The life and times of Master John Hus/Chapter 1
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MASTER JOHN HUS
EUROPE AND BOHEMIA AT THE TIME OF HUS
Hostility to the Church of Rome is almost as ancient as the prosperity of that church. The fabled “donation of Constantine,” the subject of the lamentations of and so many other mediæval writers, certainly denotes a landmark in the history of the church. The suffering early church has, in the Christian martyrs, given to humanity some of its noblest types, and the comparison of to these sufferers frequently recurs in the writings of the Bohemians. When Constantine granted to the church, not indeed sovereign power, but great authority and riches, a very sudden change took place. The contrast between the martyrs of the year 313 and the wealthy and worldly prelates who, under imperial presidency, discussed matters of dogma at Nicæa in 325 is very great. Henceforth the power and influence of the church constantly increase and the conception of the priest as an individual who, by virtue of his office, is superior to the layman, becomes more and more widely spread. As in many cases the life of the layman was simpler, more moral, more virtuous than that of the priest, this assumption caused great animosity against the clergy. Claims such as that of receiving communion more frequently, and of partaking of the sacrament in the two kinds—a favour not granted to laymen—were constantly brought forward by the priests, particularly in Bohemia. These pretentions, indeed, played a very great part in the Bohemian movement for church-reform, for the Bohemians considered them as indicating an ever-increasing endeavour on the part of the priests to raise new barriers between themselves and those who were not in holy orders. Thence sprang the fervent devotion of the Bohemians to the chalice which has surprised many writers, and has exposed the Bohemians to the ridicule of both ultramontanes and agnostics ever since the days of Hus. To the Hussites the chalice was an emblem signifying the equality of all true Christians.
The ideal object of all mediæval opponents of the Church of Rome was a return to the simplicity of the primitive church, and the poverty of the clergy which that return was considered to imply. All those who, in mediæval times, wished to rescue the church from the evil plight into which it had fallen—whether they remained in the Church of Rome or were excluded from it—felt and expressed profound veneration for poverty. As Cardinal Newman writes: “It will not be denied that, according to the Scripture view of the church, though all are admitted into her pale, and the rich inclusively, yet the poor are her members with a peculiar suitableness and by a special right. Scripture is ever casting slurs upon wealth and making much of poverty.”
It has often been noted that, during the long struggle between the popes and the rulers of Germany, known as the contest about investitures, the German emperors very rarely appealed to the popular feeling in their contest with the Roman pontiffs. We find, of course, an exception in the case of This case is, however, an isolated one, and though the victory of the papacy over Germany cannot be considered a complete one, the tendency to increase the authority and powers of the pope and of the upper ranks of the Roman hierarchy at the expense of the parish-priests and laymen continued, with brief interruptions, up to the time of Hus. The Hussite movement, indeed, can be considered as the first serious obstacle which confronted the extreme autocratic tendencies of Rome. As has been often pointed out, these tendencies were greatly aided by the development of the study of canonic law. These codes, founded on the writings of the jurists of imperial Rome, who maintained the absolute and unlimited power of the sovereign, strongly favoured the claims of the popes to a similar unrestricted authority. The excessive study of canonic law to the detriment of the study of the Bible greatly displeased those who wished the church to be poor and pure. One of the earliest Bohemian reformers, Matthew of Janov, has expressed himself strongly on this subject., who, after his deposition by Pope at the Council of Lyons in 1245, appealed to the sovereigns of Europe against the pontiff.
In close connection with the papal claim of unrestricted authority was the question of the validity of the sacraments when dispensed by unworthy priests. It is difficult to overrate the importance of this question; for if it was admitted that immoral or dishonest priests could not validly administer the sacraments, the whole system of the papal hierarchy ceased to be sustainable. The popular mind was far more agitated by questions such as these than by the subtleties of dogmatic controversy on which later writers have laid so great a stress.
