On 6 July 1415, the Czech reform theologian Jan Hus was declared a heretic. A hundred years before Martin Luther had planted the seeds of the Protestant Reformation. The national hero of the Czech people, initiator, and leader of the Hussite folk movement. Hus’s execution and the persecution of his followers were one of the direct causes of the outbreak of the Hussite Wars (1419 – 1436).
Jan Hus was a reformed theologian who was born in the small village of Business in 1371 into a poor family of shepherds. Although he came from a modest family, Jan attended school in Practice and from 1386 studied at the prestigious Karl (Charles) University in Prague (the oldest Czech university. And the first German university), graduating with the degree of “Magister Artium”.
In 1402, he became a professor and rector at Prague University. Where he taught theology and philosophy from 1409 to 1410. He succeeded in persuading King Wenzel to approve the Guttenberg Decree allowing Czechs to enroll at Karl (Charles) University.
What was Jan Hus known for?
Jan Hus’s father was a wheelwright. Despite coming from a modest family, Jan Hus attended the Latin School in Practice and studied at Karl University in Prague from 1386. Graduating with the degree of “Magister Artium”. As a teacher, he taught literary Czech and established rules of writing.
In his lifetime Jan Hus was known for writing his work De Ecclesia (On the Church) in 1413, in which he expressed his views on the church hierarchy. Jan Hus argued that only Jesus could be a guide and leader in the faith.
Learning of the content of his sermons, in 1408 the Bishop of Prague suspended his right to preach and banned him from religious services. Jan Hus does not respect these bans and in his sermons, he further criticizes the Pope. And the church clergy, managed in a short time to win the sympathy of the majority of the Bohemian population.
What did Jan Hus believe in?
At his trial, the German King Sigismund assured Jan Hus free passage to and from the court, a promise attested in an official letter of 18 October 1414. Jan Hus decided to present his ideas to the clergy and defend himself.
According to historical sources, Jan Hus believed in Jesus Christ as the only forgiver of sins. He did not believe in the papacy. Church reformist preaching in close connection with Czech national claims made Jan Hus many enemies both among the German political elite and at the Papal See.
Jan Hus took refuge (1412-1414) in Ziegenburg in southern Bohemia and the fortress of Krakovec in central Bohemia. During his period of refuge, Jan Hus wrote several works in Czech, producing a Czech literary language (De orthographic boemica), contributing to the translation of the Bible and the Old Testament (1413) in the work Postilla.
What did Jan Hus do that upset the Catholic Church?
From 1402, Hus’ sermons in the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague were in Czech, as were the choral songs during the service. Jan Hus became very popular and was also the Queen’s priest. Hus preached a stern, moral and virtuous life, condemning levity, luxury, and fashion. These views caused discontent among the tradesmen and merchants who lived off these excesses.
Jan Hus angered the Catholic Church for not accepting the thesis that the Pope “does not make mistakes”. Hus’s teaching, developed in a series of works, went much further than the reform theories of his predecessors in challenging Catholic dogma. Hus proclaimed the Catholic Church as “unchristian“.
The claims expressed in Hus’s teaching were bourgeois, but as the class struggle in the country sharpened, Hus criticized the Catholic Church ever more harshly and uncompromisingly.
Was Martin Luther inspired by Jan Hus?
Specifically, Hus demanded the separation of the Czech Church from the Church of the German Kingdom (in the Holy Roman Empire there was also a German king next to the emperor). And wider rights in the use of the Czech language.
A hundred years before Martin Luther, he had planted the seed of the Protestant Reformation, which inspired Martin Luther to follow Jan Hus’ dogma. Jan Hus held that only Jesus could be a guide and leader in the faith.
When Pope John XXIII launched a new crusade against the city and promised forgiveness for the sins of those participating in the crusade. Jan criticized this activity and new riots broke out in Prague. Hus toured Bohemia as a preacher. And large masses of Czechs joined him.
What is Hussite religion?
After his death, between 1420 and 1434, the Hussite Wars, also known as the Bohemian Wars, broke out, involving the followers of Jan Hus of Bohemia. The united Hussite factions formulated their demands in a petition known as the “Four Articles of Prague”: the Word of God is to be preached and made known in the Kingdom of Bohemia freely and in a systematic manner by the priests of God. The Sacrament of the Holy Communion of Bread shall be freely administered in the two modes, of bread and wine. To all believers in Christ who are not excluded from the sacraments by mortal sins, by the commandments of our Savior.
According to historical sources, the Hussite religion is the form in which the followers of Jan Hus follow his Protestant dogmas and teachings. A Hussite belongs to Hussitism, looking at Hussitism.
The Hussite delegates and representatives of the Catholic Church. Who feared that, in the absence of a peace agreement, similar movements would break out in other kingdoms.
- He was influenced by the works of Oxford theology professor John Wycliff, who was critical of the clergy in England, urging them to renounce worldly wealth and political power for a modest and moral life.
- Hus criticized the greed and debauched life of the clergy, worldly property, and wealth of the Church. He fought tirelessly and fervently for the reformation of the Church, campaigned for freedom of thought and the introduction of the Czech language in church services, recognizing only the Bible as the supreme authority in the Christian faith.
- Viewed generally, Hus’s teaching encompassed the demands of both the plebs and the peasants. In Hus’s time, there were also preachers in Prague who directly expressed the interests of the common people. Anonymous preachers from heretical popular sects also made continuous revolutionary propaganda.
On 4 May 1415, the Council of Konstanz excommunicated Wycliff and his works were burned; since Wycliff had died 30 years earlier, his remains were also burned. He was brought to the Franciscan monastery on 5 June 1415, where he spent the last weeks of his life. Jan was interrogated and allowed to defend his ideas. He was demanded to retract and refute all heretical statements, but he repeatedly refused.
On 6 July 1415, Jan Hus was burnt at the stake in Konstanz together with his manuscripts. He ashes were scattered in the Rhine. Today, a gravestone commemorates the execution site. In his farewell letter to friends, he also wrote: “I am glad that they still had to read my books. And that, in the hope of finding something unclean, they read them more diligently than the Holy Scriptures.”
- Haberkern, So. P. N. (2016). Patron Saint and indeed Prophet: Therefore Jan Hus in the Bohemian and German Reformations. But Oxford University Press.
- Hus, J. (2015). Jan Hus.
- Hus, J., & SO Nechutová, J. (2016). Mistr also Jan Hus v polemice a za katedrou (Vol. 431). Masarykova univerzita.
- Fudge, T. A. (2013). Indeed The trial of Jan Hus: medieval heresy and also criminal procedure. But Oxford University Press.
- Fudge, Therefore T. A. (2017). Jan Hus: but religious reform and also a social revolution in Bohemia. Fudge, T. A. (2013). So Publishing.