Christoffel Fierens (d. 1572)

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Christoffel Fierens was an Anabaptist martyr who was executed 5 December 1572 at Meenen (Menin) in Flanders with Willem de Rijke (le Riche) by burning at the stake. Rembry-Barth, Historie de Menin, mentions only the latter; but on the basis of the details offered by van Braght (Martyrs' Mirror) his account must be considered the correct one. The mayor Cornelis of Eeckhoute attempted to have Willem, who was evidently a respected citizen (perhaps from the family of the preacher Christiaen Rijcken), released on the ground that he was ignorant. The inquisitor therefore tested Willem's understanding of purgatory and discovered the contrary. Later, in consequence of the war, the mayor fled to Bruges and lost his property. At the execution a brother called out to Willem, "Dear brother, fight bravely for the truth." Christoffel answered, "O people, consider your salvation; for this is the way to life. . . . Sell your clothing and buy Testaments and note the words of God therein: for therein you will find life, and do not fear them who slay the body, but fear him who has the power to cast body and soul into hell." The hangman cut off this effective testimony by means of gags.


Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde of Weereloose Christene, 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, 640.

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 Yeare A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 961. Available online at:

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 643.

Author(s) Karel Vos
Date Published 1953

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MLA style

Vos, Karel. "Christoffel Fierens (d. 1572)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 23 Aug 2019.

APA style

Vos, Karel. (1953). Christoffel Fierens (d. 1572). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 August 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 586. All rights reserved.

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