Skip to main content

The Reunification of the German Churches, a Clash between two Identities

Objective



Research objectives and content

Churches are influential in Germany on the federal level as well as in the individual Lander In the context of the fall of the Berlin wall and of the transition, the German Wende, the churches could but join the effort of reunification imposed by the federal government. The Catholic and Protestant churches have taken different steps. The Catholic church was favoured by a supranational structure which led to unification in a rapid process.

On the other hand, the process was more complex and slower for the Protestant territorial churches which had greater autonomy. To this day, no research has been conducted into the impact of the reunification on the churches both in East and West Germany. Eight years after the reunification, there is a dire need for an assessment of the situation.

An assessment of the impact of the reunification brings in a lot of information concerning the relations between East and West. Can we really say the churches have been remodelled following the Western pattern? Have the churches totally lost their former influence in the new Lander? What role do they play in the question of the identity of East Germany? Is this role specific? The East-West dialectic constitutes the foundation of the current study.

Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)

The current study must bring to light the deep motives for the tension between the two Germanies. This research also proves the need for a reassessment of the relations between the Church and the State in a secularised society. This study must finally emphasize some factors for the claim to identity in the former East Germany. The difficulties linked to the transition toward a market economy have stirred up the need for an East German identity. The conclusions of this research can be applied to the other intermediary bodies. Obstacles, misunderstandings and difficulties are comparable. A typology may be established.

Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)

Coordinator

EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY VIADRINA AT FRANKFURT
Address
Grosse Scharnstrasse
15207 Frankfurt (Oder)
Germany