People priest

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A people priest (translated from Latin plebanus , Middle High German liut for Latin plebs ) or pleban was a priest who actually occupied a position with parish rights ( plebes , parish church or benefice ). He could be a pastor , carry out pastoral care on behalf of the owner of the parish rights or represent the (incapacitated) pastor. As a rule, he was a secular priest , so in contrast to clerics who served a monastery or a government and were dependent on them, he was subject to the local bishop .

As the linguist Konrad Kunze was able to show on the basis of high and late medieval manuscripts, the expression liutpiester , which has been documented since the 13th century, remained limited to the southwestern German-speaking area, while pastor was common in other regions . The Middle Latin term pleban has become the translation for pastor in other languages ​​(e.g. Italian pievano , Polish pleban ).

Since the 14th century, many large parishes have been divided. They received their own pastors (often financed by the village community). As a result, the term people priest slowly disappeared from linguistic usage; but it is still documented until the beginning of the 19th century.


  • People priest . In: Former Academy of Sciences of the GDR, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences (Hrsg.): German legal dictionary . tape 8 , issue 9/10 (edited by Heino Speer and others). Hermann Böhlaus successor, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0137-2 ( ).
  • Konrad Kunze : Text type and historical word geography. Using the example of a pastor / priest (with 6 cards). In: P. Kesting (ed.): Würzburger Prosastudien II, Kurt Ruh on his 60th birthday. Munich 1975, 35-76.