Christiaen de Rijcke (d. 1588)

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Christiaen de Rijcke (or Christiaen Rijken, or Rijcen), an Anabaptist martyr, executed at Hondschoote, Flanders, Belgium on 7 April 1588. He was likely a relative of the martyr Willem de Rijke. He was taken prisoner in December 1587, remained steadfast through severe and cruel tortures, and was burned at the stake.

Soon after his death a book appeared, 'T getuygenisse ende naeghelaten Schriften van Christiaen Rijcen en Adriaen Jansz (Haarlem, 1588). This rare volume, a copy of which is found in the Amsterdam Mennonite Library, contains besides the letters of Adriaen Jansz sixteen letters by Christiaen Rijcen and seven songs. At the end of the book there is a song by K.V.M. (Carel van Mander) celebrating the suffering and death of Christiaen; this song, beginning "Eylaes hoe mach gheschieden, dat eenen Christen goed," is also inserted in De gulden Harpe, a hymnbook by van Mander (Haarlem, 1627). From 'T getuygenisse eight letters by Christiaen were copied by van Braght in the Martyrs' Mirror (Nos. 1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 14-16). They are an account of his trial, which he wrote to his wife 2 January 1588, a letter to a brother of 17 January 1588, and five other letters to his wife (dated 27 February, 12 March, 19 March, 27 March, and a note shortly before his sentence, undated). These letters show clearly how the Roman Catholic priest tried to make him recant, but also how he believed loyally in his Saviour. Hans Alenson tells in his Tegenbericht (Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica) that he often spoke with Christiaen de Rijcke while he (Christiaen) lived at Leiden where he was a preacher. Alenson visited the place where his friend had been executed two years after his death. He states that Christiaen did not agree with the practice of shunning and avoiding held by some Mennonite leaders, and mentions that Christiaen was suspended from his ministry (he must therefore have been a preacher) because of his mildness in the matter of discipline.


Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde 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, 757-763.

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: 1063-1069. Available online at:

Catalogus der werken over de Doopsgezinden en hunne geschiedenis aanwezig in de bibliotheek der Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam. Amsterdam: J.H. de Bussy, 1919: 101. Available in full electronic text at

Cramer, Samuel and Fredrik Pijper. Bibliotheca Reformatoria Neerlandica, 10 vols. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1903-1914: vol. VII, 249. Vols. 1-6 available in full electronic text at

Haeghen, Ferdinand van der, Thomas Arnold and R. Vanden Berghe. Bibliographie des Martyrologes Protestants Néerlandais, 2 vols. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1890:  I, 319-331, 668; II, List of Martyrs, No. 661.  Available in full electronic text at

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Christiaen de Rijcke (d. 1588)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 16 May 2022.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1953). Christiaen de Rijcke (d. 1588). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 May 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 577. All rights reserved.

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