Blaurock, Georg (ca. 1492-1529)
Georg (George) Blaurock (also known as Jörg vom Haus Jacob [George of the House of Jacob] or Georg Cajacob), one of the founders of the first Swiss Brethren congregation in Zürich, was born ca. 1492 in Bonaduz, a village in Grisons, Switzerland. Nothing is known about his youth, except that he was matriculated as a student in the University of Leipzig for the summer semester of 1513. From 1516 to 1518 he was vicar in Trins in the diocese of Chur; so he must have received the usual education for the priesthood. Contrary to the oft-repeated assertion, there is no proof at all that he was a monk in the Premonstratensian monastery of St. Luke in Chur. In fact, the evidence is against his ever having been a monk at all.
When we next hear of Blaurock, he stands in the very midst of the young Anabaptist movement in Zürich in January 1525. He was actually the first person to receive adult baptism soon after the disputation of 17 January 1525. The Hutterite chronicle tells how he first came to Zürich to consult with Zwingli concerning the Gospel, but being disappointed in him turned to Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz to find the truth which he was seeking.
When Blaurock came to Zürich he was already married. He was apparently in his prime, with a tall, powerful physique, a fiery eye, black hair, and a small bald spot. He was known by various names. His name was actually Jörg vom Hause Jakob. Some historians call him Georg Jakobi, others Bleurond; Bullinger knows him as Weissmantel; Johannes Kessler speaks of a Georg von Huss and a Jakobs zu Bonaduz, considering them two separate persons besides Blaurock. He was popularly called "der starke Jörg" because of his faith. He became best known by the name of Blaurock. The manner of his coming to this name is related in an Anabaptist chronicle thus: "It came about that one came to them from Chur, namely a monk by the name of Georg vom Hause Jakob, who was generally called Blaurock. As they were once discussing matters of faith in a meeting, this Georg vom Hause Jakob also added his ideas. Someone asked who had just spoken; then one said, that one in the blue coat had just spoken. Thus he received the name, because he was wearing a blue coat."
Blaurock immediately joined the Zürich Swiss Brethren. The Hutterite chronicle records, "He came to them, namely to Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz, and talked to them about matters of faith, and in the pure fear of God had recognized and found that it was necessary to learn a true faith, active in love, through preaching from the Word of God, . . . and to remain steadfast in tribulation until the end."
That he took a prominent part in the first Anabaptist disputation (as stated by Cornelius) is doubtful, since he would then certainly have been banished from the city with the other non-resident Anabaptist leaders, Reublin, Brötli, Haetzer, and Castelberger. Very likely he came to Zürich after the disputation. It is certain that he was most influential in the young movement, and in its entire development. It was he who by his impetuous request introduced adult baptism and thereby gave the church just coming into existence the form in which it entered the conflict with the world. The Anabaptist chronicle mentioned above reports:
And it happened that they were together until fear struck them and came upon them, and they felt compelled in their hearts. Then they began to bend their knees before the highest God in Heaven and called upon Him as one who knows the heart and prayed Him to show them mercy. For flesh and blood and human wisdom did not lead them to this act, because they knew what they would have to endure and pay for it.
After the prayer Georg vom Hause Jakob arose and entreated Grebel for God's sake to baptize him with the true Christian baptism upon his faith and understanding and when he had knelt with such request and desire, Conrad baptized him, because there was then no ordained minister for such work. When this had happened, the others likewise turned to Georg with the request that he baptize them, which he also did upon their request, and thus in the fear of God they committed themselves together to the name of the Lord, each confirmed the other to the service of the Gospel and began to teach and to keep the faith.
With ardent zeal the newly baptized entered the battlefield and proclaimed their doctrine. "Suddenly one saw a great many people, as though ready for a journey, girded with ropes, passing through Zürich. In the market places and squares they stood and preached of the improvement of life of conversion to guiltlessness and brotherly love." More than any others, Blaurock, "The second Paul," was thus engaged. Of undaunted courage and gifted with popular eloquence, he seemed created for the purpose of carrying the new doctrine out into the widest circles of the population. To a young man whom he was trying to convert, he said, "Marx, hitherto you have been a happy young man and must now become a different man; you must lay aside the old Adam and put on the new one and reform your life." To Thomas, an old man, he said the reverse; viz., that since he was an old man, near death, he should reform. Even more than through their words, Blaurock and his friends found adherents among the people through their manner of life.
