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A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler



Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors
     
 

The History of the Evangelical Seniorates

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler, 2003

   The ancestor settlers of each community everywhere endeavored to receive a pastor.  The first pastors were: in Sekitsch from 1787-1813: Johann Gottlieb Weinrich from Silesia, Germany in N. Vrbas from 1786-1808: Johann Georg Mayer from Swabia, Germany in Torscha from 1785-1790: Samuel Spannagel from Upper Hungary (today's Czechoslovakia) in Crvenka from 1784-1785: Jos. Hajnoczi (S. Getsch) from Upper Hungary (today's Czech.) in Kisker from 1788-1809: Josef Hojnoczi from Upper Hungary (today's Czechoslovakia) in Buljkes from 1787-1790: Matthias Hlivai from Upper Hungary (today's Czechoslovakia) in Jarek from 1788-1796: Johann Gelt from Comitat Arad. 

   Only the settlements of Sekitsch and Novi Vrbas were lucky to have clergymen who were of their own blood and came from Germany.  These places of origin were also entered into the minutes, which unfortunately was not the case with the others.

   The administration of the congregation provided the pastor with the help of one appointed church elder and two church advisors.

   After the death of Emperor Josef the 2nd his brother Leopold the 2nd followed him to the throne.  During the rule of the new rulers, the 26th law from 1790-1791 was produced which laid down the rights of the Evangelical church.  This law allowed the freedom of religious practice and gave the church the right to autonomous self-administration.  The synod took place for the purpose of producing the church law.

   In this sense the Hungarian Evangelical Synod could take place in Pest in 1791.  According to the decisions which this synod brought about the village community administered the pastors with the elders  Over the communities stood the Seniorat with the senior assembly, which the clergy and the secular belonged to in the same strong number.  Over the executives stood the district and the district assembly.  This district was united through the general assembly.

   Up to the time of the first synod the Evangelical congregation belonged to the Pester Seniorat.  The administration realized the difficulty of such an expanded Seniorats that they decided to establish an independent Batsch-Syrmier Seniorates to which everyone in the region, German and Slovakian Evangelical congregations, would be linked.

   In 1808 there were 7734 German Evangelical souls in the Seniorat.

   In 1846 there were 23840 German Evangelical souls in the Seniorat with 10 parent communities and 3 branch communities (Feketitsch among them), with 13 schools (one with Feketitsch), at which 20 teachers worked.  The number of students was 3979.  A teacher averaged 200 students.

   The newly established Batsch-Syrmier Seniorat belonged with 6 other Seniorates to the mountain district, at which point stood the bishop.  The new Seniorat extended over a very wide area.  The organization moved forward slowly so that until 1898 Presbyterians were everywhere.  For the first time the community got to know and at the same time became accustomed to their duties and rights.  The Seniorates assembly always took place in another community and the hospitable community received 25 Florints from the Seniorates treasurer.  However the German and Slovakian communities were never really in harmony.  Because of the sensitivity of the linguistic area, mistrust concerning the relative use of the contribution intensified the disagreement, especially since 1848.  When the region of Vojvodina became an autonomous district in 1859 with its own bishop, there came the split.  The Slovakians established their own Seniorat.  Finally they came to a reconciliation.

   They took turns.  One time a German  was assigned, another time a Slovakian was assigned as Consenior.  For the Germans there was a German school deacon.  For the Slovakians there was a Slovakian school deacon.

   In 1891 quite a few changes were needed in the church constitution.  So the church inspector would for example have the same rights as the preceding member, in the Seniorat assembly the secular predominated.

   In 1900 they separated themselves from the (Sremer?) community and established their own Seniorat.

   After the overthrow it included itself together with the Slovakians in its own Seniorat.  The Neu Vrbas Synod endured from 1926 to 1930 in 4 periods and inherited the new church constitution for the German Evangelical Christian church of the Augsburg denomination in the kingdom of Yugoslavia."

   King Alexander I sanctioned under number 39340 on the 16th of April, 1930 the "law over the Evangelical Christian Church and over the Reformed Christian Church in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. - The synod law was sanctioned on the 19th of November 1930; exactly on the same day as the parliament of Augsburg ended 400 years ago.

