Peter van Olmen (d. 1552)

Jump to: navigation, search

Peter (Pieter) van Olmen, an Anabaptist martyr, burned at the stake on 27 July 1552, at Gent, Belgium. The Dutch martyr books, including van Braght's Martyrs' Mirror, give no information on the manner of Peter van Olmen's execution or the exact date. There is not much information about this martyr; he seems to have lived earlier in Wervik, Flanders, and hence was also called Peter van Wervick. In prison he wrote a letter to his brethren with admonitions to steadfastness, in which he de­scribes his defense of the faith before the examining theologians. This letter is found in all the Dutch martyrbooks. He was commemorated in a song, "Groot zijn des Heeren crachten" (Great is the power of the Lord), found in the Offer des Heeren. The Lietboecxken has the "Liet van vrage ende antwoort" (Song of Question and Answer), which is there ascribed to Peter van Wervick. This hymn, which begins with the words, "Een eeuwige vruecht, die niet en vergaet" (An eternal joy, which does not pass away), is included in the Dutch hymnal Veelderhande Liedekens of 1556 and following editions (reprinted in Wackernagel, Lieder), while a large number of old Dutch Mennonite hymnals contain only the first part of this hymn, which is of much higher literary quality than the last stanzas, prob­ably composed by another poet.


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 :147-49.

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: 536-38.  Available online at:

Dit Boec wort genoemt: Het Offer des Heeren, om het inhout van sommighe opgheofferde kinderen Godts . . . N.p., 1562, 1567, 1570, 1578, 1580, Amsterdam, 1590, n.p., 1591, Amsterdam, 1595, Harlingen, 1599. The 1570 edition is cited as reproduced in BRN II., 51-486, including Een Lietboecxken, tracterende van den Offer des Heeren (pp. 499-617):187-94, 594-600. Available in full electronic text at:

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 300.

Verheyden, A. L. E. Het Gentsche Martyrologium (1530-1595). Brugge: De Tempel, 1946: 18, No. 34.

Wackernagel, Philipp. Lieder der niederlandischen Reformierten aus der Zeit der Verfolgung im 16. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt: Hender & Zimmer, 1867. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. de Graaf, 1965: 195, No. 99.

Wolkan, Rudolf. Die Lieder der Wiedertäufer. Berlin, 1903. Reprinted Nieuwkoop : B. De Graaf, 1965: 64, 66, 78, 84.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Hege, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Peter van Olmen (d. 1552)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 18 Jan 2019.

APA style

Hege, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1959). Peter van Olmen (d. 1552). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 January 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 151. All rights reserved.

©1996-2019 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.