Jan Smeitgen (d. 1537)

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Jan Smeitgen (Smeiken, official name Jan Hoetz, also called Jan van Tricht, Johan (Jan) van Maastricht, Janne Smekens (Smeekens)), a Dutch Anabaptist leader, bishop, and martyr, burned at the stake at Antwerp, Belgium, on 24 May 1537. At first Jan, who was a blacksmith, lived at Maastricht, Dutch province of Limburg. Here he became the leader of the congregation after the death of Henric Rol, September 1534. Soon after he seems to have been interested in the revolutionary Anabaptist views, for in the meetings of the congregation shortly after Christmas 1534 he read the booklet Van der Wraecke, sent from Münster. He is also said to have read from "a book of St. Paul," obviously one of the epistles in the New Testament. During this time he baptized in attics, in cellars and other hidden places, also outside the city in neighboring towns like Born, Dieteren, and Sittard. He is even said to have baptized at Leuven, Belgium, the center of most fanatical Catholicism. About his baptizing we are informed by the martyr Metken, who was baptized by him. "With a cup he took water from a cask and poured it on her head."

During the persecution of the Maastricht congregation in January and February 1535, Jan succeeded in escaping and moved to Antwerp, Belgium. Here his activity in preaching and baptizing is testified to by the declaration of many martyrs. In 1536, at a conference of Anabaptist leaders at Bocholt, Germany, he abandoned the Münsterite principles, for he and Jan Matthijsz van Middelburg are said "to have vehemently attacked" the Münsterite doctrines of polygamy and the visible reign of Christ on earth. Concerning his suffering and death no information was available.


Bax, Willem. Het protestantisme in het bisdom Luik en vooral te Maastricht. s-Gravenhage: Nijhoff, 1937-1941: I, 135-138 and passim.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1864): 148; (1917): 113 (No. 36); (1919): 194.

Génard, Petrus. Antwerpsch archievenblad. Antwerpen, Belgium: Stadsarchief te Antwerpen: VII, 434; XIV, 16 f., No. 163;

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: 201.

Mellink, Albert F. De Wederdopers in de noordelijke Nederlanden 1531-1544. Groningen: J.B. Wolters, 1954: passim; see Index.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Jan Smeitgen (d. 1537)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 18 May 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Jan_Smeitgen_(d._1537)&oldid=108286.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Jan Smeitgen (d. 1537). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Jan_Smeitgen_(d._1537)&oldid=108286.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 82. All rights reserved.

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