Birkenwerder (MOZ) – timid applause is heard, as the children sing. The strain differs from the face of the new pastor. Kiril Philip Prinz von Preussen has just finished his sermon, his six children sing polyphonic an English hymn and the congregation claps grateful. It was a long journey to this moment on Sunday afternoon, as the Prinz von Preussen in his position as pastor of the Lutheran congregation of Birkenwerder (Oberhavel) is introduced.
(His choice, apparently, caused much concern among the flock) There had been four appeals against the election of the 44-year-olds. They were rejected for legal reasons by the Council of Churches of the Evangelical Church of Berlin's North-East district.
The great-great-grandson of the last German emperor is controversial for his statements and writings. He writes for the conservative weekly magazine "Junge Freiheit", referred to by political scientists as the "voice of the New Right with a bridge to extremism." In a television broadcast with Frank Plasberg Pastor Prinz von Preussen has spoken publicly in the past year for the restoration of the monarchy. Also, due to his consistent stance against abortion, he is criticized.
Philip Prinz von Preussen feels unfair prejudiced. Yes - he suports the protection of all life and does so based on the Fifth Commandment: "Thou shalt not kill." And no - he was not in principle hostile to women and not against women in the priesthood. Also he is concerned about ecumenism - the exchange between the Christian churches.
The congregation of Birkenwerder now is still divided. About 30 community members have re-registered or retired from active church life, it is said by critics of the new pastor. "I cannot imagine that my son is confirmed by the Prinz von Preussen," says a woman who has found a new spiritual home in the neighboring town of Borgsdorf. Numerous members of the church choir have also left the congregation. The reason lies not only in the choice Philip, but also by problems faced by his predecesor, Pastor Kroll, who was the complete opposite from the new pastor. In his youthful exuberance, Kroll even jumped on the altar during the sermon. That was just "too much" for some members of the congregation!
Yet, the sound of wrangling has been quite loud in recent months. Heike Richter, the deputy superintendent who Pastor Philip into office, says that the people have to be willing to give the young pastor a chance. PhilipPrinz von Preussen declared, "We have had a lot of wrestling with each other - but they will return," as he breathes deeply and smiles around the table.
Pastor Philip Kiril Prinz von preussen
The reader may recall where Philip Kiril Prinz von Preussen fits in the Hohenzollern Dynasty. He is the only son of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia and of his first, and morganatic wife, the late Waltraut Freydag (1940-2010).
Friedrich Wilhelm's marriage to his first wife (he has been married twice more since the couple's divorce and has three children from his second wife) not only caused deep concern to monarchist supporters of the Hohenzollerns, but also seriously affected his parents, Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and his wife Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia. She died, from a stroke, just seventeen days after her eldest son's shocking marriage and while visiting her brother's French home, Ker Argonid, in St. Briac-sur-Mer.
Philipp Kiril was born without dynastic rights to the Prussian throne, as were also his siblings. He is married to Anna Christine Soltau and they have six children, two sons and four daughters.