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Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg (German: Evangelische Landeskirche in Württemberg; analogous translation in English: Evangelical State Church in Württemberg) is a Lutheran member church of the Evangelical Church in Germany in the German former state of Württemberg, now part of the state of Baden-Württemberg.

The seat of the church is in Stuttgart. It is a full member of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), and is a Lutheran Church. The presiding bishop (Landesbischof) of the church is Frank Otfried July (2005).[1] There are four regional bishops (Regionalbischöfe). The regional bishops are located at Heilbronn, Stuttgart, Ulm, and Reutlingen.[2]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Württemberg is one of 22 Lutheran, united and reformed churches of the EKD. The church has 2,022,740 members (2017)[3] in about 1,300 parishes. It is the most important Protestant denomination in eastern Baden-Württemberg. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Württemberg is a member church of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation and a guest member of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany. The Church runs a minister training house in Tübingen called Tübinger Stift. The most prominent churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Württemberg are the Stiftskirche in Stuttgart, the Minster in Ulm, the Kilians church in Heilbronn, the St. Mary's Church, Reutlingen, the city church St. Dionysius in Esslingen, as well as the church St. Michael in Schwäbisch Hall. The ordination of women like in all other EKD churches has been allowed. In March 2019, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg allowed blessing of same-sex unions.[4]

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In 1534, Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg enforced the Protestant Reformation in his Duchy of Württemberg. The Duke, who later became the King of Württemberg, was the head of the state church as the summus episcopus, meaning the ruler united secular and religious power in his person. The former Catholic bishops lost all privileges. Johannes Brenz was enpowered to reform the state church following the teachings of Martin Luther. He is entombed in the Stuttgart Stiftskirche.

The Evangelical State Church in Württemberg was from the beginning a Lutheran church. However, the form of the church service followed the Reformed tradition, meaning that it is rather plain. The form of the Lutheran church service is hardly ever practiced. It is however practiced in Hohenzollern.[5] Huguenots, Hussites and Waldensians immigrants had found refuge the duchy. Up to 1806 the Duchy of Württemberg was a purely evangelical territory. Only after Württemberg became a kingdom and, due to Napoleon, larger Catholic territories (Upper Swabia) were added, the uniform religious structure ended. Evangelical parishes have also been established in the former Catholic territories of (southern) Württemberg since the late 19th century.

After the end of World War I, King William II of Württemberg was forced to resign. The church therefore formally had no ruler because his children had also been disqualified for royal succession due to improper marriage. Since the 1890s the head of a Catholic ducal branch line of the royal house has been named as his legitimate successor, but the Lutheran state church could obviously not accept him as summus episcopus. As a result, leading clergymen took over the church. After King William II had died in October 1921, the Evangelical State Church in Württemberg enacted a new constitution in 1923/24 and installed a church president as the leader of the church; in 1933 the leader was given the title Landesbischof.

In 1945, the Protestant deanery (Kirchenkreis) of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union in the Province of Hohenzollern adopted provisional supervision by the Evangelical State Church in Württemberg.[6] On April 1, 1950, the deanery joined the latter church body and terminated its supervision by the prior old-Prussian Ecclesiastical Province of the Rhineland.

The Evangelical State Church in Württemberg hosted the 11th General Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Stuttgart, Germany, on 20–27 July 2010.

Leading persons and bishops in history

  • 1924–1929: Johannes von Merz, church president
  • 1929–1948: Theophil Wurm, bishop (until 1933 church president)
  • 1948–1962: Dr. Martin Haug, bishop
  • 1962–1969: Dr. Erich Eichele, bishop
  • 1969–1979: Helmut Claß, bishop
  • 1979–1988: Hans von Keler, bishop
  • 1988–1994: Theo Sorg, bishop
  • 1994–2001: Eberhardt Renz, bishop
  • 2001–2005: Gerhard Maier, bishop
  • 2005 – today: Frank Otfried July, bishop


The election of the synod is for six years.


Child and Youth work is running on the YMCA (CVJM-Gesamtverband). The local admisistadion (Landesstelle) is a free democratic organisation "Evangelisches Jugendwerk in Württemberg "working in order of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg. The Überbündische meeting (in short "UT") took place 1977 and 2017 in Böttingen (Heuberg) courtyard of the evangelical church youth. A total of 3,400 people took part in at least 45 different societies and institutions of scouts and youth movement.[7][8] A total of 70.000 people took place at the European young adults meeting in Stuttgart 1996.


  • 1922: 1,668,000 members[9]
  • 2007: 2,286,893 members


  1. ^ Details of Presiding Bishop.
  2. ^ See cities indicated on map.
  3. ^ Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland - Kirchemitgliederzahlen Stand 31.12.2017
  4. ^ Stuttgarter Nachrichten: Landessynode erlaubt Segnungsgottesdienste für homosexuelle Paare (german), March 23, 2019
  5. ^ Antonia Lezerkoss: Kirche: Liturgie nach alter Preußenweise. Südwest Presse Online, 3. Februar 2017, abgerufen am 18. Februar 2018.
    Dagmar Stuhrmann: Kirche: Ausstellung „Evanglisch in Hohenzollern“ macht Halt in Ebingen. Südwest Presse Online, 26. Januar 2017, abgerufen am 18. Februar 2018.
    Hechingen: Ein Abschied voller Wehmut. Schwarzwälder Bote, 13. Februar 2013, abgerufen am 18. Februar 2018.
  6. ^ The Evangelical congregations in Hohenzollern, formerly comprising 1,200 parishioners, had to integrate 22,300 Prussian and Polish refugees (of 1945) and expellees (of 1945-1948).
  7. ^ ÜT meeting 1977 Böttingen
  8. ^ ÜT meeting 2017 Böttingen
  9. ^ Sebastian Müller-Rolli in collaboration with Reiner Anselm, Evangelische Schulpolitik in Deutschland 1918–1958: Dokumente und Darstellung, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999, (=Eine Veröffentlichung des Comenius-Instituts Münster), p. 29. ISBN 3-525-61362-8.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 August 2019, at 11:02
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