CCR №3(130) 2019
State-church law (Staatskirchenrecht): the answer of German constitutionalism to the challenges of relations between the state and religion

The full text of the article is available only in Russian.


The “church articles” (Kirchenartikel) of the Weimar Constitution are its only provisions that have continued to operate unchanged since 1919, that is, a whole century, one of the most tense and complex centuries of human history in general and German history in particular. They are dedicated to one of the most ancient and complex issues of state and legal regulation – the relationship between law, state and religion. It would not be a great exaggeration to say that the issues of interaction, merger and (or) separation of secular (state) and religious authorities confronted society almost simultaneously with the emergence of law. Having traveled from complete integration in religious-legal systems to almost complete secularization in secular and atheistic states, constitutional-legal construction experienced many different models of relations between the state and religious associations. The author believes that one of the examples of successful configuration of church-state relations was the regulation of this sphere, proposed in Germany. In the religious sphere, this primarily concerns three main trends: first, the interpenetration of various religious movements in countries with one religion that has prevailed until recently; secondly, the resumption of increased anti-atheistic sentiments; thirdly, the gradual recognition of the ineffectiveness and even destructiveness of absolute constitutional-legal secularism. It is proposed to consider the current theory of state-church law developed by German scholars, the study and appropriate perception of which can greatly facilitate the search for an adequate response to contemporary challenges facing constitutional law in the sphere of state-confessional relations. Modern state-confessional relations are on the verge of forming a new model of legal regulation. Having a long history, they, contrary to the more and more often sounding views, are still very far from their complete exhaustion, if that is even possible in the distant future Hundred years of experience of “church articles” of the Weimar Constitution shows that such cooperation, on the one hand, can fit into the constitutional and legal framework of the principle of a secular state, on the other – to be socially useful for all social forces. The experience of German constitutionalism shows several positive points.

About the author:
Sergei Afanasev – Ph.D. student, Faculty of Law, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Afanasev S. (2019) Gosudarstvenno-tserkovnoye pravo (Staatskirchenrecht): otvet nemetskogo konstitutsionalizma na vyzovy vzaimootnosheniy gosudarstva i religii [State-church law (Staatskirchenrecht): the answer of German constitutionalism to the challenges of relations between the state and religion]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol.28, no.3, pp.69–84. (In Russian).


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