John of Chur

John Of Chur (surnamed Riitberg). From the beginning of the 14th century we often meet in the mystic writings of South Germany with the name of Friends of God (q.v.). One of them was John of Chur, the son of a rich merchant. Suddenly arrested in a wild career, he gave himself up entirely to mystical contemplations. He renounced all his fortune, to which he had fallen heir by the death of his father, and distributed it for benevolent purposes. He regarded suffering as a special gift of divine grace, and even evil thoughts, doubts, and impure desires he believed were to be patiently endured rather than striven against, for they were dispensed by God. He taught that the perfect man "has become one with God, when he wants nothing else except what God wills." About the year 1357 he sought to unite his friends who were of the same spirit into a society. From indications in his writings, we conclude that Chur, or Coire, in the canton of the Grisons, Switzerland, was his native city. In 1365 he determined to separate himself from the bustle of the town, and in company with two friends, led by a little black dog, they went into a mountain, where they built a chapel. By and by they were joined by two others,. and of these "five men," John of Chur speaks in a separate treatise. He probably died in 1382. His writings consist of letters and tracts. See Acquoy, Het Klooster te Windesheim en Zijn Inoloed (Utrecht, 1875); Preger, in the Zeitschrift fur die historische Theologie (1869), 1:109 sq., 137 sq.; Der Gottesfreund im Oberland und Nikolaus von Basel, in the Historisch-politische Blatter (Munich, 1875), 75; Der Gottesfreund im Oberland, in the Jahrbuch fur schweizerische Geschichte (Zurich, 1877); Besuch eines Cardinals beim Gottesfreund im Oberland, in the Theolog. Quartalschrift (Tubingen, 1876), 4; Jundt, Les Amis de

Dieu au Quatorzieme Siecle (Paris, 1879); Plitt-Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v. (B.P.)

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