The Faculty's annual sponsorship prize of 500 euros was awarded this year to Juliane Neitzke. The faculty honoured her master's thesis on "Pregnancy and birth metaphors in the Corpus Paulinum against the background of contemporary tocology", in which the prizewinner linked the exegesis of the New Testament with findings from women's studies and cultural studies and debunked prejudices about the role of women in antiquity.
The Eichsfeld historian Torsten W. Müller was honoured with the Erich Kleineidam Prize, which is endowed with 3,000 euros. The 41-year-old alumnus of the University of Erfurt was honoured for his book on the Palm Sunday procession in Heiligenstadt. In his book, Müller describes the forerunners of the procession for the first time, such as the Easter play in the Middle Ages, the work of the Jesuits and the mass phenomenon of the procession in the GDR and during the Third Reich. The history of its origins and significance is also presented in detail for the first time. The Erich Kleineidam Prize is awarded for academic work in the field of Catholic theology which – in accordance with the intentions of its founder – deals with Catholicism in the contemporary public sphere, with particular reference to the historical situation of East and Central Germany and religiosity and confessionality in this region.
And finally, as part of the celebrations, the Academy of Non-Profit Sciences honoured Carli Peters, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Plank Institute of Geoanthropology in Jena, with the Dalberg Prize for her dissertation entitled "Peptide Mass Fingerprinting for Australian Faunal Assemblages". The award for early-stage researchers, which is sponsored by the Academy and the Universities of Erfurt, Jena, Ilmenau, Weimar and the Franz Liszt School of Music, is endowed with 2,000 euros and draws public attention to research that builds a bridge between the humanities and natural sciences. The prize is awarded alternately at the Thuringian universities.
The patronage celebration began in the morning with a church service in the cathedral. This year's keynote address at the subsequent academic ceremony was given by Auxiliary Bishop Dr Christoph Hegge from Münster. He spoke about the future of theology and the often complex connections between theological science, church politics and questions of faith. The auxiliary bishop spoke out in favour of courageously taking new steps – also with regard to academic theology at universities, which in his view could be organised in a more ecumenical way – and at the same time supporting each other: "We are all in the same boat," he explained and emphasised how much the church is dependent on insights from theology, especially with regard to the global synodal process and the synodal path.