Veh, Cornelius (16th century)

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Cornelius Veh, an Anabaptist leader concerning whose life few facts are known. His name indicates that he hails from Switzerland, but the circum­stances of his affiliation with the Anabaptist move­ment remain obscure.

The Hutterian Chronicle reports on his activity in connection with its report of Marpeck's attempt to unify the Moravian Anabaptists, 1541, describing Veh's arrival as a threat to the solidarity of the community at Schäckowitz, although he did not win any followers there.

The Kunstbuch contains a letter from Veh to the Anabaptist congregation "at Appenzell and around Zürich" (No. 24, fol. 215-27b), dated 8 March 1543, which indicates that Veh was in substantial agree­ment with the congregation but was critical of the scrupulosity of the Hutterites in certain regulations about work, and especially of their insistence on community of goods. The two major sects, he felt, the Hutterites and the Swiss, were a real danger, both practicing community of goods, the Hutterites more than the Swiss. The tone of the epistle is cor­dial and warns the readers against giving up their Christian freedom and becoming acclimated to their environment. He mentions false Anabaptists but does not clearly define them.

Another reference to Veh in the Kunstbuch indi­cates an intimate relationship with Pilgram Marpeck. In a letter by Marpeck to the brethren in Moravia and Alsace (No. 3, dated Augsburg, 1544) he calls Cornelius "his beloved son given to him through faith," and admonishes him to watch over the flock of God "and to pay particular heed to freedom among them that all things may be well con­sidered, so that everything may be conducted ac­cording to the true redemption of Christ in the church, as God demands it of me and of others" (fol. 8).

The presence of the "Cornelians" on the lists of sects in Moravia compiled by Varotto (1567) and Stredovsky (1600) indicates that the followers of Veh were a separate group of Anabaptists not re­lated to either the Swiss Brethren or the Hutterian Brethren. That they were a part of the Pilgram Marpeck Brotherhood is clear from the absence of their name on Erhard's list, where the Pilgram Brothers are mentioned, as well as from the evi­dence in the Kunstbuch. Veh's group was prob­ably never very large.


DeWind, Henry A.  "A Sixteenth Century Description of Religious Sects in Austerlitz, Moravia."  Mennonite Quarterly Review. XXIX (1955): 44-53.

Fast, Heinhold. "Pilgram Marbeck und das oberdeutsche Taufertum." Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte. (1956): 212-42.

Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit. Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943: 224.

Author(s) William Klassen
Date Published 1959

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MLA style

Klassen, William. "Veh, Cornelius (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 17 Feb 2020.,_Cornelius_(16th_century)&oldid=128316.

APA style

Klassen, William. (1959). Veh, Cornelius (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 February 2020, from,_Cornelius_(16th_century)&oldid=128316.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 803. All rights reserved.

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