Archbishop Karl Hugo Rehling Prüter was born in 1920 in Poughkeepsie, New York. Following high school there he completed undergraduate work at Boston’s Northeastern University, and then earned his master’s degree in divinity at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. After starting his ecclesiastical career as a congregational minister, he wrote two books, the second of which, Neo-Congregationalism was later revised to include a chapter relating the personal sojourn that brought him to the Old Catholic Movement.
In 1967 Bishop Prüter was consecrated bishop of Christ Catholic Church, and the church, under his leadership, has significantly influenced the entire Old Catholic Movement. He served as Presiding Bishop of Christ Catholic Church until August of 2007 when he retired to concentrate on his writing. He has devoted much of his time to spiritual writing and to promoting the retreat movement. Throughout his work in the church, Bishop Prüter conducted literally hundreds of retreats for both Protestant and Catholic groups.
Along with having written scores of religious booklets, Bishop Prüter has also authored sixteen books. Bishop Prüter, along with many other jobs he held in his life, was a life long educator, most recently teaching at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield Missouri.
Perhaps most notable in the Ozarks is the fact that Bishop Prüter served at the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace in Highlandville Missouri. The Cathedral holds the title and record, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, as the World’s Smallest Cathedral. (14′ X 18′ seating about a dozen souls) The original stone building was a wash house built around the turn of the century and has served many purposes over the years. In the early eighties Bishop Prüter moved to Highlandville Missouri seeking a quieter more contemplative life. Fr. Karl wasted no time in converting the old wash house into a place of prayer and worship. With a Bavarian blue cupola, a stained glass portrayal of Jesus as the Prince of Peace, a lovely antique altar, and two rows of pews with kneelers, the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace was opened for worship. Since that time Bishop Prüter has celebrated mass at the cathedral daily until his retirement. From its beginning the Cathedral has seen visitors from all around the world as pilgrims have stopped by to offer a prayer, share a story, or gather to worship. Well known, the World’s Smallest Cathedral serves as a landmark and monument for the Independent or Old Catholic Movement in America welcoming all through its humble doors, a tourist destination for the state of Missouri, and a fitting tribute to the ministry of a beloved Old Catholic Bishop from the Ozarks.
Bishop Prüter was preceded in death by his first wife of 49 years, Nancy Lee (Taylor) and their 2 sons, Hugo Rehling Prüter Jr. and Stephen Paul Prüter. He is survived by Teresa, his loving wife of 8 years and his children, Robert Prüter, Nancy Tenney, Karl Prüter, Catherine Abrahams, Maurice Prüter, Terra Roush, Michael Purtymun, and thirteen grandchildren.
On Sunday December 16 a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass Worship Service will be held at the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace 405 Kentling Road in Highlandville Missouri at 11:00 am. Bp. Prüter’s Memorial Service will follow at 2:00 pm. also in Highlandville at Highland Place 117 Highlandville Road. Following the memorial his remains will be interred in the columbarium at the Cathedral of the Prince of Peace.