Jan Hus: 1415 – 2015

iluminaceHe was born in 1370 in Husinec. He studied at the University in Prague, where he also taught and later he became its rector. He preached in the Bethlehem Chapel for ten years. The Bible became the basis of his teachings and life.

He pointed to the moral decay of the church in the early 15th century. He led Christians so that their faith manifested in their lives in truth, love and honesty. He adopted some ideas of the English theologian John Wycliffe. He criticized the granting of indulgences and the crusades. Even if the edict came from the Pope himself but conflicted with the Bible, it was not to be obeyed.

He had to leave Prague and retreated into exile at Kozí Hrádek and Krakovec castle, where he devoted himself to literary work. He is the author of many writings, in Latin and Czech, which are still a source of inspiration.

At the Council of Constance, where he was invited, Hus was condemned as a heretic. He was imprisoned, and when he refused to retract his views, he was burned at the stake on the 6th of July 1415. The ashes were thrown into the Rhine to prevent his followers from making his grave a place of pilgrimage. His immolation triggered protest in Bohemia and it inspired the Czech Reformation.

One hundred years later, Hus´ ideas and legacy became an inspiration for Martin Luther and other reformers in Europe. In Bohemia it found acclaim during the establishment of the independent state represented by T. G. Masaryk.

In 1999 Pope John Paul II emphasized Hus´s moral courage and expressed deep regret over his cruel death and named him a Reformer of the Church.

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