Bolt Eberli (d. 1525)

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Bolt Eberli (Hippolyt Eberle), of Lachen, canton of Schwyz (Switzerland), an Anabaptist martyr, burned at the stake, 29 May 1525, in his home town (Egli). Johannes Kessler related in his Sabbata that he was a pious, kindhearted man. Several of the Swiss Brethren who had escaped from prison in Zürich in April 1525 came to him and notified him that they had other kind-hearted brethren in St. Gall; they wished to go to them. Then he said, "I want to go to see the Brethren at St. Gall; for I have heard much concerning their faith." "But he was not rebaptized, but an opponent. But they persisted until he permitted himself to be baptized here in St. Gall, and since he knew the Scripture and was an eloquent speaker, they entreated him to be a preacher, and he declared himself ready to preach wherever they wished. . . . Then almost the entire city assembled at the Berlisberg to hear the peasant. . . . He preached in the city during the Easter holidays and every day in the following week . . . praised Anabaptism with beautiful words, announced special powers their followers were to receive, whereby all desire and pleasure in sin would be eradicated, and offered to baptize all who desired it. Then many citizens and peasants came. . . . After a week Bolt departed. But as soon as he returned to the region of Schwyz he was seized and sentenced to death by fire together with the priest who had been with him here; both approached the fire cheerfully and died willingly and undismayed." He was the first martyr of the Swiss Brethren in a Catholic canton. After Grebel's departure he worked in St. Gall.


Egli, Emil. Zwingliana 1: 141.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 245.

Mennonite Quarterly Review (1933): 208 f.

Wackernagel, Philipp. Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der ältesten Zeit bis zu An fang des XVII. Jahrhunderts, 5 vols. Leipzig, 1864-1877. Reprinted Hildesheim : G. Olms, 1964: v. V, 707.

Wackernagel, Philipp. Lieder der niederlandischen Reformierten aus der Zeit der Verfolgung im 16. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt: Hender & Zimmer, 1867. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. de Graaf, 1965.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1953

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Neff, Christian. "Bolt Eberli (d. 1525)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 23 Jul 2024.

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Neff, Christian. (1953). Bolt Eberli (d. 1525). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 July 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 384-385. All rights reserved.

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