11 From the history of Christianity

607 How did the New Apostolic Church come into being?


On 10 October 1862, Priest Rudolf Rososchacky (1815-1894), the rector of the Catholic Apostolic congregation in Königsberg, was called to be an Apostle by Prophet Geyer. The Apostles of the Catholic Apostolic Church did not acknowledge this calling.

Prophet Geyer and the leader of the Catholic Apostolic congregation in Hamburg, Friedrich Wilhelm Schwartz (1815-1895) were, however, convinced that this calling had been the work of the Holy Spirit.

The congregation in Hamburg thus acknowledged the calling of this Apostle on 4 January 1863, and was excommunicated from the Catholic Apostolic Church as a result.

Thus the beginning of the New Apostolic Church dates back to January 1863.


Even after Apostle Rososchacky resigned from his ministry a short time later, Geyer, Schwarz, and the Hamburg congregation remained firmly convinced that his calling had been a divine one.

608 What happened in the time following?


Priest Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuß (1827- 1878), and a little later on, Friedrich Wilhelm Schwartz were called as Apostles. Apostle Preuß worked in Northern Germany while Apostle Schwartz took on the Netherlands as his working area.


Other Apostles were called soon after. The newly established community called itself the Allgemeine Christliche apostolische Mission (“General Christian Apostolic Mission”).

In the year 1872, Friedrich Wilhelm Menkhoff (1826-1895) was called as an Apostle for Westphalia and the Rhineland.


Carl Wilhelm Louis Preuß Friedrich Wilhelm Schwartz Friedrich Wilhelm Menkhoff In 1884, Apostle Menkhoff established the Church magazine Der Herold (“The Herald”) in Germany. Under his influence, Apostle Schwartz—beginning in his working area—did away with the liturgical vestments and many other elements of liturgy that had been assumed from the Catholic Apostolic Church. In the year 1885, these changes were then implemented in all other congregations as well.

The term ‘liturgy’ is used to describe the way in which the sequence of the divine service is defined.

609 How did the name “New Apostolic Church” come into being?


In order to distinguish itself from the Catholic Apostolic congregations, the congregations that came into being after 1863 soon began calling themselves “New Apostolic congregations” in written correspondence. In 1907, the group officially adopted the name “New Apostolic Congregation”, and as of approximately 1930, began calling itself the “New Apostolic Church”.

610 How long was the prophet ministry active?


Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the Apostle ministry, with its extensive authority, began to emerge as the central ministry in the Church. At the same time, the significance of the prophet ministry began to decline. As of the end of the 1920s there were no more prophets active in the congregations.

611 Who was the first Chief Apostle?


In 1881, Friedrich Krebs (1832-1905) from Braunschweig, Germany was called as an Apostle. After the death of Apostles Schwartz and Menkhoff, he assumed the leading function in the Church. The unity among the Apostles was a great concern to him. As of 1897, the Chief Apostle ministry began to emerge. Friedrich Krebs was the first Chief Apostle in the present-day sense.

612 What other individuals have occupied the Chief Apostle ministry?

  • Hermann Niehaus (1848-1932, Chief Apostle from 1905-1930),
  • Johann Gottfried Bischoff (1871-1960, Chief Apostle from 1930-1960),
  • Walter Schmidt (1891-1981, Chief Apostle from 1960-1975),
  • Ernst Streckeisen (1905-1978, Chief Apostle from 1975-1978),
  • Hans Urwyler (1925-1994, Chief Apostle from 1978-1988),
  • Richard Fehr (1939-2013, Chief Apostle from 1988-2005),
  • Wilhelm Leber (born 1947, Chief Apostle from 2005-2013),
  • Jean-Luc Schneider (born 1959, Chief Apostle as of 2013).