As already mentioned, the rulers of Germany had, during their prolonged struggle with papacy, entirely confined themselves to endeavours to limit the influence of the popes on the politics of Germany. If we except the belated attempt of Frederick II., nothing was done to arrest the development of the Roman hierarchy in an ever-increasingly absolutist sense. The German rulers also made but slight attempts to enlist to their side the popular feeling then strongly opposed to the Roman hierarchy, many of whose members were believed by the people to be haughty, avaricious, and devoid of all morality.
In the subsequent struggle between the papacy and the kings of France, matters were different. Writers such as John of Paris and Egydius Colonna, Archbishop of Bourges, strongly opposed the papal claims, and the latter went so far as to deny to the pontiff all right to temporal power. In this struggle the kings of France were victorious, and it was one of the results of their victory that the papal court was transferred to Avignon, a city in the immediate vicinity of the French territory, and which was under the rule of a relation of the King of France. During this struggle between papacy and the rulers of France, the University of Paris played a very great part, and it became for a time the central authority in France on questions of theology; its position was somewhat similar to that of the University of Prague at the beginning of the Hussite wars. The University of Paris thus acquired great fame and students flocked to it from all parts of Europe. Among them was Matthew of Janov, one of the earliest Bohemian church-reformers, whose name will be frequently met in these pages.
The successful struggle of France against papacy was no doubt one of the causes of the energetic resistance offered to Rome by Louis of Bavaria, King of the Germans. A man of moderate intelligence, he entirely overlooked the immense difference between the position of a ruler of Germany, where the local potentates were ever increasing their power, and that of a king of France—a country in which even then a contrary, that is to say, a centralist tendency, began to appear. As had been the case in France, in Germany also, the sovereign found able literary men who devoted much talent and erudition to the defence of Louis of Bavaria. Such men were Marsiglio of Padua, John of Jandun, , and others. If, on the whole, Louis’s struggle with papacy may be considered as having been unsuccessful, this cannot be entirely attributed to his incompetence, but to a certain extent also to the extreme vehemence of his literary allies, which alienated many moderate-minded men. These were fully aware of the necessity for church-reform—no right-minded man at that time could fail to perceive it—but they objected to the revolutionary character of some of the writings of Louis’s allies. This applies particularly to Marsiglio of Padua’s Defensor Pacis. In this strange work almost all the subsequent attacks on papacy are foreshadowed, and it has, as has written, already what may be called a “Protestant” character. The Defensor is one of the most important works that belong to the Middle Ages. It contains the germ not only of Protestantism, but also of all those liberal and democratic views that only attained their full development centuries later. I shall here, however, as far as the necessary coherence of my work permits, limit myself to outlining that part of Marsiglio’s work in which he expresses opinions similar to those of Hus and the other Bohemian reformers. Marsiglio of Padua, born in the city of that name about the year 1270, studied for a considerable time at the University of Paris and was, in 1312, rector of that university. It is stated that in Paris he fell under the influence of William of Occam. They were men of about the same age, but it is probable—though the dates of the works of both writers are uncertain—that Occam expressed disagreement with the papal rule at an earlier period than Marsiglio. The latter appears also at this period already to have made the acquaintance of several Italian and German scholars—mostly monks belonging to the order of the minorites—who afterwards became his allies when he undertook to defend the cause of King Louis against papal agression. Marsiglio, whose views were on most subjects entirely opposed to those then generally accepted by the Roman Church, appears to have at this period already incurred the suspicion of heresy. It was at Paris that, in conjunction with his colleague, John of Jandun, he composed his masterpiece, the Defensor Pacis. It was reported that the two scholars had written the book in the space of two months. To all those who have even a superficial acquaintance with the Defensor this can only mean that it was during that time that they gathered together and shaped into a unity the results of many years of study. With this newly-written book as an introduction, Marsiglio and Jandun proceeded to the court of King Louis, who was then residing at Nürnberg.
