Mattheus Bernaerts (d. 1572)

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Mattheus Bernaerts (Mattheus or Matthijs van Linken) was an Anabaptist martyr, and was burned at the stake at Ghent, Belgium on 4 December 1572 with three other martyrs. Mattheus was 40 years of age and a native of Meenen in Flanders. He had been baptized by Elder Leenaert Bouwens and was "a minister of the church of God, in the Word of the Holy Gospel, and also in the deaconship to provide for poor needy members of Christ" at Ghent. Mattheus and his three companions died faithful. He left a will to his three small children, in which he makes a beautiful, Biblical confession of his faith, and admonishes them to abstain from the evil works of the world and to lead an honorable godly life. "O my dear children," he concludes, "neglect not to thank your Lord and God before eating and drinking; and when you lie down to sleep and when you arise, upon your knees, with folded hands, entreat Him for His grace." He added two short prayers, one to be used before and the other after meals; these are excellent models.


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, 619-23.

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: 947-951. Available online at:

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 196.

Verheyden, A. L. E. Het Gentsche Martyrologium (1530-1595). Brugge: De Tempel, 1946: 59, No. 207.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Mattheus Bernaerts (d. 1572)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 14 Jul 2020.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1957). Mattheus Bernaerts (d. 1572). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 July 2020, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 539. All rights reserved.

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