Photos and writings, but also the people, who carry the church, can be found in the Topotheque of the Evangelical Church in Austria © Archives of EKiÖ

A | Evangelical Church in Austria: Topotheque launched

One Topotheque, one institution: it doesn‘t always have to be the history of a community that can be made searchable with a topotheque. In the most recent case, it is the archive of the Evangelical Church in Austria that has made its topotheque accessible: At first glance, this is a complex series of letters, but it is easy to remember from the wording: “Evangelical Kirche (Church) In OEsterreich (Austria)”. The first images, which can be seen online, are intended to encourage all organizational levels of the church to make the material archived in many locations digitally accessible via just one entry point, namely the Topotheque. Be it the archives of the parishes, the superintendencies and the so called works. Everyone is invited to provide insight into their archival treasures in order to create a diverse overall picture of the Evangelical Church in Austria. The advantage of not having to travel to the local archives, to save resources and originals and to be able to collect the sources virtually from different parts of Austria with just one click, is the benefit of this Topotheque.

Mag. Johannes Leitner, head of the Evangelical Archive, has taken on the task of creating and maintaining this Topotheque. For him, in addition to all the archival possibilities of a Topotheque, the goal is to deepen the knowledge of the Evangelical Church for the visitors: “Even the Evangelicals themselves are not always fully aware, that their church had already achieved full equality shortly after the middle of the nineteenth century and, as a self-confident regional church, stretched over the entire Austrian Empire, from Lake Constance to Bukovina, from the Bohemian Ore Mountains to the Istrian peninsula.”

With an already detailed topic structure, which is reflected in the theme lists of the Topotheque „ekioe“, the search for the content is made easy. At present, dioceses, persons or themes such as military Superintendent, Church H.B. and Old Austria are presented in theme lists. If this digital archive continues to grow, other lists may follow.

Johannes Leitner hopes that “the Topotheque can paint a picture that should help Protestants and non-Protestants alike to get to know the Church to the full in a way that might be more difficult with other means.” To be able to admire the diversity of this Topotheque just try to find the overall photo from which the cover picture on the left is taken.