John of Cologne

John of Cologne

John of Cologne (Joannes van Hoornaer) was a Dominican order priest born at Cologne, Germany, parish priest of Horner, Holland.



As of 1572, Lutheranism and Calvinism had spread through a great part of Europe. In the Netherlands this was followed by a struggle between the two doctrines in which Calvinism was victorious. In 1571 the Calvinists held their first synod, at Embden. On 1 April of the next year Calvinists and a group called the Watergeuzen (Sea-beggars) conquered Briel and later Vlissingen.[1]

In June of that year, Dortrecht and Gorkum also fell into their hands. There they arrested all the clergy and held them in confinement, in an attempt to get them to deny the Catholic belief on the Eucharist and Papal succession.

As John became aware of what had happened to his fellow priests, he disguised himself and attempted to bring them the comfort of the sacraments. He secretly ministered to the captives and brought them the sacraments but was eventually found out and taken captive. Meanwhile, a letter from William the Silent, Prince of Orange, enjoined all those in authority to leave priests and religious unmolested. Nevertheless Lumey, the commander of the Watergeuzen, ordered them to be hanged in the night of 9 July, in a turfshed amid cruel mutilations.

They are referred by the RCC as the Gorkum Martyrs.[2]. John of Cologne was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867.


  1. ^ "Sea Beggers". Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. 
  2. ^  Henricus, Albers, Petrus (1909). "The Martyrs of Gorkum". Catholic Encyclopedia. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 


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