Prussian Union of Churches - History - Protestant Churches in Prussia's New Provinces

Protestant Churches in Prussia's New Provinces

In 1850 the prevailingly Catholic principalities of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, ruled by Catholic princely branches of the Hohenzollern family, joined the Kingdom of Prussia and became the Province of Hohenzollern. There had hardly been any Protestants in the tiny area, but with the support from Berlin congregational structures were built up. Until 1874 three (later altogether five) congregations were founded and in 1889 organised as a deanery of its own. The congregations were stewarded by the Evangelical Supreme Church Council (see below) like congregations of expatriates abroad. Only on 1 January 1899 the congregations became an integral part of the Prussian state church. No separate ecclesiastical province was established, but the deanery was supervised by that of the Rhineland. In 1866 Prussia annexed the Kingdom of Hanover (then converted into the Province of Hanover), the Free City of Frankfurt upon Main, the Electorate of Hesse, and the Duchy of Nassau (combined as Province of Hesse-Nassau) as well as the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein (becoming the Province of Schleswig-Holstein), all prevailingly Lutheran territories, where Lutherans and the minority of Calvinists had not united. After the trouble with the Old Lutherans in pre-1866 Prussia, the Prussian government refrained from imposing the Prussian Union onto the church bodies in these territories. Also the reconciliation of the Lutheran majority of the citizens in the annexed states with their new Prussian citizenship was not to be further complicated by religious quarrels. Thus the Protestant organisations in the annexed territories maintained their prior constitutions or developed new, independent Lutheran or Calvinist structures.

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