Geyersbühler, Nikolaus (d. 1567)
Nikolaus Geyersbühler (Niklas Geyersbichler), a Hutterite Anabaptist, named for his birthplace, Geyerbühel in the district of Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria, a miller by trade, therefore also called Müller. He was received into the Hutterian brotherhood by Peter Riedemann at Freischütz on the Hungarian border (Sobotište), and was persuaded by his brother Wolf to emigrate with his wife to Moravia. He settled on the estate of the nobleman Sigmund Helt of Kement, near Seelowitz, Moravia. On Epiphany 1563 he was one of four brethren chosen as deacons. Three years later, though he was illiterate, he was sent to the Tyrol to lead Anabaptists from there to Moravia. He dedicated himself to his task under difficult circumstances in the vicinity of his home town, but was seized with seven other Anabaptists in 1566 and transferred to Innsbruck.
His statements, which have been preserved in a Hutterite codex under the title, "Bruder Nikolaus Geyerspichlers Verantwortung vor besetztem Gerichte zu Innsbruck gründlich und peinliche Besprechung verfasst 1567, 29. Tag Aprilis," describe the circumstances of the Anabaptists in Moravia and also of the migration of the Tyrolean Anabaptists to Moravia. In the case of the former, the conditions are less favorably presented than in other sources. He stated, of course, that he was not familiar with all the places in which Anabaptists lived, for some places were as much as 29 miles (48 km) apart; furthermore, the Anabaptists were often driven from place to place. The routes to Moravia usually followed the Inn and the Danube. Boatmen accepted them without question if they merely paid the fee.
Geyersbühler lay in the Kräuterhaus (Innsbruck) and was often admonished there by priests to recant. After a final examination on the rack on f47 questions he still persisted in his faith. The principal points of questioning concerned obedience to the state, confessions of faith, and infant baptism. He defended himself against the assumption that his coreligionists were a sect; he did not believe in total depravity; unbaptized children (he believed) are saved. The sacraments are baptism (of adults), communion, and marriage. He rejected oral confession, adoration of images, and the intercession of the saints. He stated that Sunday was kept holy, that communion was held in Moravia in the large Bruderhofs, whereas in Tyrol they were limited to the services held in woods and fields. They did not render an oath. This was his confession, and he would stand by it. Then, say the chronicles, the Jesuits treated him mildly and rudely, but he did not permit himself to be moved from his faith. Condemned to death, he was beheaded and then burned (1567).
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 249-251.
Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die om 't getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker geleden hebben ende gedood zijn van Christi tijd of tot desen tijd toe. Den Tweeden Druk. Amsterdam: Hieronymus Sweerts, …, 1685: II, 345.
Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 703. Available online at: http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/index.htm. Here he is called Nicholas Geyer.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 110 f.
Loserth, Johann. Der Anabaptismus in Tirol. Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1892: 213 f.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923: 324.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 512. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Loserth, Johann. "Geyersbühler, Nikolaus (d. 1567)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/geyersbuhler_nikolaus_d._1567.
APA style: Loserth, Johann. (1956). Geyersbühler, Nikolaus (d. 1567). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/geyersbuhler_nikolaus_d._1567.