Kesselsdorf (Slovakia)

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Kesselsdorf (also Gesselsdorf, Czech, Kostolna), a village in Slovakia (formerly Hungary) between Tyrnau (Trnava) and Trencin (Trentschin). Here the Hutterian Brethren began a Bruderhof in 1622, after they had been expelled from Moravia, on the estate of the manorial lord Hans Palffy (Wolkan, 572). Most of the Brethren there came from the Bruderhof Gostal, Moravia. During the Thirty Years' War, the Brethren had much to suffer also in Slovakia; in 1626 the Kesselsdorf Bruderhof was plundered and partially destroyed (Wolkan, 604; Beck, 431). Later Turkish Wars again brought misery to this Bruderhof: on 6 September 1665, Turkish troops plundered and destroyed it to a large extent. Forty-six persons were either killed or dragged away. One sister, Susanna, returned after 15 years of imprisonment in Turkey, after the Brethren had paid a ransom of 150 guilders (Beck, 532). The survivors were lodged for over a year in a nearby castle, during which time 26 brethren died. On 8 August 1665 Count Nicolas Palffy gave them his ruined house at Schatmansdorf near Bratislava (Beck, 520).

During the era of the Vorsteher Andreas Ehrenpreis, Kesselsdorf reached a certain fame. It was here that a great number of written sermons and sermon-collections were drawn up (see Sermons, Hutterite). It was almost as if Kesselsdorf had been made a sort of official center of preaching. Here the preachers H.F. Küntsche (died 1659), Andreas Binder (died 1662), Michel Mildner (died 1660), and Tobias Bersch (died 1701) were active. There may have been several other preachers, whose names are not given. The Klein-Geschichtsbuch contains on pp. 204-214 and 218-221 excerpts from 26 such sermons, usually introduced as "by a pious and inspired teacher at Gesselsdorf." No names are given, partly on purpose to stress the collective nature of this material, and partly because the authors were actually not known. (Hutterite literature in general is to a large extent anonymous.) But the frequent reference to Kesselsdorf is at least significant.  Apparently these men were supported by the bishop Ehrenpreis who wanted to create henceforth an official tradition as to the how and what to preach. It so happened that a number of very good preachers were in residence at Kesselsdorf, and thus this new type of devotional literature came into being. It is still used today; in fact it represents more than anything else present-day Hutterite piety.


Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II,  484.

Wolkan, Rudolf. Geschicht-Buch der Hutterischen Brüder. Macleod, AB, and Vienna, 1923.

Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Das Klein-Geschichtsbuch der Hutterischen Brüder. Philadelphia, PA: Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, 1947.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Robert Friedmann
Date Published 1957

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Hege, Christian and Robert Friedmann. "Kesselsdorf (Slovakia)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 18 Jan 2021.

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Hege, Christian and Robert Friedmann. (1957). Kesselsdorf (Slovakia). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 January 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 168. All rights reserved.

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