Religions in Cologne

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Due to secularization and immigration of non-Christian population groups, the Christian population is falling. At the end of 2019, 32.8% of Cologne's residents were members of the Roman Catholic Church, 14.4% of the Protestant Church ; 52.8% belonged to other denominations or religious communities or were non-denominational . In 2017, 34.3% were members of the Roman Catholic Church, 15.0% of the Protestant Church; 50.7% belonged to other denominations or religious communities or were non-denominational. In the census on May 9, 2011 , 407,060 (40.5%) of Cologne's residents gave Catholic, 177,240 (17.6%) Protestant, 5,020 (0.5%) Protestant-Free Church, 21,270 (2.1%) Orthodox and 3,480 (0.3%) consider Jewish as their religion. 383,830 (38.1%) inhabitants were assigned to the rubrics "Other" or "Not belonging to any public religious community". According to a calculation based on the census figures for people with a migration background, around 119,300 (11.9%) were Muslims.

Roman Catholic Church

Cologne, Groß St. Martin, seen from the Rhine

At the end of 2019, 32.8% of the population were members of the Roman Catholic Church, 11 years earlier this was 38.6%.

The Archdiocese of Cologne has existed since 313 , first as a diocese , and then as an archdiocese since Charlemagne . Until 1802 the archbishopric was one of the spiritual territories of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation . The archbishop was also one of the electors .

Therefore, the Catholic Church has always had a special role in the history of the city of Cologne. In 1288 Cologne became a free imperial city and was no longer part of the electorate. In 1525 the seat of the electorate was moved to Bonn . The Reformation could not gain a foothold, although there were Reformation tendencies in different areas of the electorate. In contrast to the Archdiocese of Cologne, Protestants could not hold a public service within the city of Cologne until the French invaded in 1794. The city's Catholic parishes were initially part of the Archdeaconate of the Provost. In 1802 the Archdiocese of Cologne was initially abolished, the parishes then belonged to the Diocese of Aachen, but the Archdiocese was rebuilt in a different layout in 1821 and 1825. Cologne became the seat of an archbishop again and is therefore still the capital of one of the seven church provinces in Germany.

Parishes in Cologne

The parishes of the city form the "City Deanery Cologne". On January 1, 2017, the cardinal reorganized the deaneries in the archdiocese. The previous city and district deans are now the deans of the archbishopric - provided for in church law. The dean's offices in Cologne-Mitte, Dünnwald, Ehrenfeld, Lindenthal, Mülheim, Nippes, Porz, Rodenkirchen and Worringen were thus dissolved. The more than 300 churches, monasteries and monasteries, as well as the famous Mülheim costumes on Corpus Christi , bear witness to popular piety in Cologne. In addition to various museums, the Catholic Church in Cologne runs numerous schools and social institutions. A wide variety of concerts, exhibitions and training opportunities enrich Cologne's cultural life considerably.

Religious orders

In Cologne there are the religious orders of the Dominicans , Franciscan Minorites , the Cologne Alexians , the Jesuits , the Redemptorists , the Salesians of Don Bosco , the Ursulines , the Carmelites , the Vincentians , the Schoenstatt Sisters and the Cellites .

In the Middle Ages, almost all of the orders in existence at the time were represented with their own branches in the important city, diocese and university town. The Franciscans and Dominicans in particular were heavily involved in the university at the time.


“Holy Cologne” has produced numerous holy men and women and still houses many relics today . Among the saints of the diocese were the hll. Caspar , Melchior , Balthasar , Maternus , Severin , Ursula , Bruno von Köln , Albertus Magnus , Adolph Kolping , Gereon , Gero , Irmgard , Pantaleon , Johannes Duns Scotus , Edith Stein , Engelbert von Berg , Richeza , plectrudis .

