing and sounding mountains, that is: Bergisches Gesang-Buch . Consists of two main parts, including 878 ... songs. Proper Erben, Mülheim am Rhein, 1768 ( digitized version of the University and State Library of Münster)
  • Evangelical chant book; published according to the resolutions of the Synods of Jülich, Cleve, Berg and the County of Mark. Elberfeld, 1834.
    • Edition Lucas, Elberfeld o. J. (approx. 1870) ( digitized version of the University and State Library of Münster)
  • Evangelical hymn book for Rhineland and Westphalia . Dortmund, 1883.
  • Evangelical hymnbook for Rhineland and Westphalia with the main part “Songs of the German Evangelical Hymnbook according to the resolutions of the German Evang. Church Committee ”, Dortmund, 1929.
  • Evangelical church hymn book , edition for the regional churches of Rhineland, Westphalia and Lippe; Bielefeld u. a., 1969.
  • Evangelical hymn book , edition for the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, the Lippische Landeskirche, in community with the Evangelical Reformed Church (Synod of Evangelical Reformed Churches in Bavaria and Northwest Germany), also in use in the Protestant churches in the Grand Duchy Luxembourg; Gütersloh / Bielefeld / Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1996.

Church music

Wuppertal carolers
Kreuznacher Diakonie Kantorei

The church management is currently advised by the regional church music director Ulrich Cyganek . Other church musicians of the regional church are currently Jörg Abbing , Martin Bambauer , Georg Hage , Sabine Horstmann , Helmut Kickton , Bernd Liffers , Andreas Meisner , Thorsten Pech , Klaus-Peter Pfeifer , Johannes Quack , Thomas Schmidt , Christoph Spengler and Christoph Spering . Well-known church-sponsored choirs from the area of ​​the regional church are the Aachener Bachverein , the Kreuznacher-Diakonie-Kantorei and the Wuppertaler Kurrende . The church music groups are organized in the EKiR Choir Association and in the Rhineland Trombone Factory . The chair of the choir association is currently church music director Brigitte Rauscher , the state trombonist is Jörg Häusler.

See also


  • Regulations for the administration of the assets of the Protestant parishes in the Rhine Province: on the basis of resolutions 218–278 of the XXVII. Rhenish Provincial Synod 1905, confirmed by order of the Evangelical High Church Council of October 28, 1909 No. 3332 and of the Royal Consistory of the Rhine Province of November 6, 1909 No. 6172 . Heuser, Neuwied 1910. ( Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf )
  • Karl Wilhelm Moritz Snethlage : The older presbyterial church orders of the countries Jülich, Berg, Cleve and Mark. Karl Tauchnitz, Leipzig 1837 ( digitized edition ).
  • History of the Reformed or larger Protestant community in Solingen and its possessions: with connections to the history of the city and parish of Solingen ... Filial church of St. Reinoldi; at the same time a generally interesting picture of the development of a Protestant community under the church conditions of the Bergisches Land. Pfeiffer, Solingen 1847 ( digitized edition )
  • Joachim Conrad , Stefan Flesch, Nicole Kuropka, Thomas Martin Schneider (eds.): Evangelisch am Rhein. Becoming and essence of a regional church (= writings of the archive of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland , vol. 35). Düsseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-930250-48-6 .
  • Hermann-Peter Eberlein, Andreas Metzing, Andreas Mühling, Gerd Rosenbrock (eds.): The Rhenish union catechisms. Texts and commentary according to the resolution of the regional synod 2005. Düsseldorf 2010 (Writings of the Archives of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland 37), ISBN 978-3-930250-50-9 .
  • Evangelical church history in the Rhineland (= SVRKG 173). Volume 2: Hermann-Peter Eberlein (Ed.): Territorial churches and Protestant culture 1648–1800 . Bonn 2015. Volume 4: Thomas Martin Schneider (Ed.): Crisis and Reorganization in the Age of World Wars 1914–1948 . Bonn 2013. Volume 5: Uwe Kaminsky: Church in Public: The Transformation of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (1948–1989). Bonn 2008.
  • Heinrich Forsthoff : Rhenish church history. Volume 1: The Reformation on the Lower Rhine. Essen 1929.
  • Ernst Gillmann (ed.): Our church in the Rhenish Oberland . Simmern 1954.
  • JF Gerhard Goeters : Protestantism in the Duchy of Kleve in the 17th century. Denomination, ecclesiastical order and position in the country . Lecture 1995 ( online edition of the Collegium Cartesianum of the University of Duisburg-Essen ; accessed on September 27, 2015)
  • Jochen Gruch (Ed.): The Protestant pastors in the Rhineland from the Reformation to the present (= SVRKG 173). Volume 1: A – D, Bonn 2011, ISBN 978-3-7749-3608-9 ; Volume 2: E – J, Bonn 2013, ISBN 978-3-7749-3733-8 .
  • Freimut Heiderich: History of the Protestant Church in the Oldenburg Principality and the Birkenfeld region. In: Communications from the Association for Local Studies in the Birkenfeld district , special issue 63; Writings of the archive of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland 19; Gebhard and Hilden, Idar-Oberstein 1998, ISBN 3-930250-29-2 .
  • Hermann Klugkist Hesse : The History of the Christian Church on the Rhine. Neukirchen 1955.
  • Hans-Otto Kindermann (ed.): Church on the Rhine. A picture documentation. Düsseldorf 1984.
  • The Protestant Church on the Saar yesterday and today. Published by the Ottweiler, Saarbrücken and Völklingen church districts of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, Saarbrücken 1975.
  • Gotthard Victor Lechler : History of the Presbyterial and Synodal Constitution since the Reformation . D. Noothoven van Goor, Leiden 1854, esp. Pp. 110–128, 214–228 and 267–273 ( Google Books )
  • Erwin Mülhaupt: Rhenish Church History. From the beginning until 1945. Düsseldorf 1970 (SVRKG 35).
  • Albert Rosenkranz: Outline of a history of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland. Düsseldorf 1960 (SVRKG 9).
  • Klaus Schmidt: Faith, power and freedom struggles - 500 years of Protestants in the Rhineland. Greven Verlag, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-7743-0385-0 .

