Raphael van Velde (d. 1576)
Raphael (Raphel) van de(n) Velde, an Anabaptist martyr, who after being tortured several times was burned at the stake on the Veerle Square at Ghent, Belgium, on 14 July 1576, together with Jeronimus Scheepens. The Dutch martyr books, including van Braght's Martyrs' Mirror, contain six letters written in prison by this martyr. All of these letters, four of which were written to his wife, one to his son Raphelken, and one to the Ghent congregation, bear witness of his strong faith. The letters are undated except the first (to his wife), which bears the date of 24 and 25 May 1576.
In the first letter to his wife he wrote of the terrible tortures he suffered, but gave thanks to God, who strengthened him. With striking words he proclaimed his tender love to his wife and his child. He thanked his wife in very moving words for all the good she had conferred upon him, comforting her with the coming bliss in the Lord, admonishing her to faith and fidelity. To his son he wrote a "Testament:" "See, my dear son Raphelken, . . the Lord has so ordered it, that I must be taken from you .... My dear son, walk in the way of the Lord, . . . depart from evil, . . . love not the world, neither the things that are therein; .. . my dear son, though you lose me, be not impudent to your mother, but obey her the more .... I commend you and your mother to the Lord. . . . Written by me, your father. Adieu, my dear son, whom I love more than any silver or gold or precious stones; but God must be the dearest. . . ."
Verheyden has published some particulars about this martyr from the official records. Raphael van de Velde was a master mason, a citizen of Ghent, living on "Abeelestraete." He was apparently a rather young man, since his only son was still a small child. His wife was also a member of the congregation.
Other members of the van de Velde family also suffered martyrdom. Karel van de Velde was executed at Ghent (not at Hondschote as stated in ME III, 151) in 1562, Janneken van de Velde died as a martyr at Antwerp in 1573, Sebastiaen van de Velde, who was arrested at Ghent in 1563 and condemned to the galleys, may also have been a relative.
Since the 17th century there has been a Mennonite van de Velde family at Amsterdam. This family is said to stem from the van de Velde family at Ghent.
Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die om 't getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker geleden hebben ende gedood zijn van Christi tijd of tot desen tijd toe. Den Tweeden Druk. Amsterdam: Hieronymus Sweerts, …, 1685: Part II, 715.
Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 1026.
Verheyden, A. L. E. Het Gentsche Martyrologium (1530-1595). Brugge: De Tempel, 1946: 65 f., No. 236.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 252. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. "Raphael van Velde (d. 1576)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/raphael_van_velde_d._1576.
APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1959). Raphael van Velde (d. 1576). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/raphael_van_velde_d._1576.