Steen, Hans von (1705-1781)

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Hans von Steen, a Mennonite minister in West Prussia, was born 9 March 1705, in Neugarten near Danzig, where his parents belonged to the Frisian Mennonite Church. His parents sent him to Amsterdam for business training; he was baptized there in 1726. After his return he joined the Flemish Mennonite Church of Danzig, married Sara Siemens in 1726, and established a small business and a brewery in Danzig. In 1738 von Steen was elected deacon, in 1743 minister, and was ordained as elder by Elder Hans Buhler on 23 June 1754. He did much to defend the legal rights of the Mennonites, who in those days were constantly threatened in various ways. The survival of the church during the difficult years of 1748-60 was due mostly to his efforts. His sermons were popular and attended by non-Mennonites. He was married three times and had seven children. Only three survived him. His first wife died in 1749 and the second, Elisabeth Tiessen, in 1751, after which he married Christina Loewen. In 1773 he suffered a stroke and in 1779 he was succeeded as elder by Peter Epp (ordained 30 January 1780). On 21 September 1781, he died.

Hans von Steen preached in Dutch and carried on an extensive Dutch and German correspondence. His archives were probably destroyed during World War II. In his later years he instructed the catechetical candidates in the German language. After von Steen the shift from the Dutch to the German language in worship, which he had opposed, made rapid progress. The customary funeral song for Hans von Steen was one of the first to be composed in the German language.


Danzig Flemish Church Record. (Mennonite Library and Archives, North Newton, KS).

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1886): 4 f.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 239.

Hoop Scheffer, Jacob Gijsbert de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam, 2 vols. Amsterdam: Uitgegeven en ten geschenke aangeboden door den Kerkeraad dier Gemeente, 1883-1884: v. I, No 164.

Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde. Danzig, 1919: 99, 107 ff.

Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1927): 58, 75; (1935): 112 f.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "Steen, Hans von (1705-1781)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 16 Jul 2018.,_Hans_von_(1705-1781)&oldid=146264.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Steen, Hans von (1705-1781). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 July 2018, from,_Hans_von_(1705-1781)&oldid=146264.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 623. All rights reserved.

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