Odenkirchen, a village on the Niers near Düsseldorf, Germany, under the dominion of the Elector of Cologne (now belongs to Rheydt), was since the middle of the 16th century the seat of an Anabaptist congregation, in which Adam Pastor was preacher for a time. William III of Flodorf, Baron of Odenkirchen and Grevenbicht, favored the Anabaptists. In 1533 an Anabaptist on his way to Münster stopped in Odenkirchen in "Driesschen's house by the castle." Since there was until 1549 a chaplain Hermann Drieschen in Odenkirchen, he became suspect of leaning toward Anabaptism. In 1534 two merchant apprentices journeyed from Dremmen to Maastricht and Odenkirchen, to proclaim the miracles of the Anabaptist prophets and to summon people to come to Münster, the "New Zion." The one who came to Odenkirchen was Peter Schumacher, the son of the Dremmen magistrate. For a long time thereafter there were Anabaptist traces in Odenkirchen; especially since after the removal of the Münsterite bogey the lord of Odenkirchen offered the persecuted refugees protection and shelter. Theunis van Hastenrath baptized four persons here about 1550. The pastor of Odenkirchen 1540-c49 was "Herr" Wolter, who cried out in the church at Krefeld on 25 March 1545 while lifting the sacrament: "Alas, how blinded you poor people are! What you see here is nothing but simple bread." After his departure from Odenkirchen the pastors of Hüls, Anrath, and Kempen complained in 1550 that Anabaptist doctrine was on the increase. There was in Hüls a preacher, "a vagabond by the name of Wolter, with a long white-beard, a resident of Krefeld, previously pastor of Odenkirchen and there had been a follower of Anabaptists." For 80 years the Anabaptists were tolerated in Odenkirchen. Odelia von Flodorf, who protected Calvinism in Odenkirchen, left the Mennonites in peace. A congregation was organized, for the Concept of Cologne (1591) was signed by Wolter of Wetschenwel as representative of the Odenkirchen Mennonites. But in 1628, when the Archbishop of Cologne restored his authority in and over Odenkirchen and took the church from the Reformed, the Mennonites could no longer stay here. The church records of the Reformed Church at Rheydt show several transfers of membership to that church. Other Mennonites presumably emigrated. Peter Davids, a Mennonite wheelwright, moved to Nijmegen, Holland in 1655. A congregation was no longer possible here. By 1700 there were no Mennonites left in Odenkirchen.
Doopsgezinde Bijdragen. (1890): 59; (1909): 109, 122, 125.
Guyot, P. C. Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden te Nijmegen. (Nijmegen, 1846): 62.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 292 f.
Rembert, Karl. Die "Wiedertäufer" im Herzogtum Jülich. Berlin: R. Gaertners Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1899: 59, 437.
Vos, Karel. Menno Simons, 1496-1561, zijn leven en werken en zijne reformatorische denkbeelden. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1914: 105, 107.
Cite This Article
Niepoth, Wilhelm. "Odenkirchen (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 29 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Odenkirchen_(Nordrhein-Westfalen,_Germany)&oldid=106510.
Niepoth, Wilhelm. (1959). Odenkirchen (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Odenkirchen_(Nordrhein-Westfalen,_Germany)&oldid=106510.
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