As Dr. Riezler has written, the Defensor is one “of those books that have been more praised than read.” The reason is not far to seek. The constant repetitions, the incessant minute definitions, and all the armoury of mediæval scholasticism render the book most difficult and tedious to read. The mediævalism of the form of the book is the more striking when we note how very modern are the ideas which it contains. After referring to the necessity of peace in the world, a wish from which Marsiglio derived the name of his book, the author first gives a definition of the state, founded on , in accordance with whom he also enumerates the different forms of government. Every state should be governed by laws, and all citizens, with the exception of foreigners, bondsmen, and women, should act as legislators. The prince, being human, cannot be considered as being infallible, and he should therefore be controlled in his actions by the legislators. In the last—nineteenth—chapter of the first part, Marsiglio raises the question why this system, which would ensure peace, cannot be carried out. The answer is: Because of the extreme power which, since the donation of Constantine, the church has acquired, and because of the interference of the clergy in temporal matters. This leads to the second part, which is far more important for the study of Hus, whose ideas Marsiglio here frequently anticipates. In this part the author deals with papacy, priesthood, and their relations to the temporal power. Marsiglio begins by defining the conception “church” (ecclesia), which according to him can be described as being the community of all who believe in Christ, be they priests or laymen. The following chapters deal with the authority of the pope to act as judge and ruler. By means of a vast array of biblical passages quoted in the manner usual in the scholastic school, the writer endeavours to prove that the pope has no legislative or punitive power over laymen, or even over priests, except so far and so long as it is granted to him by the temporal authorities. In chapter seven, Marsiglio proceeds to dispute the papal right to excommunicate temporal sovereigns or officials—a power that the popes had during their prolonged struggles with the German and French sovereigns frequently misused. The right of excommunication, according to Marsiglio, belongs only to the whole Christian community or to a general council representing it. Marsiglio then expresses disapproval of the exemption of the clergy from temporal jurisdiction, a rule that then and for many years afterwards was universally accepted. He next denies the power of the popes to inflict temporal punishment on heretics. Such men, he writes, should be punished by the civil power, but only if their conduct is also in opposition to civil law. After these deductions—of which I have here only given a brief outline—limiting in many respects the then generally admitted powers of Rome, Marsiglio devotes the following chapters to a definition of apostolic poverty. Like all antagonists of papacy, he lays great stress on this point, which, in consequence of the luxury, immorality, and avarice of the clergy of that time, was always before the mind of all thoughtful men. Christ, Marsiglio writes, did not sanction this pride and avarice; He, though it was in His power to appear in the world as a great king, yet preferred poverty. Marsiglio then studies the constitution of the church; like many other church-reformers he declares that the distinction between bishops and priests (presbyteros) does not go back to the time of Christ, but was established far later. In chapter seventeen, which treats of the “authority by whom bishops and other priests and servants of the church should be appointed,” Marsiglio declares that Christ alone is the Head of the church. The apostles were consecrated by Christ Himself, and the apostles ordained their immediate successors. Afterwards the priests were chosen by the community of the faithful, or by persons delegated by them. The writer then maintains the unity of the church, which can have but one creed founded exclusively on the teaching of Scripture. Scripture undoubtedly requires interpretation, and we cannot accept any other interpreter than a universal council inspired by the Holy Ghost. No such authority can be claimed by the popes, who have frequently erred and even fallen under the suspicion of heresy. Marsiglio then again refers to the gradual development of the papal primacy. Beginning, as was customary, with the donation of Constantine, he notes how the power of the Roman bishops, and with it the self-assertion of the pontiffs in their relations to temporal rulers, continued uninterruptedly to increase. After strongly insisting on the depravation of the papal court and of the higher ecclesiastics, who despised theological studies while they cherished the legists who were, through their knowledge of canonic law, able to support the unjustified claims of the priesthood, Marsiglio proceeds to discuss the conflict then raging between papacy and his patron, King Louis. It is difficult to overrate the historical importance of the Defensor Pacis. Many subsequent church-reformers have, perhaps unknowingly, borrowed from him; for the ideas contained in the Defensor seem to have been so generally shared by the thinkers of the time that they had almost become common property. As regards Hus, Dr. Lenz has, writing on the treatise De Ecclesia of Hus, declared—rightly from his standpoint as a Roman Catholic priest—that many statements contained in the treatise had already been declared heretical when Pope , in 1327, decreed that the Defensor Pacis was a work “false, heretical, and contrary to Scripture.”
