Krüsi, Johannes (d. 1525)

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Johannes Krüsi was one of the first martyrs of the Anabaptist movement. Concerning his life and work little is known. In the middle of 1525 he was arrested in St. Gall, but released upon oath not to return to the city (see St. Gall). In the canton of Appenzell he won the Reformed congregation at Teusen to himself. In the abbey of St. Gall he also had some success; but all evangelization was forbidden him by a decision of the four protectorates of the abbey (Zürich, Lucerne, Schwyz, and Glarus). The abbot Franz von Gaisberg gave orders to seize every Anabaptist who came into his realm preaching (Gotzinger, 407). On 3 June 1525 Krüsi was still preaching in the vicinity of Tablat; when the magistrate and his servants ordered him to stop preaching, the large crowd listening protested (Eidgenössische Abschiede). Krüsi was soon afterward seized at night in bed in his native town, St. Georgen, and was later taken secretly (as Kessler says, contrary to custom) to Lucerne. The council of Lucerne asked St. Gall for instructions on 11 August 1525, relating what was reported about him, that Krüsi urged disobedience to the government, rejected infant baptism, advocated adult baptism and community of goods, rejected the holy Sacrament, instead of which he invented the breaking of bread and observed it in his own way (Strickler, 399).

The reply from St. Gall seems to have been lost. Krüsi was condemned to death at the stake, and was put to death in 1525 (Kessler). He was the second blood witness of the Swiss Brethren known by name. The first martyr was Eberli Bolt, who was burned at the stake in Schwyz on 29 May 1525.

Some later historiographers have confused Johannes Krüsi with Anton Kürsiner of Schwyz (or Roggenach; see Zwingliana I, 139); Nitsche (64) considers the two to be the same person (see also Egli, 26, who states that Krüsi was also called Hans Kern of Klingnau).

In Teufen the Anabaptists persisted for some time after Krüsi's death. About Christmas 1528 an Anabaptist council was held here, attended by representatives of other countries (Beck, Geschichts-Bücher, 64). Not much is known about it, but it seems to have been held for the purpose of purging the brotherhood of impure elements. One of the visitors was Augustin Bader, whose fantastic ideas were rejected by the hundred or more representatives at the council, whereupon he left the brotherhood and went his own way. Teufen seems to have been important in the further history of the Swiss Brethren. In November 1529 the Appenzell clergy, including Walter Klarer and Matthias Kessler, held a disputation with the Swiss Brethren here.


Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 64.

Bullinger, Heinrich. Reformationgeschichte. Frauenfeld, 1838: I.

Götzinger, E.  Joachim v. Watt: Deutsche Historische Schriften. St. Gall, 1877: II.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 579 f.

Kessler, Johannes. Johannes Kesslers Sabbata: mit kleineren Schriften und Briefen. St. Gallen : Fehr'sche Buchh. (vormals Huber & Co.), 1902.

Nitsche, Richard. Geschichte der Wiedertäufer in der Schweiz zur Reformationszeit. Einsiedeln, 1885.

Strickler, Joh. Actensammlung zur schweizerischen Reformationsgeschichte in den Jahren 1521-1532 im Anschluss an die gleichzeitigen eidgenössischen Abschiede. Zurich, 1878: I.

Strickler, Joh. Die Eidgenössischen Abschiede aus dem Zeitraume von 1521 bis 1528. Brugg : Druck von Fisch, Wild & Comp., 1873: IV, Part Ia, 672, 692, 705, 734.

Zwingliana: I, 139, 367; IV, 58.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1957

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Hege, Christian. "Krüsi, Johannes (d. 1525)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 22 Sep 2023.,_Johannes_(d._1525)&oldid=145596.

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Hege, Christian. (1957). Krüsi, Johannes (d. 1525). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 September 2023, from,_Johannes_(d._1525)&oldid=145596.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 250-251. All rights reserved.

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