Dornum, Ulrich von (ca. 1465-1536)

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Ulrich von Dornum, of the castle of Oldersum near Emden, Friesland, Germany, was an aggressive promoter of the Reformation, supporting Edzard I and Enno I. His estate became a refuge for a wide range of persecuted reformers, such as Karlstadt, who was given the privilege of publicly proclaiming his views from the pulpit, Melchior Rinck, and Menno Simons. Ulrich von Dornum was first influenced by Luther, but through Karlstadt he turned to the Swiss and Strasbourg reformers with Anabaptist leanings. He was in touch with Erasmus and Capito, and Sebastian Franck wrote a letter to his followers. Ulrich personally wrote a report on a disputation at Oldersum between Dr. Laurenz, a Jacobite of Groningen, and Jürgen Aportanus, an evangelical minister of Emden, East Friesland, which was published in Wittenberg (1523; sec. ed. Groningen, 1614; German translation by Ohling, 1955).

To what degree Menno and his followers were protected through the intervention of Ulrich von Dornum, as tradition records, cannot be fully ascertained because of lack of sources. Dr. Ohling states that he was "close to the Anabaptist movement but did not join it publicly as his descendants did." Ulrich von Dornum died in 1536, the year during which Menno Simons came to Oldersum for the first time. It is possible that the two met. Ulrich's daughter Essa married the Anabaptist Johan Gerdsema (Gersema), and the youngest is also said to have married an Anabaptist.


Cornelius, Carl Adolf. Der Antheil Ostfrieslands an der Reformation bis zum Jahre 1535. Münster: Commissions-Verlag von F. Cazin, 1852: 6-11, 27-33.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 617.

Groningsche Volksalmanak (1919): 139 f.

Meiners, E. Oostvrieschlandts kerhelyhe Geschiedenisse. Groningen, 1738: I, 15-19, 25, 166 f.

Ohling, Gerhard. "Aus den Anfängen der Reformation. Ein Brief des Sebastian Franck ... an die Oldersumer Gemeinde." Ostfriesland (1954): 111-115.

Ohling, Gerhard. Junker Ulrich von Dornum. Aurich, 1955.

Vos, Karel. Menno Simons, 1496-1561, zijn leven en werken en zijne reformatorische denkbeelden. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1914: 71, 322.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Dornum, Ulrich von (ca. 1465-1536)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 2 Aug 2021.,_Ulrich_von_(ca._1465-1536)&oldid=119693.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1956). Dornum, Ulrich von (ca. 1465-1536). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 August 2021, from,_Ulrich_von_(ca._1465-1536)&oldid=119693.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 94. All rights reserved.

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