Story of the Reformer: Jan Hus
The time of the Reformation was a dangerous time for religious thinkers. While Wycliffe dwelt with persecution and eventual excommunication (After his death), a Bohemian priest paid the ultimate cost for his Reformation teaching.
In 1369, Jan Hus was born in south Bohemia. He later studied Philosophy and theology at the university of Prague, where he quickly became professor and dean of the religious faculty. Ordained as a priest in 1401, he was stationed at Prague's Bethel Chapel, which was one of the most influential Pulpits in Eastern Europe.
At this time, Hus became familiar with the writings of Wycliffe. He was especially challenged by Wycliffe's affection for God's word and wanted to see the Roman Catholic Church put more emphasis on the authority of the scriptures. Like Wycliffe, Hus also had a love for the common people in Bohemia. He preached in Czech and undertook a translation project for the Czech people.
As Hus was reforming, the Catholic Church was divided because there was more than one man who claimed the Apostolic authority given to the Pope. The Church called for the Counsel of Constance the to be held in Pisa, with the chief goal of dealing with the questions of papacy and with all other matters deemed harmful to the unity of the Catholic Church.
As part of Hus' provocative preaching, he called for authority of the church to be decentralized from the office of the Pope and for the leaders of the church; priest, bishops and the Pope, to be called to greater holiness. He was condemned as a heretic soon after. Jan was granted safe passage via the one of the pope’s command to the counsel to defend his positions and teachings. Once he arrived at the counsel, he was imprisoned, questioned and sentenced to death by burning at the stake.
By cementing his ground in the a foundation of scripture and by seeking and defending truth at all cost, Jan Hus became one of the first martyrs of the Reformation. His death would inspire many other reformers and became the an encouragement to Luther as he stood before a counsel of his own to defend the truth. We too should take the example of Jan Hus and seek truth in the word of God no matter the cost.