Church master

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Kirchmeister was a municipal office in late medieval and early modern Germany that was given to respected and wealthy citizens. The exercise was in trust and without personal gain. The church master administered the building and equipment fund of the church assigned to him, which came from pious foundations . He supervised construction work and purchases and submitted an annual bill to the city council - not the bishop or his local representative. His influence and social position were considerable.

Today the term Kirchmeister is still used in the presbyterial-synodal evangelical churches in western Germany ( Evangelical Church in the Rhineland , Evangelical Church of Westphalia , Lippische Landeskirche ). It marks a person who has a special function in the presbytery. The office of church master is held only by lay people.

In principle, there is a church master per presbytery who is responsible for finances, construction and personnel. The office can also be divided, e.g. B. in:

  • Finance chaplain
  • Baukirchmeister
  • Personal chaplain

Occasionally, the office of the building church master is shared in the case of new construction and renovation projects. The tasks are laid down in the church ordinance (KO). Here as an example an excerpt from Section 22, Paragraph 2 of the KO of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland:

The church masters have to supervise the treasury and accounting according to the church administrative regulations. You are not allowed to run the till business yourself. You have to supervise the land, buildings, equipment and other property. They ensure that the parish fulfills its diaconal tasks. They accompany the service of the professional employees.

In other regional churches take z. B. the chairmen of committees of the church council of a parish perform similar tasks.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Josef Pauser: The asset management of municipal church building funds: church master offices . In: Peter Csendes / Ferdinand Opll (eds.): Vienna. History of a city. The early modern residence. Vienna / Cologne / Weimar 2003, p. 69
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