Schützenecker, Hans (d. 1528)

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Hans Schützenecker, an Anabaptist martyr, a scissors grinder by trade, was seized at Steyr in Upper Austria in June 1527 with other members of an Anabaptist congregation. They refused to make the required recantation and said that the learned priests were themselves in error, they (the Brethren) would adhere to the doctrine taught them by Hans Hut from God's Word, as long as they were not shown something better from the teaching of Christ.

The report of the council of Steyr to the government at Vienna was followed by the order of King Ferdinand of 10 September 1527, that "the imprisoned Anabaptists should be dealt with according to the law and the penalty." Those who recanted should be pardoned:

They must swear an oath that they will desist from the erroneous, seductive, heretical articles and doctrines that they have learned and received from Brother Hans Hut or his aides and related persons, will avoid them and take care not to go to any secret meeting and corner preaching, but will adhere henceforth all their life to the holy Christian church. Furthermore they shall on three successive holidays, when people are going to church, walk around the church in black clothing, bare head, and uncovered face, holding a lighted wax candle in the right hand. Then while the Mass is being sung they shall kneel before the high altar and beseech Almighty God for mercy, for correction of their fall into error and the sin which they have committed, and after the ceremony, with the permission of the priest, return to their homes. The mourning clothing shall be worn for four months. On the holiday or Sunday after the third Sunday each one shall confess to the priest or his assistant and receive the sacrament of the altar. In their homes the penitents shall have no company, avoid all meetings, . . . nor accept any office, bear no weapons nor have them carried after them for an entire year from the first day of the penance. Finally, they shall not change their place of residence for a year if they are living in Steyr or Burgfried, nor sell their home, nor dispose of them in any other way, nor leave Burgfried at all without the knowledge and consent of the government, and they shall also to the best of their ability repay the costs accumulating to His Majesty and to the city of Steyr in their case.

Now began the trial against the Anabaptists who persisted in their faith. Künigl, who was appointed as prosecutor by the king, made the charge that they have involved themselves in seductive, heretical, Hutian and Zwinglian doctrine and sect, have practiced the same and still believe them, that they have banded themselves together, attended corner preaching in and out of the city, have also received rebaptism, which they call the sign and covenant of the Lord, which was previously never heard of in the Christian church, disparage infant baptism and the sacrament of the altar, still believe it, and will not let themselves be directed back to the right way: he therefore demands their punishment. The accused Anabaptists replied with a written Verantwortung. It said in effect: It had never been their intention to act contrary to the mandates of His Imperial Majesty, contrary to brotherly love and Christian order. They were well aware of the divine command: "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's," and also of the verse, "Be subject to all human authority for the Lord's sake." In this obedience they would persevere to the end with body and possessions.

It was true that they had met several times in order to instruct one another in brotherly love in the Word of God, but not with the intent of fomenting evil or sedition. Furthermore they offered to abstain from such meetings hereafter. But the doctrine which they teach is not new, but the teaching of Christ (Mark 16; Matthew 28; 1 Corinthians 2, 8, and 10; John 3:4 and 5; Romans 6; 1 Corinthians 15; Luke 12); they knew of no other baptism than the one which they taught. Concerning the sacrament of the altar there was nothing in Scripture, but the Lord's Supper, as He instituted it, they regarded very highly. But from the words of its institution, as described by the holy evangels and Paul, it could be clearly understood that the body of Christ is not in the form of the bread, nor did they believe that it was. For Christ said: "If anyone will say to you, 'Lo here is Christ, or lo he is there,' believe him not" (Mark 13). "God, who made the world and all that is therein, does not live in temples made with hands, nor is He cared for with human hands as one who has need of anything. He Himself gives life and breath to all!" - Künigl replied with violence and demanded the death penalty. But only a part of the jury voted for the death sentence, most of them favoring more lenient measures, another two months' period of indoctrination, and finally expulsion from the country. King Ferdinand heard this report with annoyance. He vigorously demanded their death, and the authorities complied. On Monday, 30 March 1528, the six captured Anabaptists (Hans Schützenecker, Sigmund Peutler, Mathäus Pürchinger, Hans Muhr, Hans Penzenauer, and Leonhard Alexberger) were executed with the sword and their bodies burned. Schützenecker's wife was drowned. In May Hans Heher and later five other Anabaptists seized in the country suffered the same fate as the six named.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 119-120.

Nicoladoni, A. Johannes Bünderlin von Linz and die oberösterreichischen Täufergemeinden in den Jahren 1525-1531. Berlin, 1893: 74-84.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1959

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Neff, Christian. "Schützenecker, Hans (d. 1528)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 26 Sep 2020.,_Hans_(d._1528)&oldid=146230.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1959). Schützenecker, Hans (d. 1528). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 September 2020, from,_Hans_(d._1528)&oldid=146230.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 484-485. All rights reserved.

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