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Jan de Bakker

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Gevangenpoort Den Haag juni 2003

Gevangenpoort in The Hague where Jan de Bakker was incarcerated prior to his execution in 1525

Johan de Witt-TheHague

Statue of Johan de Witt at De Plaats in The Hague. His two fingers point at the place where he was murdered in 1672. This is also the place where Jan de Bakker was executed in 1525

Jan Jansz de Bakker van Woerden (Johannes Pistorius Woerdensis) (Woerden, Netherlands, 1499 - The Hague, Netherlands, 15 September 1525) was a Catholic priest who was the first preacher in the Northern Netherlands to be martyred as a direct result of his Protestant beliefs.1


Jan's father was a sexton in Woerden and also tenant of the brickworks, and his surname may have been derived from that profession.3 Jan de Bakker was a pupil of Johannes Rhodius (Hinne Rode), headmaster of St. Jerome School of the Brethren of the Common Life in Utrecht, who was a proponent of Sacramentarianism.2 The Dutch Sacramentarians did not believe in the efficacy of the sacraments of the Catholic Church and denied that the host in the Mass was the real body and blood of Jesus Christ.4 They called indulgences and pilgrimages mere idolatry, and were critical of the low moral standards and conduct of the clergy. In 1520 Jan's father called him back to Woerden, because of concerns that those views would be considered to be contrary to the Church's doctrine and could get him in trouble with the authorities. Jan transferred to Leuven, and in 1522 completed his education there.

Jan returned to Woerden, was ordained in Utrecht as priest, and assisted his father as sexton and deacon. Jan started to spread his views, which were considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church at that time, and in May 1523 he and another priest were arrested by the steward of the castle. After a short while they were released, and it is thought that the two travelled to Wittenberg, but there is no evidence he met with Martin Luther. After he returned he continued his preachings, and the conflict with the Roman Catholic Church was further aggravated by the fact that he broke his celibacy, and got married.

In the night of May 9, 1525 Jan was arrested and the next day transferred to The Hague, where he appeared before the Inquisition. He was defrocked and sentenced to death, and on September 15 1525 burned at the stake in The Hague. His widow saved her life by recanting views similar to her husband's, and lived out her life in an abbey.

See also


  1. ^  Merle d'Aubigné, Jean-Henri (1999), The History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, 4 , Book XIII, chapter 10 Toothing-stones, Hartland Publications, ISBN 0923309675, 
  2. ^  Fontaine, Piet F.M. (2006), The Light and the Dark A cultural history of dualism, XXIII Postlutheran Reformation Chapter I - part 1 Radical Reformation - Dutch Sacramentists, Utrecht: Gopher Publishers, 
  3. ^  Plomp, Nico (1972). Woerden 600 jaar stad. Woerden: Stichting Stichts-Hollandse Bijdragen etc.. pp. 100–103. ISSN 0929-9718. 
  4. ^  van der Zijpp, Nanne (1959). "Sacramentists". Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2007-04-08. 

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