The writings of William of Occam also express views on the government of the church and the power of the pope which anticipate those of  John XXII. expanded the pretensions of the papal see in a manner that none of his predecessors had attempted. Occam writes as a strong defender of the authority of temporal rulers. The pope, he declares, has no right to secular authority. Christ neither exercised nor claimed such a power.and Hus. Occam’s work was written during the pontificate of John XXII., who, mainly from political motives, and through the influence of France, waged a bitter and prolonged war against Germany. Though himself accused, not entirely without foundation, of professing heretical views,
This brief note on the state of Europe about the time of the birth of Hus is in many respects applicable to Bohemia. Yet the geographical and ethnographical position of the country and its history placed Bohemia in a position that was somewhat different from that of Western Europe. The country first received Christianity from the East, and though it afterwards acknowledged the rule of Rome—forming at first part of the archdiocese of Maintz in Germany, and being since the time of under the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Prague—yet it is certain that many of the rites and regulations of Rome were accepted in Bohemia later than in most European countries. Celibacy of the clergy became general at a late period and very gradually. Communion in the two kinds continued to be customary up to the fourteenth century, though the learned work of the gifted Professor has proved that it had probably died out before the time of Hus. The Bohemian exile, Paul Stransky, writing in the seventeenth century, states that the Eastern Church continued to have adherents among humbler men in Bohemia even after Romanism had been generally accepted. If we consider the great tenacity of the Bohemian people, which has so often been blamed by its enemies and praised by its friends, it does not appear improbable that this may have been the case, at least for a considerable period. Thus when the terrible persecution of all opponents of Rome that began in Bohemia in 1620 was ended by the “Toleranz Patent” of the Emperor Joseph II. in 1781, it was ascertained that in outlying parts of the country many peasants had, during this long period, continued to hold religious services according to the Hussite rites.
It is at any rate certain that, during the latter part of the nineteenth century, many prominent Russian scholars such as Novikov, Helferding, Vasiljew, and Palmov have, following the example of Stransky, maintained that the connection of Bohemia with the Eastern Church was of more importance and longer duration than had formerly been supposed. Some of these writers have even maintained that the Hussite movement itself was an attempt of the Bohemian people to return to the church from which it had first received Christianity. This supposition is entirely unfounded. It can be stated positively that we find in Hus no trace of the influence of the Eastern Church, though we cannot affirm this with the same certainty with regard to Jerome of Prague. It is a proof of the close connection between political and ecclesiastical matters that exists up to the present day in Austria, Bohemia, and Eastern Europe, that the question of the connection of Bohemia with the Eastern Church acquired a certain political importance during the period (1866–1872) when Russian opinion, and to a far lesser extent Russian diplomacy, supported the Bohemians in their struggle against the centralist policy of Vienna.
At the time when Bohemia first became part of the domain of the Western Church, it appears to have preserved a far greater degree of independence than did countries lying farther west. Immediately after the acceptation of the Roman rites the country was under the rule of the German Bishop of Regensburg; but when in 973 the bishopric of Prague was founded, it was but loosely connected with Rome. Its administrators were, on the other hand, greatly dependent on the rulers of Bohemia who considered them as their chaplains. For several centuries after the foundation of the bishopric of Prague, the influence of the papal see on the lands of the Bohemian crown was very insignificant. The supremacy of Rome, indeed, only finds expression in the fact that the popes confirmed the most important decrees of the Bohemian sovereigns which referred to ecclesiastical matters. This state of semi-independence in the course of time became displeasing to the rulers of the Western church. On several occasions papal legates appeared in Bohemia, who endeavoured to bring the Bohemian Church into closer subjection to Rome. They, however, encountered the hostility both of the sovereigns and of the people of Bohemia, and when, during the long contest about investitures, the rulers of Bohemia sided with the German emperors, all relations between Rome and Bohemia ceased for a considerable time.
