Christian Community

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File:Johanneskirche Dresden.jpg
The Christian Community altar in Dresden (Germany).

The Christian Community - Movement for Religious Renewal is an independent Christian renewal movement founded in 1922 on the impulses of several (at that time predominantly Protestant) theologians, but completely independent of the Anthroposophical Society, which focuses on the communal celebration of ritual acts. In the foundation of the cultus, Rudolf Steiner as a private person (outside the anthroposophical movement) stood by to help.

„It is a movement which has arisen out of itself, and which has received the advice from me for the reason that if anyone asks for justified advice in any field, it is human duty, if one can give the advice, really to give it.“ (Lit.:GA 219, p. 170)

Her own is a lively community life. It does not see itself as the only church that can bring about salvation. The Christian Community refers to Christ as the Creator of the earth, who became man in Jesus of Nazareth. In him, believers find vitality and continuity. Unfortunately, the Christian Community is still classified as a sect by some churches - but not by the state.

Freedom of Teaching

The priests of the Christian Community have freedom of teaching and are not bound to any dogmatic doctrine. The only exception is teaching against the given cultus. Rudolf Steiner says about this:

„It is very important that you are clear about the fact that there is complete freedom with regard to teaching when there is communal cohesion in the cultus. This is precisely what ensures the freedom of preaching and teaching, that cohesion does not depend on agreement, which has its limits. Of course, this freedom has its limits in that what is taught does not contradict the spirit and meaning of the cult in any easily comprehensible way. That would be an absurdity in itself. So if someone were to perform the Sacrifice of the Mass and at the same time teach that it is nonsense, he would not be able to remain within the community, or at least he would not be able to teach. Not so, in as broad a sense as is possible, the freedom of teaching is recognised. And, my dear friends, without freedom of doctrine we really cannot get anywhere today, especially in a Christian Community. Only the cultus must be regarded in the right sense, and then, I would say, freedom of teaching results precisely from the existence of the cultus.“ (Lit.:GA 344, p. 132)


Main article: Sacrament

The Christian Community is a cultic community.

Six other sacraments can accompany the course of life and have a helping effect in it:

Rudolf Steiner's specifications on the liturgical vestments of the Christian Community (plate 12 from GA 343)

The sacraments are performed by the priest in a prescribed manner and in liturgical vestments with seasonal or traditional colours:

  • BAPTISM: dark purple
  • MARRIAGE: red
  • CONFESSION: black
  • SEASONS (colour of the forms on the casula in brackets):
    • Advent: blue (dark blue)
    • CHRISTMAS: white (light purple)
    • Epiphany: red-violet (dark red-violet)
    • Passiontide: black (deep black)
    • Easter: red (green)
    • Ascension: red (gold)
    • Pentecost: white (light yellow)
    • Johanni: white (light yellow)
    • Michaelmas: hedge rose colour (sea green)
    • Primary colour in the interims: light purple (orange)

Any adult who feels the need for a religious life can take part in the Act of Consecration of Man (with the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ and communion). Introductory writings on the Christian Community's cult are available in the congregation.


The foundation of the cultus took place through the private help of Rudolf Steiner, outside the anthroposophical movement, who expressed himself about the relationship to anthroposophy in the following way:

„What I have given to these personalities has nothing to do with the anthroposophical movement. I gave it to them as a private person, and I gave it in such a way that I emphasised with necessary firmness that the anthroposophical movement must have nothing to do with this movement for religious renewal; but that above all I am not the founder of this movement for religious renewal; that I am counting on this being made perfectly clear to the world, and that I have given the necessary advice to individual personalities who wanted to found this movement for religious renewal of their own accord, advice which was, however, suitable for practising a valid and spiritually vigorous cultus, spiritually filled with being, to be celebrated in a lawful manner with the forces from the spiritual world.“ (Lit.:GA 219, p. 169)

The Christian Community was founded in Dornach in 1922 by a circle of 45 mostly very young theologians around the Protestant pastor Friedrich Rittelmeyer (1872-1938) and Emil Bock (1895-1959). In "My Life Encounter with Rudolf Steiner" Rittelmeyer writes:

„Is it not necessary for the vast majority of people to have a celebration in which they come to this experience in their own way, to be led to the reality that is there in Christ?

