FABRI, FRIEDRICH GOTTHARDT KARL ERNST: German theologian; b. at Schweinfurt (22 m. n.n.e. of Würzburg) June 12, 1824; d. at Würzburg July 18, 1891. He was educated at Würzburg, Erlangen, and Berlin, and in 1846 entered the seminary for preachers at Munich. In 1848 he was appointed municipal pastor and instructor in a technical school at Würzburg, and then published his first work, Die materiellen Notstände der protestantischen Kirche Baierns (Nuremberg, 1848), which was followed by his Ueber Armut und Armenpflege (1851). In 1851 he became pastor at Bonnland near Würzburg, and while there published his Ueber Kirchenzucht im Sinn und Geist des Evangeliums (Stuttgart, 1854), in which he deprecated public admonition and excommunication. He first became widely known, however, by his Briefe gegen den Materialismus (1855), a criticism of the theories of Darwin and Lyell. From 1857 to 1884 Fabri was president of the Rhenish mission at Barmen. He successfully opposed the denominational strife which threatened to disrupt the organization and raised the educational standard for those who were to go to the mission-field under the auspices of the society, making the preliminary course two years and the seminary training four. The candidates gained both in number and in ability, and branch schools were erected for younger pupils in Barmen (1856), Stellenbosch (1860, 1865), and Gütersloh. Under his auspices the mission increased from twenty-nine stations, thirty-five missionaries, and 6,600 converts in 1857 to forty-seven stations, sixty-four missionaries, and 25,800 converts in 1884. In 1866 he founded the general conference for missions, which henceforth convened triennially, and in connection with missionary activity he wrote Die Entstehung des Heidentums und die Aufgabe der Heidenmission (Barmen, 1859) and Der sensus communis das Organ der Offenbarung Gottes in allen Menschen (1861). In 1865 Fabri established a committee for German Protestants in southern Brazil, which was enlarged in 1883 to comprise all Protestant Germans in America. He was also keenly interested in inspiring the Greek Church with a spirit of Evangelicalism, as was shown by his Mitteilungen aus Mazedonien (Elberfeld, 1877).
The political events of 1866 presented unexpected ecclesiastical problems to Prussia which Fabri sought to solve in his Die politischen Ereignisse des Sommers 1866 (Barmen, 1866), a work followed by his Die politische Lags und die Zukunft der evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (1867), Die Unionsund Verfassungsfrage (1867), Staat und Kirche (1872), and Kirchenpolitisches Credo (1872). In Jan., 1871, he was summoned to Strasburg on account of the ecclesiastical situation which had arisen there, and he gladly obeyed, successfully seeking to secure independence for the Evangelical Church of Alsace-Lorraine. In the same spirit he later wrote: Wie welter? Kirchenpolitische Betrachtungen zum Ende des Kulturkampfes (Gotha, 1887).
By his Bedarf Deutschland der Kolonien? (1879) Fabri gave the first impulse to the colonial movement in Germany, proposing the foundation of agricultural and mercantile colonies. A number of associations were accordingly formed, and the course of events proved the wisdom of his counsels, of which his last work, Fünf Jahre deutscher Kolonialpolitik (1889), gave a final survey. On Oct. 2, 1889 he was appointed honorary professor in the Evangelical theological faculty of Bonn.