Protestant church


Trinity Church

Protestant movements were strongly suppressed within the city of Cologne. In 1520 Martin Luther's writings were burned. In 1529 Peter von Fliesteden and the Bergische preacher Adolf Clarenbach were executed in the area of ​​today's Melatenfriedhof because of their Protestant beliefs. The Anabaptist community active in Cologne could only work underground. An exception was the term of office of the evangelically oriented Archbishop Hermann V. von Wied . For example, Menno Simons was able to work relatively freely in Cologne between 1544 and 1546. As early as 1566, however, the Anabaptist teacher Mathias Zerfaß was denounced, tortured and burned with the participation of many spectators. The martyr's song Many had pity still reminded of him today. In 1558 the Mennonite preacher Thomas von Imbroich was tortured and beheaded. Anabaptist-Mennonite congregations could not establish themselves in Cologne in the long run.

In the area of ​​the Reformed and Lutheran spectrum, however, four congregations were founded, which were later combined in the Evangelical Congregation Cologne : the Dutch Reformed (consistorial protocols received from 1571), the French Reformed (names of some preachers from the period from 1576 to 1605 known), the German Reformed (probably from 1572) and the German Lutheran congregation (verifiably from 1575). Some of the parishioners were given pastoral care by pastors from Mülheim . 1586–1587 Philipp Nicolai was secretly a Protestant pastor in Cologne. Official Protestant church services could only take place outside of the then urban area. From 1583, the city council even denied the Protestants burial within the city walls. This means that the oldest Protestant burial site is also located at the gates of what was then the city: After the Thirty Years' War, Protestant Christians were able to bury their deceased in the so-called Geusen cemetery, about 1.5 kilometers from the city wall, i.e. in the area of ​​the Electorate of Cologne. This cemetery was jointly bought, used and financed by Reformed and Lutherans.

Even when Emperor Joseph II granted the Protestants the privilege of building their “own Beth, school and preacher's house” in 1788, this was prevented by the Cologne Catholics. This did not change until the French revolutionary troops marched in in 1794. Currently - including the smaller Protestant free churches - almost 15% of Cologne's population are Protestant.

Evangelical Congregations Cologne and Evangelical Church Association Cologne and Region

  • Evangelical Church in the Rhineland

Other Lutheran churches

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
  • Moravian Brethren
  • Japanese Evangelical Congregation Cologne / Bonn
  • Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK)

Reformed churches

  • Dutch Reformed Church in Germany
  • Hungarian Reformed Church

Free Churches

Apostolic Community, Stuppstrasse, Cologne-Ehrenfeld

There are the following Protestant free churches in Cologne:

  • apostolic community
  • Apostle ministry of Christ
  • Evangelical Free Churches (Baptists, e.g. Evangelical Free Churches, Cologne-South)
  • Brethren Congregation
  • Christian Science
  • Methodist Church
  • Gospel Christians
  • Free Evangelical Congregation Lindenthal and Mülheim
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a meetinghouse in Cologne
  • New Apostolic Church

Orthodox churches

Byzantine Orthodox Churches

  • Greek Orthodox Parish of the Dormition of the Theotokos
  • Russian Orthodox parish of St. Panteleimon, Cologne-Porz-Westhoven
  • Russian Orthodox Church outside the country Parish of St. Demetrios e. V.
  • Romanian Orthodox parish
  • Serbian Orthodox parish
  • Ukrainian Orthodox parish

Oriental Orthodox Churches

  • Ethiopian Orthodox Parish of St. Michael
  • Armenian Apostolic Congregation
  • Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mary
  • Syrian Orthodox parish

Other Christian communities

There are also

  • Old Catholic community
  • Anglican community
  • Jehovah's Witnesses

as well as other free congregations that do not belong to any association in Cologne.

