Jan Hus, inspiration for the founding of the Moravian Church

Some years ago a resident of Emmaus said to the writer in her native dialect [Pennsylvania German], “Heit iss der Hussedaag” (Today is Huss Day). I asked her what that meant. She did not know, but said that they always sowed their turnip seed on that day. Thus did the memory of John Huss, the great pre-Reformation reformer, find a place in our local folklore.

—Preston A. Barba, They Came to Emmaus (1959)

Emmaus residents: Make sure you plant your turnips on July 6, the day Jan Hus was both born and burned at the stake (1373 and 1415, respectively). (Wikipedia claims he was born “ca. 1372” with no actual date listed. I’m not sure of his source, but I like Barba’s claim that July 6 is also Hus’s birthday.)


  1. I have heard the claim put forth that Huss was far more Orthodox in his theology than he was anything that would resemble Luther and the Protestants.

    What do you make of this claim? Is it true?

    1. From what little examination I’ve done of the question, I think that’s true. I do have long-term plans to look into it more closely, though.

  2. Quite some time ago I was inspired by the faith and courage of John Hus while watching a documentary about his life. The night before he was to be burnt at the stake, he looked at a flame and put his hand into it. He could only keep it there for a few seconds, the pain was so intolerable. It was then at that very moment he pondered how he would have the resolve to suffer in the flames of persecution and martyrdom. The Lord granted him the courage and he was faithful to Christ till his dying breath.

    Now whether this is legend and folklore, at the time I cared not. It was enough encouragement for me that should I ever have to suffer martyrdom, Christ would grant me the courage to endure to the end.

  3. Greetings Fr.,


    Below is some very suprising info info I recently found on Hus and his followers:

    Jan Hus desired married clergy, the liturgy in the Czech tongue, and the reception of communion under both kinds for the laity. What’s also really suprising is that the Hussites “zealously fought to restore infants and children to the table by way of petitions, tracts, and sermons, often denouncing those ‘who have allowed their own will to triumph, rather than the authority of Scripture, in the matter of infant communion.’ ”

    This surely doesn’t sound like any of even the most magisterial Protestant groups known today.

    “A most interesting aspect of Utraquist (i.e. Hussite) liturgical life, that has been the focus of the academic work of a Rev. Professor Holeton (I’m pretty sure he’s Anglican) especially, was its veneration of “Saint Jan Hus” with formal services and propers for the Mass of the day and the Office (Horologion). Icons of Hus, of Jerome of Prague, Michal Polak, the Martyrs of Kutna Hora and other Hussite martyrs were painted with their memory liturgically celebrated as any other Saint in the calendar would be.”

    “They venerated icons (one observer noted that their “images” in their churches were “pictures painted on wood”)…”

    “In fact, Hussite leaders are on record as having visited Constantinople more than once to ask for bishops and priests for their community (which petition was granted in the person of Bishop Constantine Anglikos for Bohemia). And Jerome of Prague, Hus’ associate who was burned at the stake a year after Hus, became an Orthodox Christian in Latvia and the Czech Orthodox Church now has his Orthodox baptismal certificate – a fact that has made Jerome an actual candidate for Orthodox glorification as a saint!”

    Hussite Communion Hymns:

    “You gave us his body to eat,
    His holy blood to drink
    What more could he have done for us?

    “Let us not deny it to little children
    Nor forbid them
    When they eat Jesus’ body.

    “Of such is the kingdom of heaven
    As Christ himself told us,
    And holy David says also:

    “From the mouths of small children
    And of all innocent babes
    Has come forth God’s praise
    That the adversary may be cast down.


    “Praise God, you children You tiny babes, For he will not drive you away, But feed you on his holy body.”

    Here are the links for this info:

  4. 2 years ago I watched that movie on him. I enjoyed it very much. Now knee deep in Orthodoxy, I think it is interesting that in the movie as they take him to the stake, he is singing “Jesus, the Son of David have mercy on me…” repeatedly.