Web links

Commons : Evangelical Church in the Rhineland  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Jump up ↑ Evangelical Church in the Rhineland: Numbers: Community members and population
  2. Jump up ↑ Evangelical Church in the Rhineland: Numbers: Community members and population
  3. a b Cf. Paul Warmbrunn: Pfalz-Zweibrücken, Zweibrückische Nebenlinien . In: Anton Schindling, Walter Ziegler (ed.): The territories of the empire in the age of the Reformation and confessionalization. Country and Confession 1500–1650 , Vol. VI Supplements . (Catholic life and church reform in the age of religious schism 56). Aschendorff, Münster 1996, pp. 170–197, esp. P. 175 ( Google Books ; limited preview)
  4. ^ Rainer Sommer: Hermann von Wied: Archbishop and Elector of Cologne , Part I: 1477–1539 (= series of publications by the Association for Rhenish Church History, 142). Rheinland-Verlag, Cologne 2000, pp. 145f.
  5. ^ Friedrich Wilhelm Oediger (edit.): The main state archive in Düsseldorf and its holdings , Vol. V: Archives of the non-state area (cities and municipalities, corporations, family and court archives, collections, bequests). Manuscripts . Respublica, Siegburg 1972, p. 268.
  6. ^ Edition by Otto R. Redlich (Ed.): The Düsseldorf Religious Discussion from 1527 . In: Zeitschrift des Bergisches Geschichtesverein 29 (1893), pp. 193-213 ( Google Books ; limited preview).
  7. See Peter Bockmühl: Hermann and Walburgis von Nuenar and the abbot Heinrich V. von Werden . In: Monthly Issues for Rhenish Church History 4 (1910), pp. 193–203 ( digitized version of the Association for Rhenish Church History)
  8. ^ Dietrich Meyer: Art. Rhineland . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Vol. XXIX. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1998, pp. 157–177, especially p. 162.
  9. ^ Heinrich Heppe: On the history of the Evangelical Church in Rhineland and Westphalia , Bd. J. Bädeker, Iserlohn 1867, p. 90 ( Google Books )
  10. For participants and items to be negotiated, cf. H. Heppe: Geschichte , p. 93f ( Google Books ).
  11. ^ Gerhard Menk: The Protestant school system in the early modern Rhineland. An approximation for the Brandenburg rule . In: Andreas Rutz (ed.): The Rhineland as a school and educational landscape (1250–1750) . Böhlau, Köln / Weimar / Wien 2010, pp. 153–190, especially pp. 165f ( Google Books ).
  12. Eberhard von Danckelmann: The Rheinberger Religionskonferenz of 1697 . In: Journal of the Bergisches Geschichtsverein 49 (1916), p. 179ff.
  13. 1576 expulsion of all Protestant citizens, 1676 Jülich-Bergish sovereignty.
  14. ^ The possession of the Ballei in Waldbreitbach (church district Wied) was under the sovereignty of the Electorate of Cologne.
  15. The Upper District of Geldern was divided between Prussia and Jülich (Electoral Palatinate) in the Peace of Utrecht in 1713/14, this area remained with Austria .
  16. Gotthelf Huyssen: The Heidenmauer and the Christian Kreuznach . In: the other: On Christian antiquity in its relation to pagan. Lectures and studies , Johann Heinrich Maurer / Friedrich Wohlleben, Kreuznach 1870, pp. 317–356, especially p. 355; Johannes Müller: The prehistory of the Palatinate Union. An investigation of their motives, their development and their background in the context of general church history (Investigations on Church History 3), Luther Verlag, Witten 1967, pp. 165–173.
  17. ^ Gustav Adolf Benrath: The first uniate evangelical church community in Germany; Mainz 1802 (2002). In: ders .: Reformation - Union - Awakening (publications by the Institute for European History 228), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2012, pp. 119–144, esp. Pp. 136f.
