Christoph (16th century)
Christoph, a native of Meissen or Mühlhausen, and a cobbler by trade, was an apostle of the Anabaptists in Thuringia, who together with Hans Römer, Christoph Peisker, and Volkmar Fischer was very successful in the Anabaptist cause in the region of Erfurt and Mühlhausen after 1525. Wappler (Die Stellung, 46; Täuferbewegung, 41-44) counts them among the "wild, fanatical Anabaptists," who had even planned an attack on the city of Erfurt on New Year's Day 1528. The tailor Niklaus admitted the intended coup. Thereupon many Anabaptists were arrested, and Niklaus and twelve others were executed. On 2 December 1527 the council of Erfurt sent to the neighboring governments a proclamation of warning against the four apostles named above, stating that "among other things, they preached that God has sent them to restore fallen Jerusalem; for the world will not stand longer than twenty-one months; and at Alich they baptized more than 20 persons; likewise at other places, as in Hesse at Ballhausen, Schwertstedt, and Sondershausen; the preachers told those whom they baptized to "watch on the mountain and remain together; for it will rain locusts; that there are 500 preachers who roam through the country and have many adherents to their cause at Magdeburg." This letter apparently caused consternation and unleashed a cruel persecution of the Anabaptists. In the records of later trials the name of Christoph of Meissen appears as one who administered baptism. Volkmar Fischer stated on 9 March 1535 (Wappler, Täuferbewegung, 373), that he had made an agreement with Christoph the carpenter "to kill those who were not of their faith." Whether this confession was not solely the product of the tortures of the rack remains to be determined by future investigation.
According to Wappler (Täuferbewegung, 41), Christoph of Meissen was perhaps identical with Christoph Rudolf of Oberdorla, who was later also called Christoph of Eichen.
Franz, Günther. Urkundliche Quellen zur hessischen Reformationsgeschichte. Vierter Band, Wiedertäuferakten 1527-1626. Marburg: N.G. Elwert, 1951: 55, 58, 196, 317-319.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof. Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 352.
Wappler, Paul. Die Stellung Kursachsens und des Land-grafen Philipp von Hessen. Münster, 1910.
Wappler, Paul. Die Täuferbewegung in Thüringen von 1526-1584. Jena: Gustav Fisher, 1913.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 586-587. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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