Working group of Christian churches in Cologne

Many congregations are members of the “Working Group of Christian Churches in Cologne” or at least have guest status there. In addition to the two large churches , members and guests are Old Catholics , the Apostolic Community , the Apostle Ministry of Christ, the Armenian Apostolic Church , the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch , the Ethiopian Orthodox Church , the Church of England ( Anglicans ), the Evangelical Free Churches ( Baptists , e. Baptist Evangelical Free Church Congregation Cologne-South, and Brethren Congregation ), Methodist Church , Evangelical Christians , Evangelical Lutheran Congregation (SELK), Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland , Free Evangelical Congregation Lindenthal and Mülheim , Greek Orthodox Metropolis , Salvation Army , Herrnhuter Brothers Congregation , Japanese Protestant Congregation Cologne / Bonn, Dutch Reformed Church in Germany, Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Hungarian Reformed Congregation.


Archbishop Engelbert II's privilege from 1266 for Cologne's Jews, plaque in Cologne Cathedral

With a mention in a Constantinian decree from the year 321, Cologne is considered to be "the oldest Jewish community north of the Alps". The existence of the first Jewish residential area in the area around today's Cologne City Hall is dated to late antiquity in the Roman city. Before the town hall also open to visitors after registration testifies mikveh , a Kultbad from the 12th century by a rain Jewish life in the city. In the Middle Ages there were pogroms , persecution and expulsions against the Jewish population in Cologne . It was triggered by the beginning of the crusades and the outbreak of the plague , the cause of which was believed to be found among the Jews (see plague pogrom ). As a result, many of the surviving Cologne Jews emigrated, some formed new communities in the nearby area on the right bank of the Rhine. Not until 1799 was there a Jewish community in Cologne for the first time under French occupation . This increased until the first half of the 20th century; In addition to the new synagogue in Glockengasse, synagogues, schools, baths and health facilities were built in numerous districts and suburbs. The Zionist Association for Germany , founded in Cologne by the lawyer Max Bodenheimer together with the businessman David Wolffsohn , had its headquarters near Neumarkt at the end of the 19th century . Business people like Leonhard Tietz or members of the Oppenheim family also settled their business activities in Cologne. By 1930 the Jewish community numbered 20,000 people and there were six synagogues in the city.

During the National Socialist era , many Jews from Cologne were deported to the Dachau concentration camp , many were mistreated, robbed of their property, and Jewish cemeteries desecrated. All synagogues were destroyed in the course of the Reichspogromnacht . Those who did not escape abroad or who did not commit suicide were eventually murdered (transported to an extermination camp). Very few (40-50) managed to survive in hiding. After the liberation, the synagogue on Roonstrasse became the new home of the Cologne synagogue community in 1959 . The synagogue and cultural center were inaugurated in the presence of Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauers . As in other German cities, the Jewish community grew through immigration from the areas of the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. In 1996, in addition to the now Orthodox synagogue community, the small Jewish liberal community Gescher Lamassoret (Hebrew for: bridge to tradition) was founded. In 2004, the new Jewish welfare center was opened in the former Jewish asylum on Ottostraße in Cologne-Neuehrenfeld , which houses a Jewish primary school, an old people's home and the administration of the synagogue community, which has more than 5000 members.


According to the 2011 census figures for people with a migration background, around 119,300 (11.9%) were Muslims. Because of the high proportion of Muslim immigrants, especially from Turkey and their descendants, and because of the central location in the old Federal Republic, the most important Islamic organizations established their headquarters in Cologne and the surrounding area ( Kerpen ). According to press reports, around 120,000 Muslims (mainly immigrants) currently live in Cologne and there are a total of around 45 mosques. The representative central mosque in Cologne , officially opened in 2018 , is managed by DITIB . The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat operates the Bait un-Nasir in Cologne-Niehl since 1985 an Islamic community center that was converted in 2011 after renovations and the construction of a minaret to a mosque.


A Hindu temple can be found in Cologne-Höhenhaus on Neurather Weg.


A Gurdwara (Sikh temple) can be found in Cologne-Buchforst, Kalk-Mülheimer Str. 299.


