Odontius, Paul

Odontius, Paul (originally Zahn, but changed into Hontius in accordance with the fashion of the time), a Herman divine of note, was born in 1570 at Werda, in the province of Meissen. Of his parents or earliest childhood nothing is known. In March, 1575, he went to Gratz, in Steiermark, and was received as an alumnus in the institute there, at the same time taking charge of the education of three young noblemen. For three years he remained in that position, preaching at the same time in the Stiftskirche, at Gratz, by the permission of the ecclesiastical authority. One day the countess Hyppolita of Windischgratz attended Odontius's service, and was so deeply impressed with his sermon that she appointed him her court preacher at Waldstein, near Gratz. In the year 1598 he entered upon his duties, and accompanied the countess to the castle of Trautmannsdorff; in Austria, where she died. About this time the preaching of the Gospel in Steiermark was proscribed. The emperor Ferdinand, a nursling of the Jesuits, who had early taken a vow at Loretto before the picture of the Madonna to extirpate heresy in his dominions, issued his famous, or rather infamous edicts, dated Sept. 13, 23, and 28 of the year, 1598, according to which all evangelical, churches and schools at Gratz, and in the royal cities and market-places, were to be closed; preachers and teaches under penalty of death, were to leave the country within eight days. From 1599 to 1604 a religious commissionwent through the country in order to convert the inhabitants to the Roman Catholic faith. Gallows were erected in the streets, the churches in the villages were destroyed, those in the cities and marketplaces were given over to the Romish clergy; cemeteries were devastated; evangelical books. were burned; the preachers expelled; the inhabitants had to swear allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church and the government; those who refused had to leave the country. Thus Steiermark lost thousands of her most industrious people. An imperial edict, dated August 1, 1628, was directed against the Protestant nobility, according to which within a year they had to sell their possessions and leave the country. The best of the nobility left the country, while others remained; and up to this day they belong to the Romish Church. Under those circumstances Odontius thought that he would never again preach in his pulpit at Waldstein. But the tutors of the counts of Windischgratz ordered him to come back, and take charge of his ministerial office as before. Finally an edict was issued for his dismission. All protests were in vain, and on April 20, 1602, a body of soldiers appeared before Waldstein, made Odontius: a prisoner, and brought him to Gratz. For ten weeks he was imprisoned there. When all means to convert him to the Romish Church were in vain, he was sentenced to be sent to the galleys. On the way he was fortunate enough to escape from his enemies, and after many perils reached his native place. In April, 1603, Odontius was appointed pastor at Oederan, in Saxony, where he died, Dec. 7, 1605. He has left us a narrative of his imprisonment and deliverance, which was first published at Dresden in 1603, and reprinted at Libeck in 1714, with a preface by Dr. Gotze. See Piper, Evangelischer Kalender, 1864, 15:188 sq.; Jocher, Allgemeines Gelehrten-Lexikon, supplemented by. Rottermund, s.v.; Willisch, Kirchenhistorie der Stadt Freyberg, 2:480 sq. (B.P.)

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.