EKD - Evangelical Church in Rhineland*
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(Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland)
The history of Christianity in the Rhineland dates back to the Roman empire. Its expansion took place in the 8th century through Anglo-Saxon missionaries and under the reign of the Carolingian kings. After the Reformation, Lutheran and Reformed congregations lived in diaspora. Efforts to introduce the Reformation in the bishoprics of Cologne and Treves failed. Since the Council of Trent, Roman Catholicism has been predominant in the Rhineland countries. Pietism played an important role at the end of the 18th century in bringing Lutheran and Reformed Christians together.
The Evangelical Church in Rhineland was constituted in the territory which was assigned to Prussia in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna after the collapse of the Napoleonic empire. The church inherited the presbyterian-synodal system of the 16th century. During the time of National Socialism in Germany the first synod of the so-called Confessing Church took place in the Rhineland in 1934 and agreed on the "Barmen Declaration" in opposition to the politics of the Nazi regime.
The church seeks today to deepen contacts with the Roman Catholic Church with which it has co-existed for centuries, with free churches which separated from the "Volkskirche", and with the Orthodox churches - the latter as a result of the presence of many migrant workers in the Rhineland. It maintains relationship with various churches throughout Europe, with the United Church of Christ in the USA through the Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK) and with 34 churches in Africa, Asia and Germany through the United Evangelical Mission (UEM).
* The Evangelical Church in Rhineland has never directly applied for membership in the WCC and is therefore not counted as a member but is represented through the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).