[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Küster

Jerry Frank franklyspeaking at shaw.ca
Sun Feb 24 06:02:36 PST 2013

All the pure definitions so far are correct BUT the function of the Küster, especially when referred to as "Küster Lehrer" in Russia at least (and I think also in Russian Poland to a lesser extent) was different.  There he acted more in the role of lay minister.  He performed baptisms, conducted funerals, and led the church services complete with sermon (most often read from a book).  He kept the local church books and would usually be the school teacher as well.  He would not serve communion nor conduct marriages.  In Volhynia he appears to have been more commonly known as a Kantor.  These would not be functions filled by what typical English people would understand as a sexton.

My dad was for a time the "caretaker" of the church in Rosenfeld but his role was more that of a sexton, a term unheard of in the local German community.  He cleaned the church regularly, arrived early on Sundays to stoke the furnace with coal, rang the bell as a call to worship and during the Lord's Prayer, dug graves when required, etc.  But he was never a Kantor.

I am speaking in Lutheran context here.  I don't know if Baptists had an equivalent position.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Benert" <benovich at live.com>
To: ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 9:30:51 PM
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Küster

My dictionaries tell me that “Küster” can be defined either as “sexton” or “sacristan.”  Can anyone tell me which of these two would best fit the Küster in the German villages in Russia?

Dick Benert
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Ger-Poland-Volhynia at sggee.org

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