Michael Sattler (1490-1527) was a monk who left the Roman Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation to become one of the early leaders of the Anabaptist movement. He was particularly influential for his role in developing the Schleitheim Confession.Born in approximately 1490 in Staufen, Germany, he became a Benedictine monk in the cloister of St. Peter and is believed to have became prior by the time he left in 1525. That year he traveled to Zürich which was then embroiled in controversy over infant baptism. He became associated with the Anabaptists and was probably rebaptised in the summer of 1526.
The Swiss Brethren The Swiss Brethren were a group of radical evangelical reformers who initially followed Ulrich Zwingli of Zürich, but later started the movement now known as Anabaptism. In 1525, Felix Manz, Conrad Grebel, George Blaurock and others formed a new group, which rejected infant baptism and preached what they claimed was true Christianity.
He was involved in missionary activity around Horb and eventually traveled to Strasbourg. Sattler became one of the most important leaders of the South German and Swiss Brethren. When the Anabaptists of the region decided to hold a conference at Schleitheim in February 1527, Sattler was the natural figure to take the lead. At this conference, a group of Anabaptists drafted and produced the Schleitheim Confession, which outlined the Anabaptist position on several key issues. While Sattler was away at Schleitheim, the authorities of Rottenburg became aware of Anabaptist activity around Horb. Accordingly, not long after Sattler and his wife returned to Horb they were arrested along with some other Anabaptists by Count Joachim von Zollern, regent of Ferdinand of Austria who was Catholic.A trial date was quickly set for April 12, but had to be delayed because of the strong Anabaptist presence in Horb and because finding judges willing to preside over a case that was a sure death sentence proved difficult.The authorities therefore transferred the heavily guarded prisoners to the tower of the distant town of Binsdorf and set a new trial date for May in Rottenburg further up the Neckar River.He was tried and sentenced to be executed as a heretic. As part of his execution, his tongue was cut out, and red hot tongs were used to tear two pieces of flesh from his body. He was then taken outside the city by wagon, and the tongs were used on him five more times. After that, he was burned at the stake. The other men in the group were executed by sword, and two days later the women, including Margaretha, were executed by drowning.
Shortly after leaving the monastery, Sattler met and married a former nun named Margaretha.Together, they traveled South as Sattler began interacting with Anabaptists around the area of Zürich in Switzerland. Although he was found in the company of many Anabaptist leaders during this time period, Sattler was not completely convinced of the Anabaptist position. He had not yet reached the point of conviction that would mark his later phase of ministry.The first direct evidence of Sattler’s presence in Zürich is found in official prison records in November of 1525. These indicate that after the third Disputation in Zürich, Sattler was imprisoned and only released after he abjured of any Anabaptist teaching and swore never to return to Zürich. After his expulsion from the region, Sattler traveled north and engaged in missionary activity north of Zürich, where additional numbers of Anabaptists joined him.
Norbert WeisserNorbert Weisser is an accomplished stage and film actor who came to the U.S. from Germany in the mid-1960s.Norbert frequently works with Director and Producer Albert Pyun, and to date has completed 16 of Pyun’s movies, two of which Norbert was also one of the producers.With over 80 film and television credits to his name, many of them award winning, together with a long list of notable plays for which he has won awards, Norbert continues to delight us all as he demonstrates his vast talent on the stage and screen.While he often plays a villain, Norbert brought a wonderfully quiet sensitivity to the role of Michael Sattler.
Did you know?In 2003, Norbert won an Ovation Award and an LA Weekly Award for Best Actor in the John O’Keefe play Times Like These, in which he played Oscar Weiss.Norbert has worked with the best in the business -- several of them more than once. They include Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Alan Parker, Joseph Sargent, Jason Robards, Eva Marie Saint. Walter Matthau and Ed Harris, just to name a very few.Keep up to date with all of Norbert’s plays and television appearances:Norbert Weisser Official FansiteBe sure to check out Norbert’s Official Website, too --Norbert Weisser Official Site