Shortly before his death Huss had accepted a doctrine preached during his absence by his adherents at Prague, namely that of "utraquism," i.e.
HUSSITES, the name given to the followers of John Huss (1369-1415), the Bohemian reformer.
They were at first often called Wycliffites, as the theological theories of Huss were largely founded on the teachings of Wycliffe.
Huss indeed laid more stress on church reform than on theological controversy.
The Hussite movement assumed a revolutionary character as soon as the news of the death of Huss reached Prague.
The knights and nobles of Bohemia and Moravia, who were in favour of church reform, sent to the council at Constance (September 2nd, 1415) a protest, known as the "protestatio Bohemorum" which condemned the execution of Huss in the strongest language.
A certain number of Hussites lead by Nicolas of Hus - no relation of John Huss - left Prague.
Krummel, Geschichte der bohmischen Reformation (Gotha, 1866) and Utraquisten and Taboriten (Gotha, 1871); Ernest Denis, Huss et la guerre des Hussites (Paris, 1878); H.
Autenrieth (1772-1835), Heinrich Gustav Magnus (1802-1870), Huss and others.
The former cathedral church was mainly built 1069-1089, but was later gothicized; near the west end of the nave a plate in the floor marks the spot where Huss stood when condemned to death, while in the midst of the choir is the brass which covered the grave of Robert Hallam, bishop of Salisbury, who died here in 1417, during the council.
JOHN HUSS (or HUS), (c. 1373-1415), Bohemian reformer and martyr, was born at Hussinecz,' a market village at the foot of the Bohmerwald, and not far from the Bavarian frontier, between 1 373 and 1375, the exact date being uncertain.
This appoinment had a deep influence on the already vigorous religious life of Huss himself; and one of the effects of the earnest and independent study of Scripture into which it led him was a profound conviction of the great value not only of the philosophical but also of the theological writings of Wycliffe.
This newly-formed sympathy with the English reformer did not, in the first instance at least, involve Huss in any conscious opposition to the established doctrines of Catholicism, or in any direct conflict with the authorities of the church; and for 1 From which the name Huss, or more properly Hus, an abbreviation adopted by himself about 1396, is derived.
The result of their report was that all pilgrimage thither from the province of Bohemia was prohibited by the archbishop on pain of excommunication, while Huss, with the full sanction of his superior, gave to the world his first published writing, entitled De Omni Sanguine Christi Glorificato, in which he declaimed in no measured terms against forged miracles and ecclesiastical greed, urging Christians at the same time to desist from looking for sensible signs of Christ's presence, but rather to seek Him in His enduring word.
More than once also Huss, together with his friend Stanislaus of Znaim, was appointed to be synod preacher, and in this capacity he delivered at the provincial councils of Bohemia many faithful admonitions.
But it was only slowly that the growing sympathy of Huss with Wycliffe unfavourably affected his relations with his colleagues in the priesthood.
In 1408, however, the clergy of the city and archiepiscopal diocese of Prague laid before the archbishop a formal complaint against Huss, arising out of strong expressions with regard to clerical abuses of which he had made use in his public discourses; and the result was that, having been first deprived of his appointment as synodal preacher, he was, after a vain attempt to defend himself in writing, publicly forbidden the exercise of any priestly function throughout the diocese.
With this end King Wenceslaus of Bohemia had requested the co-operation of the archbishop and his clergy, and also the support of the university, in both instances unsuccessfully, although in the case of the latter the Bohemian "nation," with Huss at its head, had only been overborne by the votes of the Bavarians, Saxons and Poles.
It was a dangerous triumph for Huss; for his popularity at court and in the general community had been secured only at the price of clerical antipathy everywhere and of much German ill-will.
Among the first results of the changed order of things were on the one hand the election of Huss (October 1409) to be again rector of the university, but on the other hand the appointment by the archbishop of an inquisitor to inquire into charges of heretical teaching and inflammatory preaching brought against him.
This decree, as soon as it was published in Prague (March 9, 1410), led to much popular agitation, and provoked an appeal by Huss to the pope's better informed judgment; the archbishop, however, resolutely insisted on carrying out his instructions, and in the following July caused to be publicly burned, in the courtyard of his own palace, upwards of 200 volumes of the writings of Wycliffe, while he pronounced solemn sentence of excommunication against Huss and certain of his friends, who had in the meantime again protested and appealed to the new pope (John XXIII.).
