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Germany

German Protestant churches elect new head

Germany's Protestant churches have elected theologian Nikolaus Schneider as their new leader at their annual council meeting in Hanover. The appointment comes eight months after the shock resignation of its former head.

Nikolaus Schneider

Schneider assumed the role following Kaessmann's resignation

The council representing Germany's Protestant churches elected Rhineland synod president Nikolaus Schneider as its new leader on Tuesday, beginning a five-year term for the 63-year-old.

Schneider received 135 out of 143 votes, far more than the necessary two-thirds majority to win the post. He had already taken over the duties of the post in February, after the resignation of Margot Kaessmann over a drink-driving incident.

"It's a good feeling that the test period is over," he said after the vote.

Schneider married in 1970 and has three daughters, the youngest of whom died of leukemia in February 2005. He and his wife detailed the painful experience in the book, "When the Pain We Carry Shows Us the Way: Life and Faith with the Death of a Loved One."

He was elected to his post as bishop of the Rhineland regional church in 2003, and in the same year joined the Council of the Lutheran-Reformed Church in Germany, an umbrella organization representing most of the country's 25 million Protestant Christians.

The Council also elected Jochen Bohl, leader of Saxony's regional church of 800,000 Protestants, as Schneider's deputy chairman.

Author: Andrew Bowen (dpa, dapd, epd)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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