Schappeler, Christoph

Schappeler, Christoph a famous theologian and jurist of the reformation period, was born at St. Gall in 1472. In 1513 he was preacher at Memmingen, and in 1520 he joined the reformation by attacking the Church of Rome, not so much in the sense of Luther, but of Zwingli, who wished his countryman to come back to Switzerland. Schappeler, however, remained at Memmingen, where he commenced the work of reformation. He showed to his congregation that the Bible is the centre and source of the Christian belief and of all ecclesiastical institutions. He denounced the mass as of no avail and the priests as unfit persons, who pray without devotion and read mass for the sake of money. The papal power he denounced as a carnal right, and the commandments of the Church as the false papal commandment. Such language had its effect, and the majority of the citizens were brought over to Schappeler's side. The writings of the reformers were circulated and read, especially the New Test. In 1523 Schappeler spent a short time in his natives country, where he. preached against the abuses of the Church of Rome, and in November of the same year, after his return from Switzerland, he was joined by Christoph Gertung, another preacher of Memmingen, and both now worked together in the interests of reformation. In vain did the bishop ask the town-council to stop Schappeler. When, however, the bishop, on February 27, 1524, pronounced the ban and excommunication over Schappeler, it had only the contrary effect. The citizens, openly declared themselves for their preacher, and the council was powerless. In order to bring about a modus vivendi, the opponents of Schappeler had to appear at the Council hall, on January 2, 1525, for a public disputation. The confession of Schappeler, consisting of seven articles, was read. Five days the deputation lasted, which resulted in favor of the reformation, to introduce which the council now lent its hand. The ministers were allowed to marry, and the monks and nuns to leave the monasteries. Schappeler died at his native place, August 25, 1551. See Bobel, Memmingen im Reformationszeitalter (1877); Vogt, in Plitt-Herzog, Real-Encylop. s.v. (B.P.)

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