With Grebel and Manz, Blaurock went from house to house as an "apostle of the Swiss Brethren," according to Acts 2:38-41, and from congregation to congregation to baptize, to administer communion and unify the Brethren. Their following grew visibly and with it their strength and boldness. On Sunday 29 January 1525 Blaurock appeared with a group of his followers in the church in Zollikon and stopped the Zwinglian assistant on his way to the pulpit with the question what he was going to do there. When the preacher answered, "Preach the Word of God," Blaurock said, "Not you, but I am sent to preach." Soon afterward (30 January 1525) Felix Manz, Georg Blaurock, together with 25 natives of Zollikon, were arrested and imprisoned in a room of the Augustinian monastery in Zürich. Upon a vow of peace, repayment of costs, security of 1,000 florins, and with the reprimand that they had done wrong and had dealt unreasonably offensively against God and their neighbor, they were released. Only Blaurock and Manz were detained in order to answer further before the commission.
Blaurock defended himself in a letter to the council, in which he says among other things, that Christ the Lord sent His disciples out to teach all peoples and gave them power to grant remission of sins, and as an outward sign of forgiveness to baptize them. When he too taught this, some had turned to him in tears and asked him to baptize them. This he could not refuse them, but had administered baptism to them according to their wish and called upon the name of Christ for them, and then further taught them love and unity and community of all things, as the apostles (Acts 2) demand, and that they should always be mindful of the death of Christ and not forget His shed blood, had showed the practice of Christ in the Last Supper, and had then broken bread together and drunk wine, so that they might remember that they are all redeemed by one body of Christ and cleansed by one blood, and they were thus each the brother or sister of the other in Christ the Lord.
When he was cross-examined, Blaurock declared that he did not know anything to the contrary, but that he was the first to have himself baptized and eat of the Lord's Table, as God had given it to the disciples at the Last Supper, and had always in both respects met the wishes of those who desired them. Of Zwingli he said that he did violence to Scripture, and falsified it more than the "old pope." He offered to answer for this statement before the council or wherever they wished. On 18 February 1525 the council decided that Georg von Husen of Chur be dismissed upon promise of peaceful conduct and then be appropriately dealt with later on. Blaurock, released 24 February, returned to Zollikon, where he held two meetings on Sunday, 26 February, for 200 persons. He baptized Heinrich Aberli in Jakob Hottinger's house, greeting him, according to Aberli's report, with the words, "God be praised that we all believe on Jesus and want to remain steadfast in this faith! Brother Heinrich, do you testify that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us and that what is written concerning Him is true?" When he answered affirmatively Blaurock baptized him "with a handful of water." The other meeting was held in Hans Maurer's house, in Zollikon, where he baptized those who desired it, including some women who received the rite with tears in their eyes.
Upon being informed of this meeting the council had the brethren seized individually and on 11 March 1525 determined that "anyone who had let himself be baptized since the affair in the Augustine monastery was to be fined a silver mark, and anyone who would in the future let himself be baptized was to be expelled immediately with wife and children." On 16 March, 19 Zollikoners were arrested. The trial, which lasted until 25 March, revealed that Brotli, formerly of Zollikon, now living in exile, had sent to the Brethren there two letters to strengthen them in their faith. These letters asserted that Grebel and Manz were by no means defeated; no one know with certainty that he had been baptized in infancy; the pope had instituted infant baptism; those who fall into sin should be banned; paying interest and tithes was right, etc. At the same time the Brethren of Zollikon sent a letter to the Zürich council, asking them to let the Word of God reign freely, to turn their attention to those were willing to hear the Word, so that those who wished to obey the Word could be released from tribulation, and the council could have their wishes satisfied. They also requested that a public disputation be arranged, so that it might be disclosed who was in error.
