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Pastor and Pastor (Lat. Pastor " shepherd ") are professional title for clergy in the service of the Church and is partly synonymous with Pastor needed. The name was derived in the 14th century from the Latin church pastor (" pastor of souls") and has mostly been used for Protestant clergy since the Reformation .

Since these are professional titles that are awarded through ordination , they are lifelong titles that are also used in retirement, then with the addition “in rest” (in general) or “ emeritus ”.


In the narrower sense, the pastor is the first preacher or pastor of a Protestant community or a Catholic priest without a community leadership function (see below). Pastor is mainly used in northern Germany and large parts of central Germany , while in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland pastor is predominant. In the German-speaking area, the clergy in the Protestant free churches (previously mostly “preachers”) are usually referred to as pastors . In the regional church communities of the Evangelical Gnadauer Community Association, publishers are increasingly no longer called preachers, but community pastors.

In the Catholic areas of northern and western Germany, Catholic pastors are also colloquially referred to as pastors. In some areas of the Eifel, the Westerwaldes, Sauerland the Lower Rhine is in between the dialect on the first syllable (Lutheran) stressed P'astor and the stressed on the second syllable Catholic Past'or ( mundartlich spoken: Past'ur ) distinguished.

Pastor is mostly abbreviated with "P.", Pastor with "Pn." The abbreviation for pastor in retirement and pastor in retirement is used in correspondence with “Pastor i. R. "or Pastor emeritus or" Pastorin i. R. “or Pastor emerita.

Protestant church

The official title that ordained theologians with two ecclesiastical examinations carry in the church service is usually called pastor (e.g. Section 26 of the VELKD's Pastors Act ), but the regional churches are canonically free to choose another official title (i.e. the official title " Pastor "). In other areas only the official title of pastor is common.

Norwegian evangelical pastor at the confirmation

One usually becomes a pastor in the Evangelical Church through ordination . Within the various Protestant churches there are different opinions on the question of whether this corresponds to an individual ordination (from which it historically derives) and how the relationship between the office of the pastor and the “ priesthood of all believers ” is to be understood.

Spiritual in trial service, which no pastor, but only the administration can be transmitted such a bear in some member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany , the official title of parish administrator or parish administrator , in others the same job title as priest for life. Clergymen who are not civil servants (and thus mostly also not ordained) with full training are referred to as “candidates for the preaching office” (KdP), even if they represent a pastor's office. An ordained clergyman without a pastor's position in the community service continues to bear his previous official title , provided he does not hold any higher-ranking office titles (e.g. superintendent , provost , regional bishop ).

Roman Catholic Church

In the Catholic Church, pastor refers to an independent priest appointed by the bishop who - in contrast to the pastor - is not charged with the management of a parish. Regionally different (e.g. in Hamburg as well as on the Middle Rhine, in Saarland and in the Moselle area), pastors are also addressed as "pastors" in order to emphasize the pastoral aspect (shepherd) compared to the administrative (parish administrator). Several priests can act as pastors within a pastoral area (large parish), but only one as pastor. There are no female pastors in the Roman Catholic churches.

(For different emphasis on the word pastor, see above.)

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Pastor  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Pastors  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Herder's Conversations Lexicon. Freiburg im Breisgau 1856, Volume 4, p. 471 ( ).
  2. Preachers will be called community pastors in future ,, message from February 10, 2015.
  3. Pastor. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 13 : N, O, P, Q - (VII). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1889, Sp. 1493–1494 ( ).
  4. Thomas Kellner: Pastor. In: Lexicon for Theology and Church, welcomed by Michael Buchberger, ed. by Walter Kasper, Volume 7, 3rd edition Freiburg i. Br. 1998.
  5. Thomas Kellner: Pastor. In: Lexicon for Theology and Church, Volume 8, 3rd edition 1999.