Historical Who is Who
1496 - 1561
Initiator of Anabaptist reform movement. He abandoned his Roman Catholic priesthood on political and doctrinal principles – true Christianity entails adult believer’s baptism rather than infant incorporation and the ritual of bread and wine did not involve their ‘magical’ transformation into flesh and blood. To express its purity, his new community deliberately separated itself from the state and all its works, including armed forces and the legal system. Both he and his followers were persecuted by both Catholics and some fellow Protestants, but his teaching led to the creation of Mennonite communities throughout Europe and subsequently in N America.