Wiebe, Johann (1840-1918)
Johann Wiebe: minister and elder of the Alexandertal Mennonite Church, Samara Oblast, Russia; born 25 April 1840 in Neuteich, Prussia, son of Johann Wiebe (1806-1872) and Margarethe (Hamm) Wiebe (1814-1888). Johann married Auguste Wiebe (d. 18 July 1896) on 15 June 1967, and they had 17 children, of which nine survived infancy. Johann died on 9 August 1918 in Grotsfelde, Alexandertal Mennonite Settlement (Alt-Samara), Russia, and buried on 15 August in the Alexandertal Mennonite Church cemetery.
Johann spent his youth in Freienhuben, near Danzig, where his family settled in 1842. He was baptized at the age of 18 in 1858 by Elder Wilhelm Klassen in the Fürstenwerder Mennonite Church. Johann struggled spiritually after his baptism. When he was 20 years old, he was careless with a firearm and accidentally shot a man in the leg, leading to its amputation. This incident helped Johann turn to a life of prayer. Johann's father, Johann Wiebe, was elected to the ministry in the Fürstenwerder Mennonite Church in 1859 and to the position of elder in 1860.
In 1868 Prussia introduced universal military conscription, and many Prussian Mennonites chose to immigrate to Russia, settling in the Samara Oblast. Johann and his family departed from Marienburg, Prussia on 8 June 1870 and, after visiting friends in the Am Trakt Mennonite Settlement, arrived in Alexandertal (Alt-Samara) on 25 June 1870. The Wiebes were able to build a house in 1873.
Wiebe was ordained as a minister of the Alexandertal Mennonite Church on 12 September 1873, and as elder in 1874. In 1876 he corresponded with Jakob Wiebe, elder of the Karassan Mennonite Church, Crimea, regarding nonresistance, alternative service, and the migration to America. Jakob Wiebe was strongly opposed to the latter and likely influenced Johann Wiebe.
After the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church had been transplanted to Alexandertal, Wiebe aimed to introduce some of its practices in his congregation. After serving as elder for over 20 years, Wiebe resigned on 16 April 1896 due to serious conflicts in the church over church discipline. Wiebe was baptized by immersion and joined the Mariental Mennonite Brethren Church in 1899. On 15 May 1908 Johann was ordained as a minister in the MB Church, retiring in 1914.
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Brüderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt: Verlagsgesellschaft "Raduga", 1911. 480, 719 f.
Kharyukov, Sergey. "From Syktyvkar, Russia." Personal e-mail (4 April 2011).
Kharyukov, Sergey. "From Syktyvkar, Russia." Personal e-mail (5 April 2011).
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 946. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. "Wiebe, Johann (1840-1918)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2011. Web. 19 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wiebe_johann_19th_2013_20th_century.
APA style: Krahn, Cornelius and Richard D. Thiessen. (May 2011). Wiebe, Johann (1840-1918). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/wiebe_johann_19th_2013_20th_century.