Joost Verbeeck (d. 1561)

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Joost Verbeeck (Joos de Cruysere, i.e., Kruisheer), also called Meester Joos, an Anabaptist martyr, was burned at the stake at Antwerp, Belgium on 21 June 1561 (the Martyrs' Mirror incorrectly says 20 June). He had been arrested at Antwerp on 7 June at eleven o'clock in the evening. He was tortured several times, even twice in four days, and as a result of this severe torture he could not write with his right hand because this hand was broken. Of his private life it is only known that he was a native of Asperen, Dutch province of South Holland. In prison he wrote a short letter to his wife. Van Braght (Martyrs' Mirror) mentions that he was a dienaer of the Word of God and of his congregation. This means that he was a preacher or an elder. It is known that he baptized at Utrecht (Netherlands) in February or March 1561, and also at Antwerp. In the old documents he is often confused with the Elder Joachim Vermeeren.

Joost, who during his trials and tortures refused to betray his brethren, also steadfastly went to his cruel death. When he was conducted to the little house of straw in which he was to be burned to death, four brethren out of the crowd cried to him, "Fight valiantly, dear brother!" While burning in his little hut of straw, the bystanders heard him pray: "O heavenly Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit." Of his suffering and death a song was composed, beginning "O God, ick moet u claghen mijns herten droevich leyt" (O God, I must complain to Thee the sad affliction of my heart). This hymn is found in the Nieu Liedenboeck of 1562, in the Lietboecxken van den Offer des Heeren of 1563, and other old Dutch Mennonite hymnbooks. In Joost Verbeeck's trial recognition is given to Mennonite trustworthiness, even by their enemies, the judge saying to Joost, "I know that your people are telling the truth."


Dit Boec wort genoemt: Het Offer des Heeren, om het inhout van sommighe opgheofferde kinderen Godts . . . N.p., 1570: 538-544. Available in full electronic text at

Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doops-gesinde 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, 283 f..

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: 651 f. Available online at:

Génard, P. Antwerpsch archievenblad: IX, 137, XIV, 32 f., No. 360.

Vos, Karel. "De Doopsgezinde te Antwerpen."Bulletin... d'Histoire de Belgique 84 (1920): 333, 344-349.

Wackernagel, Philipp. Lieder der niederlandischen Reformierten aus der Zeit der Verfolgung im 16. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt: Hender & Zimmer, 1867. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. de Graaf, 1965: 136.

Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. De Graaf, 1965: 62, 70.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

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Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Joost Verbeeck (d. 1561)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 15 Jun 2021.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Joost Verbeeck (d. 1561). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 15 June 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 121. All rights reserved.

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