By his bold and thorough-going opposition to this mode of procedure against Ladislaus, and still more by his doctrine that indulgence could never be sold without simony, and could not be lawfully granted by the church except on condition of genuine contrition and repentance, Huss at last isolated himself, not only from the archiepiscopal party under Albik of Unitschow, but also from the theological faculty of the university, and especially from such men as Stanislaus of Znaim and Stephen Paletz, who until then had been his chief supporters.
A popular demonstration, in which the papal bulls had been paraded through the streets with circumstances of peculiar ignominy and finally burnt, led to intervention by Wenceslaus on behalf of public order; three young men, for having openly asserted the unlawfulness of the papal indulgence after silence had been enjoined, were sentenced to death (June 1412); the excommunication against Huss was renewed, and the interdict again laid on all places which should give him shelter - a measure which now began to be more strictly regarded by the clergy, so that in the following December Huss had no alternative but to yield to the express wish of the king by temporarily withdrawing from Prague.
A provincial synod, held at the instance of Wenceslaus in February 1413, broke up without having reached any practical result; and a commission appointed shortly afterwards also failed to bring about a reconciliation between Huss and his adversaries.
The objects originally contemplated had been the restoration of the unity of the church and its reform in head and members; but so great had become the prominence of Bohemian affairs that to these also a first place in the programme of the approaching oecumenical assembly required to be assigned, and for their satisfactory settlement the presence of Huss was necessary.
This safe conduct, which had been frequently printed, stated that Huss should, whatever judgment might be passed on him, be allowed to return freely to Bohemia.
On the 4th of December the pope appointed a commission of three bishops to investigate the case against the heretic, and to procure witnesses; to the demand of Huss that he might be permitted to employ an agent in his defence a favourable answer was at first given, but afterwards even this concession to the forms of justice was denied.
Took place on the 10th of March, an event which furnished a pretext for the removal of Huss from the Dominican convent to a more secure and more severe place of confinement under the charge of the bishop of Constance at Gottlieben on the Rhine.
It was not, however, until the 5th of June that the case of Huss came up for hearing; the meeting, which was an exceptionally full one, took place in the refectory of the Franciscan cloister.
The propositions which had been extracted from the De Ecclesia were again brought up, and the relations between Wycliffe and Huss were discussed, the object of the prosecution being to fasten upon the latter the charge of having entirely adopted the doctrinal system of the former, including especially a denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation.
The value of Huss as a scholar was formerly Underrated.
In 1406 a document appeared purporting to be the testimony of the university in favour of Wycliffe; its genuineness was disputed at the time, and when quoted by Huss at the council of Constance it was repudiated by the English delegates.
This book, dealing chiefly with Wycliffe and Huss, and coming down to 150o, formed the first outline of the Actes and Monuments.
Almost the whole Bohemian nation therefore espoused the cause of Huss (q.v.).
Wenceslas on the occasion of these disputes displayed the weakness and irresolution that always characterized him, but Queen Sophia openly favoured the cause of Huss, who for some time was her confessor.
Huss was tried before the council of Constance, to which he had proceeded with a letter of safe conduct given by Wenceslas's brother Sigismund, king of the Romans.
The inevitable and immediate result of this event was the outbreak of civil war in Bohemia, where Huss was greatly revered by the large majority of the population.
The nobles of Bohemia and Moravia met at Prague on the 2nd of September 1415, and sent to the council the famed Protestatio Bohemorum, in which they strongly protested against the execution of Huss, " a good, just and catholic man who had for many years been favourably known in the Kingdom by his life, conduct and fame, and who had been convicted of no offence."
Immediately after the death of Huss many priests who refused to administer communion in the two kinds - now the principal tenet of the adherents of Huss - had been expelled from their parishes.
Huss, like many of his contemporaries in Bohemia, wrote both in Bohemian and in Latin.
Of the Bohemian writings of Huss, who contributed greatly to the development of his native language, the most important is his V yklad viry, desatera Boziho prikazani, a patere (exposition of the creed, the ten commandments and the Lord's Prayer) written in 1412.
The years that followed the death of Huss formed in Bohemia a period of incessant theological strife.