Austria

Austria

one of the principal states of modern Europe (q.v.), with an area of 11,751 geogr. sq. miles, and a population in 1857 of 35,040,810 souls.

I. Church History. — For the introduction of Christianity into those countries which now constitute Austria, and for their early church history, we refer to the articles GERMANY SEE GERMANY ; SCLAVONIANS SEE SCLAVONIANS ; and to those on the several provinces of Austria (see below). The Reformation spread at first in Austria with great rapidity. In Bohemia, Moravia, Austria Proper (the archduchy), Styria, Carinthia, and the Tyrol, it soon became very powerful. SEE REFORMATION. Even one of the emperors, Maximilian II, favored it, and was believed secretly to belong to it. But Ferdinand II (1619-37), the most fanatic adherent of the Church of Rome in the entire series of Austrian rulers, initiated a period of long and cruel persecution, by which thousands were frightened into apostasy, and many more thousands expelled from their native land. This rigorous legislation lasted until the accession of Joseph II (1765-90), who not only endeavored to loosen the connection of the Roman Catholic Church: with the Pope, but who gave also to the Protestants, by his celebrated Edict of Toleration, Oct. 31, 1781, protection of their religious worship, and declared them admissible to the highest civil offices. Still, in those provinces where they were merely tolerated, they were not allowed to have churches, but only chapels without steeples and bells; nor could they have independent parishes, but they had to pay the fees for ecclesiastical functions to the Roman Catholic parish priest. In Hungary and Transylvania, they possessed from the time of the Reformation, and preserved unimpaired, much greater rights. The successors of Joseph II revoked a part of his legislation, and, in general, seconded the diplomacy of the Pope abroad, but continued to withhold from the Roman. Church in Austria many rights which she possessed in most other states (as holding of councils, connection of the monastic orders with their several superiors in Rome, formations of religious associations, etc.). The year 1848 brought to all the religious denominations the promise of selfgovernment, and independence of both the state and other denominations. The "Provisional Decrees" of 1849 redressed several of the Protestant grievances; thus, e.g., the term "acatholic," by which Protestants had before been officially designated, was abolished, the official character of the lists of baptisms, marriages, and deaths kept by Protestant clergymen was recognized, and the taxes which Protestants had to pay to Catholic priests were abolished. Notwithstanding these partial concessions made to the spirit of the times, the emperor Francis Joseph openly favored the schemes of the ultramontane party. The Concordat, signed on Aug. 18,1855, SEE CONCORDAT, did away with the whole Josephine legislation, and recognized, in its first article, all the rights and prerogatives which the R. C. Church derived from the canon law. Through the Concordat the R. C.

Church reobtained the right of holding councils (a conference of fourteen archbishops and forty-eight bishops met in 1856), a great influence on public education, an extensive jurisdiction in marriage affairs, and, in general, a vigorous support on the part of the government. The relation between the monastic orders of Austria and their superiors was also restored, and the bishops, at the wish of Rome and with the aid of the government, commenced to enforce again the old strict monastic disciplines. A majority of the members of every order which was thus to be brought back to its former condition opposed this plan, but unsuccessfully. The reformatory measures were carried through in all the monastic orders in 1859. The Protestants received. after the publication of the Concordat, the promise that also their church should receive a greater independence and a higher degree of self-government; but, in fact, their grievances became much greater under the influence which the Concordat gave to the priests. Important decrees concerning the reorganization of the Protestant churches of Hungary were issued on Aug. 21, 1856, and Sept. 1, 1859, for which we refer to the article HUNGARY. For the Protestants in the provinces forming part of the German Confederacy it was, in 1859. provided that in future the Protestant Consistory of Vienna should always be presided over by a Protestant, and not, as had been the custom until that date, by a Roman Catholic. On April 8,1861, an imperial letter was issued, and on April 9 a draft of a church constitution, to regulate provisionally the affairs of the Lutheran and the Reformed Churches in the German and Slavic provinces. Each of these two churches was to have a general synod, which was to revise the draft of church constitution prepared by the government, and have hereafter the chief control of the ecclesiastical affairs of the two churches. The convocation of the first general synod was delayed no less than three years, and did not take place until the 22d of May, 1864. The synods of both the churches met in Vienna on the same day. Both synods passed a resolution to discuss such topics as are not of a strictly denominational character in joint session. The provisional draft of a church constitution was adopted in all its essential points. The synods resolved to present conjointly to the emperor the following memorial, containing the chief demands of the Protestants of the empire: The General Synod protests —

1. Against the denomination of non-catholic, which is the term used in the decrees and ordinances of the political authorities to designate the adherents of the two Protestant confessions, the Augsburg and the Helvetian;

2. The Synod demands that those obstacles which, in some parts of the monarchy, are still presented to the establishment of Protestant congregations, shall be removed;

