State church

  • Orthodox Church
  • Protestantism
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • States, the religious define themselves ( eg as " Islamic Republic" )
  • Buddhism
  • Islam ( general)
  • Shia
  • Sunnis
  • No state church

As a state church, a Christian religious community is called, which was (mostly constitutional status ) determined in a State under applicable law, the official religion. This regulation applies to either the whole territory or only a part of the state. A state church derives often from a monarchy, and is closely connected with the person of the monarch, who has a special role within the established church in general. Even former monarchies that now have a republican constitution, often have a state church (eg Greece ). Erroneously, the terms national, provincial and national church are often used interchangeably. The public recognition of a religious community not yet justified their elevation to the state church.

A church may be limited as the state church on the territory of a State or part of the state ( eg, Church of England, [ formerly ] Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton Zurich ), or they can in several states official church (eg, formerly the Catholic Church in Spain, Italy and Belgium).

Historically, citizenship and church membership were identical in many cases, and some state churches saw mission as basically unnecessary.

State churches usually have certain governmental privileges (tax, reputation of the clergy ), but are also bound by certain rules of the state. The extent of the privileges and rights of appeal of the state may be very different, for example, in the German state churches and Caesaropapism depending on the country and time.

State religion does not have the same meaning as the state church, because while the former independent communities of faith includes (eg Catholic), referred to the latter more to a state- affiliated church.

Individual countries


The first country to officially introduce Christianity as the state church, was Armenia ( king Trdat III. ) In the year 301 Today, church and state separate, even if it is a one-off collaboration in different areas (for example, military chaplaincy ).


Ethiopia is the second country, which made Christianity the official state religion, by King Ezana in 331 or 344/5. Thus, Ethiopia is next to Armenia one of the oldest Christian country in the world and the first Christian state in Africa and the Orient. In addition, the long tradition of Christianity in Ethiopia is worth mentioning. The local state church is the Coptic Church of Ethiopia, also known as the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, she has long been part of the smaller Coptic Church of Egypt, yet the two churches are still in a very strong connection to the Coptic Pope and Patriarch of Egypt is also simultaneously the honorary head of the Ethiopian Church. Since the fall of the Ethiopian Emperor in 1974, Christianity is no longer the state religion of the country still does today, the church a large role in the lives of Ethiopians one.


During the Reformation, was the principle of cuius regio, eius religio ( who owns the land that determines the denomination ) of the territorial lord even of the uppermost church Lord. The Peace of Augsburg of 1555 sealed definitively that in the now Protestant areas, regional sovereigns quasi received episcopal rights, ie the right of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and the right to establishment of the clergy. Theologically, the Reformed and Lutheran churches were not defined by the prince. Martin Luther entered this form of secular church rule against (see: two- kingdom doctrine ). The involvement of the princes led to still visible impact. Thus the emergence of the Evangelical United church in 1817 or the traditional black robe as Amtstracht Protestant pastor (from 1811) is due to the direct action of the Prussian princes. With the Weimar Republic after the end of World War 1 and the abdication of the princes at the state and imperial level, the Protestant state churches and Catholic German dioceses received their national independence.

The ideological neutrality of the Federal Republic of Germany is today, paraphrased from the interaction of different constitutional standards, which represent the relationship of state to religion and the church or belief. Here, in particular the freedom of religion in Article 4, Section 1, 2 of the Constitution, prohibiting the state church in Article 140 of the Basic Law in conjunction with Article 137 § 1 of the Weimar Constitution, or the ban on discrimination and preferential treatment of citizens from religious to name reasons under Article 3, paragraph 3 of the Basic Law and the independence of civil rights and access to public service from the religious and ideological commitment (Art. 33 para 3 of the Basic Law ). Regardless of the relationship of church and state in Germany is not strictly secular created such as in France, but in many areas of cooperation. Examples of these can religious education, which according to Article 7 paragraph 3 GG ordinary curriculum is and will be taught in accordance with the principles of religious communities, the possibility of collecting church taxes with the help of government finance authorities, Article 140 of the Basic Law in conjunction with Article. 137 VI WRV, and the right according to Article 140 of the Basic Law in conjunction with Article 137 WRV V, to obtain the status of a public corporation to be called. See also the article state church.

Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic the Catholic Church for a concordat with the Vatican state religion.


With the conversion to Catholicism Clovis built in francs a Catholic Empire - also his subjects were Catholic. In France, Catholicism remained until the French Revolution the state religion. The Law of Separation of religion and state in 1905 led to secularism in France, which is still enshrined in the Constitution of France.

