Moller, Heinrich

Moller, Heinrich popularly known as Henry von Ziitphen, one of the early Protestant martyrs, was born in 1488, in the county of Zutphen, in the Netherlands. In 1504 he joined the Augustinians, and in 1511 went to the then newly- established University of Wittenberg. Here he became intimate with Luther. In 1516, on his return home, he was, notwithstanding his youth, made prior of the Augustinian convent of Dort but was finally obliged to leave it in 1520 on account of his reformatory opinions, went to Antwerp, and there became sub-prior of the Augustinian convent. This place also he was obliged to leave in December 1520 his favorable opinion of the Reformers having made him many enemies in the body, and in March 1521, we find him back at Wittenberg, occupied in studies. But when, in consequence of the Edict of Worms, the evangelical party began to be persecuted in the Netherlands, he returned, in 1522, to Dort and to Antwerp, and there by his example encouraged the Augustinians to spread the principles of the Reformation. The Inquisition quickly recognised in him a leading spirit, and he was marked as one whose head should fall. On September 29 he was arrested, but the people rallied and released him. Satisfied that safety could be found only in flight, he then bade adieu to his Christian friends, and went successively to Amsterdam and Ziitphen, with the expectation of making his way back to Wittenberg. But he was stopped in Bremen, and entreated by the people to stay there and preach the new doctrines. Consenting, after much urgent solicitation, he was made pastor, and by his preaching soon gained the greater portion of the people to the cause of the Reformation. In November 1524, when his friends felt satisfied that the cause had been so efficiently served as to make a falling away to Romanism well-nigh impossible, he left for Meldorf, in Denmark, where he was desired to introduce the Reformation. He encountered great opposition, and, though the authorities of the place were in his favor, he was seized on the 10th of December by the Roman Catholic clergy and their dupes, and burned the next day as a heretic. The news as it reached the different German Reformers caused great sorrow. The loss sustained seemed irreparable. Melancthon wrote a hymn of praise over him, Luther a letter of sympathy to the Christians of Bremen and an account of his martyrdom. In the cemetery of Meldorf, where Moller's remains had been deposited after a severe struggle with the drunken rowdies who, fired by religious fanaticism, had caused his death, a monument was erected to his memory, June 25, 1830. See Luther, Vom Bruder Heinrich, etc., in Werke, volume 26 (Erlangen edition); Heckel, Die Masrtyrer in d. evaznel. Kirche, edited by Wichern (Hamb. 1845 and 1849); Rudelbach, Christliche Biographie (Leips. 1849); Fliedner, Buch. d. Martyrer, volume 2; Schlegel, Kirchen u.Reformations gesch. v. Norddeutschland, volume 2; Ranke, Deutsche Gesch; im Zeitalter d. Reform. volumes 1 and 2; Hist. of the Reformation (Austin's transl. Phila. 1844, 8vo), book 1; Motley, John of Barneveld (N.Y. 1874), 1:283 sq.; Zeitschr of. hist. theol. 1868, page 485; Pierer, Universal-Lexikon, 11:367; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 9:704. (J.H.W.)

 
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