Sending court

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The Sendgericht or also the Send is a term from church legal history. Before the ecclesiastical court (formerly also known as Sinode ), the clergy, in the presence of the Count's mayors , treated and reprimanded the atrocities , sins and vices of the parishioners.


The term send goes back to the word synod and describes the religious moral judgments that took place regularly in the Middle Ages and early modern times . The Sendgericht emerged in the 9th century from the episcopal visitation . Two books by Regino von Prüm with the title De causis synodalibus et ecclesiasticis disciplinis served as a legal book . Curses and blasphemous speeches, disorderly behavior, carousing, card games, illegitimate relationships and children, but also disregard for Sunday rest through activities in the fields and corridors were frequent causes of reports and complaints .


Little is known from the early days about the penalties imposed by the broadcasting courts. Most of the time, reprimands and admonitions announced from the pulpit were sufficient, and more rarely public exposure by hanging on the shame or vice stone . Serious wrongdoings, offenses and crimes were as so-called Malefizsachen or neck court not criminal offenses from the end, but by magisterial courts as the bailiwick court punished.

Extensive catalogs of punishments and sanctions have survived from the time of the Reformation . Lighter offenses were reprimanded privately, more serious offenses by fines, which were usually to be paid to the alms fund. In addition, the temporary or permanent exclusion from the Lord's Supper (ban on church ) or the refusal to perform official church acts ( funeral , wedding ceremony ) could also be pronounced; often the reprimanded were not admitted as godparents at baptisms.


First people attended a service, which usually took place in front of a "cross altar", the people's altar . If this did not take place in the so-called Sendkirche, a procession was then made to the Sendkirche. There was a table in front of the transmission chair covered with a white and black blanket (as a symbol of good and bad). On it was a cross with candles, in front of it a stick, a stone, a piece of paper and a pair of scissors - as proof of the jurisdiction.

Further development

In the Catholic Church

Since the 11th century , the power of broadcasting passed to the archdeacons and later also to the priests and experienced its heyday in the high Middle Ages, so to speak . In the Sachsenspiegel from around 1230 it says: Every Christian, as soon as he has reached his age, is obliged to visit the Sendgericht three times a year within the diocese in which he is resident (Ssp. Ldr. I / 2,1 ). It seems that the nobility went to the send court of the bishop and the peasant class to the send court of the archdeacon. But the Council of Trent (1545–1563) reassigned the bishops to sole judicial power.


In some Protestant territories, the Sendgericht experienced its last heyday in the second half of the 16th century . Numerous church ordinances prescribe the renewal of the broadcasting courts, often under other names such as church censorship . What was new was that official authority was no longer exercised by the representatives of the official church, i.e. the pastors , superintendents , deans or consistories (church leaders) , but by men elected from the community. This choice was usually made for a limited period of time, more rarely for a lifetime. The members of the broadcasting court were referred to as broadcast judges , (church) censors , elders or presbyters (Greek: elders).

The practice gradually disappeared in both denominations in the course of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century the broadcast disappeared everywhere in Germany, where it was mainly and almost exclusively valid.

Send in Munster

The sender sword at the town hall as a symbol of the market rights of the city of Münster during the sender, which takes place three times a year.

Main article: Send (Münster)

During this time there was a particularly strict market peace in Münster , which punished any breach that was associated with bloodshed with death until 1578 .

Today the Send in Münster is the largest fair in the region, which takes place three times a year at the weekend on the Schlossplatz . In addition to many rides, there is also the traditional “pot market”.


  • Albert Michael Königer: The broadcasting courts in Germany . Munich 1907.
  • A. Erler: Article Send . In: Religion Past and Present . Volume 5. Third edition 1961, Col. 1697-1698.
  • Godfr. Corbach: Contributions to the Bergischen history . SCRIBA Verlag, Cologne 2001. Reprint of the 1976 edition. ISBN 3-921232-48-1 .
  • Thorsten Schottke: Between safeguarding the law and enforcing norms. On the function of archidiaconal broadcast court activity in the parish of Lüdinghausen , in: Geschichtsblätter des Kreis Coesfeld 23, 1998, pp. 55–82.

Web links

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