However, exceptions are to 1919 the German Empire belonging to those regions of the Alsace region of Lorraine Moselle département where the Laizitätsgesetze not apply, and between the state and churches (as well as the Jewish religious community ), a similar ratio as in Germany, there is (for example, be of the members of the evangelical ( Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine) and Catholic churches ( dioceses of Metz and Strasbourg) church taxes collected ). The salaries of pastors denies the state.


Since 1991, the Georgian Orthodox Apostolic Church in Georgia, which is one of the Orthodox churches, again state church.


According to constitution of Greece The Greek Orthodox Church, which belong to more than 90 % of the Greeks, is still a state church, even if the relationship between church and state is not always without tension. All of their bishops need to be confirmed by the Greek Parliament. The Greek Orthodox Church also plays by their extensive landholdings still an important role.

United Kingdom

The Church of England was, from their creation manufactures state church of England. The king is still officially the head of the Church and appoints archbishops and bishops on the advice of the Prime Minister. Archbishops and bishops sit in the House of Lords. The situation is different in Scotland, where in 1926 the status of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland from the state church to the " national church " has been changed.


The Roman Catholic Church is in accordance with the Principality of Liechtenstein. Article 37 II of the state constitution country church. Other religions enjoy under the Constitution individual and collaborative religious freedom. In June 2011, a legislative initiative of the Liechtenstein government has started, which provides for a separation of church and state in Liechtenstein.


In the Principality of Monaco on the French Mediterranean coast ( Côte d' Azur) near the Italian border, the Catholic Church is still legally established state religion.

Orthodoxy in Slavic countries

The Orthodox churches see themselves as the church on the relevant state or territory and people were in the story often closely connected with the government. But even without connection to the secular power ( Greek Orthodox Church under Turkish rule, many others under real socialism ) understand the Orthodox churches to this day the Heads of State or nation area to be identical with the expansion of the church.


In Austria the 18th century Joseph II decreed the state church in the shape of Josephinism. Currently, Austria has no state religion.

Roman Empire

From the 4th century apart, there were in the Roman Empire always a uniform state religion - until the Council of Arles in 314 the imperial cult, after 391 Catholicism as the state church.

The emergence of the Catholic state church goes back to decrees of the Emperor Theodosius, the 381 the Roman Alexandrine Trinitarian faith the official religion of the Roman Empire declared to end the inter-Christian disputes, and 391 forbade any pagan cult; only Judaism was allowed to continue to exist under certain conditions. After today's perspective, many researchers however, it was not until Justinian I, which Christianity actually sat in the middle of the sixth century in the Roman Empire against paganism. The Roman Empire was the Church against the State never had the power of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, but was especially in the East still in a precarious balance of power to the state power of the emperor.

Power loss and fall of the Western Roman Empire had a break in the state church thinking result. Augustine wrote his epochal work, De Civitate Dei, which assumes a fundamental dualism between earthly state and government of God.

In the Byzantine East in the second half of the first millennium, the developed Caesaropapism. The papacy is opposed in the West since the 11th century the imperial leadership. So Catholicism claimed a priority of his spiritual authority against the secular powers.


In Switzerland, the cantons decided as an independent republican states as to whether they wanted to join the Reformation or not ( sometimes even the villages ). Today, in most cantons of Switzerland the Reformed, Catholic and Christian Catholic Church, also in some Jewish communities are nationally recognized and thus public bodies. These designated as national churches corporations know all an autonomous, independent of the respective cantonal government bodies legislation and are thus no state churches in the proper sense. This is also reflected in the fact that all relevant cantons have more than one national church, while a " state church " beside, by definition, can not have no state church.


According to § 4 of the Danish Constitution, the Evangelical Lutheran Church is an established church. She was until 1849 the only approved religious community. The queen or king must belong to this. The (former) Danish possessions have taken over the state church system.

  • Danish People's Church Church in Greenland

In Sweden, the Church of Sweden in 1999 was restructured from a state with the People's Church. Norway followed suit in 2012. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is no state church.


In the United States of America, the establishment of a state church is against the law at the federal level. That prohibition goes back to Roger Williams and Others (1603-1683), who for the first time in history, entrenching the separation of church and state in which he has written fundamental law of the U.S. state of Rhode Iceland. This principle later flowed into the Constitution of the United States.


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