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Praeses ( Latin , actually "sitting in front of something"; plural Praesides, Presiden ) is a title for the chairman of a committee . It can be used equally for a female and a male person. In Germany, the title is mainly used in church bodies and in the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg .

Protestant churches

Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)

The chairperson of the EKD Synod has the title “President”. The former Federal Minister Irmgard Schwaetzer has held this office since 2013.

Regional churches

Two Protestant regional churches, the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland and the Evangelical Church of Westphalia , designate the leading clergyman (Rhineland) and the leading clergyman (Westphalia) as Preses , i.e. the function that corresponds more to the regional bishop in other regional churches . He (or she) is the chairman of the regional synod, and the other functions (chairman of the church leadership and the regional church office as well as external representation of the church) are derived from this office. In most of the regional churches and at the EKD level, however, the functions are separated, and so the chairperson of the synod is referred to as the president .

In some presbyterial congregations, the presbytery governing committee is also known as the presbytery .

Free Churches

In some free churches, President is the title of the spiritual leader of the community federation , who also belongs to the federal executive committee, for example in the federation of free evangelical congregations in Germany , in the federation of free church Pentecostal congregations or in the Congregation of God Germany .

Evangelical Alliance

In the Evangelical Alliance , a network of Christians from Protestant regional and free churches and works, the chairman of the Regional Alliance Niederrhein-Ruhr-Südems has the title of President, currently Michael Voss.

Norwegian Church

The Bishops' Conference of the Church of Norway has had a permanent chairman since 2011. First Preses (norw. Preses ) was Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien .

Lutheran Church in the USA

In the Lutheran Church of Missouri Synod , the senior clergyman is called the President . The individual dioceses are headed by a district president . This office can only be held by men because the Missouri Synod does not ordain women .

Roman Catholic Associations

In the Catholic lay associations (e.g. Jungwacht Blauring , Catholic rural youth movement , Kolping Society , Catholic workers' movement , Catholic women's community in Germany , Marian congregations ), the President designates the office of spiritual guide. As a rule, the President is part of the respective association board. The praeses at the diocesan level is called the diocesan praeses , the praeses at the federal or international level are sometimes called the general praeses. In the Catholic scout associations , the praeses is sometimes also called the curate .

In Benedictine congregations the chairman is also referred to as a praeses or abbot praeses .

State administration


In Hamburg , the senators , i.e. the members of the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (state government), also bear the title of President with the addition of the respective authority they chair. For example, the address of a “Justice Senator” is President of the Justice Authority of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg , Mr. Senator (first and last name) ; however, the direct salutation is only Mr. Senator .


In Poland , according to Art. 147ff of the Constitution, the official name of the Prime Minister is Prezes Rady Ministrów (President of the Council of Ministers) . It is used in this form in official language, especially in parliament and on official occasions, but much less often in the media and hardly in everyday language. However, the direct salutation is more and more simply panie premierze ( Mr. Premier (-Minister)). The name Prezes Rady Ministrów was introduced with the entry into force of the March Constitution at the end of 1922. Before that, the name of the leading minister was Prezydent Ministrów (literally: Prime Minister ) and the salutation was panie Prezydencie (Mr. President) . It was probably changed to Prezes in order to avoid confusion with the office of (state) president introduced in the March constitution . Incidentally, prezes is the term used in Poland in the business world for the chairman of the board and managing director.

Lübeck Chamber of Commerce and Merchants

The Chambers of Commerce of Hamburg , Bremen and the Chamber of Commerce of Lübeck and the merchants of Lübeck call their Supreme as Church President .

Professional organizations

The Basel-Stadt Bar Association also uses the term “ Praeses ” for its chairperson. The praeses is elected for a period of three years.

Roman Empire

After the Diocletian reforms in AD 293, the 4 prefectures under prefects with 14 dioceses under vicars were subordinate to 117 provinces under one praeses each. Accordingly, the President designated the office of civil governor in a late Roman province.

Individual evidence

  1. Preses .
  3. Advice on salutations and addresses ( memento of the original from January 25, 2011 in the Internet Archive ; PDF) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Federal Ministry of the Interior @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej Dz.U. 1997, NR 78 poz. 483. In: Retrieved August 29, 2012 (Polish).
  5. Konstytucja Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z 17 March 1921 r., Dz.U. 1921, NR 44, poz. 267 ( Wikiźródła , Polish) Art. 55 ff.
  6. Uchwała Sejmu o powierzeniu Józefowi Piłsudskiemu dalszego sprawowania urzędu Naczelnika Państwa… ( Wikiźródła , Polish) point II, indent 2