    Since I heard of the Jesus Prayer and have employed it, I have often thought of Huss and that very similar prayer… obviously drawn from Scripture.


  5. Wow! That comment with that info is striking!!! Thanks Maximus. Oddly enough, they left most of these details out of that movie I saw… a movie put out by Protestants 😀


  6. Interesting that you mention John Hus! I was just reading a bit about him written by martyred Bishop Paul Ballestor-Convolier. He mentions him in Chapter 1 of his pamphlet on why he converted to Orthodoxy.

    You can find it here in an English translation of the Greek. Interesting stuff!


  7. Rats. How do I link in comments??

    Let’s try this:

    Sorry for being so incomplete in my last comment. I had run out of time and was scrambling to get my comment posted.

    That link is to a translated-from-Greek version of the Bishop’s conversion story. I found it interesting what caused him to reject the Catholic Church. If I understand correctly, certain popes declared that anyone who accepts Paul’s apostolic ministry as valid is anathema, and that, according to the Bishop, John Hus (Jan Hus?) was in that camp. I could’ve misunderstood, but that’s what I gathered reading that translation.

    Here is a clearer version, however nothing about Hus is mentioned.

    Just a minor connection, but I found it interesting.

    I hope I redeemed myself after that last comment! 😉

    1. I don’t know much (yet) about Hus, but I have a very hard time believing that any pope (even the heretical ones) would anathematize someone who accepted the apostolic ministry of St. Paul.

      As for linking in comments, this guide to basic HTML may be of some use.

  8. It does seem far-fetched, and maybe it’s not true. But this Bishop seemed fully convinced after viewing actual documents from the Inquisition, so who knows? History is far more convoluted than I ever thought. It gets curiouser and curiouser the more I read. I haven’t found that info anywhere else, but I just started looking.

  9. Hmmm, I just found a link to a clearer translation of the testimony I linked to above, and interestingly enough, I found it on the Orthodox Wiki page. Although, there’s nothing about Jan Hus there either. It sure would be nice if the sources for these accusations were available online, but I can’t find them. Sorry for side-tracking in your comments box.

  10. Yes, I saw that. It was what the popes said about the Apostle Paul that was quite shocking.

    Quote from the article:

    The most glaring instance of this is the decree of Pope Innocent X, “Sancti Officii,” dated January 24, 1647.[3] Through this decree, he anathematized as heretical any Christian who would believe, and propagate the idea, that the Apostle Paul possessed personal Apostolic standing and authority. He also stipulated that every believer, under pain of posthumous punishment, was obligated to believe and confess that, throughout his life, from the moment of his conversion to Christ, the Apostle Paul was under the monarchical authority of St. Peter — an absolute authority inherited by the Bishops of Rome.

    I’m hoping that John at Mystagogy will translate that Bishop’s book into English. If he does I think it will be quite an interesting read! I wish it was easy finding online sources for these anathemas!

    Here is a reference list from Bishop Paul’s book (the one in Greek I linked to that was poorly translated into English via Google Translate) that John provided in the comments here:

    1. Sancti Officii, 21 January 1647
    2. Super Quibusdam, 29 September 1351
    3. Articuli 30 Ioannis Huss damnati a Concilio Constantiniensi et Martino V, Artic/7.
    4. Conc. Vatic., Const. Dogmat., Sess. 4, Const. 1, Bulla «Pastor Aeternus», ch. 1. (Denzinger, “Enchiridion”, 139, 1667-1683)
    5. Actae Sanctae Sedis, 40/1907/, 470-478
    6. Concilii Florentini Decreta, Decretum unionis Graecorum, in Bulla Eugenii IV «Laetentur Coeli» Professio fidei Graecii prascripta a Gregorio XIII per Constitutionem 51 “Sanctissimus Dominus noster”· Professio fidei Orientalibus prascripta ab Urbano VIII et Benedicto XIV per Constitutionem 79 «Nuper ad Nos».

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