Thereupon the council appointed a second Anabaptist disputation to be held 20 March 1525. The Brethren, especially Manz and Blaurock, who were still in prison, were to debate particularly the question of baptism with three secular priests and six members of the council. The principal speaker on the side of the Brethren, Conrad Grebel, was not present. From January to late April he was in Schaffhausen, St. Gall. Zwingli dealt bluntly with Blaurock, calling him a "great, foolish dreamer," so foolish that he was unable to read the German Testament before the council, although he had been a monk for several years; a fool, who in his presumption counted no one a child of God unless he was a "madman" like himself.
The disputation was without decisive results. The council proceeded more severely; it ordered that the Brethren be "very seriously spoken to"; they were to desist from "their harmful separations." Some fell away; Manz and Blaurock declared to the emissary of the council without circumlocution that they intended to stand by their interpretation and if the heavenly Father required them to baptize in the future they would baptize.
Blaurock persistently refused to obey the demand to leave the country. Thereupon the council decided on 25 March 1525 that Blaurock and his wife should be shipped by boat to Chur, and a written promise be secured from the Chur authorities to keep him there. In case he would again come back, he should be rewarded in such a way that he would in the future be quiet.
This decision to expel Blaurock was apparently carried out, for Manz met him in Church and went with him to the Zürich highlands, where, to the great annoyance of Zwingli and the council, he won many adherents by his "eloquence that moved heart and senses, and which made him the favorite of the populace." His letter to Oswald Myconius belongs to this period; but this letter is lost. Zwingli calls it "so dishonorable, shameful, prevaricating an epistle and also against the honorable council as he had never heard even a buffoon cry out against anyone." This leads to the surmise that the letter was suppressed by Zwingli and his friends.
These two leaders of the Brethren did not remain long in the Zürich highlands. In the middle of May they appeared in Chur, Blaurock's home, where they worked to expand the Anabaptist movement begun by Andreas Castelberger, in the city as well as the canton, with considerable success, especially among the aged. Comander, the reformer of the Grisons, complains, "We must now exert all our energy against the Anabaptists; they have gathered here, and among the citizens there are many who secretly or openly adhere to them." To suppress the movement a mandate forbade rebaptism on penalty of life, honor, and goods. Consequently Blaurock and Manz were captured a few weeks after their arrival in Chur. Manz was compelled to return to Zürich with a letter dated 18 July 1525, and there he was imprisoned in the Wellenberg until 7 October. Blaurock was released by his numerous friends and went to Appenzell, where he related to the Brethren how God had freed him from prison in Chur. This was interpreted as a fantasy on his part, and as a boast that, like Peter, he had escaped through closed doors. He apparently also spent time in the Chur prison.
After he had "restored the backslidden Brethren here, nursed the sick, and buried the dead," Blaurock went back to the Zürich highlands. Here he supported the work of Conrad Grebel with power and success. Beck's surmise (Comeniushefte 1898, 307) that he went to Basel disguised as a merchant and there participated in the disputation in Oecolampadius' house in August 1525 is not adequately supported by known facts.
8 October found Blaurock again in the Zürich highlands, apparently with Grebel. Before an audience of more than 200 he began to preach from the pulpit of the church in Hinwyl. "Whose is this place? If this place is God's, where the Word is to be proclaimed, then I am a messenger from the Father to proclaim the Word of God." When Parson Brennwald arrived he listened patiently until Blaurock began to speak on baptism. Then confusion ensued in the church. Brennwald hastened to Grüningen to report to Berger, the magistrate, and secure his assistance. When the latter arrived with his soldiers Blaurock was still in the pulpit, and was taken. Berger ordered the audience on the strength of their oath of duty to him, to take the captive to Grüningen. They refused and told him to look after it himself with his soldiers. Then Blaurock was put on a horse and led away by the magistrate and his soldiers. The populace, old and young, followed curiously. But he sang and was quite cheerful on his horse. The procession came upon a second Anabaptist meeting in Bezholz, attended by Grebel and Manz, the latter having been released from the Wellenberg the day before. Grebel was seized, but Manz managed to escape and was captured three weeks later, 31 October. All three, together with other Anabaptists, remained in prison, first in the castle in Grüningen, then in the Hexenturm prison in Zürich, until their escape on 21 March 1526.
