« Angus, Joseph Anhalt Anicetus »

Anhalt

ANHALT: Duchy of the German empire, surrounded, except for a short distance on the west, where it touches the duchy of Brunswick, by Prussian territory (government districts of Magdeburg, Potsdam, Merseburg). Its area is 906 square miles; population (1900), 316,000; capital, Dessau. Ninety-six per cent. of the people are Protestants; 3 ¼ per cent. are Roman Catholics; while the Jews 181 comprise little more than one-half of 1 per cent. Among the minor Protestant bodies are Irvingite congregations in Bernburg and Coswig. The Evangelical State Church is a product of the Wittenberg Reformation. During the controversies of the later sixteenth century it held fast to the original formulas, but remained free from the one-sided tendency represented in the Formula of Concord. Attempts to introduce certain church practises from the Palatinate, with the Heidelberg catechism, toward the close of the sixteenth century were ineffectual. The political division into four principalities after 1606 favored certain divergencies,—for example in Anhalt-Bernburg and Anhalt-Cöthen there was a stronger tendency toward Reformed usages and teachings. But in 1880 a united Church in a united land was formally established; and that the union is not nominal but real is shown by the freest Christian fellowship, by the adoption of a uniform form of divine service, and by the use of the same church books. To-day the distinction between Lutheran and Reformed is not thought of.

The Church is legally recognized as a distinct institution, independent of the secular government, and the management of its internal affairs is entrusted to the consistory, which reports directly to the duke. A synod, consisting of the superintendents of the five circles into which the land is divided, five members named by the duke, and twenty-nine members elected in the circles, meets every three years; it has a share in ecclesiastical legislation, considers church needs and conditions in general, and exercises a control over the funds under the administration and at the disposal of the consistory. Previous to 1874 the consistory had the chief direction and administration of the schools, but in that year a state board of education was created. The consistory, however, is represented in this board, and the local pastors are generally the inspectors of the lower schools. With very few exceptions the duke is patron of churches and livings.

The number of livings in the duchy is 155 with eight secondary ones, and there are 212 parishes and 215 churches. A legally established pastors’ association has three endowed libraries. Church music is promoted by an annual course in organ playing in Dessau. Seventy-nine parishes have Sunday-schools. The contributions for foreign missions average 14,000 marks yearly, and for the Gustav Adolf Verein 10,000 marks. The work of the Innere Mission is also well supported, and a deaconesses’ house has been established in Dessau.

(H. Duncker†.)

« Angus, Joseph Anhalt Anicetus »





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