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Arians was a designation derived from the name of Arius, who denied the deity of Christ, and applied to the Socinians, particularly in Poland, with whom the Mennonites were often identified by their opponents. In the court records of the state archives in Karlsruhe of the period preceding the Thirty Years' War are repeated warnings and suspicions that the Mennonites of the Palatinate maintained connections with the Arians (Socinians) in Poland and agreed with them in doctrine.

When the "Arians" were banished from Poland and their property confiscated in 1658, and zealous officials and self-seeking important men wished to have this decree applied to the Mennonites as well, King John Casimir protected them by a special ordinance of 20 November 1660, expressly stating that this law must not be used against the "Männisten." At the provincial parliament in Marienburg (later West Prussia) in 1676, the voivode of Pomerellia tried to enforce the "Arian" law upon the Mennonites, but was not successful. He fared no better in his attempt to have the parliament apply it to the Mennonites. Again and again there were friends who defended the Mennonites. This time it was the Lauenburgjudge Prebendau who sided with them. He personally persuaded King John Sobieski to destroy the order that had already been drawn up against them and to issue the rescript of 1678 to protect them. In the Landtag of 1696 in Marienburg the Ermland bishop demanded that the Mennonites be excluded from the rights of dissidents and be classed with Jews and Arians; he was not successful. The last attempt to have the Mennonites classed with the Arians, in the parliament of 1699 and 1700, was likewise a failure.


Hege, Christian.  Die Täufer in der Kurpfalz: ein Beitrag zur badisch-pfälzischen Reformationsgeschichte. Frankfurt am Main: Kommissionsverlag von H. Minjon, 1908.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 81.

Mannhardt, Wilhelm.  Die Wehrfreiheit der altpreussischen Mennoniten: Eine geschichtliche Erörterung. Marienburg: Hermann Hemmpels Wwe., 1863.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Arians." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 7 Dec 2023.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1953). Arians. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 December 2023, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 156. All rights reserved.

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