The council was determined to put an end to the "corner-preaching and the rabble-rousing" that had spread through the county of Grüningen. Repeatedly the prisoners were cross-examined. A succession of incriminating witnesses arose against them, Zwingli first, then Leo Jud, Dr. Sebastian Hofmeister, Provost Brennwald, and others, who accused them of "stirring up and seducing the populace, of mocking the regulations of the state and of the new church, its protegee, and trying to erect a separate church, whose task it was to overthrow the existing divine and human order."
Zwingli (as Beck reports), who boasted of having frequently asked the council not to make the Anabaptists suffer for their reviling and their wanton speech, and not to penalize them in body or in possessions, was on this occasion unable to avoid expressing his surmise, on the strength of all sorts of information at third hand, in which he apparently had complete confidence, that he believed it to be the serious intention of the Anabaptists to increase their numbers in order to overthrow the government. He said it was and always had been their idea, as he knew, to create a separate church of their own, to which only those who knew themselves to be without sin, should belong. He learned (he said) from a trustworthy man that Blaurock had boasted in Wyl of peculiar visions in which God revealed to him the great persecutions the children of God would have to endure and that he was to contend valiantly against the enemy of God; those who would not be baptized he called heathen.
Provost Brennwald reported that Blaurock had said in the church at Zollikon, that when there were a sufficient number of them so they could resist the council, let them see whether they could conquer them with a little squad. How little sedition there was in this statement is shown by the evidence of another witness, the canon Antoni Wälder, who reported that he heard and understood them to say that in case the council of Zürich should proceed forcibly against the Brethren of Zollikon, they should not fear, nor care about force, but remain valiant and steadfast.
Blaurock defended himself most effectively against these charges: (saying) the statements attributed to him about inciting the populace to revolt were untrue; it was not true that he had boasted of miracles and visions at Wyl and of escaping through closed prison doors; he had not sworn to remain out of Zürich territory, for he would rather die than forswear God's earth, for the earth is the Lord's. Concerning the government, he thought that we should examine ourselves, as Paul says; we should work at the reform of our hearts and the perfection of our lives; then we will not need a government. In respect to the church, it had always been his opinion that all corrupt persons, all who lived in open sin and vice, were to be excluded and were not to consort with Christians. He did not favor community of goods, but a Christian will share his possessions, or he is not a Christian. (Manz asserted that this was also his view of community of goods: a good Christian would share with his neighbor if he was in need.) Since his last imprisonment he had not baptized in the canton of Zürich, but would do it at any time upon request. He admitted having openly accused the Zürich theologians of misleading the people and doing violence to Scripture, and in this sense being thieves and murderers according to John 10:1, where Jesus says, "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold [i.e., the church of Christ], the same is a thief and a robber."
In this state of affairs the council thought it best to institute a new disputation, which the Grüningen officials had also requested. This third Anabaptist disputation took place 6-8 November 1525, in Zürich. Dr. Balthasar Hubmaier was to be the spokesman of the Brethren. But he was prevented from coming, since he was seized on his journey from Waldshut by Austrian soldiers and compelled to return to Waldshut. Thus as before, Grebel, Manz, and Blaurock were again responsible for defending their position against Zwingli, Leo Jud, and Grossmann. On the day's program were the three resolutions of Zwingli: (1) As children of God, the children of Christians shall not be refused baptism; (2) As in the Old Testament circumcision, so in the New Testament baptism shall be given to children; (3) Rebaptism has no basis, no example, no verification in God's Word.
For the course of the debate we must depend alone on the report of their opponents. According to their opinion and the verdict of the council it ended in the absolute defeat of the Brethren. But they did not feel by any means defeated, and complained loudly and bitterly about lack of freedom of speech and the mockery. The preachers had to hear many a word that aroused their displeasure. Thus Zwingli was addressed with, "You, Zwingli, have always resisted the papists with the statement that what is not founded on God's Word is not valid; now you say that there is much which is not in the Bible but is nevertheless of God. Where is now the positive word with which you opposed the suffragan Faber and all the monks?"
The council was entirely on the side of Zwingli and the Reformed preachers. It warned the Brethren seriously "to desist from their undertaking which had been openly proved fallacious." When this warning was not accepted, they were again imprisoned in the new tower. On 18 November 1525 they were sentenced to be held in the new tower on mush, bread, and water as long as was pleasing to God and considered wise by "my lords." No one but the regular servants was to be admitted to them.
Grebel, Manz, and Blaurock were imprisoned in the tower in Zürich in accordance with the mandate of 18 November 1525. Throughout the winter, additional Brethren were captured and added to the number in the tower. Hubmaier does not seem to have been placed in the same prison when he was imprisoned later in the winter. Grebel, according to reports, took advantage of the opportunity to strengthen the Brethren in prison by reading the Scripture and admonishing.
On 5 and 6 March 1526 the whole company of prisoners was given a second trial. The record of the trial reports very little about Grebel and Manz, and only a brief "confession" or letter from Blaurock. It is worthy of note, however, that Grebel requested permission to have a "writing" printed. On 7 March all the prisoners were again sentenced, this time to life imprisonment. Apparently the second trial was held for the purpose of preparing for the new and severe mandate which was issued against the Anabaptists on 7 March 1526. In this new mandate rebaptizing was sternly forbidden, and death by drowning was set as the punishment for all those who performed it.
But the lifelong imprisonment lasted only 14 days, for on 21 March 21 1526, all the prisoners escaped by means of a rope through an unlocked window. Grebel, Manz, and Blaurock at first were unwilling to take advantage of the opportunity but finally let themselves be persuaded. The drawbridge happened to be down; so they all got over the moat without any trouble. Two of the prisoners, William Exel of Wallis and Fridli Abyberg of Schwyz, elected to remain in the city and were caught again; through them the whole story of the escape became known and was entered upon the records. It is interesting to note their report that when the fleeing prisoners discussed whither they might go, some of them humorously suggested, "Let us go to the red Indians across the sea."
Whither the prisoners actually fled is not known in detail. Fourteen days after the escape Manz baptized a woman at Embrach, which lies north of Zürich in the county of Kyburg. In June 1526, Blaurock and Manz appeared in Grüningen according to an official report from that district. Grebel, however, was not with them. On 12 October 1526, Felix Manz, together with Jakob Schupfelberg of Grüningen, was captured in St. Gall, but apparently released again, for on 3 December 1526, Manz and Blaurock were arrested together in Grüningen. After a month's imprisonment in Zürich, Manz, as is well known, was executed by drowning on 5 January 1527 as the first martyr of the Anabaptists in Zürich.
Blaurock was treated as a non-resident, and as it could not be proved that he had violated the law of 6 March in the canton of Zürich he fared better. His sentence read:
Georg vom Hause Jakob, called Blaurock, who as a true instigator and chief agent of Anabaptism has previously been held in the dungeon of my lords and in hope of future improvement and that he would cease his erroneous plan of Anabaptism was graciously released, since his mere word was accepted without an oath as he wished it, yet he disregarded this; and although it was told him in clear words that if he ever returned into the realm and territory of our lords he would receive the penalty he deserved, he has nevertheless come back, and, even though he says he has not baptized since then, he has accused the preachers of doing violence to and falsifying Scripture in spite of the disputations, whereas rebaptism is altogether in opposition to and prejudicial to the Scripture as well as to common good usage, which has been preserved unanimously throughout all Christendom, and (rebaptism) has thus far created only offense and insurrection, he should for this seditious character, meeting in mobs and misconduct against Christian government and Christian authority be mercifully sentenced thus; the executioner shall be ordered to remove his clothing to the waist, tie his hands, and then beat him with rods from the Fish Market down the street to the gate in Niederdorf, . . . he is then to be banished under oath, the penalty for return being death by drowning.