From here the relationship between the anthroposophical movement and the Christian community becomes clear. If a cultus had been given for the Anthroposophical Society, it could be based to a much greater extent on the details of the new world-view which is emerging in Anthroposophy. But this new world-view must first fight its way through, in all fields, and still has difficult conflicts to pass through. Humanity as a whole cannot wait for this. There are also many people who have no direct interest in this struggle for a new world-view. For all of them there can be a cultus which, although it is in full agreement with the spiritual knowledge that exists in Anthroposophy and is possible from it alone, does not teach or presuppose this spiritual knowledge, but gives people directly what connects them with the highest reality.

What the Christian community has to impart to people is the highest. It is the living Christ in all reality and vitality. There is nothing higher. But it is this highest in a certain age and for a certain human need.

If the Christian Community were composed only of anthroposophists, Steiner would have considered the task of the Christian Community to be mistaken. The Anthroposophical Society has its own great tasks as a cultural movement, which is above all necessary today in the intellectualistic-materialistic present and has to struggle hard enough to assert itself. That is why it could not support such a new community at all, also financially. But apart from this, Steiner also wished to educate a kind of human being that will gradually multiply in the future. It seeks communion in the spirit and can in its own way, through what Rudolf Steiner has given it, come to the same Most High that the Christian Community brings in its own way. For the goal of the anthroposophical movement is also full communion with Christ into body and blood. It can be experienced, even if it remains unconscious, just as much in meditation as in worship.“ (Lit.: Rittelmeyer)

In 1941, the Christian Community was banned in Germany under Hitler, but re-founded in 1945.

Since 1933 there has been a seminary in Stuttgart, since 2001 one in Hamburg, since 2003 also in Chicago. The priesthood of women has been realised in it from the beginning.

Today there are congregations in all five continents. Worship is conducted in the respective national language.

The Protestant Church refuses the Christian Community a seat in the World Council of Churches. The baptism of the Christian Community (with water, salt and ashes) is not recognised in the Catholic and Protestant churches.

The 45 founders of The Christian Community

Founding day (16.9.1922) of the Christian Community - Movement for Religious Renewal.

Friedrich Rittelmeyer
Emil Bock
Johannes Werner Klein
Gertrud Spörri
Johannes Perthel
Friedrich Doldinger
Alfred Heidenreich
Rudolf von Koschützki
August Pauli
Hermann Beckh
Heinrich Rittelmeyer
Fritz Blattmann

Hermann Fackler
Wilhelm Ruhtenberg
Claus von der Decken
Wilhelm Salewski
Otto Becher
Heinrich Ogilvie
Kurt Philippi
Martin Borchart
Hermann Groh
Wolfgang Schickler
Adolf Müller

Marta Heimeran
Richard Gitzke
Carl Stegmann
Erwin Lang
Eberhard Kurras
Arnold Goebel
Otto Franke
Walter Gradenwitz
Joachim Sydow
Ludwig Köhler
Waldemar Mickisch

Gottfried Husemann
Rudolf Köhler
Jutta Frentzel
Rudolf Frieling
Thomas Kandier
Kurt von Wistinghausen
Wilhelm Kelber
Eduard Lenz
Gerhard Klein
Kurt Willmann
Harald Schilling

(Lit.: GA 344, p. 277)

Rudolf Meyer, who was actively involved in all the preparations that led to the founding of the Christian Community, could not be present at the ordination of the first 45 priests in Dornach; he was ordained five weeks later by Johannes Werner Klein.


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References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
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Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
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Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.