Felix Manz

c.1498-1527. Anabaptist* Reformer. Son of a Zurich canon, he acquired a thorough knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, joined Zwingli in 1519, but was alienated by his caution in reform, and with Grebel and Hetzer formed the original Swiss Brethren congregation. He distributed some of Carlstadt's* eucharistic tracts (1524). In 1525 Grebel, Manz, and others faced Zwingli in what was the first baptismal disputation. The council proclaimed Zwingli victorious and decreed that all children were to be baptized on pain of banishment. The brethren promptly performed “believer's baptism” in Manz's house, thus breaking with Zwingli. Manz endured several imprisonments, but his quiet, steadfast witness encouraged many to become Anabaptists. After further baptismal disputations, severer measures were introduced in 1526, including capital punishment by drowning for those rebaptizing. Manz and Blaurock were arrested later that year. On 5 January 1527 Manz was drowned in the River Limmat, the first Protestant martyr at the hands of Protestants.