On the day of Manz's execution this sentence was carried out. When Blaurock reached the gate at Niederdorf he refused to give the oath, saying that God had forbidden it. Then he was threatened with further imprisonment in Wellenberg to await further action by the council. "When Blaurock saw this he took the requested vow, and shook the dust off his clothing and shoes over the city."
Blaurock never returned to the canton of Zürich. But he nevertheless continued to aid the Brethren with word and deed. The petition of the Grüningen Brethren to the Diet of 4 June 1527, that "They be permitted to stay by the truth," was erroneously thought by Beck to betray Blaurock's views and phrasing, indicating his co-operation. It is, however, not certain that he took part in the compilation of the seven articles of Schleitheim, as Beck assumes.
In January 1528 Blaurock went to Bern with seven other Brethren to take part in the disputation that took place there 4-27 January; they were, however, not admitted, but were put in custody in the Dominican monastery. At the close of the disputation a trial was set for 17 January. Five preachers, including Zwingli, and the commander Schmidt tried to convince them of their error. They succeeded with Vinzenz Sparing, but the others stuck to their opinion and were expelled.
The expelled Brethren went to Biel in the canton of Bern. There had been a large congregation here for some time, which owed its origin chiefly to Blaurock. They met secretly and quietly for their services, at first in the oak forest near "the big stone"; then when they were banished from this place, at Bittenberg near St. Bartholomew. But neither darkness nor mountains could shelter the poor Brethren when the government of Biel, pressed by Bern, decided to suppress them. 9 March 1528 it issued the edict which banished them; upon the streets and in the pulpits it was announced, threatening severe penalty upon anyone who offered them assistance or shelter.
Perhaps Blaurock now returned to the Grisons and was able to unfold a successful career in concealment. He seems also to have extended his influence to the canton of Appenzell. There he stepped once more into the open. On 16 April 1529 the high bailiff and the council of the canton of Appenzell wrote to Zürich requesting information concerning the recently imprisoned Georg Blaurock, as they were planning to sentence him on 21 April for baptizing and reappearing contrary to orders. Apparently the sentence was banishment and the threat of death upon returning.
Blaurock did not again enter Switzerland. In May 1529 he was in Tyrol. The Anabaptist group which had formed at the Adige Valley and the Eisack had lost their preacher, Michael Kürschner, through death at the stake on 2 June 1529, in Innsbruck after long suffering. When Blaurock heard that the Brethren longed for God's Word he spared himself no trouble or danger to go at once to the orphaned congregation. With Hans Langegger of Ritten, a Tyrolese weaver, he traveled through Vintschgau, strengthening the Brethren everywhere and founding new congregations, as at Glurns, Schlanders, Meran, and Bozen as far as the solitudes of Ritten and to Klausen.
Blaurock's field of work was extensive—extending from Klausen to Neumarkt. His chief centers were Klausen, Guffidaun, Ritten, Vels, and Breitenberg near Leifers, below Bozen. In one of these places after the other where believers assembled from round about he held meetings, preaching and baptizing. At Klausen the Brethren from the Achtel, the Velturn, the mines of Mt. Pfunderer and Klausen met. As a rule meetings were held on holidays and at night across the bridge in the principality of Guffidaun. They could not keep such great numbers concealed long.
To escape pursuit Blaurock frequently changed the places of meeting, never avoiding the most strenuous journeys. Thus in June 1529 we find him in Vels, Tiers, in the ravines of the Kunder road and on Breitenberg. In July he held meetings at Ab-Penon, in the district of Kurtatsch, then at Vils near Neumarkt, and finally at Tramin on the Moos, where many believers received baptism. He was apparently most successful in Klausen; it was his favorite stopping-place, to which he returned after each trip, until the middle of August 1529.
