- Victory by stages on its way to the recognition as a church -
The “Christian Community”, founded by theologians and priests in 1922 as movement for religious renewal, has been justified by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Since 1995 the Christian Community attempted to obtain the status as a “legally recognised church” in Austria, a status which was granted long ago to the Christian Community in some EU-states, Germany amongst them.
In 1998, during the course of the again and again protracted process, the Christian Community was readily declared as an “officially registered religious denomination” – a status, which made permanent the discrimination against recognised churches. Supported by the legal expertise of the Institute for Religious Laws of the University of Vienna, the Christian Community then placed an appeal with the Constitutional Court, and, after its rejection in October 2001, with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The court now accepted this appeal relating to Article 14 EMRK (ban on discrimination) in connection with Article 9 EMRK (religious freedom) and confirmed the legal claim of the Christian Community largely.
“Of course, the acknowledgement of our point of view by the European Court pleases us. Now it is the Austrian Republic’s turn to move. In any case, we will ask urgently for the recognition as a church, and we hope, together with the other religious denominations, that the Austrian government finally finds the courage to abolish the still existing discrimination and establishes true religious freedom.” says Ulrike Cibulka, spokeswoman for the Christian Community in Vienna.
The Christian Community sees itself as a movement for religious renewal, which faces the challenges of an enlightened and largely individualised society. It is committed to the principle of freedom of belief and teaching, and has its centre in celebrating the sacraments, especially the mass, called “Act of Consecration of Man”. The Bible is accepted as the primary source of revelation. You don’t become a member of the Christian Community as a child through the baptism, but only as an adult by your own requirements and your free decision. In regard to its economy, the Christian Community exists entirely from voluntary contributions and donations of its friends and members.
In 1922 the Christian Community was the first Christian church where women were ordained as priestesses, equal to men. The oldest congregation in Austria has existed since more than 80 years.
Mag. Ulrike Cibulka
3rd March 2009