Eustachius Kotter (Eustace Kuter), a Hutterite martyr, a stone mason, was seized with Hans Mändl and Georg Rack in 1560 near Rosenheim in Bavaria, Germany, and sent to prison in Innsbruck. He was a native of Tyrol, Austria. On 22-24 November he was cross-examined on the rack; he gave an excellent confession of his faith which was taken down "word for word" and has been preserved by the Hutterian Brethren (Wolkan, 308). From it we learn that he was baptized by Leonhard Lanzenstiel in 1540, had been captured four or five years before in the Puster Valley and taken to castle Neuhaus, later was captured again, but obtained his freedom once more.
The pastor of Hall on the Inn attempted to win the three prisoners to the Catholic faith, but had no success. On 5 June 1561 Kotter and Rack wrote an epistle to the brotherhood in Moravia, stating that they were to be executed on Tuesday after Corpus Christi. "We are paying God our vow. We do this with joy and are not sad, for this day is holy unto the Lord" (Loserth, 206).
On 13 June all three were sentenced to death. When the imperial mandate was read to them, according to which they merited death, Eustachius Kotter said, "What concern of ours is the imperial mandate, that you read it to us? Read our confession, to which we have testified with holy, also divine and Biblical writing, that it is the real truth of God, for which we must suffer today."
At the execution site they prayed earnestly and commended body and soul to the Lord. "First Kotter was beheaded because he was sick or weak in the flesh." Their martyrdom is commemorated in the song, "Hört nun, alle Fromme," in 81 stanzas (Die Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder, 415-422).
Eustachius Kotter is the author of two hymns (Loserth credits him with three), which he wrote in prison: (1) "Mein Gott und Herr, dir sei viel Ehr," 25 stanzas; in acrostics it reads, "Mein lieber Bruder Hans Mändl, ich Stächl, schicke dir ein Lied, schau, obs recht sei, wo nicht, tus aus. O Gott, erlös die Gefangenen." (2) "Stärk uns, O Gott, in dieser Not," 17 stanzas, the first 13 of which contain the acrostic "Stachius Koter."
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: II, 276.
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: 645. 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, 554.
Die Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder: Gesangbuch darinnen viel und mancherlei schöne Betrachtungen, Lehren, Vermahnungen, Lobgesänge und Glaubensbekenntnisse, von vielen Liebhabern Gottes gedichtet und aus vielen Geschichten und Historien der heiligen Schrift zusammengetragen, allen frommen Liebhabern Gottes sehr nützlich zu singen und zu lessen. Scottdale, Pa. : Mennonitisches Verlagshaus, 1914. Reprinted Cayley, AB: Hutterischen Brüdern in Kanada, 1962: 3, 636-639.
Loserth, Johann. Der Anabaptismus in Tirol. Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1892: 206.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. De Graaf, 1965: 228.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.
Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Die älteste Chronik der Hutterischen Brüüder: Ein Sprachdenkmal aus frühneuhochdeutscher Zeit Ithaca: Cayuga Press, 1943.
Cite This Article
Neff, Christian. "Kotter, Eustachius (d. 1561)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 29 Jan 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kotter,_Eustachius_(d._1561)&oldid=95639.
Neff, Christian. (1957). Kotter, Eustachius (d. 1561). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 January 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kotter,_Eustachius_(d._1561)&oldid=95639.
Herald Press website.
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