Birth and death

The Martyrs Mirror can be mind numbing with its repetitive recitation of gruesome deaths, but the tale of Andries Langedul and his family is particularly touching, given the details.

Langedul was snatched by local law enforcement as he sat on his front porch, reading the Bible. A neighborhood snitch had just seen an Anabaptist meeting take place at his house and rang up the margrave, a local military nobleman. The margrave took Langedul into custody and then searched his house:

[Langedul’s] wife was confined at the time, which the margrave discovered when he walked towards the chamber, and saw that the midwife had the child on her lap; for the woman had just been delivered. Perceiving this, the margrave withdrew from the chamber, but apprehended also the women who had come to assist the woman in her distress, and caused the lying-in woman to be guarded by some of his servants. But the nurse, vexed at this, prevented the apprehension of the woman, by entertaining them very liberally, and plying them with wine, so that the sick woman was, without their knowledge, conducted, on planks, across a well belonging to the two neighbors in common, and thus went from her neighbor’s house to the house of Christian Langedul, her husband’s brother, whose wife was also confined at that time.

So, Langedul’s wife and child were spared due to the margrave being an alcoholic. But he was not so lucky. On Nov. 9, 1559, he was executed in front of his fellow prisoners in Steen prison in Antwerp along with two other men.

When Andries knelt down to submit to the sword, he folded his hands, saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend…” But “I commend my spirit” was not finished, the rapid descent of the sword preventing it.

According to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, Langedul’s martyrdom lives on in the hymn “Aenhoort Godt, hemelsche Vader (Give ear, O God, heavenly Father).”


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