Recesses of the Imperial Diet of Augsburg

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In the Recess of the Diet of Augsburg in 1530 the "sect of the Anabaptists" was prohibited. The interdiction issued against them at Speyer in 1529 was renewed by Emperor Charles V with the consent of the electors, princes and estates. It demanded that children everywhere be baptized with the use of the chrism (an oil for anointing, consecrated by the Bishop on Maundy Thursday for use in the Catholic Church in administering baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick and consecration of priests) and with the prescribed prayers and ceremonies; for it is "unchristian and terrible to . . . rob the poor children of the way of salvation and of the grace of the Holy Spirit" (II, paragraph 4, p. 308, par. 16, p. 310, par. 40, p. 312).

In 1551 (II, par. 87-94, pp. 623-24) reference is made in the Recess of the Diet of Augsburg to the regulation previously issued against the Anabaptists; in spite of it the "harmful sect and error" was increasing to such an extent that the authorities were anxiously concerned lest "those who join this sect to some extent do not submit to the civil regulations of the government and in part are unwilling to recognize any government at all." In spite of all warnings and in spite of imprisonment they obstinately reject infant baptism.  Sometimes the fault lies in the remissness of the judges, against whom penalties are to be applied by fines, imprisonment, and dismissal from office. Recanting Anabaptists are to be pardoned. How to punish the obstinate can be seen from par. 89: "We decree that all and any Anabaptists and rebaptized men and women who are of accountable age, who because of this disobedient, seducing and seditious error and sect refuse to swear honor to the government or to recognize any authority at all, are to be killed with fire, sword, or the like according to convenience, without a trial." All those are to be considered Anabaptists (par. 92) who despise infant baptism; no one may receive fleeing Anabaptists; if the authorities notice that Anabaptists are staying in their territory, they are not to tolerate them on penalty of excommunication (par. 93). In par. 94 the judges were again admonished to observe this point carefully, otherwise the above penalty will be enforced.

Anabaptists are excluded from the Religious Peace of Augsburg in 1555; for par. 17 (III, p. 18) reads: "But all others, who do not belong to these two religions, are not meant in this peace, but are absolutely excluded." "Today we recognize in this a regrettable lack," says Th. Brieger.

See also Imperial Recesses


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 91.

Neue Sammlung der Reichs-Abschiede in 4 Teilen. Frankfurt, 1741.

Author(s) Albert Krehbiel
Date Published 1953

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MLA style

Krehbiel, Albert. "Recesses of the Imperial Diet of Augsburg." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 17 Aug 2022.

APA style

Krehbiel, Albert. (1953). Recesses of the Imperial Diet of Augsburg. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 August 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 187-188. All rights reserved.

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