There is also the "Santi Dhamma Vihara Cologne Buddhism Center". V. (KBC), Mathildenstrasse 65, 50679 Cologne and "Diamantweg Buddhismus", Aquinostrasse 27, 50670 Cologne.


The Baha'i religion is also represented in Cologne. She regularly offers activities that are open to all religious members. The Baha'i community also has a space for their activities on Neusser Straße in Nippes.

Other religious institutions

At Cologne / Bonn Airport is a non-denominational cross Prayer room.

Interreligious Dialogue

The Cologne Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation is dedicated to the encounter and dialogue between Jews and Christians. The national Christian-Islamic Society , the largest and oldest Islamic-Christian dialogue organization in Germany, has its headquarters in Cologne . A “Council of Religions” was convened by the City of Cologne, made up of representatives of the various religious communities. Since the beginning of 2008, Cologne has also been the administrative headquarters of the Coordination Council for Christian-Islamic Dialogue (KCID).

The Inter-Religious Round Table of Cologne Mülheim (IRRT) has existed since 1998. It was brought into being as part of the “Keupstrasse Project” at that time by the City of Cologne, intercultural department and intercultural service Mülheim. The long-term goal is to bring as many religions represented in the Mülheim district as possible to one table. There are currently eleven religious communities represented: Center for Education and Integration in Mülheim e. V. (ZeBIt), Friends of the Center for Cultural Encounters (FZKB), Hacı-Bektaş-Veli-Cemhaus (Alevis), Jama'at-un Nur (Community of Light), Catholic Church, Evangelical Church, Free Evangelical Congregation Cologne-Mülheim, Evangelical Free Church Community Cologne-Mülheim (Baptists), Santi Dhamma Vihara Cologne-Buddhism Center e. V. (KBC), Soka Gakkai Internationale - Germany e. V. (SGI-D), Baha'i community Cologne.


