Jan Hus: Czech Reformer

Jan Hus Memorial is a dominant statue located in the Old Town Square, Prague. It is dedicated to a religious reformer and a dean of Charles University, who stood up against hierarchy and inequality in the Catholic church of the 15th century.

During his years at Prague University, Jan Hus got inspired by the teachings of John Wycliffe, an important predecessor of Protestantism. Jan Hus started to preach in the Bethlehem Chapel, a medieval center of progressive ecclesiastical thought. His lectures became extremely popular and were attended by half of Prague's population daily!

A lot of Jan Hus's preachings and beliefs criticized the Catholic Church and their traditions, such as indulgences and the distinct hierarchy among the parishioners. For this reason, Jan Hus became a dangerous figure in the eye of Catholic authorities and was summoned to stand a trial during the Council of Constance in 1415.

What happened to Jan Hus?

He was accused of heresy, arrested, and taken to the outskirts of the city by the angry crowd. Jan Hus died from being burned alive at the stake on July 6th, 1415. It is now a Jan Hus Day and a public holiday in the Czech Republic.

His supporters started a Hussite war four years later to fight for a change in the religious structure. Their struggle inspired Martin Luther and fuelled the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The statue of Jan Hus on the photo was erected in 1915 to commemorate 500 years of his martyrdom. It is located on the Old Town square, 5 minutes away from the place where he taught, Charles University, and preached at Bethlehem chapel.

Quotes by Jan Hus

  • "Love the truth. Let others have their truth, and the truth will prevail." 
  • "As for antichrist occupying the papal chair, it is evident that a pope living contrary to Christ, like any other perverted person, is called, by common consent, the antichrist."
  • "What I have taught with my lips I now seal with my blood."

 

Our Local Guide Tip

  • You can visit the Bethlehem Chapel, where Jan Hus preached during his Prague years. Even though the original chapel was destroyed, the reconstructed version from the architect Jaroslav Fragner still has a lot of history connected to the time of the great Czech reformer. 

See more of our Prague Travel Tips.


Author: Valeriia Zahradnikova and Vaclav Zahradnik, Prague guides certified by Prague City Tourism agency. Valeriia and Vaclav have worked in tourism for over 6 years and have guided thousands of Prague visitors.