The beginning of the thirteenth century is noteworthy as being the moment when a great change took place. Henceforth the power of the Roman Church incessantly increases. In Bohemia, as elsewhere, that church endeavoured to introduce obligatory celibacy among the clergy, and this demand appeared particularly arbitrary to the Bohemians who had first received Christianity from the Eastern Church. Their priests had hitherto almost all been married men, who were attached by family ties to the other members of the community. Thus Cosmas the chronicler, the earliest of Bohemian historians, though a canon of Prague, dedicated his great historical work to the memory of his wife, Bozetecha. In Bohemia, as elsewhere, it became part of the papal policy to establish—by enforcing the celibacy of the clergy—a caste apart from the laity, and subject only to the will of Rome. These attempts met with strong opposition on the part of the Bohemian priests. Thus we read that in 1197 the papal legate, Peter of Capua, who demanded that those who were to be ordained should take the vow of chastity, was nearly killed by the indignant priests. In the course of the thirteenth century, however, celibacy gradually became general among the Bohemian clergy.
Henceforth it may be also stated that the Roman pontiffs interfered more frequently in the internal organisation of the Bohemian Church. “Letters of immunity,” which released monasteries from the jurisdiction of the bishops, are very often met with, and they greatly strengthened the Roman influence in the country. Gradually and cautiously the popes also introduced into Bohemia the practice of granting “provisions” on bishoprics and abbeys, thus rendering illusory the right of the chapters to elect the bishops and abbots. These “provisions” became very frequent during the rule of the avaricious Pope John XXII., and still more so during that of who were supported by Rome or the Bohemian court succeeded in obtaining benefices., who appointed two of his nephews, William and Nicholas Roget, to canonries at the Cathedral of Prague. As Dr. Krofta writes in his study, to which I have already referred, the Cathedral of Prague was so charged with papal “provisions” that it had become almost impossible to obtain a benefice there except by virtue of such a provision. The discontent which such an abuse naturally caused was aggravated by the fact that its profits fell almost exclusively into the hands of foreigners—friends either of the papal see or of the Bohemian court. That court at a period when the Bohemian kings were often German or Roman emperors frequently had an anti-national character. Of the native priests, also, generally those
Of the Bohemian clergy as constituted in accordance with this new system it is impossible to speak otherwise than in terms of the severest reprobation. It was a general complaint that the priests neglected the duties of their office; many, indeed, entirely absented themselves, though they continued to draw the revenues of their benefices. Almost all the priests were accused of avarice and simony—an offence that had become so general that Hus devoted to it one of his best-known treatises. The pious Ernest of Pardubice, first Archbishop of Prague, was obliged to complain in one of his provincial statutes that many priests refused to celebrate burial and marriage services, to hear confessions, to administer the sacraments of communion and extreme unction, and indeed to perform any ecclesiastical functions except on payment of money. The regulations certainly forbade such payments, and declared that the penalty was to be deprivation of the benefice should the priest himself commit the offence, or imprisonment if the culprit was the vicar, or any other person acting for the priest. The enactments of the pious archbishop unfortunately proved ineffectual, and the abuses mentioned above continued and even increased up to the time of Hus. Ineffectual also were the repeated enactments which forbade priests to frequent taverns, to hunt, to wear laymen’s clothes, and to carry arms. The gravest and most serious grievance, however, and the one to which Hus and his forerunners constantly refer, was the appalling immorality of the clergy. The Latin reports on the archdeaconal inspection held in Prague, in 1379 and 1380, present a most repulsive picture. It is stated that of the thirty-two parish priests of Prague sixteen were notorious because of their, evil life, and much evidence of a most shocking character was produced by other priests and by inhabitants of the streets adjoining the parsonages. This inspection did not include the higher dignitaries of the church, but we find numerous and unfavourable reports on their conduct in contemporary records. A large number of these dignitaries lived in open concubinage. Thus we read that Stephen, canon of Prague, chief writer of Bohemia, had several sons whom he openly recognised. One of these, “John, son of master Stephen, chief writer of the kingdom of Bohemia,” was, under this designation, entered in the register of the University of Prague. The canon of Vysehrad, John Pecnik, a teacher (scholasticus) , had several daughters whom he recognised, and one of whom he married to a tailor. These cases seem to differ somewhat from those mentioned previously, and it is difficult not to believe that the celibacy of the clergy was in the pre-Hussite period less firmly established in Bohemia than most writers have stated. It is certain that after the death of Hus the marriages of priests immediately became general and met with little or no opposition. Unfortunately, cases of gross and coarse immorality were also frequent among the dignitaries of the Bohemian Church. Thus the rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist at Prague complained that in the house of John of Landstein, provost of Melnik, “the porter and portress gave shelter to disorderly women, for the provost and his brothers, Vitek and Litold, and that monks, married men, and people of all sorts were admitted there.”