3. That booksellers shall be allowed to deal in Protestant books;

4. A community of cemeteries;

5. The admission of Protestant pastors, as of priests, into houses of retirement and charitable institutions, to exercise their functions in them;

6. The establishment of the equality of the Protestant and the Catholic festivals, in order that the authorities may be bound to protect the festivals of the Protestants in the localities in which they are the most numerous;

7. The Synod protests against all interference by the subordinate political authorities in the affairs of the schools of the Protestant congregations;

8. It protests against the ordinance which prohibits the children of Jews from frequenting Protestant, if there are Catholic schools in existence in the same locality; as it also protests against the ordinance which forbids Catholic parents placing their children with Protestant foster-parents;

9. The General Synod advances claims on the funds of the normal schools in favor of the Protestant schools;

10. It demands the admission of Protestant teachers in the medial Catholic schools;

11. The institution of Protestant catechists in the schools;

12. The incorporation of the Protestant theological faculty into the University of Vienna;

13. The representation of the Evangelical Church in the Diet and in the Municipal Council. The proceedings in both the General Synods were very harmonious. A union between the Lutheran and the Reformed churches, as it has been consummated in several German countries, was not resolved upon, but both synods will continue to melet simultaneously, and at the same place, and to deliberate on all subjects not strictly denominational in joint session. The nationality question, which produces so much trouble in the politics of Austria, led on some questions to a disagreement between the German majority and the Slavic minority, as the former were unwilling to concede everything the latter demanded, but it produced no open rupture.

II. Ecclesiastical Statistics. — The following table exhibits the membership of the several denominations in every province according to the census of 1880. It appears from this table that the Roman Catholic Church, even without the United Greeks, has a majority in every province except Galicia. In Galicia the United Greeks are a little less in number than the Roman Catholics of the Latin rite. The Roman Catholic Church (Latin rite) had, in 1859, 13 archbishoprics: Agram, Colocza, Erlau, Gran, Goeritz and Gradisca, Lemberg, Olmutz, Prague, Salzburg, Udine, Venice, Zara. The archbishop of Venice has the title patriarch, and the archbishop of Udine is merely nominal, not being at the head of an ecclesiastical province. The number of bishops since the separation of Lombardy is 53. There were. in 1851, 4285 parishes and local chaplaincies, and 40,816 priests. The Greek United Church has two archbishoprics, Lemberg and Fogaras (the latter of recent erection), and 8 bishops; the United Armenian Church, 1 archbishop at Lemberg; these two churches together had, in 1851, 4285 parishes and local chaplaincies, and 5098 secular priests. The Greek (non-united) Church has a patriarch-archbishop at Carlovitz, 10 bishops, 3201 parishes or local chaplaincies, and 4036 secular priests. The number of convents is constantly increasing. In 1849, 739 convents of monks and 176 of nuns were counted in the Roman Catholic Church, and 44 convents of monks, with 271 members, in the Greek (nonunited) Church. The Protestants of the Confession of Augsburg (Lutherans) were, until 1859, divided into 10 superintendencies, and the Protestants of the Helvetic Confession (Reformed Church) into 8, 4 superintendencies of each church being in Hungary. In a territorial respect the Protestant churches are divided into three groups, which, with regard to church government, are independent of each other: viz. 1, Hungary, with the adjacent countries; 2, Transylvania; 3, the other provinces. The two Protestant churches of the last group are under the jurisdiction of the Consistory of Vienna. Together they had, in 1851, 3162 parishes, which number has since considerably increased. The Unitarians have 1 superintendent at Klausenburg, Transylvania. Theological faculties for education of Roman Catholic priests are connected with each of the nine Austrian universities; that of the University of Innspruck has been wholly transferred to the order of the Jesuits. Besides these theological faculties there are episcopal seminaries, in which theology and philosophy are taught, in nearly every diocese. In addition to them, seminaria puerorum (seminaries for boys who have the priesthood in view) have, since 1848, been erected in many dioceses. The priests of the United Greeks are educated at Lemberg and Fogaras, those of the Non-united Greeks at Czernowicz (Galicia) and Carlovitz (Hungary). For Protestant theologians there is a theological faculty at Vienna, which, however, is not connected with the university. Hungary has six schools for the study of theology and philosophy, three for each of the two churches. The Unitarians have a college at Klausenburg. See Coxe, History of the House of Austria, Lichnowsky, Gesch. d.s Hauses Habsburg (Wien, 8 vols. 1836-1844); Mailath, Gesch. des oster. Kaiserstaats (Hamburg, 5 vols. 1834-1850); Hoffmann, Ueber den Gottesdienst und die Religion in den ostreichischen Staaten (Wien, 1783-1785, 6 vols.); Helfert, Die Rechte und Verfassung der Acatholiken in Oestreich (Wien, 2d ed. 1827); Wiggers, Kirchl. Statistik; Schem, Eccles. Year-book.

 
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