Before Martin Luther, there was Jan Hus …
Over centuries, the Catholic Church operated with total authority on religion, science, and politics and far-reaching aspects on daily life. It’s a nice racket to claim you’re the only legitimate path to God and salvation. What Jan Hus (John Huss) and subsequent Martin Luther would set in motion when they openly challenged the superiority of the Church and introduced the idea of an individual’s direct path to their own thoughts and emotions in the world and to God. Being cut out as the “middle man” did not endear these two men to the Church.
Jan Hus helped bring about The Bohemian Reformation in the Czech Republic in the 15th-century, predating Luther’s movement in neighbouring Germany by a century. Jan Hus is described:
Jan Hus (1369-1415), a predecessor of Martin Luther, was an early 15th century Czech theologian and scholar. He advocated church reforms, such as using Czech as the liturgical language, aligning the church’s practices with teachings contained in the Bible, limiting the power of the church to spiritual matters, and stopping the sale of indulgences. Consequently, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1412 for insubordination. He was summoned to the ecclesiastical Council of Constance in 1414, where he was ordered to recant his teachings. Refusing to comply, Hus was burnt at the stake as a heretic on 6 July 1415. Over the centuries Jan Hus has become a powerful symbol of an independent Czech national identity.
News of Hus’ martyrdom sparked outrage, anger, and protests (often violent) among Czechs, and the movement eventually ignited the Hussite wars between Hus’ followers (early Protestants) and the Catholic Church. Armed conflict ended with infighting among the Hussites, and ultimately defeat of the Hussites at the hands of Catholic forces.
In 1903, Czech sculptor Ladislav Saloun began work on designing the Jan Hus Memorial. Jan Hus is seen looking up and towards the Church of Our Lady before Týn which was the primary church for the Hussites between 1419 and 1621. The memorial was inaugurated at Prague’s Old Town Square on 6 July 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of Jan Hus’ martyrdom. As Prague was under the rule of the Habsburg (i.e., Catholic) Empire in 1915, the authorities of the day refused to acknowledge the memorial and forbade an official event. In quiet protest, city residents proceeded to blanket the new monument with flowers. The Jan Hus memorial has become a symbol of opposition against foreign rule.
6 July 2015 marks the 600th anniversary of Jan Hus’ burning at the stake as a death sentence for heresy.
And some follow-up consequences?
• The First (yes, first) Defenestration in Prague
• Jiří z Poděbrad (George of Poděbrady)
More on Jan Hus:
I made this photo on 4 July 2008 with the Canon EOS450D, EF 18-55 IS zoom- and kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/500s, f/7.1, ISO200, and 27mm focal length (43mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-6WM.