High Consistory Collection at Teutsch Haus Sibiu
The High Consistory Collection includes mostly of documents issued by the High Consistory of the Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession of Romania in the period 1922–1990, together with the minutes of meetings of the High Consistory and documents concerning institutional communication with parishes and with the state authorities. The collection illustrates the opposition of the Evangelical Church A.C. of Romania to the policies of the communist regime in certain domains, such as religious education.
Sibiu Strada Mitropoliei 30, Romania
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Name of collection
- High Consistory Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The High Consistory Collection represents a segment of the archives of the Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession of Romania. These archives were divided in two parts in 1921. One part was taken over by the secular archive of the Universitas of the Saxon Nation (the organisation of the Transylvanian Saxons, whose origins date back to the Middle Ages), and the other part remained in the building of the Evangelical Episcopate. Thus, most of the documents issued by the High Consistory before 1922 are stored today in the county office of the National Archives of Romania, which took over the archive of the Universitas. The documents which remained in the possession of the church in 1922, together with those which were issued by the High Consistory between that date and 1990, formed the High Consistory Collection in the Archive of the Evangelical Church A.C. of Romania. In the period 1922–2001, the collection was deposited in the episcopate building in Sibiu. Starting from 2001, the collection as well as most of the archive of the Evangelical Church A.C. were gradually transferred to Teutsch House in order to create an archive open to the general public. As a result, in 2004, the collection became accessible to the general public and since then many Romanian and foreign researchers have examined the documents it contains.
The reason for creating the High Consistory Collection was mainly a practical one, i.e., to preserve and provide easy access to documents which were necessary in the everyday activity of the institution. Also, given that the Evangelical Church was the most important cultural institution of the Transylvanian Saxons, the managers of the institution wanted to preserve the documents as sources of information concerning the history of the institution and of the community. The archive was organised from the beginning on two principles: chronological and thematic. All the documents in the archive were registered in an inventory along with their entry date and a record number. At the same time, these were entered on a list according to their topic, and key words were associated with them in order to facilitate searching in the archive. The most important topics were: Communities (Gemeinden), the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Ministerium für Kultus), the Episcopacy (Bischof des Landeskirche), Accounting (Rechnungen), and Library (Bibliothek). During the period 1945–1948, the communist regime took several repressive measures against Germans living in Romania, including the confiscation of numerous properties and documents belonging to the Evangelical Church A.C. After its gradual transfer to Teutsch House starting from 2001, the collection was archived. It was divided into more sections in order to become more manageable. The new division followed the activities or the structures of the High Consistory. Accordingly, the sections added refer to Church councils, the minutes of the meetings of the High Consistory, the Consistory chancery, religious education, the bishops’ papers, and disciplinary documents concerning ministers.
The High Consistory Collection includes a large part of the documents issued by the bishop of the Evangelical Church A.C. of Romania, documents concerning denominational education and communication with the Ministry of Religious Affairs or with local communities. As a result, the collection reflects the activity of Bishop Friedrich Müller, who as head of the Evangelical Church A.C. (1945–1969) attempted to preserve the autonomy of the church in relation to the state authorities and fought against the policy of the communist regime of forbidding religious education provided by ministers for the confirmation of young people. This opposition is visible in the correspondence of the High Consistory both with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and with the local communities. Beginning in 1949, the communist authorities persecuted the ministers of the Evangelical Church for teaching confirmation classes, but the institution archived those documents which reflected the opposition to the policies of the regime concerning education, despite the dangers entailed in issuing and preserving such documents.
Description of content
The High Consistory Collection contains mainly documents issued or received by the High Consistory of the Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession of Romania in the period 1922–1990. Thus, the collection includes reports of church councils, minutes of the meetings of the High Consistory, documents illustrating the correspondence of the High Consistory with parishes and state institutions, documents concerning religious education, disciplinary documents concerning the ministers, bishops’ correspondence, the accounting papers of the High Consistory, papers concerning ministers’ retirement, and statistics concerning the situation of the Evangelical Church A.C. of Romania.
During the period 1948–1962, the Evangelical Church A.C. of Romania opposed the policies of the communist regime, which envisaged a drastic limitation of role played by this religious institution (among others) in the public space and an interdiction of confirmation classes for children and young people (Konfirmandenunterricht). This interdiction especially represented a source of frequent conflicts between the communist authorities and the church, because for Protestant confessions, the confirmation of young people was a very important event in the community’s religious life. Confirmation is an exam which verifies the religious knowledge of young people who are about to join adult religious life and enjoy all their religious rights. The High Consistory Collection contains many documents, such as memos sent by the head of the Evangelical Church A.C. to the state authorities, reports written by priests, instructions, and official addresses, which show the church’s opposition to the decisions of the communist authorities.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 1000-
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Pintilescu, Corneliu
Pintilescu, Corneliu. 2014. “The Relationship between the Communist Regime and the Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession in Romania during the Episcopate of Friedrich Müller (1945–1969).” Religion – Staat – Gesellschaft 15: 247–271.
Vlaicu, Monica, ed. 1996. 120 de ani de arhivă public în Transilvania (120 years of public archives in Transylvania). Sibiu: Editura Tenis-Club-Sen.
Wien, Ulrich Andreas. 1998. Kirchenleitung über dem Abgrund: Bischof Friedrich Müller vor den Herausforderungen durch Minderheitenexistenz, Nationalsozialismus und Kommunismus. Köln: Böhlau
Rus, Monica, interview by Pintilescu, Corneliu, October 19, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection