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Symposiums reflect on birth of Belgic Confession

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LEIDEN – The 450th anniversary of the Belgic Confession has prompted renewed attention of Reformation times in the Netherlands. Two universities hosted a symposium of the document, which is one of three confessions cherished by many continental Reformed church federations. Professor Guido Marnef, an Antwerp University lecturer in new history, gave a Leiden symposium an overview of the impact of the Reformation in the regions, which are now part of Belgium. In 1561, when Reformed minister Guido de Bres composed the confession, the southern regions of the Netherlands had numerous congregations while Zeeland had only a few. There were none north of the great rivers (Meuse and Rhine). The correspondence from the Reformed refugee church of London was nearly exclusively with the oppressed churches in Flanders. The confession, originally written in Latin, was a very important document to the young churches, Guido Marnef said. Another symposium on the Belgic Confession was held in Kampen on the document’s actual ‘mailing anniversary’ of November 2, when it was thrown over the wall of the castle at Tournai (Doornik). By 1600, the huge majority of the Reformed believers had scattered because of the activities of the Blood Council with many settling in Zeeland and north of the great rivers. More on this confession online at