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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the Protestant tradition in Germany. The Reformation did not bring an end to the monastic system in Germany. Many convents adhering to Protestant principles survived until the Thirty Years’ War, and others lasted until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Some few convents continue to exist today as so-called Protestant women’s foundations. Not all monastic property was secularized; what remained was used for educational, cultural, and social purposes. An aspiration for more intense forms of devotion, as well as for alternative ways of communal living, endured throughout the post-Reformation era. But it was only in the twentieth century that German Protestant churches began to recover the monastic dimension for themselves, with the founding of brotherhoods and sisterhoods. These communities base their faith and life on the Gospel, and they aim to contribute to a contemporary society that is otherwise largely alienated from the Christian tradition.

Keywords: brotherhoods, sisterhoods, deaconesses, ecclesiastical property, Great Awakening, Martin Luther, Pietism, Reformation, vows, women’s foundations

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