  • Klaus Schmidt : Rise of a Minority - 500 Years of Protestants in Cologne , Series: Church History Vol. 6, Lit Verlag , Münster 2016, ISBN 978-3-643-13361-8
  • Evangelical Congregation Cologne (ed.): 150 years of free proclamation of the gospel in Cologne. Festival book of the Evangelical Congregation Cologne for the rededication of the Antoniterkirche on May 18, 1952. Self-published Cologne 1952.
  • Barbara Becker-Jákli : The Protestants in Cologne. The development of a religious minority from the middle of the 18th to the middle of the 19th century. Series of publications by the Association for Rhenish Church History 75. Rhineland-Verlag Cologne, 1983.
  • Barbara Becker-Jákli: Fear God, honor the king. Evangelical life in Cologne on the left bank of the Rhine 1850-1918 . Rheinland-Verlag, Cologne 1988, ISBN 3-7927-0998-8 ( series of publications by the Association for Rhenish Church History. Volume 91).
  • Günther A. Menne, Christoph Nötzel (Hrsg.): Evangelical churches in Cologne and the surrounding area. JP Bachem Verlag, Cologne 2007. ISBN 3-7616-1944-8 .
  • Hermann von Wied: Simple doubts. Reformation draft for the Archbishopric of Cologne from 1543. Translated and edited by Helmut Gerhards and Wilfried Borth. Düsseldorf: Press Association of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, 1972 (series of publications by the Association for Rhenish Church History No. 43).
  • Rudolf Löhr: Protocols of the Dutch Reformed Congregation in Cologne 1651 - 1677 , 2 vols., Rheinland Verlag Düsseldorf: Cologne 1971
  • Hiltrud Kier: The Protestant Cologne. The churches until 1939. Photographs by Celia Körber-Leupold. Bachem, Cologne 2002. ISBN 3-7616-1639-2
  • Armin Beuscher, Asja Bölke, Günter Leitner, Antje Löhr-Sieberg & Anselm Weyer: AntoniterCityTours present: Melaten tells of Protestant life. A tour. Published by Annette Scholl on behalf of the Evangelical Community of Cologne . 2010, ISBN 978-3-942186-01-8
  • Wilma Falk-van Rees, Dietrich Grütjen, Annette Scholl (eds.): I know which ones I believe in. A tour of the evangelical cemetery in Cologne-Mülheim . Cologne 2010, ISBN 978-3-942186-00-1 .
  • Barlach's angel. Voices to the Cologne floating. Edited by Antje Löhr-Sieberg and Annette Scholl with the assistance of Anselm Weyer. Greven Verlag, Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-7743-0481-9 .
  • Günter Leitner, Bernhard Buddeberg: I know that my Redeemer lives - A tour of the evangelical Geusenfriedhof in Cologne . Ed .: Evangelical Congregation Cologne. Cologne 2007.
  • Anselm Weyer: Ina Gschlössl. The dream of the parish office . Cologne 2010, ISBN 978-3-942186-02-5 .
  • Silke Lechner, Christoph Urban: German Evangelical Church Congress 2007 - Documents. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2007, ISBN 3-579-00466-2 .
  • Nikolaus Schneider, Anne Schneider: lively, strong, sharper - experiences and thoughts on the biblical texts of the 31st Evangelical Church Congress in Cologne. Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 2007, ISBN 3-7975-0162-5 .
  • Silke Lechner, Ellen Ueberschär: Lively and strong and sharper. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2007, ISBN 3-579-00465-4 .
  • To exist in freedom. Experienced Kirchentag Cologne 1965. Published on behalf of the Presidium of the German Evangelical Church Congress by Carola Wolf, Gerhard Schnath and Hans-Joachim Beeg. Kreuz-Verlag Stuttgart 1965.
  • German Evangelical Church Congress Cologne 1965. Documents. Published on behalf of the Presidium of the German Evangelical Church Congress. Kreuz-Verlag Stuttgart 1965.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ingo Schmitz: The new minority: proportion of Christians in Cologne under 50 percent. November 21, 2018, accessed on May 23, 2020 (German).
  2. a b City of Cologne: Table 6 (residents by denomination on December 31, 2010 and December 31, 2018) , accessed on September 1, 2019 (PDF)
  3. ^ The new minority , Kölnische Rundschau November 21, 2018
  4. ^ City of Cologne: Table 6 (information on Catholic and Protestant denomination) . Website of the city of Cologne. Accessed June 29, 2017 (pdf)
  5. ^ City of Cologne: Table 6 (information on Catholic and Protestant denomination) . Website of the city of Cologne. Retrieved August 17, 2016 (pdf)
  6. Census2011 - results . Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  7. a b map page: Muslims in North Rhine-Westphalia - communities . March 27, 2017. Accessed January 22, 2018.
  8. ^ City of Cologne: Cologne district information, population figures 2019. City of Cologne, accessed on May 23, 2020 (German).
  9. Axel Bluhm (ed.): God's Word alone. Lectures, speeches, sermons and reflections on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of the martyrs Adolf Clarenbach and Peter Fliesteden. Cologne 1981.
  10. Hans-Georg Link: The Reformation turn of a Cologne archbishop and its consequences. On the 450th anniversary of Hermann von Wied's death on August 15, 2002. ( Memento from November 8, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 77 kB)
  11. Klaus Schmidt: Faith, power and freedom struggles. 500 years of Protestants in the Rhineland . Cologne 2007, p. 33 .
  12. ^ Rudolf Löhr: Protocols of the Dutch Reformed Congregation in Cologne 1651–1677 , 2 Bde., Rheinland Verlag Düsseldorf: Cologne 1971.
  13. Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mary's homepage
  14. Archived copy ( memento of October 15, 2008 in the Internet Archive ); Retrieved December 16, 2007
  15. ^ Carl Dietmar, Die Chronik Kölns, pp. 114, 121, 128
  18. Shalom - welcome. In: Cologne Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation. Retrieved January 6, 2010 .