The impression produced on pious men by such conduct, which appeared to them not only as a sin and scandal but also as a sacrilege, cannot be exaggerated. Though the reading of Scripture was discouraged, the Bible was in the hands of many pious men. They felt certain that so sinful a world would perish shortly. Thence sprang the constant reference to the appearance of Antichrist, with which we meet not only in the writings of Hus, but also in those of his forerunners and successors.
There were thus many reasons why the general opposition to papacy caused by the schism and the coarse and even blasphemous polemics which accompanied it was stronger in Bohemia than elsewhere, and had in that country more permanent and more weighty results.
- Cardinal Newman, Historical Sketches, vol. i. p. 341, ed. of 1894.
- In the course of this letter the emperor writes: “Semper fuit nostrae voluntatis intentio clericos cujusumque ordinis ad hoc inducere, et praecipue ad ilium statum reducere ut tales persevereut in fine quales fuerunt in ecclesia primitiva apostolicam vitam ducentes et humilitatem dominicam imitantes. (Huillard Bréholles, Historia diplomatica Frederici Secundi, quoted by Lechler.)
- He writes: “Magis nunc sunt in precio doctrine et studium eorum que vulgo jura canonica dicuntur quam studium biblie, prophetarum et evangeliorum et multo pinquiores transferunt ad studendum jura et leges quam sanctam theologiam et studentes talium legum et doctrinarum humanarum magis et cicius promoventur quam scribe et docti in lege Jesu Christi et theologia.” (Mattheas de Janov, Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti. I have preserved the spelling as printed by Dr. Kybal from the MS.)
- Egydius writes: “Tertio declarandum est quod Christus in institutione spiritualis potestatis nullum commisit vel potius promisit Dominium terrenorum. . . . Ecce Christus Jesus, Rex Regum Dominus dominantium regale fugit dominium et fastuosum fastigium. Iqitur qua ratione vel autoritate vicarius ejus vindicabit sibi culmen vel nomen Regiae dignitatis?” (Goldast., Monarchia Imperii Romani, tom. ii. p. 95 and ff.)
- The best account of the lives and writings of these men is still that given by Dr. Riezler in his brilliant work, Die Liter Literarischen Widersacher der Päpste.
- Compare Hus, De Ecclesia, chapter xv.: “Tunc autem non ordinaverat (Deus) nisi Diaconos et Presbyteros, tunc etiam idem presbyter erat et episcopus, ut ait Hieronymus ut et patet ex texto Apostoli. . . .”
- The passage is so important that it may be given in Marsiglio’s own words: “Expedit narrare primum institutionis et determinationis episcoporum seu presbyterorum modum circa statum et initium ecclesiae primitivae unde cetera postmodum derivata sunt. Horum autem omnium principium accipiendum est a Christo qui caput est et petra super quam fundata est ecclesia catholica secundum quod dixit Apostolus ad Ephesios.” (Defensor Pacis, ii. chap, xvii.)
- Prof. Dr. Lenz, (The Teaching of John Hus), p. 48. Mistra Jana Husi
- It is beyond the purpose of this work to enter into this matter. Pope John XXII. was accused of having said that it was only after the day of judgment that the chosen enter heaven.
