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The Reformation

The development of relations between society and religion in Germany was marked in the 16th century by the Reformation, particularly the Lutheran Reformation. Not only did the Protestant Reformation establish the bi-denominational aspect that characteristics the religious situation to this very day, it also reinforced the political division among the territories of the German Empire. The policy of cuius regio eius religio (“he who rules, his religion”) formulated during the Peace of Augsburg (1555), guaranteed each Prince the freedom to determine whether Lutheranism or Catholicism was to prevail in their lands (ius reformandi - the right to regulate religion in your own state), at the same time subjects were granted the right to emigrate (ius emigrandi). This rule, which constitutes the Sectarian State, was proclaimed in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) after the Wars of Religion of the 17th Century and also applies to the Protestant Reformed Religion. In the Protestant States the autonomy of political power is legitimised by Luther’s theory of the two kingdoms (Zwei-Reiche-Lehre), while the internal organisation of Protestant Churches follows the Catholic model, according to which place of residence determines to which parish or diocese one belongs.

D 10 July 2012    AMatthias Koenig

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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