Quiryn van der Meulen (Crijn, Krijn, Cryn Vermeulen), was the elder of the Danzig congregation following Dirk Philips in the last decades of the 16th century. His letters that were preserved in the records of the Heubuden church were signed by his Flemish name Cryn Vermoolen. In the disputes on the ban which divided the Dutch Mennonites into two camps he was on the side of the merciful use of the ban. (H. G. Mannhardt's judgment, p. 45, concerning Cryn's severe rule in the church is based on error.) This generosity led to tensions within the Danzig congregation and beyond in the West Prussian churches, who on the basis of a correspondence with the leaders of the Flemish wing in Holland placed the milder Frisians under the ban.
In 1580 Cryn still had the confidence of all the Mennonites of West Prussia. He was one of several delegates sent by the West Prussian churches to the conference of elders in Haarlem and Emden. He was saddened by what he heard about the strife between the Frisians and Flemish. "I confess that in Haarlem I showed my feeling, which was inclined to peace, though in my worry I received no help." He requested that men be sent to Danzig to teach the brethren that which he himself could not understand, and declared that if he was proved to be in error he was willing to be dismissed from his eldership. When these men came to Danzig, he expressed himself freely on his concern upon their request that he do so.—The name "Bekommerden" (i.e., Concerned Ones) for the lenient wing of the Frisians is derived from their concern or worry about the severe application of the ban.
Van der Meulen's frankness aroused offense in Danzig. He was accused of having destroyed the peace of the congregation. On the advice of the Haarlem church representatives of the three Frisian congregations of Montau, Elbing, and Olde Tooren (Thorn), a total of 35 brethren met and confronted Cryn and his friend Hans van Schwindern with their charge of guilt, and presented to them a confession they had worked out in advance. It contained six charges: (1) Cryn and Hans had criticized the elders in the west and had thereby created disturbance in the brotherhood. (2) In spite of the wishes of the West Prussians that they attend a conference of elders in Holland they had not complied, but had rather burdened the Danzig church with "weaknesses and liberties." (3) Cryn had promised in Haarlem that he would remain quiet, but did not do so. (4) Cryn and Hans had censured the deceased Dirk Philips (for his strict conception of the ban) against the will of the congregation. (5) Cryn and all those who thought as he did did not rebaptize those who joined the brotherhood from some other branch, and did not apply the strict ban. (6) In addition to this charge, there was his "peculiar understanding" of the truth.
Cryn defended himself in a letter. The tone and content of this letter show his superiority. The charges had no justification, and as to his view of the ban, he maintained, "We would prefer to have matters go according to Christ's teaching and take their course after fraternal discussion." His personality and the strength of his conviction caused many of his opponents to waver. The confession of guilt was probably read to the 35 delegates of the three churches in Danzig in the home of Harmen Borgerlinck (25 September 1586), but they did not yet dare to pass judgment on Cryn and his supporters. But when they arrived in Holland and there received sanction the committee met once more in Danzig early in 1588; however, the representatives from Elbing and Thorn left at once. And so Hilchen Smit (Schmidt), the elder of the Montau congregation, with his delegates and 55 brethren from the Danzig congregation, was obliged to carry out the expulsion of Cryn and Hans van Schwindern. The act was direful. The cleavage between the Frisians and the Flemish, which was bridged over by Cryn and men like him, now became open. As early as March a protest was made to the leaders by the Elbing congregation, disapproving the hard course taken by the Montau group. They begged for patience and long-suffering toward Cryn.
Cryn continued to live in Danzig as an ordinary member of the congregation. Alenson's Tegenbericht (Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica VII, 190) reports that in a colloquy with Wolff Uohll, who had come to Danzig from Moravia with Jan Gerrits, Cryn upheld Menno's view of the Incarnation. He applied his energy to writing. The [[Amsterdam Mennonite Library (Bibliotheek en Archief van de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam)|Amsterdam Mennonite Library]] and the Danzig Church Library each have a copy of a beautiful Schottland Bible which he had printed at his own expense. The foreword contains the statement, "Men vindse te koop bij Krijn Vermeulen de jonghe, Cramer, woonende opte lege zydt van Schotlandt bij Danswick 1598" (To be bought of Krijn Vermeulen, Jr., merchant, living on the lower side of Schottland at Danzig, 1598). (Mannhardt, op. cit.)
Krijn van Vermeulen is not to be confused with the Danzig Mennonite alchemist Krijn van Mollem.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 118 f.
Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde. Danzig, 1919.
Succssio Anabaptistica and Alenson's Tegenbericht, Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, 10 vols. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: VII, 65 and 190.
Cite This Article
Quiring, Horst. "Meulen, Quiryn van der (d. ca. 1600)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 16 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Meulen,_Quiryn_van_der_(d._ca._1600)&oldid=92804.
Quiring, Horst. (1957). Meulen, Quiryn van der (d. ca. 1600). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Meulen,_Quiryn_van_der_(d._ca._1600)&oldid=92804.
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