Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

the documents concerning the Bohemian controversy to Cardinal Odone Colonna (afterwards Pope Martin V.) and empowered him to decide the question. The cardinal, showing evidence here already of that hatred of Bohemia which was to be a prominent feature in his later life, immediately gave his decision in a sense entirely favourable to Archbishop Zbynek. A bull was forwarded to the archbishop, which in its purport was identical with that formerly sent by Pope Alexander. According to the wishes of the archbishop, Hus was summoned to appear immediately before the papal tribunal.

The Bohemian court was, not unnaturally, very indignant. Both the king and the queen again addressed letters of remonstrance to the pope and to the college of cardinals. Though the king writes here in a very manly manner, and his letters convey a favourable impression, which is always the case when he writes under the influence of Queen Sophia, yet the queen's letters are more to the purpose, and, it may be added, more peremptory. The queen, being a friend of Hus, grasped more clearly than her husband what was the moral value of the man for whom she was interceding, and what that of Baldassare Cossa and his cardinals. In her letter to John XXIII. the queen complained of the legal proceedings. at the papal courts which had caused disgust in the kingdom, of the incessant excommunications, of the prohibition of the preaching of the word of God. She specially interceded for the Bethlehem chapel, "in which she had frequently heard God's word," and begged that "John Hus, her faithful, devoted, beloved chaplain might, because of his many enemies, be relieved from the obligation of appearing in person before the pope." In her letter to the college of cardinals the queen begged the college “ for the honour of God, for the salvation and quiet of the people, and for her own pleasure ” to maintain in the possession of the Bethlehem chapel 'her devoted and beloved chaplain, John Hus,” and to relieve him from the obligation of appearing at the papal court. Otherwise—here the tone of the queen became somewhat menacing

1 The four letters are printed by Palacky, Documenta, pp. 422-425.

her consort, King Venceslas, in union with herself and the barons of the kingdom, would take himself the necessary steps that all disturbances caused by foreign intervention should cease.

The position of Hus became in consequence of the papal summons a very difficult one. The dissuasion of his kind friends and adherents would not certainly have prevented him from proceeding to Italy had he believed it to be his duty to do so. Hus, however, firmly believed that no advantage would be obtained by the Bohemian Church and the party of church-reform should he appear before John XXIII. Acquainted with the character of that pontiff, he well knew what opinion he would form of one who had spoken so, strongly against the vices and the evil life of the priests of Prague. He would, therefore, have to encounter the perils of the journey-he would have to pass through the territory of the Bishop of Passau, one of the most determined enemies of churchreform—without any probability of a satisfactory result. He would have to spend the money with which others were ready to supply him for the journey, but which, as a conscientious man, he believed should rather be given to the poor. He would have for a time to desert his congregation at Bethlehem. Jerome of Prague was then in the city, and Hus, though he showed him the greatest kindness, well knew what dangers the levity and thoughtlessness of Jerome might cause were he left uncontrolled. 1

Hus therefore decided not to travel to Italy, but through the advice of his friends at the court of King Venceslas, and perhaps in accordance with the wise councils of Queen Sophia, he determined on sending representatives to the court of Pope John XXIII.

1 Hus has himself very clearly expressed the objections to his journey to Italy. He writes: Quis ergo color vel que ratio obedientiae ut persona citata per CCC milliaria. Papae incognitā ab inimicis delata, tam anxie vadat per inimicos judices et testes consumat bona pauperum sumptuose vel non habeus sumptus vadat misere in siti et esurie et quis fructus comparitionis ? Certe laboris a Deo injuncti negligentia, quoad propriam salutem et aliorum. Et nec ibi docebitur bene credere, sed litigare, quod non licet servo Dei. Ibi spoliabitur in consistoriis, in moribus sanctis refrigescit, ad impatientiam per oppressionem incitabitur si non habuerit dare, condemnabitur, etiam habens justitiam. Et quod gravius est, compelletur Papam ut Deum flexis genibus adorare.” (De Ecclesia, capitulum xxi.)

He chose for this purpose his friend Master John of Jesenice, doctor of theology, who, according to some accounts, was at that moment at Bologna. Two younger theologians were to act as his assistants. Jesenice was at first able to report good news. On the suggestion of Archbishop Zbynek, who had also sent envoys to Bologna, John XXIII. had requested the University of Bologna to deliberate on the question whether the burning of Wycliffe's works had been justified. At a meeting of the magisters, at which re presentatives of the universities of Paris and Oxford were also present, it was decided almost unanimously that the burning was not justifiable. It was also declared that Wycliffe's writings on logic, philosophy, morals, and theology contained much that was true, good and useful. This decision was undoubtedly a victory of Hus in his contest with the archbishop. Jesenice, seeing it in that light, caused the public notary to draw up an official document which, on the authority of the dominican Thomas of Udine, dean of the theological faculty, who had presided at the meeting, stated the decisions of the assembly as they are recorded above. A copy of this document 1 was forwarded to Prague.

