Apollonia Ottes (16th century)

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Apollonia Ottes was a sister in the congregation at Leeuwarden in the Dutch province of Friesland, who, when Menno Simons traveled by way of Leeuwarden to Harlingen in the spring of 1557 to resolve the pending difference between Leenaert Bouwens and himself regarding the use of the ban and shunning, accompanied him there and at the time of the discussion at Harlingen eavesdropped from behind the door. In her old age she used to relate that Menno Simons, who took a moderate position, was persuaded by threatening on the part of Leenaert Bouwens to take a very strict position, so that henceforth he also consented to the strict use of shunning in marriage. The story of Apollonia appeared for the first time in Hans Alenson's Tegenbericht (Counter-Answer) regarding the Martyrs Mirror of 1631. Karel Vos and Wilhelmus J. Kühler attach great value to the story of Apollonia; Cornelius Krahn less; John Horsch discredits it altogether. It appears to me advisable not to attach too great significance to a story that Apollonia told evidently many years after the incident.


Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, 10 vols. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: v. VII, 257-259.

Horsch, John. "Is Dr. Kühler's Conception of Early Dutch Anabaptism Historically Sound." Mennonite Quarterly Review 7 (1933): 48-60, 97-126; the Apollonia Ottes story is discussed at length on pp. 111-113.

Krahn, Cornelius. Menno Simons (1496-1561): ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und Theologie der Taufgesinnten. Karlsruhe: H. Schneider, 1936: 92-93.

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: 319, 321.

Vos, Karel.  Menno Simons, 1496-1561, zijn leven en werken en zijne reformatorische denkbeelden. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1914: 136-138.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1953

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Apollonia Ottes (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 2 Oct 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Apollonia_Ottes_(16th_century)&oldid=127086.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1953). Apollonia Ottes (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 October 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Apollonia_Ottes_(16th_century)&oldid=127086.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 137. All rights reserved.

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