Concordat of the cities of Zürich, Bern, and St. Gall (Switzerland)
The Concordat of the cities of Zürich, Bern, and St. Gall was a document issued against the Swiss Brethren. On 2 August 1527 the city of Zürich issued an invitation to the cities of Bern, St. Gall, Basel, Schaffhausen, Chur, and Appenzell to come to Zürich for a conference, to adopt unified measures for gaining control of the dangerous Anabaptists. The conference, which was held 12-14 August 1527, agreed upon a mandate, which was signed by Zürich, Bern, and St. Gall and published under the following title, Abschid der Stette Zürich, Bern und Saint Gallen von wegen der widerteüffer auszgangen (1527). Some of its specifications were as follows:
- Whoever is suspect of the vice of Anabaptism will be summoned before the authorities and faithfully and seriously warned to desist and the penalties will be explained to him.
- In order that this suspicion may come to light, every citizen is bound by his oath of loyalty to inform the authorities of any one suspected of Anabaptism.
- Whoever openly belongs to this sect and refuses to be corrected and to desist is subject to punishment by the authorities.
- Foreign Anabaptists are to be expelled. A foreigner is defined as one who is born outside the jurisdiction of the cities and cantons entering upon this agreement.
- Whoever is expelled, and in violation of his oath returns, shall be drowned without mercy.
- Citizens who backslide and are again stained with Anabaptism shall pay a double fine.
- Whoever persists in his error becomes a preacher or leader of the sect, or, having sworn to amend his ways and to desist from his error, backslides, shall also be drowned.
- Anabaptists should not be absent from communion; they shall observe it with the other people of their local church.
- Since many innocent persons are enticed by the hypocritical doctrine of the Anabaptists, we reserve the right to modify the penalty according to circumstances.
- If an Anabaptist flees from one of the regions bound by the agreement to another, he shall not be spared, but shall either be expelled or extradited.
- If neighboring cantons or cities wish to join us in this agreement, they may do so at any time.
- The messengers shall immediately announce this mandate to their home governmental authorities, who shall then determine the amount of the fines to be imposed.
On 6 September Bern reported to Zürich that it had accepted the suggestions; concerning fines it reserved a free hand. Zürich wanted to have the concordat printed, but Bern, in a letter of 14 September, considered it unnecessary.
The baneful effect of this concordat was soon in evidence. The death penalty for Anabaptists provided in it was now also applied in Bern. It was the first mandate issued by Bern against the Anabaptists, and initiated a systematic persecution that lasted for centuries.
Allgemeine Eidgenössische Abschiede A.A. 243, State archives of Bern. A copy of the original Abschid is in the Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen, Indiana.
Steck, Rudolf and G. Tobler, Aktensammlung zur Geschichte der Berner-Reformation, 1521-1532. Bern: K.J. Wyss Erben, 1923: Nos. 1280, 1310, 1320.
Geiser, Samuel. Die Taufgesinnten-Gemeinden: eine Kurzgefasste Darstellung der wichtigsten Ereignisse des Täufertums. Karlsruhe: H. Schneider, 1931: 147, 169.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 542.
Cite This Article
Geiser, Samuel. "Concordat of the cities of Zürich, Bern, and St. Gall (Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 23 Jun 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Concordat_of_the_cities_of_Z%C3%BCrich,_Bern,_and_St._Gall_(Switzerland)&oldid=117977.
Geiser, Samuel. (1953). Concordat of the cities of Zürich, Bern, and St. Gall (Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 June 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Concordat_of_the_cities_of_Z%C3%BCrich,_Bern,_and_St._Gall_(Switzerland)&oldid=117977.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 667. All rights reserved.
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