Christian Gasteiger (Gasteyer, Gastaiger), a Hutterite martyr, a smith by trade, was seized 30 May 1586 at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany. Two days later two Jesuits and the city priest appeared in his cell to talk to him about his faith. But he refused to renounce his faith. Three weeks later the Jesuits appeared again, with the same negative result. Two days later the priest and a doctor of the Holy Scriptures discussed infant baptism with him; he met their assertions with Scripture. They pronounced him a heretic. The judge who visited him on the following day, and told him that he had received orders from the court, if Gasteiger did not accept the faith in which his parents had died, he must be placed on the stake. But Gasteiger replied that he was prepared to die from day to day and would not deviate from the truth. From his prison he wrote the brotherhood an epistle, urging them to trust him, for he would fight well for the eternal crown.
After an imprisonment of 12 weeks in Ingolstadt Gasteiger was welded upon a cart and on 25 August taken to Munich. There he was sentenced on 13 September to die by the sword. The prince, Duke William, was not at home, the chief judge had died, the subordinate judge refused to pronounce the verdict, the mayor and many councilors opposed it, but the Jesuits insisted. When he reached the site of execution he expressed his joy at the nearness of the martyr's crown. The executioner and the Jesuit made another attempt to bring him to recant, but he refused, knelt down, and presented his neck to the sword. His martyrdom is commemorated in the song of the five brethren who were executed for their faith in Bavaria, "Himmlischer Gott und Herr, lass dich erbarmen schier." It is found in Th. Unger's article listed in the bibliography.
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 299 f.
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. Part II: 755.
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: 1062. Available online at: http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/index.htm.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 35 f.
Unger, Th. "Ueber eine Wiedertäuferlieder-Handschrift des 17. Jahrhunderts." Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für die Geschichte des Protestantismus in Oesterreich 13 (1892): 144-153.
Wiswedel, Wilhelm. Bilder and Führergestalten aus dem Täufertum. 3 v. Kassel: J.G. Oncken Verlag, 1928-1952: II, 117.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923: 423 f.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. De Graaf, 1965: 235.
Cite This Article
Loserth, Johann. "Gasteiger, Christian (d. 1586)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 11 Mar 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gasteiger,_Christian_(d._1586)&oldid=87676.
Loserth, Johann. (1956). Gasteiger, Christian (d. 1586). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 March 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gasteiger,_Christian_(d._1586)&oldid=87676.
©1996-2014 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.