Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 4, John, Curé of Janowitz, to the faithful believers of Prague

For other English-language translations of this work, see Master John Cardinalis to his Bohemian Friends.



[Fragments of a letter attributed to John, Curé of Janowitz, and inserted in the latin collection of John Huss's letters.[1]]

Very dear Friends, I desire you to be informed that an auditor of the Sacred Apostolical Palace came to our lodging with the Bishop and the Ecclesiastical Judge of Constance. They conversed with the master;[2] and there has been a long debate between the Pope and the Cardinals on the subject of his interdiction. They have decided a messenger should go from them to the master, and inform him that the Pope, of his full power, suspends the interdiction and sentence excommunicating him, and prays him, in order to prevent scandal and public rumour, not to present himself in places where the Pope and the Cardinals solemnly officiate; granting him otherwise full liberty to visit the town, the churches, and all other places he pleases. We have understood that they all fear the next sermon which Master John intends delivering to the clergy; and, in fact, some one yesterday—we know not whether a friend or an enemy—spread the report that John Huss will preach to the clergy next Sunday in the Cathedral of Constance, and will give a ducat to all who are present. We are at present entirely at liberty in the town. The Master officiates every day, and acts everywhere freely. He does not keep at a distance from the king’s council, that, in the cause of truth, which is also his own, nothing may be undertaken against him before the arrival of the King of Hungary.[3] The Council has not yet taken the affair into consideration; up to this time there has not arrived any ambassador from the king or prince, neither from Gregory nor Benedict; and we do not think the Council will open its sittings before several weeks. Let all those who are personally cited be careful of themselves, and know well that their names are publicly affixed to the church-doors. Michael Causis chants his high deeds. The Seigniors John Lepka and Wenceslaus of Lesma are the intrepid and zealous defenders of the truth.[4]

[Written at Constance on the Sunday before Saint Martin’s day.]

  1. This letter is important, as it shews in what manner Huss was treated during the early part of his stay at Constance.
  2. With John Huss.
  3. The King of Hungary, to whom John of Janowitz here alludes, is Sigismund, the second son of Charles IV., and brother of Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia. This prince succeeded Robert to the imperial throne; and the distinguished part he took in the Council of Constance is well known. At that period he had not yet been crowned, and was usually only designated by the titles of King of Hungary, and King of the Romans, although he was, in fact, Emperor. To avoid all confusion, we have already given him his imperial title, and shall continue doing so throughout.
  4. John of Janowitz terminates his letter with the following jeu de