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Continental European Protestantism


Doctrines Doctrinally the Hutterites are closest to the old order Amish. They stress separation from the world and the communal ownership of all property. Like other groups that derived from the Anabaptists, the Hutterites are total pacifists. Like the old order Amish, they retain essentially the same style of dress their ancestors wore in Europe.

History The Hutterites derive their name from the founder of the movement, Jacob Hutter, an early Anabaptist leader. Like other Anabaptist groups, the Hutterites were subject to severe persecution during the early years of the movement. Thus, in Austria in 1535 some two thousand Hutterites were executed. In November of that year Jacob Hutter was arrested and taken to Innsbruck for trial. To deter the development of the movement Hutter was tortured and publicly put to death by fire on February 25, 1536. Hutter's wife was executed two years later.
Following the death of Hutter, the Hutterites sought refuge in Moravia in Central Europe, where they received official protection and were exempt from having to serve in the army or pay war taxes. The period of tranquillity came to an end in 1593 when war broke out between the Hapsburg Empire and Turkey. Moravia was occupied by the Turks and many Hutterites were killed or taken into slavery. The end of the war in 1606 brought only temporary respite, for in 1618 the Protestant and Catholic states in Central Europe went to war against each other. In 1622 all Hutterites were expelled from Moravia on penalty of death. Many fled to Hungary where they experienced sustained persecution at the hands of the Catholic authorities.
Continued persecution in the 18th century led many Hutterites to seek refuge in Russia where they were able to live free of outside interference and grew in size.
In 1874 a group of Hutterites emigrated to South Dakota in the United States. Life in the United States was free of complications until the American involvement in the first world war. The Hutterites' refusal to support the war or serve in the armed forces resulted in their being subject to frequent ridicule and harassment. In 1918 the Hutterite communities migrated to Canada where they acquired land in Alberta and Manitoba. Following the end of the war the Hutterite communities gradually returned to the United States, where they continue to lead a quiet communal existence with little to do with the outside world.

Symbols The Hutterites are identified through their distinctive dress. The men wear black trousers, a black coat and a black hat. All men wear beards after they marry. The women wear ankle length skirts, an apron and a long jacket. At all times they wear a polka dot headscarf.

Adherents There are about 20,000 Hutterites.

Main Centre
 The Hutterites do not have a central organisation and therefore have no headquarters.