- Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression
- Vol. VI
1933 REICHSGESETZBLATT, PART I, PAGE 471
Decree concerning the Constitution of the German
Protestant Church, of 14 July 1933
The Reich Cabinet has adopted the following
Decree, which is hereby promulgated:
A new constitution for the German Protestant
Church is ordained as of 11 July 1933. Together
with the Introductory
Ordinance it is recognized by the Reich and
published in the enclosure.
(1) The German Protestant Church is a Corporation of Public
Law of the Reich.
(2) The rights and obligations of the German Protestant
Ecclesiastical League are assumed by the German Protestant
Should the competent agencies of a State Church
refuse to include assessments of the German
Protestant Church in their budget, the appropriate
State Government will cause the expenditures to be
included in the budget upon request of the Reich
In the case of formal disciplinary action against
1. Church Disciplinary Authorities are authorized to
administer oaths to witnesses and experts.
2. The Lower Courts must comply with requests of the
Church Disciplinary Authorities for legal assistance.
(1) The State Churches federated as the German Protestant
Church will hold new election on the 23 July 1933 for those
ecclesiastical agencies which are constituted by direct vote
of church members on the basis of current State Church Law.
(2) Where further agencies are to be constituted by
indirect vote on the basis of State Church Law, these
elections will take place before 31 August 1933.
(3) The Supreme Administrative Authorities of the State
Churches are authorized to promulgate by administrative
decree the regulations necessary for carrying out the new
elections. Electors absent from their local church will be
authorized to vote by proxy. Where it is necessary for this
purpose, or in order to adhere to the time limits prescribed
in this article, deviations from the provisions of
Ecclesiastical Law and Church Constitutions concerning the
external mechanism of the electoral procedure are
(4) A Plenipotentiary of the Reich Minister of the Interior
will supervise the impartial implementation of the
provisions of this chapter.
The carrying out of this decree is vested in the
Reich Minister of the Interior.
This decree becomes effective on the day of its
Berlin, 14 July 1933
The Reich Chancellor
The Reich Minister of the Interior
CONSTITUTION OF THE GERMAN PROTESTANT
At a time in which our German people is
experiencing a great historical new era through
the grace of God, the German Protestant Churches
are combining to form a united German Protestant
Church as continuation and consummation of the
unity initiated by the German Protestant
It federates into a solemn league all
denominations that stem from the Reformation and
stand equally legitimately side by side, and
thereby bears witness to: "One Body and One
Spirit, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God
and Father of All of Us, who is Above All, and
Through All, and In All."
The German Protestant Church ordains the following
Constitution for itself:
The inviolable basis of the German Protestant
Church is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as attested
to us in Holy Writ, and as made manifest anew in
the Confessions of the Reformation. The authority
which the Church needs for its mission is thereby
determined and delineated.
(1) The German Protestant Church is composed of Churches
(2) Churches with related creeds may become affiliated.
The nature of the affiliation will be determined by law.
(3) In matters of Dogma and Cult the State Churches remain
(4) The German Protestant Church may issue by law uniform
directives to State Churches for their constitutions,
insofar as the latter are not based on dogma. It is
incumbent upon it to promote and guarantee legal uniformity
among the State Churches in the administrative and judicial
(5) Ordination of leading officials in the State Churches
will take place after the German Protestant Church has been
(6) When assuming office all Church Officials are to be
pledged to the Constitution of the German Protestant Church.
(1) The German Protestant Church regulates all legal
aspects pertaining to the German Church.
(2) It settles [ordnet] its relationship to the State.
(3) It determines its position in relationship to other
(1) The German Protestant Church aims at equipping and
committing German Protestant Christendom, which is united in
it, for the fulfillment of the Divine mission of the Church.
On the basis of Holy Writ and the Confessions of the
Reformers it is therefore incumbent upon it to strive for a
uniform attitude within the Church, and to prescribe goal
and direction for ecclesiastical work.
(2) It devotes special solicitude to the German folk
[Volkstum], particularly to youth.
(3) It takes under its helpful protection undenominational
ecclesiastical work of importance to the entire Church,
especially Home and Foreign Missions.
(4) It is incumbent upon it to preserve and strengthen
connections with Protestant Germans abroad.
(5) It cultivates relations to friendly Churches in foreign
(1) The Church is headed by the Lutheran Reich Bishop.
(2) The Reich Bishop will assisted by an Ecclesiastical
Council [Geistliches Ministerium].
(3) A German Protestant National Synod takes part in
nominating the leading officials of the Church and in
(4) Advisory Chapters guarantee unhampered creative
cooperation in the service of the Church to the talents
active in German Protestant Folk [Volkstum].
