By 1781 those Hutterites who hadn’t left Hungary had become Catholics. Those who had remained Hutterites now lived in Transylvania. How did that come about?
About 100 years ealier, in 1621 the prince of Transylvania, Gabor Bethlen, invited the Hutterites to come to his country with the promise of everything to start a Bruderhof and the freedom to practise their religion. The Hutterites didn’t believe that the offer was authentic and made no move to go. Consequently, Bethlen’s seized 85 Brethren and forcefully moved them to Alvinz. Close to 900 more Hutterites joined them over the next two years. While the other Brethren in Hungary were suffering through the Thirty Year War, they sent help to their Brethren.
However, in 1658 war broke out between the Turkey and the Hapsburgs. The Hutterites in Transylvania again were forced to hide and watch as there communities were plundered and burnt. This disaster was more than this group could absorb, and by 1661, after the war, only about 50 Hutterites remained. By 1690, five years after the Hungary Bruderhöfe gave it up, community of goods was abandoned in Transylvania. For the next 60 years, these people continued to call themselves Hutterites and still preached Hutterian sermons.
Arrival of Carinthians
The community of goods was revived again in 1755 when the Catholic Queen Maria Theresa ordered the Protestant Lutherans in her Austrian domain to resettle in the farthest ends of her empire. She allowed the Lutherans to practice their religion, but only on the fringes of her domain.
However, because these Lutherans had refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen, they were not given free land and had to work as servants and laborers in the various towns and villages in the district. Among those assigned to this area were Waldners, Hofers, Kleinsassers, Glanzers and Wurzs.
It so happened that some of them ended up working in Alwinz, where the old Hutterites lived, but no longer practiced communal living. These Carinthian’s got into discussions with the old Hutterites and were soon convinced that communal living was necessary for Christians. They broke away from the Lutheran Church and actually revived communal living with the old Hutterites, according to the traditions of the old successful Brotherhood.
By 1762 another Bruderhof was established at Kreuz. But soon thereafter Maria Theresa sent a Jesuit priest by the name of Delphini to root out Anabaptism. Hutterites were forced to attend Catholic services and as a result many Hutterites again gave up their faith. Only 19 remained steadfast, among them Joseph Kuhr and Johannes Stahl, both of who were imprisoned and later deported to Poland.