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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: Article 1 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. Article 2 (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 Church. Article 3 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 Cabinet. Article 4 In the case of formal disciplinary action against church officials. 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. Article 5 (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 permissible. (4) A Plenipotentiary of the Reich Minister of the Interior will supervise the impartial implementation of the provisions of this chapter. [Page 138] Article 6 The carrying out of this decree is vested in the Reich Minister of the Interior. Article 7 This decree becomes effective on the day of its promulgation. Berlin, 14 July 1933 The Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler The Reich Minister of the Interior Frick Enclosure CONSTITUTION OF THE GERMAN PROTESTANT CHURCH 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 Ecclesiastical League. 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: SECTION I Article 1 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. SECTION II Article 2 (1) The German Protestant Church is composed of Churches (State Churches-Landeskirchen). (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 independent. [Page 139] (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 fields. (5) Ordination of leading officials in the State Churches will take place after the German Protestant Church has been consulted. (6) When assuming office all Church Officials are to be pledged to the Constitution of the German Protestant Church. SECTION III Article 3 (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 religious communities. Article 4 (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 countries. SECTION IV Article 5 (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 legislation. [Page 140] (4) Advisory Chapters guarantee unhampered creative cooperation in the service of the Church to the talents active in German Protestant Folk [Volkstum]. Article 6 (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 Services. 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. Article 7 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 members of [Page 141] the same denomination and their relationship of mutual trust to the other elements of the German Protestant Church. 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 authority. 6. Details will be determined by law. Article 8 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. Article 9 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. SECTION V Article 10 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. SECTION VI Article 11 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. SECTION VII Article 12 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 thereby. Berlin, 11 July 1933 On behalf of the Protestant Church of the Old Prussian Union: JAGER (also on behalf of all Prussian State Churches). LUGWIG MULLER. D. WINCKLER D. ERNST STOLTENHOFF D. ERNST HUNDT.