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How was executed Jan Hus
Peter from Mladonovic: Passion-play of Master Jan Hus

Peter from Mladonovice (died in 1451) a writer of foremost escort of Hus Sir Jan from Chlum to Constance and there he learned all the details of Hus' trial and execution. From his first notes was soon created intent to report all the details of beloved Master, and so composed relations in Latin Jan Hus which by its range, equivalent importance, belongs within chronicle. The author himself named it a "history". Altogether the entire work has five parts. The most important is third and fifth part, in which the Peter's narration reaches high chronicle level.

The fifth section became somehow independent and was used during worship on the Hus holiday as gospel (letters of Hus from Constance then replaced the epistle), first in Latin but very soon in Czech. Translation of this part, made also by Peter (perhaps already in 1417-1420), became widely spread in copying and then imprinting and became for Czech utrakvist some kind of equivalent counterpart to biblical narration about Christ's crucifixion. The sample here is showing the last route of Hus from bishop's cathedral, where he was tried for heresy, condemned by the council and burned at the stake, dying heroically on July 6th, 1415. It is being introduced from the translation from the Latin original into English (NY Columbia University Library . . . )

. . . but prior to that they placed on his head a paper crown for vilification, saying to him among other things: "We commit your soul to the devil!" And he, joining his hands and lifting his eyes to heavens, said: "And I commit it to the most merciful Lord Jesus Christ on account of me, a miserable wretch, bore a much heavier and harsher crown of thorns. Being innocent, he was deemed deserving of the most shameful death. Therefore I, a miserable wretch and sinner, will humbly bear this much lighter, even though vilifying crown for His name and truth."

The paper crown was round almost eighteen inches high, and on it were shown three horrible devils about to seize a soul and to tear it among themselves with claws. The inscription on that crown describing his guilt read: "This is a heresiarch."

Then the king said to Duke Ludwig, the son of the late Clem of Bavaria, who then stood before him in his robes, holding the golden orb with the cross in his hands: "Go receive him!" And the said Clem's son then received the Master, giving him into the hands of the executioners to be led to death.

When so crowned he was then led from the said church; they were burning his books at that hour in the church cemetery. When in passing by he saw it, he smiled at this their act. On his way indeed he exhorted those standing around or follow him not to believe that he was to die on account of errors falsely ascribed to him and deposed by the false testimony of his chief enemies. Indeed, almost all the inhabitants of that city, bearing arms , accompanied him to death.

And having come to the place of execution, he, bending his knee and stretching his hands and turning his eyes toward heaven, most devoutly sang psalms, and particularly, "Have mercy on me, God," and "In Thee, Lord, have I trusted," repeating the verse "In Thy hands, Lord." His own [friends] who stood about then heard him praying joyfully and with a glad countenance.

The place of execution was among gardens in a certain meadow as one goes from Constance toward the fortress of Gottlieben, between the gates and the moats of the suburbs of the said city. Some of the lay people standing about said: "We do not know what or how he acted and spoke formerly, but now in truth we see and hear that he prays and speaks with holy words." And others said: "It would certainly be well that he have a confessor that he might be heard." But a certain priest in a green suit with a red silk lining, sitting on a horse , said: "He should not be heard, nor a confessor be given to him, for he is a heretic."

But Master John, while he was still in prison, had confessed to a certain doctor, a monk, and had been kindly heard and absolved by him, as he himself stated in one of the letters to his [friends] from prison. When he was praying, the offensive crown already mentioned, painted with three devils, fell from his head. When he perceived it, he smiled. Some of the hired soldiers standing by said: "Put it on him again so that he might be burned along with the devils, his masters, whom he served on earth."

And rising at the order of the executioner from the place where he was praying, he said in a loud and clear voice, so that his [friends] could plainly hear him: "Lord Jesus Christ, I am willing to bear most patiently and humbly this dreadful, ignominious, and cruel death for Thy gospel and for the preaching of Shy World." Then they decided to take him among the bystanders. He urged and begged them not to believe that he in any way held, preached, or taught the articles with which he have been charged by false witnesses.

