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Summepiscopate of the Princes
(468 words)

[German Version]

The summepiscopate of the princes is a 19th-century term for the governance of the Protestant churches, but its roots go back to the 16th century. After the breakdown of episcopal jurisdiction, with the approval of the Reformers the Protestant estates of the Empire set about restructuring the governance of the church; only “out of Christian charity” (Luther), it was to be put in the hands of the sovereign as praecipuum membrum ecclesiae (Melanchthon), but not by virtue of his temporal authority. Therefore Luther was not the progenitor of the princes’…

Cite this page
Link, Christoph, “Summepiscopate of the Princes”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 07 August 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1877-5888_rpp_SIM_025863>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013



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