Primatial Library of Gran (Esztergom, Komárom-Esztergom, Hungary)

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Since 1001 Gran (see Esztergom) has been the seat of an archbishop, who is at the same time a prince and primate of Hungary. When the great Anabaptist persecution set in under Maria Theresa in 1757, which ended in a complete liquidation of Anabaptist groups, all their books of instruction or dogma, as well as their private and public correspondence were confiscated (Beck). On 8 November 1578 an order was issued that all suspicious books were to be taken from the brethren in Sobotište and presented to the authorities for investigation. A similar order was given 14 December 1759 to the Pressburg Komitat: a careful search was to be made among the Anabaptists in Gross-Schützen. The confiscated books were not returned to their owners. On 9 April 1760 the government was informed that the orders had been followed and the books and writings taken from the leaders. In the same year a directive was issued to baptize all infants according to Catholic rites; committees were sent out to convert the Anabaptists. With some they succeeded; most of them accepted the Catholic forms, but remained true to their convictions. These conversions mark the beginning of the end of Anabaptism in Hungary; in contrast to former times, the conversions were now to be accomplished by gentle means. Details are found in the court records, some of which Joseph Beck has published in the appendix to the Geschichts-Bücher. The reports state that many books were successfully hidden by the Hutterites before the coming of the officers. One of these books was, of course, the official Geschicht-Buch.

Most of the confiscated books were put into the Primatial library in Gran, some to the Domkapitel library in Pressburg, some to the Protestant Lyzeal library there, and a relatively large number to the university library in Budapest. The manuscripts in the Primatial library are listed by Beck in his summary of the sources from which he compiled his Geschichts-Bücher. Since his edition is no longer to be found in bookstores, the most important of the manuscripts will be listed here with signatures. The following manuscripts contain exclusively matter in the Geschichts-Bücher.

  1. Codex G—Graner Chronikel (signature G. J. VI. 27), once the property of Andreas Ehrenpreis, one of the leaders.
  2. Codex J—Codex Breitmichl (signature G. J. VI. 25), begun in 1591, extends to 5 April 1668.
  3. Codex L—Schad'sche Chronik (signature G. J. X. 11), once the property of Mathes Helm, who headed the brotherhood in 1701.
  4. Codex O—Codex Artolf (signature G. J. X. 8), once  the property of the weaver, Kaspar Artolf.
  5. Codex Q (signature G.- J. X. 4) without further designation.
  6. Codex R—Codex Dreller III (signature G. J. X. 5) was written by the bookbinder Isaak Dreller in 1647 at Sobotište.
  7. Codex T—Codex Ehrenpreis with Hubmaier's motto, "Die Wahrheit ist untötlich." This codex contains a number of brotherhood regulations. The present signature is G. J. VI. 26.

A further list of manuscripts has a mixed content:

  1. G. J. X. 9, written in 1574.
  2. G. J. VI. 31, containing a defense of the Anabaptists against the charge that they despised government and the ownership of property, and the important letter to the lords of Moravia with a vindication of the faith of the Brethren and their institutions.
  3. G. J. X. 33, containing part of an epistle from the Moravian brotherhood to the Swiss Rausenberger in 1601 and a doctrinal statement of the brotherhood.
  4. G. J. X. 12 contains an epistle by Andreas Ehrenpreis (also printed in 1652) and the five articles of the great struggle between us and the world: baptism, communion, community of goods, government, and divorce (likewise by Ehrenpreis).
  5. G. J. X. 28 contains a report by Hans Schmidt about his imprisonment in Württemberg, then 16 questions on baptism, and a letter by Andreas Ehrenpreis to Daniel Zwicker in Danzig.
  6. G. J. X. 14 contains the epistle of Andreas Ehrenpreis (see No. 4) and his discussion on baptism.
  7. G. J. X. 27 contains a hymnbook of the brethren in Sobotište.
  8. G. J. XI. 29 contains Riedemann's Rechenschaft. Beck adds that he took some documents from the archives in Gran.

From the above it is clear that in spite of Beck's meritorious work a new systematic research of the archives and of the bishopric of Gran according to the sources is necessary to the history of the Anabaptists.


Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 578 ff.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 156.

Author(s) Johann Loserth
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Loserth, Johann. "Primatial Library of Gran (Esztergom, Komárom-Esztergom, Hungary)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 4 Dec 2020.,_Kom%C3%A1rom-Esztergom,_Hungary)&oldid=145698.

APA style

Loserth, Johann. (1957). Primatial Library of Gran (Esztergom, Komárom-Esztergom, Hungary). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 4 December 2020, from,_Kom%C3%A1rom-Esztergom,_Hungary)&oldid=145698.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 563-564. All rights reserved.

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