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(737 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Bernd Christian
By the end of the 18th century, most of the territories of the Holy Roman Empire were homogeneous in confession and religion (excepting the toleration of the Jews in many places; cf. Ius reformandi; Confessionalization). So too were most of the Swiss cantons and European kingdoms (Protestant: Scandinavian kingdoms; Catholic: France, Spain). As a rule, civic rights depended on membership of the one official confession or “religion” of the territory, so these can be said to have been “established churches”.Besides the free imperial cities (Augsburg, Biberach) that were o…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ius reformandi (the right to reform [the Church])

(1,022 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Bernd Christian
1. Definition and historical originsThe ius reformandi was the right of a secular sovereign power in the Holy Roman Empire to regulate (“reform”) religious conditions in his territory. It was a typically early modern right, because it presupposed the basic concepts of territorial sovereignty and the distinction between state and religion, while simultaneously promoted both ideas (Church and state). A corresponding right was exercised in other European states (in Scandinavia and England with the introd…
Date: 2019-10-14

Episcopal system

(815 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Bernd Christian
The term  episcopal system denotes a legal theory explaining why Protestant German princes governed the churches in their territories episcopally (Latin  episcopale). In the Germany of the Reformation period (1517–1555), hardly any incumbent bishops aligned themselves with the Reformation. At the same time, the Protestant estates of the realm insisted that the incumbent bishops were no longer allowed to exercise jurisdiction over Protestant citizens (Jurisdiction). Instead the Protestant political elites themselve…
Date: 2019-10-14


(878 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Bernd Christian
A consistory (from Latin  consistere, “come together, meet”) is a collegial governing body, usually of religious organizations, especially Protestant churches. In the Roman Catholic Church, a consistory is usually a formal meeting of the College of Cardinals presided over by the pope. In French-language church orders of the Reformed tradition,  consistoire also denotes an ecclesiastical election body on the level of the congregation; similarly in the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, a presbytery is called a  consistorie. The term has also been used for Jewi…
Date: 2019-10-14

Church Order

(2,797 words)

Author(s): Kampmann, Jürgen | Schneider, Bernd Christian
1. General1.1. DefinitionUntil well into the 20th century, the term church order always referred only to the legal systems of the churches in the territories of the Holy Roman Empire in which the Reformation had been established, negating any continuation of canon law (Ecclesiastical law). Quite recently the term has also been applied to texts composed between the 2nd and 5th centuries that deal with questions of how life should be ordered in the Christian communities [3].To date there has been no agreed definition of the legal documents called church orders in P…
Date: 2019-10-14

Church and state

(4,982 words)

Author(s): Unterburger, Klaus | Sparn, Walter | Schneider, Bernd Christian | Synek, Eva
1. Introduction The reciprocal but never symmetrical relationship between Church andState in early modern Europe was the result of a historical development that in some respects remained indebted to the political ethics of the New Testament (Rom 13; Rv 13), while in other respects confronting profound changes in both ecclesiastical and secular political institutions, specifically the emergence of the early modern territorial and nation state. At first, the underlying assumption was that the Europe…
Date: 2019-10-14