John Huss
(c. 1372 - 1415)
Middle Ages

Bohemian reformer who criticized abuses in the church and died as a martyr for his beliefs.

John Huss

Huss was associated with introduction of John Wycliffe's ideas into Bohemia and like Wycliffe advocated reform of abuses. Huss advocated that layfolk receive both bread and wine in the sacrament. He stressed the doctrine of predestination and called for poverty and simplicity in the church. He claimed that the pope could not exercise physical power and attacked the granting of indulgences. Summoned to appear before the Council of Constance (1414-1418), he was condemned. Meanwhile his followers had begun administering the Lord's Supper under the forms of both bread and wine, contrary to the prevailing medieval practice of administering the bread alone to lay communicants. For this reason they were often called Utraquists (from Latin sub utraque, "in both kinds") or Calixtines (from Latin calix, "chalice"). Following the condemnation, Huss was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1415. Martin Luther was later charged by Roman catholic opponents with reviving the errors of Huss. Hussite teaching continued in Unitas Fratrum or Unity of Bohemian Brethren, a movement antecedent to the Moravian Brethren of the modern era.

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