  18. ^ Friedrich Adolf Beck: Statistics of the Evangelical Church in the Rhine Province and Westphalia , Bd. ICW Lichtfers, Neuwied 1848, p. 94 (online resource, accessed on August 23, 2012).
  19. Ludwig Christian Kehr: The celebration of the Protestant Church Association in Kreuznach on the occasion of the third Secular Festival of the Reformation. On October 31, 1817 , EJ Henß, Kreuznach 1817, p. 6 ( digitized version of the Rhineland-Palatinate State Library Center).
  20. Stefan Flesch: Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, Chapter 2. In: Portal Rheinische Geschichte . September 30, 2010, archived from the original on June 21, 2013 ; accessed on April 10, 2019 .
  21. a b Volker Trugenberger: Hohenzollern. In: Württemberg Church History online.
  22. ^ Synodal map of the Protestant communities in the Rhine Province, Julius Joest Publishing House, Langenberg
  23. Antonia Lezerkoss: Church: Liturgy of the old Prussian way . Südwest Presse Online , February 3, 2017, accessed on February 18, 2018.
    Dagmar Stuhrmann: Church: Exhibition “Evangelical in Hohenzollern” stops in Ebingen . Südwest Presse Online, January 26, 2017, accessed on February 24, 2018.
  24. Ecclesiastical gazette of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland 2000, pp. 199 and 223.
  25. Exhibition - Pioneers in the Pastoral Office: Rollup 10 Timeline 1928 . Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, June 16, 2015, accessed on February 25, 2018 (jpg, 462 kB).
  26. ^ Exhibition - Pioneers in the Parish Office: Rollup 13: Timeline 1974 . Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, June 16, 2015, accessed on February 25, 2018 (jpg, 456 kB).
    For the whole see: Exhibition - Pioneers in the Parish Office . Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, accessed on February 25, 2018.
  27. Jump up ↑ Evangelical Church in the Rhineland: Numbers: Community members and population
  28. State Synod 2012: Financial report of the church leadership of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland . Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, pp. 6–7 (pdf; 192 kB).
  29. Church regulations, Art. 160.5
  30. ^ Anthony Steinhoff: The gods of the city: Protestantism and religious culture in Strasbourg, 1870-1914 . Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008; ISBN 9789004164055 ; P. 185.
  31. ^ Stefan Flesch: Finding aid: Inventory of the Evangelical Consistory of the Rhine Province, approx. 1826–1948 (1 OB 002) . Düsseldorf: Archives of the Evangelical [Angelic] Church in the Rhineland (ed.), 2001, p. 1.
  32. Church regulations, Art. 160.5
  33. ^ Rheinische Kirche: 14 parish mergers at the turn of the year. Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, December 30, 2019, accessed on December 31, 2019 .
  34. Church Regulations, Basic Article II. Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, as of January 10, 2019, accessed on July 19, 2019 . Example of confessional diversity in the Obere Nahe parish with traditions from the Principality of Birkenfeld and the Principality of Lichtenberg: Parish of Obere Nahe: parishes of the parishes. (pdf, 44 kB) In: Ober-nahe.de. October 22, 2014, accessed July 19, 2019 .
  35. Quotation from the statute for the Reformed Convention in the EKiR
  36. Received only in the version from 1603.
  37. ^ Also accepted by the Oberberg Lutherans at their Mülheim synod in 1678.
  38. ^ Karl Albrecht von Hellbach (around 1558–1612 / 15) from Thuringia, pastor in Alzey, expelled from the Electoral Palatinate in 1584 as a Lutheran, around 1590 court chaplain of Duke Reichard von Pfalz-Simmern , 1596 superintendent of the Wild and Rhine County in St. Johannisberg , wrote the concept of order in 1598.