The Synod of Barmen was a meeting of German
Protestant leaders at Barmen in the Ruhr, in May 1934, to organize Protestant resistance to National Socialism (Nazism). The synod was of decisive importance in the development of the German Confessing Church. Representatives
came from established Lutheran,
Reformed, and United churches, although some of the church governments had already been captured by men loyal to Adolf Hitler, and others had decided to limit their activities to passive resistance. The Pastors' Emergency
League, headed by Martin Niemöller, was the backbone of the active resistance. Various lay leaders and groups also rallied to the cause.
At Barmen the representatives adopted six articles, called the
Theological Declaration of Barmen, or the
Barmen Declaration, that defined the Christian opposition to National Socialist ideology and practice. The major theological influence was that of Karl Barth. The declaration was cast in the classical form of
the great confessions of faith, affirming major biblical teachings and condemning the important heresies of those who were attempting to accommodate Christianity to National Socialism. It is treated as a confession by some denominations.
Adapted from "Barmen, Synod of."Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD