Mathias Zell, also known as Matthias Zell, was a prominent figure in the Protestant Reformation in Germany. He was born around 1477 in Kaysersberg, Alsace (now in France). Zell played a significant role in the spread of Martin Luther’s teachings and the establishment of the Reformation in Strasbourg.
Zell began his studies in Basel, Switzerland, and later moved to Freiburg, Germany, where he earned his master’s degree. After completing his studies, he returned to his hometown of Kaysersberg and served as a priest. During this time, he became acquainted with Martin Luther’s writings and was deeply influenced by his ideas.
In 1522, Zell moved to Strasbourg, a city that would become a center of the Reformation. He became a preacher at the St. Nicholas Church and quickly gained a reputation as an eloquent and persuasive speaker. Zell actively promoted Luther’s teachings and was instrumental in advancing the Reformation cause in Strasbourg.
Zell’s involvement in the Reformation extended beyond preaching. He participated in public debates and discussions on theological matters and played a key role in shaping the reform movement in Strasbourg. He worked closely with other reformers, including Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito, to implement reforms in the city.
In 1524, Zell married Katharina Schütz, a former nun who had left the convent to join the Reformation movement. Their marriage was one of the earliest clerical marriages in the Protestant Reformation and served as an example of the reformers’ belief in the value of marriage as a divine institution.
Zell was also active in the field of education. He supported the establishment of schools in Strasbourg and advocated for the education of both boys and girls. Zell believed in the importance of providing a solid educational foundation to the youth, enabling them to read and understand Scripture.
Throughout his career, Zell authored several influential works, including sermons, tracts, and translations. His writings focused on theological and practical aspects of the Reformation, addressing topics such as justification by faith, the priesthood of all believers, and the importance of vernacular language in religious instruction.
Mathias Zell passed away on January 9, 1548, in Strasbourg. His contributions to the Reformation in Strasbourg were highly regarded, and he was considered one of the key figures in establishing Protestantism in the city. Zell’s dedication to preaching, theological scholarship, and educational reform left a lasting impact on the development of the Protestant Reformation in Germany and beyond.