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Institutional Congregation

(182 words)

Author(s): Böttcher, Hartmut
[German Version] The church of Jesus Christ does not take form in the local area only. In addition to the territoriall – defined local church congregation, special forms such as personal and institutional congregations have developed. While in personal congregations members are exempted from the local church organization because of particular personal characteristics, institutional congregations stand in a particular legally regulated relationship to an institution and a circle of persons for whom…

Institution, Church

(226 words)

Author(s): Böttcher, Hartmut
[German Version] On the one hand, the concept of the church institution is employed generally, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to explain the nature of the church and is contrasted to or combined with the collegialistic understanding (the church as ¶ a community of saints and an institution of salvation, F.J. Stahl). In the specific sense, on the other hand, the concept refers to certain organizations and institutions within the responsibility of the church. According to the definition under administrative law, an institu…


(2,669 words)

Author(s): Bottcher, Hartmut | Müller, Michael | Souza, Teotonio R. de
[German Version] I. Term, History and Church Law 1. Term and content. Patronage is the inclusive term for rights and duties that pertain to a natural or juridical person in relation to a church or church office on a particular legal basis, independent of position in the church hierarchy. Patronage itself is not a church office, but a privilege granted to the founders of churches, chapels or benefices and their legal successors (cf. the legal definition in CIC c.1448, 1917). The most important is the right of presentation, that is, the right to propose an appropriate pers…

Church Seating

(843 words)

Author(s): Huffman, Walter | Bock, Ulrich | Böttcher, Hartmut
[German Version] I. Liturgy – II. Art History – III. Law I. Liturgy The form and the focus of the liturgical space reveal the theological self-concept of a community. Important developments in our time have been the reconfiguration of worship spaces without regard for historical stereotypes (Church architecture: II, 4) and the rediscovery of the form of their liturgical center. The definition of the church as a family gathered around word and sacrament encouraged a rather semi-circula…

Church Buildings

(567 words)

Author(s): Böttcher, Hartmut
[German Version] As the place where the community of Jesus Christ gathers around God's word and sacrament for public worship, church buildings have always been the center of the congregation. Through changes of architectural fashion (Church architecture) and subject to the regulations of ecclesiastical law (e.g. CIC 1983 cc. 1214ff.), the love of the “house of God” expressed in the Old Testament (Ps 26:8) continues unabated to the present day. Churches are buildings dedicated to the worship of God and thus enjoy a special …

Pastoral Perquisites (Jura Stolae)

(273 words)

Author(s): Böttcher, Hartmut
[German Version] Pastoral perquisites (sometimes called stole fees; Church dues) are fees paid by parishioners to the clergy for certain liturgical services such as baptisms, weddings, and burials. They were an official component of the pastoral stipend (Benefice) and hence part of the pastor’s income. The name derives from offices at which a stole was worn. In Protestantism today, stole fees have been essentially replaced by the authority to charge fees for the benefit of the parish for the perfo…

Dimissorial Letter

(280 words)

Author(s): Böttcher, Hartmut
[German Version] (resignation or dismissal document, from Lat. dimittere, “to dismiss”). As an outgrowth of parish law, the responsibility for executing the duties of the office (Ministerial offices) lies essentially with the respective local pastor of a church congregation. Pastoral care, the right to preach (Pulpit rights) and, thus, al…