Cattaneo, Johann Baptist

Profession: 
Clergy
Biography: 

The Rev. Johann Baptist Cattaneo (sometimes spelled Cattani) was born in Lavin, Gaubünden, Switzerland, on 27 June 1746 and died in Norka on 16 January 1831. He married in Fläsch, Graubünden, Switzerland, to Barbara Johanna Thomas, daughter of Johannes Thomas and Magdalena Steiner, in 1768. She was born in Lavin, Graubünden, Switzerland, 17 April 1752 and died in Sarepta on 4 December 1808. He studied at the theological school in Zürich, Switzerland, and was ordained on 26 June 1766 in Susch in the Unterengadin Valley, Switzerland, and served in Fläsch from 1767 to 1771. During 1771 and 1772, he served in Schuders, and from 1772 to 1784, he was in Antönien. He became the pastor in Norka on 31 August 1784 and served there until his death in 1831.

He is the author of "Eine Reise durch Deutschland und Russland, seinen Freunden beschrieben von J.B. Cattaneo aus Bünden, gegenwaertigen Pfarrer einer reformierten deutschen Colonie zu Norka an der Saratofischen Statthalterschaft an der Wolga in der russischen Tartarei in Asien" ["A Trip through Germany and Russia, written for his friends and described by J.B. Cattaneo from Bünden, presently Pastor of a Reformed German Colony in Norka in the city administrative center of Saratov on the Volga in Russian Tartary in Asia"] - printed in Chur, Switzerland, in 1787.

According to an excerpt from the Kazan Reformed Church, Pastor Cattaneo was known not only in German colonies, but also among nomads, such as the Kalmyks, as a skilled therapist and surgeon. Up to 1819, he led 16 amputations of hands and legs, 277 operations for cancer and other tumours, and made more than 8,000 inoculations against smallpox. With his versatile knowledge he helped the colonists with questions about beekeeping, cultivation of plants and agriculture.

Source(s): 

- Kazan Reformed Church [Russian]
- Schnurr, Joseph. Die Kirchen und das religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen – Evangelischer Teil (Stuttgart: AER Verlag Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland, 1978): 162.

Volga Colonies: 

Silhouette of the Rev. Johann Baptista Cattaneo