The country was evangelized when N Fr. was gained for the Gospel and. in part, when the lowlands of Holland were Christianized. It became very strongly RC and has remained so. A few Prot. communions are survivals from the Reformation era; others are the result of immigration from adjacent countries, but mostly and mainly the result of evangelization.
The Ev. Luth. Ch.Syn. of Fr. and Belg. is assoc. with the LCMS Other chs. include the Prot. Ev. Ch. (formerly: Union of Ev. Prot. Chs. of Belg.), the Belg. Christian Miss. Ch., and the Belg. Gospel Miss.; Meths.; Ref. There is also a Prot. soc. for carrying on miss. work in the Congo (Ruanda). The Prot. Theol. Faculty in Brussels was officially recognized by the Belgian govt. 1963, when it was endowed with the ius promovendi. It is bilingual (Fr. and Dutch).
The RC Ch. of Belgium was formally organized 1561, this date also indicating the cessation of foreign authority. After Belgium became an indep. country, an adjustment of boundaries was made. The priests are educ. at the episc. seminaries and at the U. of Louvain. The RC Ch. does not enjoy any particular legal prerogative. It receives a sum of money direct from the state as do also the Prot. Ev. Ch. and some indep. congregations. The archdiocese of Mechlin-Brussels (formerly: Mechlin diocese) coextensive with Belgium, was created 1559 by the pope. The most important bishoprics are: Antwerp (recently created), Brugge, Gent, Liége, Namur, and Tournai. OHS, WJK
A. J. Bronkhorst, Le Protestantisme en Belgique (Amsterdam, 1958); Annuaire des Eglises Evangèliques en Belgique (Antwerp, 1963); J. Hazette, Le Protestantisme en Belgique, sa situation actuelle, ed. lreniko (Chevetogne, 1960); Leon-E. Halkin, La Reforme en Belgique sous Charles-Quint (Brussels, 1957).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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