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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Jan Hus

The Bohemian religious reformer, Jan Hus, was born in 1370 in Husinec, Bohemia (now Czech Republic).

After studying at the University of Prague, Hus became a Catholic priest, and in 1402 he began preaching inside the city demanding for the reformation of the Church. He attacked the corruption of the clergy and condemned the sale of indulgences and stressed the importance of Scripture. Hus also criticized clerics for refusing to let the congregation partake of the wine during communion, a right that was reserved just for the clergy.

Hus was influenced by the writings of the British scholar John Wycliffe. Although Church authorities banned many works of Wycliffe in 1403, Hus translated Trialogus into Czech and helped to distribute it.

Jan Hus by an unknown author, 16th century

A safe conduct was issued by Sigismund, the German king and emperor elect to allow Hus to attend the Council of Constance. However Sigismund repudiated his pledge and Hus was arrested and sentenced to death. He was burnt at the stake in Constance on July 6, 1415 and died singing a hymn.

After his death, the followers of Hus's religious teachings (known as Hussites) rebelled against their Roman Catholic rulers and defeated five consecutive papal crusades between 1420 and 1431 in what became known as the Hussite Wars.

Hus is considered the first Church reformer, and many of his teachings were later taken up by Martin Luther.

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