Warendorf (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)
Warendorf, a town in the district of Münster, Westphalia, Germany. In this town Bernhard Rothmann was rector of the Latin school 1521-23, and after leaving the town maintained contact with the mayor. An intimate friend of Rothmann's was Hermann Regewordt, pastor of the New Church and a member of a respected family of Warendorf. Beginning in March 1533, Regewordt preached Protestant sermons with the support of the city council. Francis, Count of Waldeck, bishop of Münster, warned the town. In December 1533, Heinrich Waren came to Warendorf. As the Anabaptists gained the upper hand in Münster, he openly confessed himself as one of them. One of the converts he baptized was Pastor Regewordt. When the bishop, residing in the nearby Sassenberg, demanded the unconditional surrender of the city and the removal of the preachers, Waren and Regewordt went to Münster, arriving there on 17 February 1534, with many followers, including Dusentschuer, who later became a "prophet." Dusentschuer became the willing tool of Jan van Leyden, and promoted his elevation to the kingship as God's will. After the brilliant repulse of the attack against Münster on 31 August 1534, Dusentschuer proposed that 28 apostles be sent out two by two to spread the ideas found in Rothmann's Restitution. To Warendorf were sent Johann Klopreis, Gottfried Straelen, Theodor von Alffen, Anton Prumeren, and Anton Ummegrove. Waren and Dusentschuer were sent to Soest. Regewordt was in the group sent to Coesfeld, all of whom were beheaded on 23 October 1534, upon orders of the bishop. The five sent to Warendorf arrived there on 14 October 1534. Klopreis had for years worked as a chaplain in Wassenberg under the protection of the magistrate and had come to Münster in 1533. In Warendorf the apostles loudly called upon the city to repent. They were hospitably received by Erpo Holland, a councilor, in whose home baptisms were performed. Under Erpo Holland's influence the council refused to turn the apostles over to the bishop, but protected them to the uttermost. The council and most of the citizenry joined the Anabaptists, though not many baptisms were performed for the time being. When his threatening letters were disregarded, the bishop made a sudden attack on the town. The city, realizing the hopelessness of resistance, opened its doors. On 24 October three Warendorf citizens, Erpo Holland, Johann Stopenberg, and Bernd Butermann, were put to death on the market square together with the apostles Straelen, Ummegrove, Prumeren, and von Alffen. Alffen might have escaped, for he had influential friends, but he refused to do so, rejecting all offers of clemency. The Newe Zeitung reported that diey thanked God the Father for making them worthy of suffering for His sake. Klopreis was taken to the Iburg, then sent to the Archbishop of Cologne, and burned at the stake on 1 February 1535. His last words were, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."
On the day after the execution Roman Catholic worship was reinstated in Warendorf. All the freedoms and rights, all documents and seals, city books, and arms were taken from the city. A fortification was erected and constant surveillance by occupying troops instituted. The privileges were gradually returned in 1542-46. But a congregation of quiet Anabaptists remained in the city and the neighboring villages. It took decades to lead the people back to the Catholic Church even outwardly. The missionary work of the Jesuits and Franciscans then gradually achieved the objectives of the Counter Reformation.
Warendorf was the home town of Hermann (Harmen) Heilinck, the wealthy cloth merchant who equipped a warehouse as a meeting place for the Flemish Mennonite congregation in Amsterdam (ML I, 60), and gave it to the Mennonites as a gift.
Brune, Friedrich. Der Kampf um eine evangelische Kirche im Milnsterland, 1520-1802. Witten, 1953.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. IV, 465.
Keller, L. Geschichte der Wiedertdufer und ihres Reiches zu Münster. Münster, 1889.
Rembert, Karl. Die "Wiedertäufer" im Herzogtum Jülich. Berlin: R. Gaertners Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1899.
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Zuhorn, W. Kirchen-geschichte der Stadt Warendorf. Warendorf, 1918.
Cite This Article
Warns, Johannes. "Warendorf (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 7 Aug 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Warendorf_(Nordrhein-Westfalen,_Germany)&oldid=146325.
Warns, Johannes. (1959). Warendorf (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 7 August 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Warendorf_(Nordrhein-Westfalen,_Germany)&oldid=146325.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 886. All rights reserved.
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