On Tuesday 25 November, Bishop Nick will be given an Honorary Doctorate by the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany.
A fluent German speaker, Bishop Nick has lectured and preached at the university which is one of the oldest, most important and most politically radical universities in Germany.
In their citation the university says he is particularly able to translate theology for a contemporary and secular audience which he does through his books (two of which have been translated into German), his blog, preaching, journalism and broadcasting. (And that his practical theology is reminiscent of the renowned German theologians Karl-Heinrich Bieritz and Manfred Josuttis.)
He is also commended for the lecture he gave in Jena in 2013 on pastoral theology (now used on several theology courses in Germany) and for a sermon in Berlin Cathedral in September on ‘Reformation and Politics’. Last year he was the first English person to be invited to preach to 130,000 people at the closing service of the biennial Kirchentag which was broadcast live on German TV.
The award is also given in respect of his work as co-chair of the Meissen Commission which develops relationships between the Church of England and the Evangelical Church in Germany.
Bishop Nick says, “I’m surprised and delighted to be given an honorary doctorate by such a prestigious university, and I expect to grow my relationship with the university in the years to come.”
This is Bishop Nick’s second honorary doctorate – he received his first from the University of Bradford last December.
Established in the 16th century, the university has been at the centre of the emergence of German idealism (with J G Gottlieb Fichte, G W F Hegel and F W J Schelling, among others, on its teaching staff). The poets Goethe and Schiller became friends at the university and it was in Jena itself that Napoleon fought and defeated the Prussian army in 1806.