In 1533, when the persecution of Anabaptists grew more and more severe in Tyrol, Austria, many fled into adjacent regions, spreading the movement into new territory. On 4 June 1532 a strict command was sent to Styria to hunt out the Anabaptists who might be there, for it had been reported that several had been seen in the Enns Valley.
But there was no need of orders to Styria. The Lutheran authorities were no less intent than the Catholics on preventing Anabaptist infiltration, and refugee Anabaptists, like Jakob Hutter, went to Moravia instead of Styria. Styrian authorities, however, succeeded in apprehending an outstanding Anabaptist preacher and writer of hymns, Daniel Kropf. All that is known of his life is found in the Geschicht-Buch, p. 48, in an entry of 1534: "Daniel Kropf, a servant of the truth, was seized in Styria at Graz with six others; with the two men he was sentenced to die by the sword, but the four women were drowned. Have testified with their body and life. Of this Daniel there are four songs which he made; also other writings on baptism and other points."
The Martyrertafel (Geschicht-Buch, 182) also names the seven who testified to their faith with their blood. Of the writings mentioned in the Geschicht-Buch, the only ones known are the songs and his confession of faith, which he composed in prison in the name of his fellow prisoners to present to the council of Graz, and which is here summarized: To know the articles of our faith, for which we have left wife, children, goods, and been imprisoned by you and held and tortured a long time as evildoers. The Apostles' Creed follows, which is nearly identical with the Catholic version, except that the prisoners said. "We believe also, that there is a Christian church, in which the Holy Spirit has His work." He rejects water baptism and infant baptism. Of the communion he says that Christ is present in it figuratively; for those who eat of the Lord's bread and drink the cup, and thereby proclaim the Lord's death with humble thanksgiving and in faith of the body and blood of Christ. We do not believe like Antichrist (the pope), who with his following has desecrated the Lord's Supper and thinks he has conjured the physical Christ into the bread. In water baptism we see only a symbol of the bond which unites God with man through Christ. Salvation cannot lie therein, for it does not "stand in baptism," but alone in faith in Him whom God has sent. Herein the Antichrist has taken the liberty of mingling poison with His word.
Only three of the four songs mentioned by the Geschicht-Buch are known; they are printed in Die Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder (pp. 59-67). One song of 26 stanzas forms an acrostic of his name, thus identifying him as the author. It begins, "Das Himmelreich sich nahet, freut euch, ihr Christen, sehr." The second song begins, "Wer da christlich leben will, der heb' sich auf, setz ihm (sich) kein Ziel." It is a didactic poem of 33 stanzas with five lines in each. The last song, 19 stanzas of eight lines each, begins, "Wohl auf, O Gott vom Himmel, schweig jetzt nicht länger still"; it laments the sorrows the people of God now suffer. "Herr, stärk Herz und Sinnen dem armen Häuflein klein."
Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 48, 182.
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: 59-67.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 578 f.
Kropfs confession of faith is found in Codex 190 at Bratislava (Pressburg) in a copy made by Beck in the archives at Brno.
Loserth, Johann. "Die Wiedertäufer in Steiermark." Mitteilungen des historischen Vereines für Steiermark No. 42: 142 ff.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923: 48.
Cite This Article
Loserth, Johann. "Kropf, Daniel (d. 1534)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 28 Feb 2015. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kropf,_Daniel_(d._1534)&oldid=95688.
Loserth, Johann. (1957). Kropf, Daniel (d. 1534). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 February 2015, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Kropf,_Daniel_(d._1534)&oldid=95688.
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