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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Jan Hus, Prophetic Witness and Martyr, 1415.

John Hus (Jan Hus) was born in Bohemia in 1371. Following his education, he was a theology professor from 1398 and was ordained priest in 1400. He lived during a time of great crisis within the church, as rival claimants to the papacy vied for power and position. The church faced theological threats too, as John Wycliffe and others began to break down the medieval synthesis and challenge church teachings. Hus became entangled in struggles between his archbishop and other figures, and soon found himself at odds with his patrons.

In his preaching, Hus challenged church abuses. He held that the chalice should be given to all communicants, in contrast to the practice of the day, which was for only the celebrant to receive wine while the bread was offered to the congregation. Hus said that Christian leaders should not also hold secular authority.

Hus was summoned to a council in 1414 and was asked to recant. He offered to recant, but only if his positions could be shown to be in error based on the the scriptures. Hus was pronounced a heretic and sentenced to die on the stake. Just before he was burned, he was offered one last chance to recant. His words are famous, “God is my witness that the things charged against me I never preached. In the same truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached, drawing upon the sayings and positions of the holy doctors, I am ready to die today.”

We praise you for all those who have worked for the reform and the purification of your church, Lord Christ, even at the cost of their own lives. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Faithful God, you gave Jan Hus the courage to confess your truth and recall your Church to the image of Christ: Enable us, inspired by his example, to bear witness against corruption and never cease to pray for our enemies, that we may prove faithful followers of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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