Walter, Zacharias (18th century)

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Zacharias Walter, bishop of the Hutterites in Slovakia 1746-1761, a tailor by trade. He was made preacher in Sobotište in 1736, and was chosen bishop of all Hutterites in Slovakia in 1746, the last one prior to their acceptance of Catholicism (see Habaner). In 1748 Walter carried on correspondence with the Dutch Mennonites and received devotional literature from them (his letters are in the Mennonite Archives in Amsterdam). When the government of Maria Theresa undertook the forcible conversion of the Brethren, Walter and other elders were seized at Sobotište on 21 March 1761, and soon thereafter turned over to the Jesuits in Budapest. Meanwhile the work of conversion by duress went on in the different Bruderhofs (see Slovakia), mainly by taking children away. A Jesuit report of 18 September 1763, claims that all attempts to convert Zacharias had failed. But eventually he, too, succumbed to the unbelievable pressure and promised to accept the Roman Catholic faith, whereupon he was released from the monastery (1763). Of course this ended all his functions in the church. After his return he fell into such dire poverty that he appealed to the Empress for support, which the archbishop of Esztergom had to award him.

His son Jacob Walter secretly immigrated to Russia in 1784 but died the following year by drowning. Another Zacharias Walter in Russia became assistant to the Elder George Waldner in 1857.


Beck, Josef. Die Geschichts-Bücher der Wiedertäufer in Oesterreich-Ungarn. Vienna, 1883; reprinted Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1967: 572, 3, 591, 5, 610, 7.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 463-464.

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. II, 419 ff.

Zieglschmid, A. J. F. Das Klein-Geschichtsbuch der Hutterischen Brüder. Philadelphia, PA: Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, 1947: 230, 5, 8; 244, 263 (pp. 443 ff. and 566 pertain to the other Zacharias Walter).

Author(s) Christian Hege
Robert Friedmann
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hege, Christian and Robert Friedmann. "Walter, Zacharias (18th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 21 Jun 2021.,_Zacharias_(18th_century)&oldid=144647.

APA style

Hege, Christian and Robert Friedmann. (1959). Walter, Zacharias (18th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 June 2021, from,_Zacharias_(18th_century)&oldid=144647.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 883-884. All rights reserved.

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