Veit Grünberger (Greyenburger, or Uhrmacher— watchmaker—for his trade), was one of the outstanding apostles of the Hutterian Brethren. Nothing is known of his birth date or early life. The Geschicht-Buch states that about 1570, when he was traveling through the Pinzgau, (Salzburg, Austria) with a brother, Veit Schecht, they were spied on by peasants and recognized as Anabaptists by their prayer before meals; they were then turned over to the authorities, tried, and imprisoned in Mittersill, and five weeks later were taken to the city of Salzburg and put in chains. Over 18 months passed before they were given a proper hearing. The record of this cross-examination is given in his most remarkable Verantwortung. Without fear he testified to his faith and frequently embarrassed his judges with his replies. When asked to what faith he belonged, he answered, "You know that already. Your lord the archbishop knows it too. Our books have been sent up to the governor; there you may see them. Besides, two of our preachers have been judged, Klaus Felbinger at Landshut in Bavaria, and Hans Mändel at Innsbruck; these have given a better account of our faith than I can give. Furthermore, the prince must have known before he was made archbishop, how many of our people have been killed in his realm. What he does with us now is his business; with God's help we will hold still. We have read Felbinger's and Mändel's Rechenschaft more than once; they are entirely Scriptural; if they are not believed we can do nothing more; the judges know the truth very well; if they wanted to live accordingly they would not need to ask us."
In the cross-examination as reported by the Geschicht-Buch, Grünberger asks, "What shall I say? You are the accusers and the judges. What you cannot judge, the executioners must do in your stead. The hangman is your high priest, who helps you hold the field." The disputation covered chiefly marriage, fasts, baptism, and Jakob Hutter's mission. Veit's questions are sharp, his responses sharper. "Veit Urmacher asks the judges whether they consider Paul also an Anabaptist. They said no. Then he asked them why he commanded the twelve disciples to be baptized when they had already been baptized with John's baptism. This was not adequate for salvation. How much less does infant baptism suffice, which is only of men and not like that of John from heaven. Then they were silent. When they asked him whether Hutter was the Messiah, Veit answered, Christ is the Messiah. I am not ashamed of Jakob Hutter. He was burned at the stake for the sake of divine truth. But you have a fine Messiah in Rome and one here in the city."
Veit's fellow prisoner Schecht finally renounced his faith, but returned to it later with genuine repentance. Veit remained in prison until 1576. He wrote from prison on 16 February 1573 that he had no fears for his life. They had been told that no one wanted to wash his hands in their blood, and everybody knew who they were. He finally succeeded in escaping by letting himself out a window by means of a rope made of old materials. And so he went home to the brotherhood "with peace and joy." The next year he was chosen to the ministry at Neumühl and confirmed three years later. On 17 March 1586 he died at Scheidowitz, Moravia. The story of his imprisonment and that of his brethren Matthias Binder and Paul Glock and how God helped them escape, is the subject of the hymn, "Merk auf, du wahr' christliche Gemein."
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, 501.
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: 841 f. Available online at:.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 190 f.
Die Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder: Gesangbuch darinnen viel und mancherlei schöne Betrachtungen, Lehren, Vermahnungen, Lobgesänge und Glaubensbekenntnisse, von vielen Liebhabern Gottes gedichtet und aus vielen Geschichten und Historien der heiligen Schrift zusammengetragen, allen frommen Liebhabern Gottes sehr nützlich zu singen und zu lessen. Scottdale, Pa. : Mennonitisches Verlagshaus, 1914. Reprinted Cayley, AB: Hutterischen Brüdern in Kanada, 1962: 713-726.
Loserth, Johann. "Zur Geschichte der Wiedertäufer in Salzburg." in Mitteilungen der Gesellsch. für Salzburger Landeshunde 52 (1912): 35 f. The text of the Verantwortung (1573) is published in extenso on pp. 51-56.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.
Cite This Article
Loserth, Johann. "Grünberger, Veit (d. 1586)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 4 Aug 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gr%C3%BCnberger,_Veit_(d._1586)&oldid=95002.
Loserth, Johann. (1956). Grünberger, Veit (d. 1586). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 August 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gr%C3%BCnberger,_Veit_(d._1586)&oldid=95002.
Herald Press website.
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