Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pastor von Preussen

Philip Kiril von Preussen is a Lutheran pastor who, after several years of subbing at different churches, is now the Pastor of a Lutheran church in Birkendwerder (Oberhavel) in Brandenburg.

His new calling has not been without controversy.  According the Märkliche Oderzeitung, Pastor Philip's new position has been challenged by four appeals, but these were rejected for "legal reasons," according to local church officials.

Philip, 44,  is the only son of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia and his late former wife, Waltraut Freytag.  He does not use Prinz von Preussen as his surname, but prefers Philip Kiril von Preussen. 

Friedrich Wilhelm, now on his third marriage, is the eldest son of the late Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, head of the former ruling house, but renounced his rights (and the rights of his descendants) when he married Waltraut Freytag in 1967.  They divorced in 1971.  Philip was raised by his mother, with limited contact with his father

If this marriage had been approved by Louis Ferdinand,  Friedrich Wilhelm would now be the head of the family, and not his nephew, Prince Georg Friedrich, the only son of the late Prince Louis Ferdinand jr and his wife, Countess Donata of Castell-Rüdenhausen.  (The second son, Prince Michael, also renounced his rights at the time of his first marriage in 1966.)

Philip, a great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, is a conservative Lutheran pastor, which is not the norm in Germany.  Think Missouri-Synod and not the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America of which I am a member.

He writes for the conservative weekly magazine "Junge Freiheit," which has been described by political scientists as the "voice of the New Right with a bridge to extremism."   He has also spoken out for restoring the monarchy.

The Pastor has also been criticized for his "consistent stance against abortion."

He says he feels "unfairly prejudiced," and cites the 5th Commandment: "thou shalt not kill."  But he does not want to appear hostile to women, and is not against women pastors.  He is concerned about ecumenism.  He would fit right in with the Missouri Synod, with the exception of women pastors.  (The Missouri Synod does not allow for the ordination of women.)

The Birkenwerder congregation is divided by the appointment of the new Pastor. (Guess the congregation did not call him, as Lutheran congregations do in the USA.)

About 30 members of the church have transferred their membership to other congregations, or have quit the church altogether.  One woman told a reporter:  "I cannot image my son being confirmed by the Pastor Prinz von Preussen." 

Members of church's choir have also left the church.   The congregation has been in disarray for some time.  The church's previous pastor, Dirk Kroll. was bit exuberant for some members of the congregation. 

Local church officials -- and Pastor von Preussen -- believe that in time people will come back.  "I now can use my experience in a community."

He studied education and theology and was ordained some years ago.  He is married and is the father of six children.

Pastor Philip was installed on March 10th.



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