Meanwhile the Innsbruck authorities had done their best to seize Blaurock and to suppress the Anabaptist movement entirely. They threatened to depose the manager (Pfleger) of Guffidaun unless he immediately put an end to the "mischief." He therefore redoubled his efforts to capture the leaders. On 14 August 1529 he was able to report to the authorities that he had succeeded in capturing "two real leaders and Anabaptists, Georg von Chur and Hans Langegger," and imprisoning them in the Guffidaun castle. There he had questioned them and was now sending the report of the "indicated damnable and other heretical opinion and sects" they had confessed to, and requested the government to send such persons elsewhere to be tried on the rack and sentenced. The decision of the government, 19 August, stated that he should have proceeded according to the mandates against the two prisoners, since it was found that they were the actual leaders; but as this had not happened, he now received orders to question the Anabaptists and report who had baptized them, how many Brethren there were and who they were, and whether they had baptized, and not to spare them. But in order that this might take place with greater dignity, they had ordered Augustin Heyerling, the manager of Ritten, to be present at the trial, and had sent him secret instructions accordingly.
The poor prisoners were then cruelly tortured on 24 August 1529, and the statements extorted from them were reported to Innsbruck. Thereupon Preu received the command on 26 August to sentence the two captives, since they held to their faith, on the following Monday, 30 August. But when Preu answered that it was not his duty to take life, Sigmund Hagenauer, the judge at Rodeneck, was directed to sentence them according to the content of the mandates.
On 6 September 1529 Blaurock and Langegger were burned at the stake in Klausen. "On this day," the brief report of Preu states, "Jörg Chur and Hans Weber were sentenced and executed because of their heretical faith."
The Martyrs Mirror gives a more detailed report:
About this time in 1529, Georg von dem Hause Jakob, named Blaurock (after he had spread and proclaimed the doctrine of the truth for two or three years in Switzerland and especially in Tirol, whither he himself had traveled, so that he could put his talent to interest and with his zeal for the house of God might be a tool for salvation) together with his companions was captured at Guffidaun and not far from Clausen was burned alive with fire, and indeed for the sake of the following articles: because he left his priesthood and the position he served in the papacy, because he considered infant baptism nothing and preached a new baptism to the people, because he repudiated the Mass, as also the confessional as it was ordained by the clergy, and also that one must not call upon and worship the mother of Christ. For this reason he was executed, and as is fitting for a knight and hero of faith sacrificed body and life for it. When he was on the place of execution he spoke earnestly to the people and pointed them to the Scriptures.
The reasons cited here for the condemnation of Blaurock were quite different from those given in Zürich. Whereas sedition was chiefly emphasized in the charges there, here it was his falling away from the Catholic priesthood, from the Catholic Church, his repudiation of the Mass, the confessional, and the adoration of Mary that marked him as a criminal worthy of death. His pure, warm religious zeal, his deep moral earnestness were unassailable even by his most ruthless enemies.
Georg Blaurock was one of the noblest martyrs of the Christian Church. For the brotherhood he helped to found he cheerfully sacrificed everything, honor and respect, freedom and comfort, property and goods, wife and child, body and life for the sake of his Lord and Savior. Under the sign of adult baptism he gave the brotherhood its actual reason for existence in the world.
"Manz and Blaurock," says a historian of the Grisons, "did not disappear without a trace. Their glorious goals—freedom of religion, liberty of conscience, the equality of all citizens before the law have become for our fatherland the most precious legacy of our fathers." Georg Blaurock is also known as the author of church hymns. Two of his songs are in the Ausbund. Wackernagel has included them in his important work, Das deutsche Kirchenlied, perpetuating his name in the history of German hymnology. They are beautiful hymns, distinguished in form and content. The first, No. 5 in the Ausbund, begins with the words, "Gott führt ein recht Gericht und niemand mags ihm brechen." It consists of 33 stanzas and is an excellent hymn of faith. The second, No. 30 in the Ausbund, is his "swan song." It has 13 stanzas and is a moving testimony to the courage of his faith and his joy in the face of death.
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967.
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Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Blaurock, Georg (ca. 1492-1529)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 18 Jan 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Blaurock,_Georg_(ca._1492-1529)&oldid=144843.
Neff, Christian. (1953). Blaurock, Georg (ca. 1492-1529). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 January 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Blaurock,_Georg_(ca._1492-1529)&oldid=144843.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 354-359. All rights reserved.
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