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Synod, Head of

(147 words)

Author(s): Barth, Thomas
[German Version] Especially in churches in the Reformed tradition, the head of synod is the person who presides over the synod. He is fundamentally limited to this function where a leading clergyman of the regional church is also present, a bishop (III, 3) or regional superintendent. Where that is not the case, as in the Rhineland and Westphalia, the head of synod ¶ (Präses) also functions as “head of the territorial church”; this arrangement characterizes the synodal type of church governance (I). There the head of synod, in the tradition of the Reformed m…


(270 words)

Author(s): Barth, Thomas
[German Version] In the Catholic Church, consistory refers primarily to an assembly of the College of Cardinals, convoked and presided over by the pope ( CIC c. 353); today, its functions are largely representative and ceremonial. Consistory is also the name for a part of the diocesan curia; in German-speaking dioceses, it exercises the judicial authority of the bishop, primarily in marital cases (officialate, judicial vicar). In some Austrian dioceses, it serves as an advisory body to the bishop. In the Evangelical Church in Germany, consistory traditionally denotes a p…

Superintendent, Church

(255 words)

Author(s): Barth, Thomas
[German Version] (“overseer,” based on a lit. Lat. trans. of Gk ἐπίσκοπος/ epískopos). In Germany a superintendent is the clerical leader of a midlevel church administrative district (or deanery; Church polity: IV, 2) comprising several parishes or congregations. Synonymous titles include dean, provost, district pastor, and chief district pastor. The superintendent is basically a pastor with his own congregation; in addition he is responsible for the life of the church in his district, where he conducts vis…


(145 words)

Author(s): Barth, Thomas
[German Version] (Lat. “I forbid”) generally means the right to prohibit implementation of a decision through objection. The term goes back to the historical model of the right of the Roman tribunes of the people to veto official actions of the Patrician magistrates and senatorial decrees. There are two kinds of veto, with different effects: the absolute veto and the suspensory veto, which can be overridden by a new resolution, if necessary with a supermajority. In comparison with the requirement …


(163 words)

Author(s): Barth, Thomas
[German Version] In the Catholic Church, a person in various administrative or coordinative positions is called a moderator (Lat. moderator, “manager, ruler, director”); particular examples include the diocesan coordinator of administrative matters ( CIC/1983 c. 473) and the priest who directs the joint action of several priests to whom the pastoral care of a parish or several parishes has been entrusted ( CIC/1983 c. 517). In the Reformed churches, moderator was the traditional title for the person who presided at synod meetings (Synod, Head of); moderamen was the corresponding…

Regional Superintendent

(134 words)

Author(s): Barth, Thomas
[German Version] In Reformed churches (Lippe, Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche), a regional superintendent (Ger. Landessuperintendent) is a member of the clergy in the administration of the regional church; unlike the Präses (Synod, Head of ), his office is not rooted in presiding over the synod but in belonging to the church’s administrative body. The additional functions of religious leadership assigned to him in Lippe make the office of regional superintendent there rather like that of a bishop. Beyond the ambit of the Re…

Church Governance

(762 words)

Author(s): Barth, Thomas | Knuth, Hans Christian
[German Version] I. Law – II. Practical Theology I. Law Church governance, or leadership, in the broader sense is the collective term for all the organs of church governance in a Protestant regional church. In the more limited sense, the church leadership is the organ responsible for the continuous leadership of the church. The term used may be church leadership, but sometimes also church government, church senate, church council, moderamen, or synodal council. Its specific configuration is appropriate to the type of leadership realized. In the broader sense, the church leade…