Military pastoral care (Bundeswehr)

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Military chaplaincy

Logo of the evangelical military chaplaincyCatholic Military Chaplaincy logo
Lineup 1956
Country GermanyGermany Germany
Armed forces Bundeswehr Kreuz.svg armed forces
Type Civil organization area
structure Evangelical Church Office for the Bundeswehr
Catholic Military Bishop's Office
Web presence Ev. Military
chaplaincy Catholic military chaplaincy
Military bishops
Protestant military bishop Sigurd Rink
Catholic military bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck
Catholic military pastor (left) and Protestant military pastor (right) in the ISAF mission

The military chaplaincy ( MilSeels ) is a civil organization of the German armed forces with the task of making a contribution to the pastoral care of soldiers and their families. It is divided into Protestant , Catholic military pastoral care and Jewish military pastoral care.

tasks and activities

About 60 percent of German soldiers belong to a Christian church. Relocations , stays at the military training area and missions abroad make it necessary for soldiers to have their own spiritual offer. Military pastoral care is church service in the world of work. On-site services generally take place on weekdays , often in their own garrison churches . Soldiers celebrate worship in the community of comrades . The military chaplains work on the premises of the Bundeswehr. As a result, they maintain contact with their parishioners during their working hours and at their place of work and can be approached in everyday life in the Bundeswehr. During so-called set - up times , soldiers have the opportunity to relax with others away from everyday life and to think about questions of faith. The military chaplaincy also offers excursions (including motorcycle excursions) and hikes on pilgrimage trails. One of the biggest events every year is the soldiers' pilgrimage to Lourdes in France . The military chaplaincy also conducts so-called life science lessons .

Origin and legal basis

The military chaplaincy is regulated by state church treaties. It is one of the so-called "common affairs" of the state and religious communities ( res mixta ). The military chaplaincy contract was concluded with the Evangelical Church in Germany on February 22, 1957 and confirmed by the law on military chaplaincy of July 26, 1957; for the area of ​​the Catholic Church, the Reich Concordat from 1933 continues to apply according to the prevailing legal opinion . Already in June 1951 the pastoral care of civilian laboratory service units, barracked German work units in the US armed forces in Germany, began. The laboratory service chaplaincy became the testing ground for later military chaplaincy.


Shoulder board Protestant military chaplain

There are about 200 military chaplains, about half each Protestant and half Catholic . There are also about as many parish helpers. The members of the military chaplaincy are in a civil servant relationship with the employer Federal Republic of Germany, not in a church civil servant relationship . In carrying out their work, however, they are not subject to any instructions from the state. They are paid out of funds from the federal budget .

The military chaplains are released from their regional churches or dioceses for military chaplaincy, usually for at least six years . You take part in exercises and missions abroad by the Bundeswehr . When deployed, military chaplains wear field suits as work clothing with special loops instead of rank badges .


Organization of the Protestant military pastoral care
Organization of the Catholic Military Pastoral Care

The Evangelical Church Office for the Federal Armed Forces (EKA) in Berlin is at the head of the Protestant military pastoral care . The central office of the Catholic military chaplaincy is the Catholic Military Bishop's Office (KMBA), also in Berlin. Both higher federal authorities are directly subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Defense (BMVg) and, under the direction of a military dean general (EBA) or a military vicar general (KMBA), salary group B 6 federal pay regulations, perform all government administrative tasks related to military chaplaincy . The administration of the church tax funds of the Catholic soldiers, which are due to the Catholic Military Bishop's Office, is the responsibility of the "Catholic Soldier Pastoral Care (KS) - Establishment of Public Law (AöR)".

Four Protestant military deans (EMilD) and four Catholic military deans (KMilD) in Berlin , Kiel , Cologne and Munich are subordinate to the EKA and KBMA as a middle level. There the responsibility for the domestic military chaplaincy as well as the official supervision of the military chaplains is exercised.

At almost 100  Bundeswehr locations in Germany there are Protestant military chaplains and Catholic military chaplains who are subordinate to the military deans. As a rule, you have two posts for a clergyman with a degree in theology and a parish assistant. These have a special diaconal training for the Bundeswehr in the Protestant military pastoral care .

The services of the German military chaplain at the foreign locations of the Bundeswehr in the United States and the NATO - rods are guided directly by EKA and KMBA.

At the head of the military chaplaincy is a Protestant and a Catholic military bishop . The latter, this role is in addition to office from the former since 2014 full-time . The Catholic military chaplaincy is organized as a military ordinariate .

Working groups for soldiers' care

Logo of the OASE care facilities

The Protestant (EAS) and Catholic Working Group for Soldiers Care (KAS), which support the state military pastoral care, exist as independent and non-profit associations for the care of the armed forces and their families . On their joint initiative, the “OASE” care facilities are operated in the operational areas. They are open to soldiers of all ranks , nations and denominations .

By the mid-1980s, the working groups with the support of the federal government built over 40  soldiers' homes as care facilities throughout the territory of the then Federal Republic. These were located outside of the military properties, but in their immediate vicinity. Today these are sometimes referred to as "OASES inland".


Soldiers are spiritually accompanied in the contingents and on the ships of the German Navy . In the strange environment and the special situation of the countries of operations, many soldiers appreciate the services and the conversations with the pastor.

In armed conflict , chaplains are non-combatants . They are to be spared and protected under all circumstances in accordance with the rules of international humanitarian law .

Jewish military chaplaincy

On May 28, 2020, the German Bundestag unanimously decided that the Bundeswehr should introduce military rabbis for the approximately 300 soldiers of the Jewish faith. The State Treaty was signed between Federal Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Josef Schuster as part of the Jewish Community Day on December 20, 2019 in Berlin. Ten rabbis in the Bundeswehr will take on pastoral responsibility as temporary officials. If necessary, the number can be increased. The selection of rabbis is expected to begin in autumn 2020. Branch offices of the rabbinate are planned in Hamburg and Munich, and later also in Frankfurt / Main and Leipzig.

Muslim military chaplaincy

A spiritual offer is also to be created for the Muslims in the Bundeswehr. Muslim clergymen are supposed to be bound to the Bundeswehr through "provision contracts". He or she must be able to speak and write German , have a university degree in Islamic theology recognized in Germany, have pastoral or congregational experience in Germany and be sent to the Bundeswehr and by the Bundeswehr by Islamic religious communities that represent the target group of soldiers be accepted.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Military pastoral care in the Bundeswehr. In: Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
  2. ^ Military pastoral care in the Bundeswehr. In: June 5, 2014, accessed October 22, 2019 .
  3. ^ Labor Service Pastoral Care: Forerunner of military pastoral care in the German Federal Armed Forces. In: Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
  4. Parish helpers. In: March 15, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
  5. ^ Protestant military chaplains. In: June 1, 2018, accessed October 22, 2019 .
  6. ^ Protestant military deans. In: December 11, 2018, accessed October 22, 2019 .
  7. OASE care facilities. In: Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
  8. Use. In: Retrieved October 22, 2019 .
  9. ↑ The way for military rabbis is clear , Jüdische Allgemeine, May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  10. "Moving Moment". In: December 20, 2019, accessed December 20, 2019 .