Friedrich Rittelmeyer

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Friedrich Rittelmeyer (5 October 1872, Dillingen an der Donau, Bavarian Swabia – 23 March 1938, Hamburg) was a Protestant German minister, theologian and co-founder and driving force of The Christian Community.


Growing up in Frankish Schweinfurt – his father was a Lutheran minister – it was already clear to him as a child that he wanted to go into a religious profession. From 1890 Rittelmeyer studied philosophy and Protestant theology in Erlangen and Berlin evangelische. Among his teachers were Adolf von Harnack and Julius Kaftan, and later Oswald Külpe, who encouraged him to write his dissertation on Friedrich Nietzsche.

He also went on a study trip to meet theologians and socially-engaged ministers of the time, as well as members of the Moravian Church. From 1895 to 1902 he was at the Stadtvikar in Würzburg, from which in 1903 he took up the preachership of Heilig-Geist-Kirche in Nuremberg. There he married Julie Kerler on 5 April 1904. Rittelmeyer worked and closely collaborated with Christian Geyer (1862–1929), the head preacher of the Sebalduskirche, and the pair produced two joint volumes of sermons.[1] Around 1910 they both led discussions with the Bavarian church council on a liberal interpretation of the Bible and the denomination.

In 1916 Rittelmeyer was sent to the Neue Kirche in Berlin, working as preacher there. At first gripped by nationalist enthusiasm, he soon came to oppose the First World War and with 4 other Berlin theologians signed a proclamation of peace and understanding on the occasion of Reformation Day (October 1917).[2]

The Nuremberg school teacher Michael Bauer in 1910 enabled Rittelmeyer to have his first encounter with Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Rittelmeyer described the encounter and discussed Steiner's personality and work in his Meine Lebensbegegnung mit Rudolf Steiner[3] (Rudolf Steiner Enters my Life).[4][5] In the Christengemeinschaft he established in September 1922, Rittelmeyer acted as its first Kultushandlungen (Priesterweihe der Begründenden und Altarsakrament). He was the first "Erzoberlenker" of the "Movement for Religious Revival" (another term for the Christengemeinschaft) and from its base in Stuttgart was its leading envoy right up to his death. Under National Socialism, he carried out a permanent balancing act: between critical intellectual discussion with Nazism in numerous publications on the one hand and his task of enabling a survival strategy for the Christengemeinschaft (for which he felt responsible) on the other.[6]


  1. ^ Gott und die Seele and Leben aus Gott
  2. ^ cf. Martin Greschat, Christentumsgeschichte II, S. 212, Stuttgart/Berlin/Köln 1997 ISBN 3-17-010544-2
  3. ^ Friedrich Rittelmeyer: Meine Lebensbegegnung mit Rudolf Steiner, Stuttgart 1928
  4. ^ Rittelmeyer, Friedrich (2003). Rudolf Steiner Enters my Life. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0766136540. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Foreword by Tom Ravetz (2013). Rudolf Steiner Enters My Life (5th ed.). Floris Books. ISBN 978-086315-958-9. Retrieved 14 May 2013.  Missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  6. ^ In more detail see the corresponding chapter in Gerhard Wehr: Friedrich Rittelmeyer, Stuttgart 1998

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