Fabri, Friedrich (1824-1891)

Leader of the Rhenish Mission (RM). After serving as a Lutheran pastor in his native Bavaria, Fabri moved to Barmen to take the position of inspector in the RM from 1857 to 1884. He succeeded in coordinating the Lutheran, Reformed, and United elements in the society and in improving the standards of training in its seminary. In his theology of mission he developed a peculiar vision of the coming kingdom that combined the traditional view of individual salvation with a contemporary philosophy of history as the field of God’s redeeming action in the world of nations, including the spread of Western civilization by means of the colonial movement. This highly ambivalent ideology allowed him both to agitate freely for German participation in the international quest for overseas colonies and to continue as a leader of one of the most prominent German Protestant mission agencies. In 1884 he was appointed to a professorship at Bonn University. Fabri’s mission legacy is marked by the memory of a pioneer of German colonial imperialism.

Hans-Werner Gensichen, “Fabri, Friedrich,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 207.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998. Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.



Fabri, Friedrich, E. C. M. Breuning, and Muriel Evelyn Chamberlain. Bedarf Deutschland Der Colonien? Does Germany Need Colonies? 3rd ed. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1998.


Klaus J. Blade. Friedrich Fabri und der Kolonialismus in der Bismarckzeit. Zürich: Atlantis, 1975.