Feast of the Martyrs of Gorkum (July 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Hapsburg Empire in 1547

MARTYRED JULY 9, 1572

SAINT NICHOLAS PIECK

SAINT JEROME WEERDEN

SAINT ANTONY OF HOORNAER

SAINT ANTONY OF WEERT

SAINT THEODORE VAN DER EEM

SAINT GODEFRIED OF MERVEL

SAINT NICASIUS JANNSEN

SAINT ANTONY VAN WILLEHAD

SAINT CORNELIUS OF WYK

SAINT PETER OF ASSCHE

SAINT FRANCIS OF ROYE

SAINT LEONARDUS VECHEL

SAINT JEANNES LENARTE

SAINT NICHOLAS JANNSEN POPPEL

SAINT GODEFRIED VAN DUYNSEN

SAINT JOHANNES VAN HOORNAER

SAINT ADRIANUS JANSSEN

SAINT JACOBUS LUCOPS

SAINT ANDREAS WOUTERS

Authors of accounts of martyrs tend to focus on martyrs from their tradition.  So, on the Roman Catholic calendar, one finds names of Roman Catholics whom Protestants, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox killed.  Accordingly, Eastern Orthodox calendars contain names of Orthodox Christians whom Roman Catholics martyred.  Anglican calendars lead us  to accounts of good Anglicans whom Roman Catholics and some occasional Protestants killed.  And (especially old) Protestant sources are as prone to anti-Roman Catholicism as old Roman Catholic sources are to hysterics over the existence of Protestantism, and therefore to institutional defensiveness.  If, in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gentile, then neither are there Protestants or Anglicans or Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox; such divisions prove irrelevant in Christ.  So a Christian martyr is a Christian martyr first and foremost on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.

Today I add the Martyrs of Gorkum, or Gorinchem, Holland.  Some historical background is essential.  Holland was a Hapsburg domain under Spanish rule in 1572.  The Eighty Years’ War, which ended in Dutch independence, had begun four years earlier.  The Holland of 1572 consisted of the modern-day Kingdoms of Belgium and The Netherlands.  Our story is set in The Netherlands part of Holland.  There was no separation of religion and politics.  Most Dutch (at least the non-Belgian ones) were Calvinists, and the Hapsburg rulers were Roman Catholics.

St. Nicholas Pieck was the Guardian of the Observant (really strict) Franciscan house at Gorkum.  Most of the other Martyrs of Gorkum came from that house; priests from nearby communities also became victims of the violence.  Of most of these saints we have only glowingly positive accounts.  Then there is St. Andreas Wouters, of whom the Catholic Encyclopedia says

…whose conduct was not edifying up to the time of his arrest, but who made ample amends by his martyrdom.

All nineteen saints experienced tortures for their faith and refused the same offer of freedom in exchange for abandoning their faith.  And all nineteen died on the grounds of a deserted monastery on the outskirts of Brielle.  Thus Calvinists made more Roman Catholic martyrs.

I have a shirt which reads,

WHO WOULD JESUS BOMB?

I know, it should read,

WHOM WOULD JESUS BOMB?

I wonder,

WHOM WOULD JESUS MARTYR?

And why do people who profess to follow him martyr others who make the same profession of faith?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 5, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT FRANCIS KENNEDY, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SENATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT BONIFACE OF MAINZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.

Inspire us with the memory of the Martyrs of Gorkum,

whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross,

and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

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Posted June 5, 2012 by neatnik2009 in July, Saints of the 1570s

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