Church Organisation
Tridentine Catholicism
Church Organization

Lutheran Church Organization

The Lutheran Reformation replaced the existing ecclesiastic administrative organization (by dioceses, not coinciding with the political borders) by LANDESKIRCHEN, i.e. church provinces which did coincide with territories. These state (or territorial) church organizations were and are represented by a LANDESKIRCHENRAT or state church council, presided by one or several SUPERINTENDENT(s) also referred to as LANDESBISCHOF (state bishop). State bishop and state council both exercise merely a church-political mandate; obedience to the state authorities had been demanded by Martin Luther himself.
Although the superintendents are often referred to as bishops, in Germany they do not build up on the tradition of previous Catholic bishoprics; in Scandinavia they do, as Denmark's, Sweden's and Norway's entire church organization was reformed. Superintendents are elected by the territory's respective church council, an adequate theological education on the side of the candidate was a precondition; in the centuries immediately following the reformation, so was the favour of the prince (respective city council).
When Electoral Saxony was annexed into Albertine Saxony after the SCHMALKALDIC WAR, a Landeskirche of (now unified) Saxony was created, i.e. the church organization adapted to territorial changes. As German history is very complex, such organizational changes were necessary at several occasions.

VISITATION COMMISSIONS and THEOLOGICAL FACULTIES at universities had functions beyond the local level.
At the local level, there were the offices of PASTOR (minister, in German : Pfarrer), Reader (teacher, in German : Lehrer), Warden (in German : Presbyter) and Deacon (almoner, in German : Armenpfleger). The Lutheran reformation emphasized the importance of elementary schooling, thus the reader. In reality, not every community had a reader; in smaller communities the pastor had to take on that function as well.

REFERENCE The Saxon Church Organization, in : Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation c.1500-1618, Harlow (Essex): Longman 1998, p.68, KMLA Lib.Sign. 274.06 GB 121

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 14th 2003, last revised on November 15th 2004

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