Cornelia (d. 1549)

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Cornelia, an Anabaptist martyr, was executed by drowning at Zutphen, Holland, on 30 March 1549. She was the widow of Claes van Leeuwen, the rector of the school at Zutphen, who had also been baptized upon confession of his faith. When it became known after his death that he had been rebaptized the government had his corpse exhumed and buried in unconsecrated earth. But Cornelia was arrested and subjected to a severe cross-examination. She at first refused to render the oath, referring to Matthew 5. But at the end, probably forced to it by terrible torture, she gave the oath "with upraised fingers." She denounced infant baptism, Mass for souls, prayer to the saints, and the Catholic doctrine of purgatory and the sacrament of the altar with appropriate Scriptures. She had been baptized by Adam Pastor.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1881): 42, note; (1909): 112 ff.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 v. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 370.

Kerkhistorisch Archief I (Amsterdam, 1857): 116-118, con­tains a letter written by Cornelia.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Cornelia (d. 1549)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 26 Sep 2021.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1953). Cornelia (d. 1549). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 September 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 711. All rights reserved.

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