15th century Prague witnessed an astonishing rise of Church. Many ecclestials were living a lavish lifestyle, were obese and promiscuous. The transformation of religious authorities into salesmen was criticized not only by people, but also by priests like Jan Hus. He was a poor preacher who refused the new model of Church and decided to confront it.
The biggest issue was the sale of “indulgence” – this fee could buy you forgiveness, no matter what was the sin. Hus called it immoral and appealed to his supporters not to give any money to the Catholic priests. He was heavily influenced by John Wiclif, an English church-reformer. On the other hand, Hus inspired the likes of Martin Luther or Ulrych Zwingli.
Then king Wenceslas IV was afraid of the outspoken preacher and his growing influence on believers. Czech people were radical about the lectures of Hus and were willing to fight for them. A powerful and rich Church is not in accord with the Bible and demoralizes its members. But Jan Hus didn’t believe in violent wars and called them the biggest evil. Due to the almost protestant atmosphere in Middle Europe, an international church council was held in Constanz, a Swiss city by the Boden Lake. Hus was sent there by new Czech King Sigmund.
Hus was prepared to defend his opinions and beliefs, but didn’t get the chance. He was immediately imprisoned and condemned by the Catholic council. On 6th July 1415 he was burnt to death as a heretic. The date is an important Czech holiday, but the Catholic Church wanted to overshadow it by setting the day of Saints Cyril and Method on 5th July.
Jan Hus is definitely not a favorite of the Catholic Church, but is a religious icon and continues to live in the hearts of Czech people and believers of all kinds. He is being remembered not only as an important philosopher and religion theoretician. He also reformed Czech grammar and translated foreign writings into Czech language. His speeches and works sparked the upcoming Hussite Movement.