Michiel the Widower (d. 1592)
Michiel the Widower (Michiel de Cleercq), an Anabaptist martyr, was seized at Ghent, Flanders, Belgium, in July 1592 with Bartholomeus Panten and a sister Kalleken N. After a trial on the rack, in which they courageously confessed their faith, the men were hanged in the Gravensteen castle; Kalleken was released. The sparse information by van Braght's Martyrs Mirror is considerably supplemented by the data from the official records published by Verheyden. Michiel the Widower's official name was Michiel de Cleercq. He was born about 1552 at St. Antelinks, near Aalst in Belgium. By trade he was a weaver. H. Q. Janssen (Kerkhervorming in Vlaanderen I, 377) lists him among the Calvinists. This is wrong. Initially he joined the Calvinists. He then lived at Sluis, Dutch Zeeland Flanders. He wanted to become a Reformed clergyman but was disqualified by the classis of Bruges (1579). From about 1581 Michiel lived at Ghent, joining the Mennonite congregation in 1588. From then on, both in his firm conviction and his fearless activity, he was a strong pillar in the struggling congregation at the time when it was sorely tried by the loss of its leaders by persecution. Michiel de Cleercq and Bartholomeus Panten were the last Mennonite martyrs to die at Ghent. The date of their execution was 15 September 1592.
Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doops-gesinde 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: 779.
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: 1082. Available online at: http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/index.htm.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon., 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: III, 124.
Verheyden, A. L. E. Het Gentsche Martyrologium (1530-1595). Brugge: De Tempel, 1946: 70 f. No. 250.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 671. 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.
To cite this page:
MLA style: Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Michiel the Widower (d. 1592)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M5085.html.
APA style: Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1957). Michiel the Widower (d. 1592). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M5085.html.