Then having been divested of his clothing, he was tied to a stake with ropes, his hands tied behind his back. And when he was turned facing east, some of the bystanders said: " let him not to be tuned facing east, because he is a heretic; but turn him toward the west." So that was done.

When he was bound by the neck with a sooty chain, he looked at it and, smiling, said to the executioners: "The Lord Jesus Christ, my Redeemer and Savior, was bound by a harder and heavier chain. And I, a miserable wretch, am not ashamed to bear being bound for His name by this one." The stake was like a thick post half a foot thick, they sharpened one end of it and fixed it in the ground of that meadow. They place two bound bundles of wood under the Master's feed. When tied to that stake, he still had his shoes on and one shackle on his feet. Indeed, the said bundles of wood, interspersed with straw, were piled around his body so that they reached up to his chin. For the wood amounted to two wagon - or carloads.

Before it was kindled, the imperial marshal, Hoppe of Poppenheim, approached him along with the son of the late Clem, as it was said, exhorting him to save his life by abjuring and recanting his former preaching and teaching. But he, looking up to heaven, replied in a loud voice: "God is my witness," he exclaimed, "that those things that are falsely ascribed to me and of which the false witnesses accused me, I have never taught or preached. But that the principal intention of my preaching and of all my other acts or writings was solely that I might turn men from sin. And in that truth of the Gospel that I wrote, taught, and preached is accordance with the sayings and expositions of the holy doctors, I am willing gladly to die today."

And hearing that, the said marshal with the son of Clem immediately clapped their hands and retreated.

When the executioners at once lit [the fire], the Master immediately began to sing in a loud voice, at first "Christ, Thou son of the God, have mercy upon us," and secondly, Christ, Thou son of the God, have mercy upon me," and in the third place, "Thou Who art born of Mary the Virgin." And when he began to sing the third time, the wind blew the flame into his face. And thus praying within himself and moving his lips and the head, he expired in the Lord. While he was silent, he seemed to move before he actually died for about the time one can quickly recite "Our Father" two or at most three times.

When the wood of those bundles and ropes were consummated, but the remains of the body still stood in those chains, hanging by the neck, the executioners pulled the charred body along with the stake down to the ground and burned them further by adding wood from the third wagon to the fire. And walking around, they broke the bones with clubs so that they would be incinerated more quickly.

And finding the head, they broke it to pieces with the clubs and again threw it into the fire. And when they found his heart among the intestines, they sharpened a club like a spit, and, impaling it on its end, they took particular [care] to roast and consume it, piercing it with spears until finally the whole mass was turned into ashes.

And on the order of the said Clem and his marshal, the executioners threw the clothing into the fire along with the shoes, saying "So that the Czechs would not regard it as relics; we will pay you money for it." Which they did. So they loaded all the ashes in a cart and threw it into the river Rhine flowing nearby.

Stizny list slechty ceske a moravske ze dne 2. zari r. 1415, poslany sboru kostnickemu proti upaleni mistra Jana Husa



PICTURES: Corbis: Image search HERE for "Jan Hus"

Jak byl popraven Jan Hus = Z latiny 1941 preklad A. Mateju* - Janácková
Final Declaration of Jan Hus July 1, 1415 Modern History - Fordham University
Jan Hus by Erin Lagarde
Encyclopedia ENCARTA (engl.)
Bio by James Kiefer, Hillsdale College - (engl.)
Christan History - (engl)
Moravian Church - Kenyon College (engl.)
The Great Contoversy Chapter 6 - Kenyon College (engl.)
The Husites" - Radio Prague
Husites Crusades 1420 - 1431
God's Eternal Purpose
Justus Anglican
Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon - (German)
Catholic Encyclopedia
Husites - Jan Hus and Jan Zizka

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