Dignitaries of the Regional German Evangelical Church A.B.

Bishop is: Dr. Philipp Popp, pastor in Zagreb (Agram).

President of the regional church is: Dr. Wilhelm Roth, lawyer in Bel. Kikinda.

Officials of our Batschka Seniorates

Senior: Peter Scherer, pastor in Feketitsch.

Inspector: Dr. Andreas Zimmermann, doctor in Neu Schowe.

Consenior: Franz Klein, pastor in Kac.

2nd Inspector: Daniel Kuhn, farmer in Kucura.

1st Seniorat notary: Fritz Konrath, pastor in Neu Schowe.

2nd Seniorat notary: Heinrich Lebherz, pastor in Sombor.

1st Seniorat notary: Johann Brust, community notary a.D., economist in St. Vrbas.

2nd Seniorat notary, Jakob Dietrich, teacher in Novisad.

Treasurer: Adalbert Achatz, pastor in Budusava.

Account reporter: Daniel Hübchen, pastor in Zabalj.

The Evangelical Christian Church in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Evangelical Congregation A.B. in Feketitsch

The 7 Seniorates of the German Evangelical Church

1. Batschka: Senior at the time: Peter Scherer, pastor of Feketitsch
2. Banat:  Senior at the time: Wilhelm Kund, pastor of Pantschevo
3. Sremer (Syrmia): Senior at the time: Ludwig Binder, pastor of N. Pazova
4. Croatia- Slovenia: Senior at the time: Anton Walter, pastor of Osijek
5. Belgrade: Senior at the time: Theophil Turek, pastor of Belgrade
6. Bosnia: at the time: Karl Hamm, pastor of Sarajevo
7. Slovenia: Senior at the time; Johann Baron, pastor of Maribor these were connected to the changing Seniorates.

The Batschka Seniorat has 23 Parent Communities

 1. Batschki Jarak . . 2191+20
 2. Budisava . . . . .
.990+40
 3. Buljkes . . . . . .
. 2654+326
 4. Crvenka . . . . .
. 6444+202
 5. Feketitsch . . . . 1390+186
 6. Jagodnjak . . . . .489+239
 7. Kac . . . . . . . . .1000+100
 8. Kucura . . . . . . .780+30
 9.  Nove Sove 
. . . .1380
10. Novi Sad . .
. . . 1000
11. Novi Vrbas .
. . . 4257+500
12. Pasicevo
. . . . . 2800
13. Pivnica. . .
. . . . 300+121
14. Dobropolje
. . . . 3521+36
15. S. Sv. Ivan
 . . . 1200+42
16. Sekic. . . .
. . . . 5020+1000
17. Somor . .
. . . . . 165+130
18. St. Becej . .
. . . 92+185
19. St. Vrbas .
. . . . 1538+115
20. Subotica . .
. . .  570+100
21. Titel . . . . . .
. . .700+60
22. Torza . . . .
. . . . 1790+120
23. Zabalj . . . .
. . . . 365+428

From the Archives of the Congregation

1. Ledger from 1827 to 1874.
2. Invoice record of the Evangelical community's August Conference in Feketehegy from 1875 to 1897.
3. Minutes of the Senioral General Assembly from 1859 to 1909.
4. a) Church minutes from 1860 to 1911. b) from 1911 to today.
5. Birth, marriage, and death register of the Evangelical community is inserted - as is the first baptism:

No:

Born

Baptized/Name

Child

Parents

house#

/ Witness

1

4 Jan 1860

12 Jan 1860

Susanna

Peter Trumpf

49

Carl Trumpf

       

Müller A.C.

 

Catherina

       

Margareta Gutwein

49

Gutwein

The first marriage: married by Ferdinand Hamel

No:

Date

Name

Parents / Relationship

Born

   

age

 Witness

1

2 Feb 1860

Jakob Freund

son of John. Fruend & Cath. Exle of Feketic

Sekic

 

A.C.

22

Karl Burg

   

Cath. Schock

daughter of Peter Schock & Cath. Gruber of Seketisch

Sekic

 

A.C.

