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(212 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] The term provost comes from Latin praepositus, “principal, head.” The original monastic use, according to which the praepositus was the superior of a monastery immediately after the abbot, found its way into canon law, where it stands for the chief dignitary of a cathedral or collegiate foundation. He presides over the chapter and administers its finances. In the Evangelical Church in Germany, the equivalent title Probst (fem. Pröbstin) is used for the holder of a mid-level church office; other similar terms include Superintendent and Dekan (Dean). This person is past…

Religious Education for Children

(414 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] (from a legal perspective). Religious education for children encourages the religious/ideological development of the child’s personality. According to German law, various persons ¶ responsible for religious education for children are entitled to encourage personality development in this manner. The religious education (VII, 2) of a child is primarily determined by the free agreement of the parents. This results in part from the parental rights defined in German Basic Law art. 6 §2, and in part from the …

Staffing Rights, Church

(540 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] In a broad sense, church staffing rights involve the fundamental issue of the extent to which churches and religious organizations have the right to administer their own affairs in issuing their own employment and labor regulations. The development of ecclesiastical employment and labor law in a way appropriate to the church’s mission is their own concern, as stated in German Basic Law art. 140 with Weimar Constitution art. 137 §3. This right of self-determination (see also Church…

Pious Disposals

(131 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] These are donations of property made by legal transactions between living persons (e.g. by gift) or after death (e.g. by inheritance or legacy), mostly to ecclesiastical juridical persons, but also to natural persons, directly or in the form of a trust; they are intended for church or charitable purposes. The donor’s wishes must be carefully observed. Pious disposals in the strict sense are to be distinguished from independent or dependent pious foundations. Explicit regulations in church law were given to pious disposals and their fulfillment in CIC/1983 cc. 1299–…

Church Seal

(352 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] For several millennia, all cultures have used seals as symbols consisting of image and text, often in the form of stamp seals, in order to authenticate or seal documents or containers. The purpose of seals is to prevent the unauthorized opening or falsification of contents. Originally, only the seals of the pope and of the emperor, as well as those of kings, princes and ecclesial institutions enjoyed general credibility, though their usage also s…

Swearing-in, Church Law

(188 words)

Author(s): Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] The churches enjoy a right to be sworn by virtue of their right of self-determination defined in German Basic Law art. 140 in combination with art. 137 §3 of the Weimar Constitution. Church law accordingly provides for both a forensic oath of witnesses (an assertory oath [VII]) and a promissory oath of office. In Protestant law (Canon law), use is made of the right to be sworn in primarily in the context of disciplinary and administrative proceedings, in the context of a witness’s…

Evangelische Kirche der Union (EKU)

(1,391 words)

Author(s): Rogge, Joachim | Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] I. History – II. Legal Status I. History 1. Establishment The Evangelische Kirche der Union (EKU) was founded as the “Evangelische Kirche in den Königlich Preussischen Landen” by a cabinets-ordre of Fredrick William III dated Sep 27, 1817 (on the change of name, see 3 below). The king, who belonged to the Reformed Church, took an interest in theological and ecclesiastical matters. His policy of toleration matched the trend of the times; under the influence of Pietism and the Enlightenment, concern for confessional ques-¶ tions wa…


(2,685 words)

Author(s): Dehn, Ulrich | Bochinger, Christoph | Thiede, Werner | Thiele, Christoph
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Both the etymology and the usage of the word sect are disputed. Derivation from Latin secare (“separate”) is possible, as is derivation from secta (from sectus, sequi, “school of thought”). English uses the word in the latter neutral sense, whereas the German equivalent Sekte is usually a pejorative exonym, corresponding to Eng. cult. M. Weber (see II below) distinguished between voluntary membership “of those who are religiously and morally qualified” in exclusive sects, in contrast to compulsory membership in the church as a Gnadenanstalt (“i…