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Secular Supremacy
(504 words)

[German Version]

Secular supremacy (Kirchenhoheit) refers to the supervisory authority of the state over the churches, based on the sovereignty of the state; this authority was recognized in Germany well into the 20th century. It must be distinguished from Kirchenregiment, which meant not “external” supervision but rather the legally recognized authority of the sovereign within the church itself. The notion of a special authority of the sovereign state to supervise the church had its roots in the theory of territorialism. Both extern…

Cite this page
de Wall, Heinrich, “Secular Supremacy”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 04 July 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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