Senior is an official title that was used in Protestant churches and is still used in some. The office always included and always includes a management or supervisory function.
The senior was either the senior pastor or was elected from among their ranks by the members of the Spiritual Ministry. In Hamburg the senior pastor was the senior pastor until 1981, and thus the representative of the regional bishop.
As a representative of the clergy, he faced the superintendent , who was appointed by the owner of the sovereign church regiment, but was often also his deputy. In some cities (e.g. Hamburg and Lübeck ), the powers of the church supervisory authority passed entirely to the senior.
With the elimination of the sovereign church regiment in 1918 and the emergence of synodal and episcopal forms of church leadership, the office lost its importance. It was abolished during the 20th century.
The title of superintendent of the church district Erfurt in the Evangelical Church in Central Germany (EKM) has been preserved. The senior pastor of the Reformed Church District in the EKM also bears the title of “Reformed Senior”.
Eastern and Southeastern Europe
In the countries of the Danube Monarchy as well as in Poland, Senior was the title of a leading evangelical clergyman at the regional level, corresponding to what was usually called superintendent elsewhere. In the Evangelical Church AB in the Slovak Republic and the Evangelical Church of the Bohemian Brothers , this name has been used to this day. In the Evangelical Church AB in Austria there were several senior councils within a superintendent ( diocese ) , each headed by a senior. Today the elected representative of a superintendent is named senior.