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Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland

 

Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland


The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland (Polish: Kościół Ewangelicko-Augsburski w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej), the largest Protestant body in Poland, is rooted in the Reformation. The first Lutheran sermons were held in 1518, and in 1523 the first Lutheran dean, Johann Heß, was called to the city of Breslau, whence Lutheranism was spread into the Polish lands. Today the Church has its primary adherents in the Polish part of Cieszyn Silesia.

The church's six dioceses form a wide swath from north to south down the middle of Poland — from Warmia-Masuria and Gdańsk in the north, near the Baltic, to the region west and southwest of Kraków in the south, toward the Czech Republic border. Direct descendants of Reformation forebears live in the south, around Upper Silesia.

The church has 189 congregations, 130 parishes, and 150 chapels, and is served by 169 pastors and other church workers.[1] Many pastors serve multiple preaching points and are challenged by diverse demands as well as the need for innovation in a rapidly changing society. The congregations are self-governing, and each has its own parish council.

Though numbers of church members are currently lower than they have been in the past[2][3] (86,880 baptized members in 2001, 75,000 in 2009[4]), the Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession in Poland still remains as the largest Protestant body in Poland.

For the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, the problems of coexisting in a country that is nearly 90 percent Roman Catholic have intensified the continuing need for resourcefulness in keeping the Evangelical Lutheran faith. This is especially evident in the challenge of Protestant education at various levels, whether in Sunday Schools, catechetical instruction, or in connection with the public schools, where Catholic religious education is part of the curriculum. The main priorities of the church are in diaconic work among single, old, and disabled persons; women's and youth work; and in evangelism.

The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland suffered during and after World War II. The ranks of pastors, teachers and other church leadership were somewhat diminished by persecution, imprisonment, and death. During the early postwar years, a staggering number of church properties were taken over for other purposes, and the connections of Protestant Lutheranism to the German cultural sphere made authorities and Polish locals inimical towards the Lutherans left. By slow and painful steps, the Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession in Poland has been reshaped into an active body, demonstrating the tenacity and strength of its people's faith. In 12 October 2008, Polish president Lech Kaczyński — himself of the Catholic faith — visited the Lutheran Protestant Jesus Church in Cieszyn, becoming the first Polish president who ever visited a Protestant place of worship.[5][6]

Churches

Notable Polish Lutherans

  • Juliusz Bursche, first Bishop of Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession in Poland.
  • Jerzy Buzek,[7] prime minister of Poland from 1997 to 2001, President of the European Parliament since 2009.
  • Krystyna Janda, famous Polish actress, garnered international acclaim for her performance, including winning Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Jan Kochanowski,[8] a Polish Renaissance poet who is commonly regarded as the greatest Polish poet as well as the greatest Slavic poet prior to the 19th century.
  • Adam Małysz,[7][9] former Polish ski jumper, one of the most successful ski jumpers in the history of the sport.
  • Jerzy Pilch, one of the most important contemporary Polish writers and journalists.
  • Józef Piłsudski, Chief of State (1918–22), "First Marshal" (from 1920) and (1926–35) the authoritarian leader of the Second Polish Republic.
  • Karol Wedel, famous candy maker and founder of company E. Wedel.


References

External links

  • Official website of the Evangelical Church of Augsburg Confession in Poland
  • Brief information about ECACP by EEMN
  • Brief information about ECACP by KALME

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