22

 

The first burial:

No:

Date

Parents / Relationship

house

 

age

cause of death

 Directed by

1
 

died
31 Dec 1859

buried
1 Jan 1860

Jakob, son of Gottfried Gutwein & Eliz. Taüwel

140

 

2 years, 5 months, 7 days

serious tooth problem

 

Carl Burg

   From old-fashioned beliefs the cause of death given was "difficult teeth" which hints that this first diagnosis was unfortunately a mistake because there is one such illness which could lead to death which was not given.

   According to the first register from 1860 to 1877 there were in the first five years: 

In the Year

Baptized (Illegitimate)

Marriages

Deaths (Adults) 

(Among Them)

1860

40 (3)

3

25 (3)

 

1861

63 (4)

15

24 (2)

 

1862

57 (2)

6

39 (13)

 

1863

52 (1)

11

45 (13)

 

1864

48 (3)

6

33 (6)

 

    1865 had the most births with 65, the same year had the most marriages with 16, the most deaths occurred in 1873 with 61, of which only 7 were adults.  The oldest to get married was 63 years old, the youngest was 16 years old.  

1926             14               21         22         1446     

1927             22               11         22         1414     

1927             22               11         22         1414     

1928             20                8          23         1390    

1929             26               14         17         1385   

1930             19                4          17         1269   

1931             18                7          18         1269   

1932             20               13         20         1269?   

1933             24               11         15         1269?   

1934             25                6          19         1269?

   The illegitimate children and the small number of marriages can be explained by the numerous common law marriages.  Regarding this matter the canonical visitation in 1874 laid down the following protocol: "With great regret this knowledge was received that there are so many common law marriages in this congregation and this is a truly paternal, serious admonition to bring about an end to this through legal marriages."  As a cause it was accepted that several of the common law marriages had couples living with each other in such a relationship in which an approval from the authorities had been necessary.  However at most they would be freed from the burden of the church tax.

   On the 1st of October 1895 the following remark was made in the register: "Since the reformation the person overseeing the register was the pastor.  According to law this office has now been placed in the hands of a civilian register.  After the 1st of October 1895 the church register was also overseen, as before, only by the clergy."

   The last burial which Rev. Ferd. Hamel oversaw was on the 22nd of November 1910.  It was Philipp Bayer, 4 years old.

   The first funeral by Rev. Peter Scherer was on the 4th of March, 1910 for Johann Gebel, 67 years old.

Dates of the Register from 1925 to 1934

Year

Baptisms

Marriages

Burials

Census

1925

31

8

13

1442

1926

20

14

21

1446

1927

22

11

22

1414

1928

20

8

23

1390

1929

26

14

17

1385

1930

19

3

17

1269

1931

18

7

18

1269

1932

20

13

20

1269?

1933

24

11

15

1269?

1934

25

6

19

1269?

     Perhaps the death rate of 82 burials in 1891 is through the favorable healthy relationship of the population and the tremendous progress of the local science but the birthrate is bleak since it decreased quite a bit from 60 to 20.  To assure the continued existence and healthy development of a community, it is necessary for 30 births a year for a population of 1000.  Where before women were afraid to bear a child, no development was to be expected.  It is in this area that a change for the better came through desirable sex education which was neglected till now.  The particulars of the census are unfortunately rather unreliable as these clearly resulted from the above statistics.  Very similar behavior existed in all communities of the seniorates since the communities have to hand in the censuses.  For example, in Crvenka the census was suddenly around 827, and in Sekitsch it decreased to almost 700.

   Canonical visitations included a visit from Dr. Johann Seberenyi, superintendent of the community, in 1835.  The visit is noted in the ledger.  In 1874 Gustav Seberenyi, superintendent of our community, also visited.

   The Episcopal administrator, Dr. Philipp Popp, visited the community in 1927.  The competent executives were often in the community.  The last Episcopal visitation was made by executive Jakob Jahn, pastor of Pribicevicevo (Kisker).

   From 1874 to 1903, in exactly 30 years the census of the community has continued to grow to number 1900 people today.  About how much were individuals burdens decreased?  About how much was the pastor's salary increased? 

[Published at DVHH.org 2003 by Jody McKim Pharr]