Levina (d. 1554)
Levina was an Anabaptist martyr who was burned at the stake at Ghent, Belgium, on 14 February 1554, together with David (David van der Leyen). These martyrs are celebrated in two hymns, one found in the Lietboecxhen van den Offer des Heeren (No. 7) beginning "Ghy Christen al te samen" (You Christians all together), and one inserted in the Dutch hymnary, Nieu Liedeboeck of 1562, beginning "Och Heere ic moet u claghen" (O Lord, I must complain to Thee). The information in later, Dutch martyrbooks, including van Braght's Martyrs' Mirror, is a prose version of the first hymn. Levina said that she would rather die and leave her six children than to fail Christ; so she died steadfast. The scarce information from the hymns and the martyrbooks has been amplified by A. L. E. Verheyden with a number of particulars from the official records. Here this martyr's name was Lievine Ghyselins; she was the widow of Willem van Leuven, a shoemaker, who was executed at Ghent because of Anabaptism on 17 February 1553. When he was put to death, Lievine was already in prison. Her execution was apparently postponed because she was pregnant.
Lievine was the mother of Frans (Franchoys) van Leuven, who suffered martyrdom at Ghent on 28 July 1573. The crowd attending the execution of David and Levina is said to have been greatly affected by their cruel death.
Dit Boec wort genoemt: Het Offer des Herren, om het inhout van sommighe opgheofferde kinderen Godts . . . N.p., 1570: 531-35.
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, 160
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: 549. Available online at: http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/index.htm.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 646.
Verheyden, A. L. E. Het Gentsche Martyrologium (1530-1595). Brugge: De Tempel, 1946: 20, No. 40.
Wackernagel, Philipp. Lieder der niederlandischen Reformierten aus der Zeit der Verfolgung im 16. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt: Hender & Zimmer, 1867. Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. de Graaf, 1965: 132.
Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop: B. De Graaf, 1965: 61.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 330. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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APA style: van der Zijpp, Nanne. (1957). Levina (d. 1554). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/levina_d._1554.