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2015-08-23T12:20:56+05:30
President Joachim Gauck: a pastor for the German soulBorn into the Third Reich and having lived through hard times in East Germany, Joachim Gauck now presides over the unified federal republic. As he prepares for a state visit to Ireland, the German president talks about his countrPresident Joachim Gauck: a pastor for the German soulBorn into the Third Reich and having lived through hard times in East Germany, Joachim Gauck now presides over the unified federal republic. As he prepares for a state visit to Ireland, the German president talks about his country’s role in Europe at a testing The German word Seelsorger has no precise English equivalent, but it most commonly describes a priest or pastor who cares for someone’s emotional state or soul. PresidentJoachim Gauck, who arrives in Ireland on Monday for a three-day state visit, has a largely ceremonial role as Germany’s head of state. In reality Gauck is his country’sSeelsorger-in-chief.Born in 1940 into one Germany, the Third Reich, Gauck was raised in another, the vanished German Democratic Republic – or East Germany, as it was also known – and today presides over a third: the unified federal republic that emerged in 1990 after east and west were rejoined.Gauck’s early life was lived in unhappy opposition to the East German regime, after his father was disappeared in 1951 on trumped-up espionage charges, returning only after four years’ hard labour. As a student Gauck was drawn to the free space offered by theology and “a truth that can neither be ordered nor taken by anyone”. And as a Lutheran pastor in the northeastern city of Rostock he emerged, in 1989, as aSeelsorger in East Germany’s hour of hope and uncertainty.y’s role in Europe at a testing time
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