Formantin, Femundus (17th century)

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Femundus Formantin (Formantijn), a Catholic priest, professor at the University of Paris, received the commission from Louis XIV of France to gather information on the Anabaptists in his newly conquered lands. Peter Valkenier, a Dutch resident of Frankfurt, Germany, gives a detailed report in his book, Das verwirrte Europa.

Formantin first went to England to investigate the life and doctrine of the Quakers. On the basis of his report they were forbidden on penalty of death and confiscation of their goods, to remain in France on account of "their unreasonable doctrine and offensive living." On 16 July 1672 he came to Emmerich, where he inquired of the book-dealer Cornelius van Beughem whether there were Mennonites living in Emmerich, and asked him to arrange a conversation with them. On the next day he met with Hendrik van Voorst, the Mennonite preacher, and after Formantin had expressed his astonishment at the simple dress of the Mennonite preacher, they discussed original sin, baptism, grace, the Trinity, the Incarnation, communion, power of government, marriage and divorce, punishment of heretics, prayer to the saints, the oath, etc. The professor was amazed to find an ordinary citizen who looked after his business daily, and had yet acquired so thorough a knowledge of Scripture that he could answer the learned professor on every point, citing chapter and verse. He assured van Voorst that he would give the king so favorable a report that the Mennonites would everywhere receive complete freedom of worship, and would publish his report to all the world in print; he added that he had found the life and doctrine of the Mennonites more edifying than the Catholic, and called all who had defamed them with the king slanderers.

Formantin of course did not keep this promise. Upon the bookdealer's question what the non-Catholics could expect of the king, he replied that the king would grant freedom of religion to Lutherans and Reformed, but that in less than two years the Mennonites would be subjected like all other heretics to special fees, then perhaps persecuted and their possessions confiscated unless they adopted Catholicism. Louis' reign here was too brief to carry out this plan.


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1868): 32; (1873): 58 ff.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 662.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Neff, Christian. "Formantin, Femundus (17th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 Sep 2020.,_Femundus_(17th_century)&oldid=107376.

APA style

Neff, Christian. (1956). Formantin, Femundus (17th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 September 2020, from,_Femundus_(17th_century)&oldid=107376.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 354. All rights reserved.

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