« Bruno of Würtzburg Brunswick Bruston, Charles Auguste »


BRUNSWICK: A North German duchy, consisting of three larger territories and six small exclaves, bounded on the north by Hanover, on the east by Saxony, on the south by Hanover, and on the west by Westphalia; area, 1,424 square miles; population (1900), 464,333, of whom 432,570 (93.1%) are Lutherans; 4,406 (.9%) Reformed; 24,175 (5.2%) Roman Catholics; 1,358 of various sects; and 1,824 (.39%) Jews. The Lutheran Church was established in the duchy in 1568, but received its first official organization in 1657 and 1709, while in 1755 and 1764 the administration was placed under six general superintendencies, which are now located at Wolfenbüttel, Brunswick, Helmstädt, Blankenburg, Gandersheim, and Holzminden. The act of Oct. 12, 1832, emphasized the ecclesiastical power of the duke, which is enforced with the cooperation and counsel of an evangelical consistory composed of both clergy and laity. At the same time the appointment of church-directors for the administration of individual churches was considered, but these officials were not actually created until Nov. 20, 1851. Where the congregation has the right of electing its pastors, these "church-deputies," together with an equal number of representatives elected by the community, choose the ministers, and in other cases extend the invitation to the candidates proposed by the duke or by patrons. The congregations, however, have the right to reject candidates who are deficient either in morality or in ability. The number of deputies has increased with the population from 287four to sixteen, and they are chosen by secret ballot, serving for a term of six years.

About twenty years after the organization of the parishes, a general synod was created (May 31, 1871), consisting of twelve clergymen and sixteen laymen from seven electoral districts, in addition to two clerical and two lay delegates appointed by the duke. This synod, which holds its sessions in public, controls all modification, interpretation, and promulgation of laws for the churches, except in matters of doctrine. The committee of the synod is composed of two clerical and two lay members with a fifth chosen from one of the two main bodies, and is required to decide, together with the consistory, on the rejection of candidates by individual congregations, and to discipline pastors and teachers of religion.

Shortly after the creation of this synod, inspectoral synods were introduced by a law of Jan. 6, 1873, which enacted that each parish should be inspected every two years, and that this must take place annually for the city of Brunswick in one of the local churches. A lay inspector may also be appointed by the duke in addition to the regular synod. These regulations control twenty-eight superintendencies with 230 parishes and 428 buildings for religious purposes, of which 333 are churches. A seminary for preachers is conducted at Wolfenbüttel by the consistory, and numerous institutions and associations exist in the duchy. Among the latter special mention may be made of a missionary society, a house of deaconesses, the sisterhoods at Marienberg near Helmstädt, and, above all, of the "Evangelical Association for the Duchy of Brunswick," with its many affiliated interests. Few sectaries have found their way into Brunswick, although Baptists and Mennonites are found here and there, the latter having an establishment for missions in the capital itself.

(Wilhelm Goetz.)

Bibliography: J. Beste, Geschichte der braunschweigischen Landeskirche, Wolfenbüttel, 1889; Entwurf einer Verfassungs-Urkunde für die evangelisch-lutherische Kirche des Herzogtums Braunschweig, Brunswick, 1850; J. Bugenhagen, Bugenhagens Kirchenordnung für die Stadt Braunschweig, 1528, Leipsic, 1885; F. Koldewey, Beiträge zur Kirchen- und Schulgeschichte des . . . Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel, 1888; Beiträge zur Statistik des Herzogtums Braunschweig, Brunswick, part xx., 1907.

« Bruno of Würtzburg Brunswick Bruston, Charles Auguste »
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