Oecolampadius, Johann
( 14 82 - 1531 )
   theologian and Reformation leader at Basel
   Johann Oecolampadius (Hellenized form of Heusegen or candlestick) was born at Weinsberg, Swabia, Germany, in 1482. In 1499 he moved to Heidelberg to study theology and literature. After serving in several parish positions, he was appointed preacher at the cathedral of Basel (1515), and earned a doctorate in theology there in 1518. While in Basel, he became acquainted with noted humanist Erasmus.
   In December 1518, Oecolampadius moved to Augsburg. Although he associated with humanists who sympathized with Martin LUTHER, he tried to withdraw from the polemics by entering a monastery at Altomünster in 1520. The attempt was brought to an end by the publication of a confidential work that was favorable to Luther. Subsequent writings affirming the Protestant positions on confession to priests and the Eucharist forced him out of the monastery, and in 1522 he returned to Basel.
   Oecolampadius used his Basel pulpit to defend Luther's ideas on justification by faith and the marriage of priests. In 1525, the council at Basel appointed him pastor at st. Martin's church. He agreed to refrain from introducing any innovations without the authorization of the council. However, he soon published a work aligning himself with Ulrich Zwingli, the reformer in Zurich who considered the Eucharist or Lord's Supper to be merely a memorial meal.
   in November 1525, oecolampadius conducted the first celebration of the Lord's Supper with a new reformed liturgy that he had compiled. The council then decided to allow each local pastor to follow his own forms, whereupon the protestants succeeded in purging the council of catholics and seizing the cathedral and the remaining parishes still in catholic hands. oeco-lampadius was selected as the new pastor of the cathedral and head of the protestant clergy of the city. He took the leading role in compiling the new ordinance favoring the Reformation that was promulgated by the council on April 1, 1529.
   In October 1529, Oecolampadius joined Zwingli and Luther at the Marburg CoLLOQUY,an unsuccessful attempt to unite the Reformed and Lutheran wings of the Reformation. He had more success in 1531 when he helped Martin Bucer introduce Protestantism into Ulm, Biberach, and
   Memmingen. He also is given credit for helping to bring the Waldensians of northern Italy into the Reformation camp.
   Oecolampadius died at Basel on November 24, 1531.
   Further reading:
   ■ Roland H. Bainton, Studies on the Reformation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963)
   ■ Akira Demura, Church Discipline according to Johannes Oecolampadius in the Setting of His Life and Thought (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Theological Seminary, Ph.D. diss., 1964)
   ■ Thomas A. Fudge, "Icarus of Basel? Oecolampadius and the Early Swiss Reformation," Journal of Religious History 21, no. 3 (1997): 268-84
   ■ Ernst Staehelin, Briefer und Akten zum Leben Oekolampads (Leipzig: M. Heinsius Nachfolger Eger & Sievers, 1927; reprint, New York: Johnson Reprint corp., 1971).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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