« Bautz, Josef Bavaria Bavarians, Conversion of the »


BAVARIA: A kingdom in the southern part of the German Empire, and, next to Prussia, the largest of the states of the Empire; area, 29,282 square miles; population (1900), 6,176,057, of whom 4,357,133 (70.5 per cent.) are Roman Catholics; 1,749,206 (28.3 per cent.) Protestants; 5,430 Old Catholics; 3,170 Mennonites; 54,928 (.9 per cent.) Jews; and 4,142 of various faiths.

Protestantism in Bavaria.

The division of the chief confessions is based in great part on the historic conditions prevailing in 1624 and 1648, although the development of the cities has been the cause of many changes, the proportion of Protestants having increased in Munich and that of the Roman Catholics in Nuremberg. The old Bavarian circles of Upper and Lower Bavaria, as well as the Upper Palatinate, have always been essentially Roman Catholic. Upper Bavaria received its first Protestant citizens in the early part of the nineteenth century, but in consequence of the rapid growth of Munich in recent years the Protestants of that city alone numbered 78,000 in 1900. Six pastorates and six immovable vicariates are also contained in the district, and seven small churches have been built in market-towns and villages. Since the sixteenth century Lower Bavaria has posed the Protestant enclave of Ortenburg with certain neighboring places, while more recently communities have been established in the larger cities, especially Passau. The Upper Palatinate was not completely converted to Roman Catholicism in 1622–28, since the duchy of Sulzbach and the imperial city of Regensburg retained congregations of both confessions who used the same churches; but with the increase in population the proportion of Protestants steadily declined. The district now has four deaneries with forty-eight pastorates. In the three old Bavarian districts provision is made for the Protestant Diaspora by itinerant preachers, four of whom work in Upper Bavaria 13and two in Lower Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate combined. Since 1805 Swabia has belonged in great part to Bavaria. It consisted originally of a group of territories belonging to free cities, the clergy, and knights of the empire. Only the first category was predominantly Protestant, and even here Roman Catholicism has gained steadily. Swabia contains the following Protestant deaneries: Augsburg, Ebermergen, Kempten (including Lindau and Kaufbeuren), Leipheim, Memmingen, Nördlingen, and Oettingen.

Frankish North Bavaria is composed, on the one hand, of the episcopal territories of the bishoprics of Eichstätt, Bamberg, Würzburg, and a portion of the electorate of Mainz, and, on the other, of the Protestant principalities of Ansbach and Baireuth, Nuremberg, Rothenburg, and other free cities, and enclaves of the orders. This entire region is strongly Roman Catholic, although Lower Franconia has a considerable number of Protestant communities (116 pastorates, exclusive of Würzburg, Schweinfurt, and Aschaffenburg). In the larger section of Bavaria the historical divisions between Protestant and Roman Catholic, at least in the smaller towns, are still maintained, but in the minor portion, the Rhine Palatinate, there are few political communities which do not have a considerable minority of adherents of one or the other creed. In Speyer the proportions are almost equal, Roman Catholics numbering about 9,000 and the Protestants 8,000.

The legal position of the Protestant Church in Bavaria is regulated by an edict of Sept. 8, 1809, while its foreign relations are governed by the constitution of 1818. Both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are officially recognized, and controversies seldom arise between the two, except in regard to the creed in which children shall be brought up, methods of conversion, particularly in the Evangelical Diaspora, and the use of burial-grounds in Roman Catholic communities. In 1824 the official designation of the Protestants was declared to be "Protestant Church."

The Reformed Church in the Palatinate first regained official recognition together with the Lutherans at the general consistory at Worms in 1815, and the Bavarian government created a consistory at Speyer on Dec. 15, 1818, for the "Protestant Churches of the Palatinate," a presbyterial and synodical constitution being introduced at the same time. In 1848 the Protestant Church of the Palatinate and the consistory of Speyer were placed directly under the jurisdiction of the ministry of state. The attempt to create a more definite confessional status led, in the sixth decade of the last century, to a victorious agitation on the part of the liberal element. Since 1879 the presbyteries have had the right to propose candidates for vacant pastorates. In Bavaria proper diocesan synods are held annually, and general synods every four years.

There are few Protestants in Bavaria, except those who belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, nor are the professed adherents of sects numerous. A distinct organization was granted the Reformed in Bavaria proper in 1853, although they are still under the control of the Supreme Consistory. The Greek Church was recognized in 1826, but the Anglican Church is officially ignored like the Mennonites. The last-named have six communities in the Palatinate and four in Bavaria proper. Until 1887 the Old Catholics were reckoned as Roman Catholics, but are now declared to be a separate body, though full recognition has not been granted them.

Roman Catholicism in Bavaria.

The Roman Catholic Church in Bavaria is highly organized and extremely active, while its wealth and political influence are constantly increasing. The kingdom is divided into two archdioceses with eight dioceses. The archdiocese of Munich-Freising comprises the suffragan dioceses of Augsburg, Passau, and Regensburg; and the archdiocese of Bamberg includes the dioceses of Eichstätt, Würzburg, and Speyer. The education of the clergy, in agreement with the concordat of 1817, is entrusted to the bishops. The development of orders has been very rapid, especially in the sisterhoods for the education and the care of the sick. The number of cloisters has also increased rapidly, with a corresponding gain in real estate, and this development is aided by the generous gifts and foundations of the Roman Catholic population, the property of the 8,600 institutions being valued at more than 150,000,000 marks; while that of the 1,800 Protestant institutions is worth only 19,600,000 marks. The Roman Catholic clergy in Bavaria number some 4,900, or a proportion of one to 816 of the laity, while the Protestants have but about 1,300 clergymen, or one to 1,200 laymen.

Wilhelm Goetz.

Bibliography: V. A. Winter, Geschichte der Schicksale der evangelischen Lehre in und durch Bayern, 2 vols., Munich, 1809–10; E. F. H. Medicus, Geschicte der evangelischen Kirche im Königreich Bayern, Erlangen, 1863; J. M. Mayer, Geschichte Bayerns, Ratisbon, 1874; J. Hergenröther, Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte, 3 vols., Freiburg, 1876–80 (literature of the subject is given, iii, 183); S. Riezler, Geschichte Bayerns, 4 vols., Gotha, 1878–99; Wand, Handbuch der Verfassung und Verwaltung der protestantisch-ev.-christlichen Kirche der Pfalz, 1880; Beiträge zur Statistik des Königreichs Bayern, Munich, 1892; Statistische Mitteilungen aus den deutschen evangelischen Landeskirchen, Stuttgart, 1880–96.

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