The Roasting of the First Lutheran Martyrs

From the Saxons on FB-

vos1523: Johann van Esschen and Henrik Vos were the first two Lutheran martyrs executed by the Council of Brabant for their adherence to Reformation doctrine. They were burned at the stake in Brussels on July 1.

Van Esschen and Vos were Augustinian monks of Saint Augustine’s Monastery in Antwerp. When in 1522 all the monks there publicly professed Lutheran doctrine, the Bishop of Cambrai had them all arrested and imprisoned in Vilvorde, where they were interrogated by Jacob van Hoogstraten from Cologne and some dependably Catholic professors. When the monks realized that they risked being burned alive if they did not recant, all except three—Johannes van Esschen, Henrik Vos, and Lampertus Thorn—recanted.

Van Esschen, Vos, and Thorn, still held in custody, were questioned again by the ecclesiastical inquisition court, but they refused to recant. They were then handed over to the secular court and sentenced to death. They were taken to Brussels and held until the appointed day of execution on 1523 July 1. New attempts were made meanwhile to get them to renounce. Vos was brought first to the inquisitors, but he refused to recant. Van Esschen also refused to renounce Lutheranism. Thorn asked for an additional four-day period to study the scriptures with respect to his views, and thus he was not executed then with Van Esschen and Vos. Van Esschen and Vos were summarily delivered to the executioner, brought to the marketplace in Brussels, and burned alive.

On learning of the execution of Van Esschen and Vos, Martin Luther wrote what is thought to be his first hymn, “Ein neues Lied wir heben an” (“A new song we raise”) which was printed in the Erfurt Enchiridion of 1524. This is generally known in English as John C. Messenger’s translation by the first line and title “Flung to the Heedless Winds”.

%d bloggers like this: