Jan Hus

Jan Hus

Overview
Jan Hus (ˈjan ˈɦus; c. 1369 – 6 July 1415), often referred to in English as John Hus or John Huss, was a Czech
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

 priest, philosopher, reformer, and master at Charles University in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

. After John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached...

, the theorist of ecclesiastical Reformation, he was, before Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, the first actual Church reformer.

He is famed for having been burned at the stake for heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 against the doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

s of the Catholic Church, including those on ecclesiology
Ecclesiology
Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

 (the branch of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 concerned with the nature, constitution and functions of the Church), the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, and other theological topics.
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O sancta simplicitas!

Translation: O holy simplicity!
Encyclopedia
Jan Hus (ˈjan ˈɦus; c. 1369 – 6 July 1415), often referred to in English as John Hus or John Huss, was a Czech
Czech people
Czechs, or Czech people are a western Slavic people of Central Europe, living predominantly in the Czech Republic. Small populations of Czechs also live in Slovakia, Austria, the United States, the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Russia and other countries...

 priest, philosopher, reformer, and master at Charles University in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

. After John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached...

, the theorist of ecclesiastical Reformation, he was, before Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, the first actual Church reformer.

He is famed for having been burned at the stake for heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 against the doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

s of the Catholic Church, including those on ecclesiology
Ecclesiology
Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

 (the branch of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 concerned with the nature, constitution and functions of the Church), the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, and other theological topics. Hus was a key predecessor to the Protestant movement of the sixteenth century, and his teachings had a strong influence on the states of Europe, most immediately in the approval for the existence of a reformist Bohemian religious denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

, and, more than a century later, on Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 himself.

Between 1420 and 1431, the Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

 forces defeated five consecutive papal crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 against followers of Hus. Their defense and rebellion against Roman Catholics became known as the Hussite Wars
Hussite Wars
The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1419 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held gunpowder weapons such as hand cannons...

. A century later, as many as 90% of inhabitants of the Czech lands
Czech lands
Czech lands is an auxiliary term used mainly to describe the combination of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia. Today, those three historic provinces compose the Czech Republic. The Czech lands had been settled by the Celts , then later by various Germanic tribes until the beginning of 7th...

 were non-Catholic and followed the teachings of Hus and his successors.

Early life


Hus was born in Husinec
Husinec (Prachatice District)
Husinec is a town in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has around 1,350 inhabitants.It is said to be the birth place of Czech philosopher, reformer Jan Hus.- History :...

, Kingdom of Bohemia
Kingdom of Bohemia
The Kingdom of Bohemia was a country located in the region of Bohemia in Central Europe, most of whose territory is currently located in the modern-day Czech Republic. The King was Elector of Holy Roman Empire until its dissolution in 1806, whereupon it became part of the Austrian Empire, and...

 in 1369. He traveled to Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 at an early age where he supported himself by singing and serving in churches. His conduct was positive and his commitment to his studies was remarkable.

In 1393, Hus earned a degree of Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 from the University of Prague
Charles University in Prague
Charles University in Prague is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, it was the first university in Central Europe and is also considered the earliest German university...

 and he earned his master's degree in 1396. In 1400, he was ordained as a priest and became rector
Rector
The word rector has a number of different meanings; it is widely used to refer to an academic, religious or political administrator...

 of the university in 1402–03. He was appointed a preacher at the newly built Bethlehem chapel around the same time. Hus was a strong advocate for the Czechs, and therefore the Realists
Philosophical realism
Contemporary philosophical realism is the belief that our reality, or some aspect of it, is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc....

, and he was influenced by the writings of John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached...

. Although many works of Wycliffe were proscribed in 1403 by the church, Hus translated Trialogus into Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and helped to distribute it.

Career


Hus took an active role in the movement for reform in the church by attacking the morals of clergy, episcopate, and papacy from his pulpit. Archbishop Zbyněk Zajíc
Zbynek Zajíc
Zbyněk Zajíc of Hasenburg was a Czech nobleman, and an important representative of the Roman Catholic Church...

 was lenient with Hus and appointed him as preacher to the biennial synod. On 24 June 1405, Pope Innocent VII
Pope Innocent VII
Pope Innocent VII , born Cosimo de' Migliorati, was briefly Pope at Rome, from 1404 to his death, during the Western Schism while there was a rival Pope, antipope Benedict XIII , at Avignon.Migliorati was born to a simple family of Sulmona in the Abruzzi...

, however, directed the archbishop to counter the heretical teachings of Wycliffe, especially the doctrine of impanation
Impanation
Impanation is a view of the real presence of the body of Jesus Christ in the bread of the Eucharist that does not imply a change in the substance of either the bread or the body...

 in the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

. The archbishop complied by issuing a synodal decree against Wycliffe as well as any further attacks on the clergy.

In 1406, a document was brought by two Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

n students to Prague bearing the seal of the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 and eulogizing Wycliffe. Hus proudly read the document from his pulpit. Zbyněk received a letter from Pope Gregory XII
Pope Gregory XII
Pope Gregory XII , born Angelo Correr or Corraro, Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII on 30 November 1406....

, in 1408, stating that the church in Rome had been informed of Wycliffe's heretical words and King Wenceslaus's
Wenceslaus, King of the Romans
Wenceslaus ) was, by election, German King from 1376 and, by inheritance, King of Bohemia from 1378. He was the third Bohemian and second German monarch of the Luxembourg dynasty...

 sympathies for non-conformists. This prompted the king and the university to clear themselves of heretical suspicion. All writings of Wycliffe were ordered surrendered to the archdiocesan chancery for correction and Hus obeyed declaring that he condemned the errors in these writings.

Papal schism


The University of Prague
Charles University in Prague
Charles University in Prague is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, it was the first university in Central Europe and is also considered the earliest German university...

 around 1408 was being torn apart by the ongoing papal schism
Western Schism
The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

, in which Pope Gregory XII
Pope Gregory XII
Pope Gregory XII , born Angelo Correr or Corraro, Pope from 1406 to 1415, succeeded Pope Innocent VII on 30 November 1406....

 and Avignon Pope Benedict XIII both laid claim to the papacy. King Wenceslaus
Wenceslaus, King of the Romans
Wenceslaus ) was, by election, German King from 1376 and, by inheritance, King of Bohemia from 1378. He was the third Bohemian and second German monarch of the Luxembourg dynasty...

 felt Pope Gregory XII might interfere with his plans to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

; thus, he renounced Gregory and ordered his prelate
Prelate
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.-Related...

s to observe a strict neutrality toward both pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

s, and said he expected the same of the university. Archbishop Zajíc
Zbynek Zajíc
Zbyněk Zajíc of Hasenburg was a Czech nobleman, and an important representative of the Roman Catholic Church...

 remained faithful to Gregory. At the university, only the "Bohemian nation" (one of four voting blocs), with Hus as its leader and spokesman, avowed neutrality.

Kutná Hora


At the instigation of Hus and other Bohemian leaders, King Wenceslaus issued a decree (while in the city of Kutná Hora
Kutná Hora
Kutná Hora is a city in Bohemia, now the Czech Republic in the Central Bohemian Region.-History:The town began in 1142 with the settlement of the first Cistercian Monastery in Bohemia, Kloster Sedlitz, brought from the Imperial immediate Cistercian Waldsassen Abbey...

) that the Bohemian nation should now have three votes (instead of one) in all affairs of the university, while the foreign nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

s (Bavarian, Saxon, and Polish) should have only one vote. As a consequence, somewhere between five thousand and twenty thousand foreign doctors, masters, and students left the university in 1409. This exodus resulted in the founding of the University of Leipzig
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

, among others. Thus, Prague university lost its international importance and became only a Czech school. The emigrants also spread news of the Bohemian "heresies" throughout the rest of Europe. Archbishop Zajíc became isolated and Hus was at the height of his fame. He became a rector of the Czech university, and enjoyed the favor of the court
Court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

. At around this time, the doctrinal views of the English theologian, John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached...

 were becoming increasingly influential.

Alexander V becomes Antipope


In 1409, in an attempt to end the papal schism, the Council of Pisa
Council of Pisa
The Council of Pisa was an unrecognized ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in 1409 that attempted to end the Western Schism by deposing Benedict XIII and Gregory XII...

 met to elect a new pope. This did not succeed, and the pope they elected, Alexander V, did not end loyalty to the other two popes. The Roman Catholic Church now considers Alexander V an antipope
Antipope
An antipope is a person who opposes a legitimately elected or sitting Pope and makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th century, antipopes were typically those supported by a...

. Hus, his followers, and Wenceslaus
Wenceslaus, King of the Romans
Wenceslaus ) was, by election, German King from 1376 and, by inheritance, King of Bohemia from 1378. He was the third Bohemian and second German monarch of the Luxembourg dynasty...

 transferred their allegiance to Alexander V. Under pressure from King Wenceslaus, Archbishop Zajíc
Zbynek Zajíc
Zbyněk Zajíc of Hasenburg was a Czech nobleman, and an important representative of the Roman Catholic Church...

 did the same. Zajíc then brought his complaints before Alexander V's Papal See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, accusing the Wycliffites
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached...

 of ecclesiastical disturbances.

Excommunication of Hus


Alexander V issued his papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 of 20 December 1409, which empowered the Archbishop to proceed against Wycliffism
John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached...

. All books of Wycliffe were to be given up, his doctrines revoked, and free preaching discontinued. After the publication of the bull in 1410, Hus appealed before Alexander V, but in vain. All books and valuable manuscripts of Wycliffe were burned, and Alexander V excommunicated Hus and his adherents. Riots ensued in parts of Bohemia. The government took the side of Hus, and the power of his adherents increased from day to day. Hus continued to preach in the Bethlehem Chapel
Bethlehem Chapel
The Bethlehem Chapel is a medieval religious building in Prague, Czech Republic notable for its connection with the Czech reformer Jan Hus. It was founded in 1391 by Wenceslas Kriz , and John of Milheim, and taught solely in the Czech vernacular, thus breaking with German domination of the...

. The churches of the city were put under the ban, and the interdict
Interdict (Roman Catholic Church)
In Roman Catholic canon law, an interdict is an ecclesiastical censure that excludes from certain rites of the Church individuals or groups, who nonetheless do not cease to be members of the Church.-Distinctions in canon law:...

 was pronounced against Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, but without result.

Indulgences


Archbishop Zajíc died in 1411, and with his death the religious movement in Bohemia entered a new phase, where the disputes concerning indulgences assumed great importance.

Crusade against Naples


Antipope John XXIII
Antipope John XXIII
Baldassarre Cossa was Pope John XXIII during the Western Schism. The Catholic Church regards him as an antipope.-Biography:...

 succeeded Pope Alexander V after his death in 1410. In 1411, John XXIII issued a crusade against King Ladislaus of Naples, the protector of Gregory XII. This crusade was preached in Prague as well, and preachers of indulgence
Indulgence
In Catholic theology, an indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the Catholic Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution...

s urged people to crowd the churches and give their offerings. This developed a traffic in indulgences that to some were a sign of the corruption of the church.

Condemnation of indulgences and Crusade


Hus spoke out against indulgences, but he could not carry with him the men of the university. In 1412, a dispute took place, on which occasion Hus delivered his address Quaestio magistri Johannis Hus de indulgentiis. It was taken literally from the last chapter of Wycliffe's book, De ecclesia, and his treatise, De absolutione a pena et culpa. The pamphlet stated that no pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 or bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 had the right to take up the sword
Sword
A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

 in the name of the Church; he should pray for his enemies and bless those that curse him; man obtains forgiveness of sins by true repentance, not money. The doctors of the theological faculty replied, but without success. A few days afterward, some of Hus's followers, led by Vok Voksa z Valdštejna, burnt the Papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

s. Hus, they said, should be obeyed rather than the Church, which they considered a fraudulent mob of adulterers and Simonists
Simony
Simony is the act of paying for sacraments and consequently for holy offices or for positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus , who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-24...

.
Response

In response, three men from the lower classes who openly called the indulgences a fraud were beheaded. They were later considered the first martyrs of the Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

 Church. In the meantime, the faculty had condemned the forty-five articles and added several other theses
Thesis
A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings...

, deemed heretical, which had originated with Hus. The king forbade the teaching of these articles, but neither Hus nor the university complied with the ruling, requesting that the articles should be first proven to be un-scriptural. The tumults at Prague had stirred up a sensation; papal legates and Archbishop Albik tried to persuade Hus to give up his opposition to the papal bulls, and the king made an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the two parties.

Attempts at reconciliation


The king made efforts to harmonize the opposing parties. In 1412, he convoked the heads of his kingdom for a consultation and, at their suggestion, ordered a synod
Synod
A synod historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not...

 to be held at Český Brod
Ceský Brod
Český Brod is a town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It is located 35 km east of Prague and had a population of 6,637 in 2005.Rock for People, an annual summer music festival was held in Český Brod from 1995 to 2006...

 on 2 February 1412. It did not take place there, but in the palace of the archbishops at Prague, in order to exclude Hus from participation. Propositions were made to restore peace in the Church, with Hus requiring that Bohemia should have the same freedom
Freedom (political)
Political freedom is a central philosophy in Western history and political thought, and one of the most important features of democratic societies...

 in regard to ecclesiastical affairs as other countries and that approbation and condemnation should therefore be announced only with the permission of the state power. This is wholly the doctrine of Wycliffe (Sermones, iii. 519, etc.).

There followed treatises from both parties, but no harmony was obtained. "Even if I should stand before the stake which has been prepared for me", Hus wrote at the time, "I would never accept the recommendation of the theological faculty." The synod did not produce any results, but the King ordered a commission to continue the work of reconciliation. The doctors of the university demanded approval of their conception of the Church, according to which the Pope is the head, the Cardinals
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 are the body of the Church from Hus and his followers. Hus protested vigorously. The Hussite party seems to have made a great effort toward reconciliation. To the article that the Roman Church must be obeyed, they added only "so far as every pious Christian is bound". Stanislav ze Znojma and Štěpán Páleč protested against this addition and left the convention; they were exiled by the king, with two others.
Writings of Hus and Wycliffe

Of the writings occasioned by these controversies, those of Hus on the Church, entitled De Ecclesia, were written in 1413 and have been most frequently quoted and admired or criticized, and yet their first ten chapters are but an epitome of Wycliffe's work of the same title, and the following chapters are but an abstract of another of Wycliffe's works (De potentate papae) on the power of the pope. Wycliffe had written his book to oppose the common position that the Church consisted only of the clergy, and Hus now found himself making the same point. He wrote his work at the castle of one of his protectors in Kozí Hrádek, and sent it to Prague, where it was publicly read in the Bethlehem chapel. It was answered by Stanislav ze Znojma and Páleč with treatises of the same title.
After the most vehement opponents of Hus had left Prague, his adherents occupied the whole ground. Hus wrote his treatises and preached in the neighborhood of Kozí Hrádek. Bohemian Wyclifism was carried into Poland, Hungary, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, and Austria. In January 1413, a general council assembled in Rome which condemned the writings of Wycliffe and ordered them to be burned.

Council of Constance


To put an end to the papal schism and to take up the long desired reform
Reform
Reform means to put or change into an improved form or condition; to amend or improve by change of color or removal of faults or abuses, beneficial change, more specifically, reversion to a pure original state, to repair, restore or to correct....

 of the Church, a general council was convened for 1 November 1414, at Konstanz
Konstanz
Konstanz is a university city with approximately 80,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland. The city houses the University of Konstanz.-Location:...

 (Constance). Sigismund of Hungary
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Sigismund of Luxemburg KG was King of Hungary, of Croatia from 1387 to 1437, of Bohemia from 1419, and Holy Roman Emperor for four years from 1433 until 1437, the last Emperor of the House of Luxemburg. He was also King of Italy from 1431, and of Germany from 1411...

, brother of Wenceslaus, and heir to the Bohemian crown, was anxious to put an end to religious dissension within the church; Hus likewise was willing to make an end of all dissensions and agreed to go to Constance, under Sigismund's promise of safe passage.

Imprisonment and preparations for trial





It is unknown whether Hus knew what his fate would be, but he made his will before setting out. He started on his journey on 11 October 1414; on 3 November 1414, he arrived at Constance, and on the following day, the bulletins on the church doors announced that Michal z Německého Brodu would be opposing Hus. In the beginning, Hus was at liberty, living at the house of a widow, but, after a few weeks, his opponents succeeded in imprisoning him, on the strength of a rumor — more than likely spread by themselves — that he intended to flee. He was first brought into the residence of a canon and then, on 8 December 1414, into the dungeon
Dungeon
A dungeon is a room or cell in which prisoners are held, especially underground. Dungeons are generally associated with medieval castles, though their association with torture probably belongs more to the Renaissance period...

 of the Dominican monastery. Sigismund was greatly angered, as the guarantor of Hus's safety, and threatened the prelates with dismissal; however, the prelates convinced him that he could not be bound by promises to a heretic.

On 4 December 1414, Antipope John XXIII
Antipope John XXIII
Baldassarre Cossa was Pope John XXIII during the Western Schism. The Catholic Church regards him as an antipope.-Biography:...

 had entrusted a committee of three bishops with a preliminary investigation against Hus. As was common practice, witnesses for the prosecution were heard, but Hus was not allowed an advocate for his defense
Defense (legal)
In civil proceedings and criminal prosecutions under the common law, a defendant may raise a defense in an attempt to avoid criminal or civil liability...

. His situation became worse after the downfall of the antipope, who had left Constance to avoid abdicating. Hus had been the captive of John XXIII and in constant communication with his friends, but now he was delivered to the Archbishop of Constance and brought to his castle, Gottlieben on the Rhine. Here he remained for 73 days, separated from his friends, chained day and night, poorly fed, and ill.

Trial


On 5 June 1415, he was tried for the first time, and for that purpose was transferred to a Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

, where he spent the last weeks of his life. He declared himself willing to recant if his errors should be proven to him from the Bible. Hus conceded his veneration of Wycliffe, and said that he could only wish his soul might some time attain unto that place where Wycliffe's was. On the other hand, he denied having defended Wycliffe's doctrine of The Lord's Supper or the forty-five articles; he had only opposed their summary condemnation. King Wenceslaus admonished him to deliver himself up to the mercy of the Council, as he did not desire to protect a heretic.

At the last trial, on 8 June 1415, there were read to him thirty-nine sentences, twenty-six of which had been excerpted from his book on the Church, seven from his treatise against Páleč, and six from that against Stanislav ze Znojma. The danger of some of these doctrines to worldly power was explained to the emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 to incite him against Hus. Hus again declared himself willing to submit if he could be convinced of errors. He desired only a fair trial and more time to explain the reasons for his views. If his reasons and Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 texts did not suffice, he would be glad to be instructed. This declaration was considered an unconditional surrender, and he was asked to confess:
  1. that he had erred in the theses which he had hitherto maintained;
  2. that he renounced them for the future;
  3. that he recanted them; and
  4. that he declared the opposite of these sentences.


He asked to be exempted from recanting doctrines which he had never taught; others, which the assembly considered erroneous, he was not willing to revoke; to act differently would be against his conscience
Conscience
Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral judgement may derive from values or norms...

. These words found no favourable reception. After the trial on 8 June, several other attempts were purportedly made to induce him to recant, which he resisted.

Condemnation


The condemnation took place on 6 July 1415, in the presence of the assembly of the Council in the Cathedral. After the High Mass
Solemn Mass
Solemn Mass , sometimes also referred to as Solemn High Mass or simply High Mass, is, when used not merely as a description, the full ceremonial form of the Tridentine Mass, celebrated by a priest with a deacon and a subdeacon, requiring most of the parts of the Mass to be sung, and the use of...

 and Liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

, Hus was led into the church. The Bishop of Lodi delivered an oration on the duty of eradicating heresy; then some theses of Hus and Wycliffe and a report of his trial were read.

Refusals to recant


An Italian prelate pronounced the sentence of condemnation upon Hus and his writings. Hus protested, saying that even at this hour he did not wish anything, but to be convinced from Holy Scripture. He fell upon his knees and asked God with a low voice to forgive all his enemies. Then followed his degradation — he was enrobed in priestly vestments and again asked to recant; again he refused. With curses his ornaments were taken from him, his priestly tonsure
Tonsure
Tonsure is the traditional practice of Christian churches of cutting or shaving the hair from the scalp of clerics, monastics, and, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all baptized members...

 was destroyed, and the sentence was pronounced that the Church had deprived him of all rights and delivered him to the secular powers. Then a high paper hat was put upon his head, with the inscription "Haeresiarcha" (meaning the leader of a heretical movement). Hus was led away to the stake under a strong guard of armed men. At the place of execution he knelt down, spread out his hands, and prayed aloud. Some of the people asked that a confessor
Confessor
-Confessor of the Faith:Its oldest use is to indicate a saint who has suffered persecution and torture for the faith, but not to the point of death. The term is still used in this way in the East. In Latin Christianity it has come to signify any saint, as well as those who have been declared...

 should be given to him, but one priest exclaimed that a heretic should neither be heard nor given a confessor.

Execution


The executioners undressed Hus and tied his hands behind his back with ropes, and bound his neck with a chain to a stake around which wood and straw had been piled up so that it covered him to the neck. At the last moment, the imperial marshal, Von Pappenheim, in the presence of the Count Palatine
Count palatine
Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.-Comes palatinus:...

, asked him to recant and thus save his own life, but Hus declined with the words "God is my witness that the things charged against me I never preached. In the same truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached, drawing upon the sayings and positions of the holy doctors, I am ready to die today." He was then burned at the stake, and his ashes thrown into the Rhine.

Anecdotally, it has been claimed that the executioners had some problems scaling up the fire. An old woman came closer to the bonfire and threw a relatively small amount of brushwood on it. Hus, seeing it, then said, "Sancta Simplicitas!" (Holy Simplicity!) This sentence's Czech equivalent ("svatá prostota!", or, in vocative form "svatá prostoto!") is still used to comment upon a stupid action.

Hus's scholarship and teachings


Hus left only a few reformatory writings in the proper sense of the word, most of his works being polemical treatises against Stanislav ze Znojma and Štěpán Páleč. He translated the Trialogus, and was very familiar with his works on the body of the Lord, on the Church, on the power of the pope, and especially with his sermons. There are reasons to suppose that Wycliffe's doctrine of the Lord's Supper had spread to Prague as early as 1399, with strong evidence that students returning from England had brought the work back with them. It gained an even wider circulation after it had been prohibited in 1403, and Hus preached and taught it, although it is possible that he simply repeated it without advocating it. But the doctrine was seized eagerly by the radical party, the Taborites, who made it the central point of their system. According to their book, the Church is not that hierarchy which is generally designated as Church; the Church is the entire body of those who from eternity have been predestined for salvation. Christ, not the pope, is its head. It is no article of faith that one must obey the pope to be saved. Neither internal membership in the Church nor churchly offices and dignities are a surety that the persons in question are members of the true Church.

To some, Hus's efforts were predominantly designed to rid the Church of its ethical abuses, rather than a campaign of sweeping theological change. To others, the seeds of the reformation are clear in Hus's and Wycliffe's writings. In explaining the plight of the average Christian in Bohemia, Hus wrote, "One pays for confession, for mass, for the sacrament, for indulgences, for churching a woman, for a blessing, for burials, for funeral services and prayers. The very last penny which an old woman has hidden in her bundle for fear of thieves or robbery will not be saved. The villainous priest will grab it." (Macek, 16) After Hus's death, his followers, then known as Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

s, split off into several groups including the Utraquists, Taborite
Taborite
The Taborites were members of a religious community considered heretical by the Catholic Church. The Taborites were centered on the Bohemian city of Tábor during the Hussite Wars in the 15th century. The religious reform movement in Bohemia splintered into various religious sects...

s and Orphans. Nearly six centuries later in 1999, Pope John Paul II expressed "deep regret for the cruel death inflicted" on Hus. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk of the Czech Republic was instrumental in crafting John Paul II's statement.

Veneration

6 July is a public holiday in the Czech republic, commemorating the execution of Jan Hus. Hus is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA)
Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America)
The veneration of saints in the Episcopal Church is a continuation of an ancient tradition from the early Church which honors important people of the Christian faith. The usage of the term "saint" is similar to Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Those in the Anglo-Catholic tradition may...

 on 6 July.

Jan Hus Day


Jan Hus Day (Den upálení mistra Jana Husa) on 6 July, the anniversary of the martyrdom of Jan Hus, is a public holiday
Public holiday
A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday generally established by law and is usually a non-working day during the year....

 in the Czech Republic. Hus is also commemorated as a martyr in the Calendar of Saints
Calendar of Saints (Lutheran)
The Lutheran Calendar of Saints is a listing which details the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by some Lutheran Churches in the United States. The calendars of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod are from the...

 of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

 on that day.

Legacy


Hus was a key contributor to Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, whose teachings had a strong influence on the states of Europe and on Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 himself. The Hussite Wars
Hussite Wars
The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1419 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held gunpowder weapons such as hand cannons...

 resulted in the Basel Compacts which allowed for a reformed church in the Kingdom of Bohemia—almost a century before such developments would take place in the Lutheran Reformation. The Unitas Fratrum (or Moravian Church) considers itself a spiritual heir to many of Hus' followers. Hus' extensive writings earn him a prominent place in Czech literary history. He is also responsible for introducing the use of diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

s (especially the háček) into Czech spelling in order to represent each sound
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

 by a single symbol. Today, the Jan Hus Memorial
Jan Hus Memorial
The Jan Hus Memorial stands at one end of Old Town Square, Prague in the Czech Republic. The huge monument depicts victorious Hussite warriors and Protestants who were forced into exile 200 years after Hus and a young mother which symbolizes national rebirth. It was unveiled in 1915 to...

 can be seen at the Prague Old Town Square (Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 Staroměstské náměstí).

In New York City, a church in Brooklyn (located at 153 Ocean Avenue), and a church and a theatre in Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 (located at 351 East 74th Street) are named for Hus: respectively the John Hus Moravian Church, the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York City is a Presbyterian church.The church is named for Jan Hus, a Bohemian priest who was a religious thinker and reformer. The church is located at 351 East 74th Street, New York, New York, in Manhattan's Upper East Side, in the area that was once known as...

 and the Jan Hus Playhouse. Although the Manhattan's church and theatre share a single building and management, the Playhouse's productions are usually non-religious or non-denominational.

A statue to Jan Hus was erected in the Union Cemetery in Bohemia, New York
Bohemia, New York
Bohemia is a hamlet in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 9,871 at the 2000 census.Bohemia is in the Town of Islip.The main school district in the town is the Connetquot School District...

 (on Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

) by Czech immigrants to the New York area in 1893. The statue was the first memorial in the United States to honor a foreign-born person.

Famous followers of Jan Hus

  • Jerome of Prague
    Jerome of Prague
    Jerome of Prague was one of the chief followers and most devoted friends of John Hus.-Biography:...

    , Hus's friend and devoted follower shared his fate and on 30 May 1416 was also burned at Konstanz
    Konstanz
    Konstanz is a university city with approximately 80,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland. The city houses the University of Konstanz.-Location:...

  • Jan Kardinál z Rejnštejna (1375–1428)
  • Jan Žižka z Trocnova a Kalicha
    Jan Žižka
    Jan Žižka z Trocnova a Kalicha , Czech general and Hussite leader, follower of Jan Hus, was born at small village Trocnov in Bohemia, into a gentried family. He was nicknamed "One-eyed Žižka"...

     (c. 1360–1424), Czech general and Hussite leader
  • Matěj z Knína (died 26 March 1410) (in German: Matthäus von Knin
    Knin
    Knin is a historical town in the Šibenik-Knin county of Croatia, located near the source of the river Krka at , in the Dalmatian hinterland, on the railroad Zagreb–Split. Knin rose to prominence twice in history, as a one-time capital of both the Kingdom of Croatia and briefly of the...

    )
  • Mikuláš Biskupec z Pelhřimova  (1385 Poděbrady – 1460 Poděbrady) (in Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

    : Nicolaus Pilgramensis, in German: Nikolaus von Pelgrims)

Works


De ecclesia. The church, Jan Hus; David S Schaff, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915.

The letters of John Hus, Jan Hus; Herbert B Workman; R Martin Pope, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1904.

See also


  • Orthographia bohemica
    Orthographia bohemica
    De orthographia bohemica is an anonymously-authored Latin work from the early 15th century, in which the Czech language was given a codified spelling.The reformer Jan Hus is often suspected to be the work's author.-Provenance:...

    , a treatise thought to have been written by Jan Hus
  • Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
    Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
    Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York City is a Presbyterian church.The church is named for Jan Hus, a Bohemian priest who was a religious thinker and reformer. The church is located at 351 East 74th Street, New York, New York, in Manhattan's Upper East Side, in the area that was once known as...

    , a New York City church named after Jan Hus

Further reading

  • Matthew Spinka: 'John Hus at the Council of Constance' Columbia University Press
    Columbia University Press
    Columbia University Press is a university press based in New York City, and affiliated with Columbia University. It is currently directed by James D. Jordan and publishes titles in the humanities and sciences, including the fields of literary and cultural studies, history, social work, sociology,...

    , 1965 (Includes the eye-witness account by Peter of Mladonovice)
  • Count Lützow: Life & Times of Master John Hus, E.P. Dutton & Co. London, 1909
  • Josef Macek: The Hussite Movement in Bohemia, Orbis, Prague, 1958
  • Philip Schaff-Herzog: Encyclopedia of Religion
  • Richard Friedenthal: Jan Hus. Der Ketzer und das Jahrhundert der Revolutionskriege. 2. Auflage 1987, ISBN 3-492-10331-6
  • Fudge, Thomas A. The Magnificent Ride: The First Reformation in Hussite Bohemia, St. Andrews Studies in Reformation History. Aldershot, Hampshire
    Aldershot
    Aldershot is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about southwest of London. The town is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council...

    /Brookfield, Vermont
    Brookfield, Vermont
    Brookfield is a town in Orange County, Vermont, United States. It was created by Vermont charter on August 5, 1781. The population was 1,222 at the 2000 census. Brookfield is best known for its floating bridge which spans Sunset Lake buoyed by pontoons...

    : Ashgate, 2008
  • Wilhelm, J. (1910). Jan Hus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 16 May 2011 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07584b.htm

External links



Wikisource


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