Protestantism in Germany

Protestantism in Germany consists of the Evangelical Church in Germany and free churches.[1]

Current representationEdit

Evangelical Church in GermanyEdit

The Evangelical Church in Germany is an umbrella organization for 11 United Protestant (Lutheran & Reformed), 7 Lutheran and 2 Reformed churches that collectively gather 21.1 million German Protestants.[2]

Free churchesEdit

A free church is any Protestant church outside the Evangelical Church in Germany. They have around 0.9 million members.[2]

Historical backgroundEdit

Protestantism in Germany originated with the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517.

The European wars of religion significantly shaped the distribution of Protestantism in Europe, culminating in the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648.

Calvinism gained a substantial foothold in the early 17th century, when Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel converted from Lutheranism in 1604 and John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg in 1613.

In the early 19th century, Lutheran and Calvinist churches were unionised throughout Germany, notably in the Kingdom of Prussia during the Prussian Union of churches in 1817. With the end of the Prussian monarchy in 1918, the king's function as summus episcopus (Supreme Governor of the Evangelical Church of Prussia) ceased to exist. Furthermore, the Weimar Constitution of 1919 decreed the separation of state and religion. Thus, its new constitution of 29 September 1922[3] the Evangelical State Church of Prussia's older Provinces reorganised in 1922 under the name Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union (German: Evangelische Kirche der altpreußischen Union, EKapU or ApU), renamed to Evangelische Kirche der Union (EKU) in 1953.

Religious affiliation declined among Protestants in both West and East Germany after World War II, although to a considerably greater extent in the East. Today there are more Protestants than Catholics in Germany, although the Roman Catholic Church has more members than any individual Protestant denomination.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Protestantism in Germany". Musée virtuel du Protestantisme. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Zahlen und Fakten zum kirchlichen Leben (2019)" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  3. ^ Eckhard Lessing, "Gemeinschaft im Dienst am Evangelium: Der theologische Weg der EKU", in: „... den großen Zwecken des Christenthums gemäß“: Die Evangelische Kirche der Union 1817 bis 1992; Eine Handreichung für die Gemeinden, Wilhelm Hüffmeier (ed.) for the Kirchenkanzlei der Evangelischen Kirche der Union (ed.) on behalf of the Synod, Bielefeld: Luther-Verlag, 1992, pp. 29–37, here p. 35. ISBN 3-7858-0346-X