(1) The Reich Bishop represents the German Protestant
Church. He is called upon to make visibly manifest the
community of church life in the State Churches, and to
vouchsafe uniform leadership for the work of the German
Protestant Church. He takes the measures requisite to
safeguard the Constitution.
(2) The Reich Bishop will familiarize the members of the
Ecclesiastical Council with the functions of their office.
He will regularly meet the leading officials of the State
Churches for discussion and to take counsel. He will
undertake the appointment and dismissal of the officials of
the German Protestant Church.
(3) The Reich Bishop is authorized to officiate at all
clerical functions, more especially to preach sermons, to
issue proclamations in the name of the German Protestant
Church and to institute, Special Penitence and Festival
Insofar as it is a question of preservation and
cultivation of a denomination other than his own,
this authority will be exercised by the competent
member of the Ecclesiastical Council.
4. The Reich Bishop will be assigned a parish.
The official residence of the Reich Bishop for the
handling of church administration is in Berlin.
5. The Reich Bishop is installed into his bishopric by the
National Synod after nominations have been submitted to the
National Synod by the leading officials of the State
Churches together with the Ecclesiastical Council.
6. Details will be determined by law.
1. Under the leadership of the Reich Bishop, it is
incumbent upon the Ecclesiastical Council to guide the
German Protestant Church and to issue laws.
2. It consists of three clergymen and one legal member.
In appointing the clergymen, due consideration is to be
accorded to the denominational structure of the German
Protestant Church. In case of necessity the number of
members may be increased. The members perform the functions
of their office without supervision. They are responsible
to the Reich Bishop for the Unity of the Church.
3. It is the special task of the clerical members to
strengthen the spiritual ties between the State Churches and
the German Protestant Church, to strengthen the community of
the same denomination and their relationship of
mutual trust to the other elements of the German
4. The Members of the Ecclesiastical Council are appointed
by the Reich Bishop. The Clerical members will be suggested
to the Reich Bishop by the leading officials of the State
Churches. The Legal Member of the Administration of the
Protestant Church of the Old Prussian Union. The position
will be filled in agreement with the Reich Bishop. The
occupants of this position must be qualified for the office
of Judge or for the Higher Administrative.
5. The Legal member is the Reich Bishop's Deputy in legal
matters; he is in charge of the German Protestant Church
Chancery as the supreme ecclesiastical administrative
6. Details will be determined by law.
1. The German Protestant National Synod consists of sixty
members. Two thirds will be delegated by the German
Protestant State Churches from Synods and Church governing
Bodies. The German Protestant Church will appoint one third
from individuals who have conduced themselves well in the
service of the church.
2. Appointment of the members of the National Synod will
be determined by law. The tenure of office for members will
be six years.
Whenever the National Synod is newly constituted,
special consideration will be given to the
integration of new forces.
3. The National Synod will be convened by the Reich Bishop
at lest once a year. At other times the Reich Bishop shall
give due consideration to a request of the National Synod
that it be convened. Place and date of the convention will
be determined by the Reich Bishop. He will open the synod
with Divine Service and will preside at the initial session
until the chairmanship has been agreed upon. The Synod will
establish for itself an order for business.
1. The advisory Chapters will be called upon by the
Ecclesiastical Council for continuous responsible work.
They are entitled to render advisory opinions.
2. Members will be appointed by the Reich Bishop in
agreement with the Ecclesiastical council.
Laws of the German Protestant Church are decided
on by the National Synod in collaboration with the
Ecclesiastical Council, or by the latter alone.
They will be signed by the Reich Bishop and
promulgated in Legal Gazette of the German
Protestant Church. They will become effective on
the fourteenth day after publication in the Legal
Gazette, unless a different date has been set.
1. An annual budget will list all receipts and
expenditures. It will be determined by law before the
beginning of the fiscal year.
2. A law is also requisite for any decision concerning the
negotiation of loans or the assumption of obligations on
behalf of the German Protestant Church.
3. Accounts of receipts and expenditures will be rendered
to a Budget Committee to be designated by the National
Synod. It approved the accounts.
4. The German Protestant Church raises its funds through
assessing the State Churches.
1. The constitution may be amended by law if the
provisions concerning Dogma and Cult are not affected
thereby. The law must be approved by two thirds of the
members of the National Synod present, or approved
unanimously by the Ecclesiastical Council.
2. Approval of the National Synod is required for a law
amending the Constitution of the structures or the executive
agencies of the German Protestant Church are effected
Berlin, 11 July 1933
On behalf of the Protestant Church of the Old
Prussian Union: JAGER (also on behalf of all
Prussian State Churches).
D. ERNST STOLTENHOFF
D. ERNST HUNDT.