Heinrich Epp: minister and elder; born 18 December 1827 in Chortitza, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, South Russia, the sixth of ten children of David Epp (1781-1843) and his second wife Helena (Thiessen) Epp (1797-1864); his father's first wife was Maria (Wiens) Epp (1779-1815), and there were nine children from that marriage. Heinrich was married for the first time on 30 July 1850 to Anna Siemens (29 September 1831—8 January 1863), daughter of Peter Siemens (1800-1852) and Anna (Lepp) Siemens (1796-1839). Only David, the youngest of the six children born to Heinrich and Anna, survived. Heinrich was married for the second time to Elisabeth Perk (4 May 1830—25 January 1904), the widow of Peter Lepp (1817-1871). Elisabeth had one daughter from her previous marriage, Elisabeth, and three children were born to Heinrich and Elisabeth: Heinrich, Dietrich and Helena. Heinrich died 11 April 1896 in Chortitza, Chortitza Mennonite Settlement, South Russia.
In 1854 Heinrich taught a school with seven children in Neu-Petersdorf. Two years later he taught in the Mennonite private school in Ekaterinoslav. In 1858 he was called to the Zentralschule to succeed Heinrich Franz, and served there 19 years. During this period, which D. A. Neufeld calls a "new bright period," the school made an appreciable growth. The church likewise had complete confidence in him.
When the Mennonites were alarmed by the introduction of general military duty and sent a delegation to St. Petersburg to be released, Heinrich Epp was one of the delegates, and was the spokesman in St. Petersburg. Repeatedly he visited St. Petersburg to represent the Mennonites in this matter.
The confidence of the church was also shown in the fact that in 1864 they called him to preach to the Chortitza congregation. For 13 years he energetically and successfully filled his double vocation. For seven and one-half years he was chairman of the board of the Zentralschule. But because his office of preaching for the Chortitza church demanded more and more of his energy, he resigned his teaching position and devoted all his time to his church. In 1885, when Elder Gerhard Dyck resigned his office on account of his advanced age, Epp was elected by a large majority. He accepted the office reluctantly. "Will I be able to lead the church aright? Will it be built up by me?" he asked. But then he faced the congregation with the text, "Here am I. Thou hast called me!" (1 Samuel 3:8). His service, lasting until his death, was attended with great blessing.
Friesen, Peter M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitsche Bruederschaft in Russland, (1789- 1910): im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt, Taurien: Verlagsgeselschaft "Raduga", 1911: 730.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 597.
Epp, H. Heinrich Epp, Kirchenältester der Mennonitengemeinde zu Chortitza (Südrussland). Leipzig: August Pries, 1897.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.19 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2005.
|Richard D. Thiessen|
|Date Published||April 2005|
 Cite This Article
Braun, A. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Epp, Heinrich (1827-1896)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2005. Web. 20 Jan 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Heinrich_(1827-1896)&oldid=145014.
Braun, A. and Richard D. Thiessen. (April 2005). Epp, Heinrich (1827-1896). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 January 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Epp,_Heinrich_(1827-1896)&oldid=145014.
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