- “Papa non est magis exemptus a jurisdictione imperatoris, quam fuit Christus, sed Christus in quantum homo mortalis subjectus fuit jurisdictioni imperatoris, ergo et Papa modo simili, et par consequens imperator est judex ordinarius Domini Papae.” (“Ockam Dialogus,” p. 50, in Goldastus, Monarchia Imperii Romani, vol. ii.)
- O Historii Kalicha dobach predhusitskych (The history of the chalice in the period anterior to Hus).
- Paul Stransky writes: “Nobilitas praecipue et plerique omnes qui cum Germanis vicinis frequentiores esse, commerciaque habere consuerant a ritibus Graecis recesserunt. Tenuiores duntaxat et plebs rebus domi praesentibus contenta Graeci ritus sacra tenaciter servabat.” (Respublica Bojema, p. 271.)
- As late as 1182, when the Bishop of Prague attempted to appeal to the German Emperor against a decree of Duke Frederick of Bohemia, the latter “fertur respondisse per procuratorem suum: Cum sit omnibus notum Pragensem episcopum meum fore capellanum, sicut omnes praedecessores sui patrum et avorum meorum fuerunt capellani, discernite quaeso si liceat ei agere contra dominum suum, vel si tenear ex aequo respondere capellano meo.” (Chronicle of Jarloch Fontes Rerum Bohemicarum, ii. p. 480.)
- The lands of the Bohemian crown are Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia, though Lusatia was for a time also considered a land of the Bohemian crown.
- The interesting question of the relations of the Bohemian Church to Rome in the pre-Hussite period was formerly very obscure. Recently (1904 and 1906) Dr. Krofta has in the Cesky Casopis Historicky (Bohemian Historical Review) published a valuable series of articles on this subject. I have here largely used these studies.
- For Cosmas, see my History of Bohemian Literature, pp. 42–46, and particularly Lectures on the Historians of Bohemia, pp. 6–14.
- “Anno Dominicae Incarnationis MCXCVII dominus Petrus diaconus cardinalis ad Sanctam Mariam a Via Lata venit in Bohemiam . . . et ordines clericorum per manum domini Engelberti Olomucensis episcopi fieri precepit. In quibus ipse cardinalis a sacerdotibus plebanis ob votum castitatis quod ab ordinandis exigebatur versis in seditionem fere fuerat occisus.” (Chronicle of Jarloch Fontes Rerum Bohemicarum, ii. p. 512.)
- Though it is by no means pleasant to deal with these accusations, founded though they are on official statements of the ecclesiastical authorities, it is necessary to allude to them, as the intense hatred and contempt of the Roman priests, which was general among the Bohemians of the time of Hus, would otherwise appear inexplicable. Professor Tomek (in vol. iii. of his Dejepis mesta Prahy—History of the Town of Prague) has quoted largely from the report mentioned above. It should be stated that the late Professor Tomek was a strong conservative and a firm adherent of the Church of Rome. No one deserves less to be suspected of exaggeration. The report states (Tomek, iii. p. 242): “Item (Bartholomew, vicar of the Tyn church) dicit quod ipse interdum sed raro habet unam publicam meretricem per noctem, sed occulte et ipsam in crastino repellit.” (Ibid. p. 243), “Item dicit (Prokop, vicar of St. Leonard’s church) quod plebanus S. Johannis in Vado est meretricator et fornicator publicus.” (Ibid. p. 247), "Andreas presbyter vicarius Ecclesiae St. Stephen dicit quod monachi monasterii S. Mariae Carmelitae transeunt per scolas publice in civitate Pragensi volentes scire experimenta, et quod dicunt se esse medicos, et sic decipiunt muliercs, conjugatas et honestas ipsas impraegnando.” I must refer the reader to Prof. Tomek’s book for further details on the report of the archdeaconal inspection.
- Tomek, History of the Town of Prague, pp. 245–246.