Brötli, Johannes (before 1494-1528)

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Johannes Brötli, (also called Panicellus), originally from Grisons, once a pastor at Quarten, moved to the vicinity of Zürich as an assistant preacher in Zollikon, and instructed the peasants in the Gospel, "following Paul's example, not living on tithes and offerings, but by the work of his hands" (Cornelius II, 17). He was preacher in Zollikon (canton of Zürich) and joined the Anabaptist movement immediately after its inception. He was one of the signatories of the second letter of the Swiss Brethren to Thomas Müntzer of 5 September 1524. On account of a quarrel with the assistant at the Grossmünster he was questioned by the city council, 21 December 1524. On the day after the first Anabaptist disputation (17 January 1525) he was expelled from the city and canton of Zürich, and went to Hallau in the canton of Schaffhausen. On 4 April 1525, the city council sent a letter to Schaffhausen, warning the authorities against Brötli, stating that he had by his rejection of infant baptism and introduction of re-baptism misled the poor, simple populace and created a noticeable restlessness in the city and canton, which, if it had not been suppressed, might have led to the abolition of all government; they had therefore banished Brötli from the city's jurisdiction with Wilhelm Reublin, Ludwig Haetzer, and Andreas Castelberger on 21 January 1525, and did not want to conceal this from the Schaffhausen authorities, for they had heard that three persons had gone to Hallau behind their backs to testify that Brötli had conducted himself honorably in Zürich (Stähelin, Briefe I, 344). From Hallau Brötli sent two epistles to his former congregation in Zollikon in February and March of 1525 (published in Füsslin I, 201-227).

With Reublin, Brötli worked in Hallau with great success for the Anabaptist movement. Nearly the entire community was baptized and protected its preacher from the council in Schaffhausen. They were supported by Waldshut. But when the latter city passed into Austrian hands the Swiss Brethren were also suppressed in Hallau. Most of them fled. Of Brötli it is asserted (Martyrs' Mirror) that he was burned at the stake in 1528 (he is called Hans Pretle here; see Füsslin I, 201, note). Details of his death are unfortunately not given.


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Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1953

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MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Brötli, Johannes (before 1494-1528)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 24 Jun 2022.,_Johannes_(before_1494-1528)&oldid=144888.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1953). Brötli, Johannes (before 1494-1528). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 June 2022, from,_Johannes_(before_1494-1528)&oldid=144888.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 439. All rights reserved.

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