Hus and his friends probably overrated the importance of this decision. Pope John XXIII., as previously mentioned, had entrusted to Cardinal Colonna the entire control of the investigations referring to the dissension between the archbishop and Hus. The cardinal lost no time in coming to a decision in a matter in which he believed the authority and particularly the worldly power of the church to be at stake. The rich gifts brought by the envoys of the archbishop no doubt confirmed his views. When, in February 1411, the term fixed for the appearance of Hus at the papal court in Bologna had elapsed, Cardinal Colonna, with the authorisation of the pope, pronounced the penalty of excommunication against Hus because of his disobedience. The archbishop was immediately informed of this decision, and he gave the order that the papal decree should immediately be made known in all the parish churches of Prague. This was carried out on March 15 in all the

1 Printed by Palacky, Documenta, pp. 426-428.

parish churches except in that of St. Nicholas in the old town, where Master Stephen of Prachatice, an intimate friend of Hus, was parish priest, and in that of St. Benedict.

The events in Bohemia had meanwhile begun to attract greater attention in Europe than had been the case at first. It has been mentioned that representatives of the universities of Oxford and Paris had taken part in the deliberations at Bologna. Latin then being the universal language of intercourse between scholars of all countries, information as to matters of interest to the learned found their way from one country to another very rapidly. Great as is the distance between England and Bohemia, it was in England that the movement in favour of church-reform attracted more attention than in countries nearer to Bohemia. The reason is not far to seek. The movement which Hus had initiated in Bohemia pursued in many respects objects similar to those for which Wycliffe had formerly contended in England. In both countries the evils caused by the demoralisation of the clergy, its avarice and greed for worldly power, were equally obvious. In England as in Bohemia the more serious men wished the churches of their countries to be more independent of Rome, and desired, if necessary by force, to oblige the rich and luxurious clergy to lead a simpler life-one more similar to that of the founder of Christianity. It has been stated previously that attempts have often been made to exaggerate the dependence of Bohemia on the earlier movement in England. The strong and enthusiastic efforts of Milic and his successors to reform the Bohemian Church suffice to prove that the Bohemian movement was largely an indigenous one. It may here be mentioned that one of the earliest writers who attempted to prove the dependence of the Bohemian reform movement was the notoriously mendacious historian Hajek of Libocan. He stated that two otherwise unknown Englishmen," Jacob the bachelor” and “Conrad of Kandelburgk” (Canterbury), first spread anti-Roman views in Bohemia, "By greatly exaggerating the English influence on the foundation of Hussitism and

1 See my History of Bohemian Literature, pp. 304–309.

stigmatising it as a foreign movement, Hajek, as he well knew, greatly injured the Hussites; for the intense national feeling that has always animated the Bohemians has produced among them an often exaggerated distrust of foreign interference." Though the influence of England on Bohemia has been exaggerated, it is certain that the Bohemian Church in its struggle against Rome found sympathy in England at an early period. On September 10, 1410, Hus received a letter from an English adherent of Wycliffe that caused great commotion among the little community of Bethlehem. It was long difficult to ascertain the name of the writer of this letter which in different MSS. appears as Richard Fitz, Richardus Vitze, and Richard Wichewitze. It has, however, now been ascertained that the writer was Richard Wiche, a Lollard, mentioned by Foxe,? who was executed in 1439, and whose memory became so popular that a decree prohibiting pilgrimages to the spot where he had been executed was published. Richard Wiche in his letter 3 states that he greatly rejoiced at the news that they (the Bohemians) also walked in the path of truth. He had heard that they also had suffered tribulations, but-Wiche writes“Let us seek comfort in our Lord God and His immense kindness, believing firmly that it will not allow us, God's workers, to be deprived of goodness if we, as it is our duty, love God with our whole hearts; for adversity would not prevail among us, did not iniquity rule. Therefore, let no tribulation or suffering for Christ's sake cast us down, for we know for certain that whom the Lord God deigns to receive as His sons, those He chastises.” Later Wiche writes, addressing Hus: “You, Hus, beloved brother in Christ, are indeed unknown to me by face, but not by faith and love, for the whole surface of the earth would not suffice to separate those whom the love of Christ effectually joins. Take comfort in the grace that has been given to thee. Preach the truth by word and example and recall whom thou canst to the path of truth, for it

1 History of Bohemian Literature, p. 409. * The Acts and Monuments of John Fox, vol. iii. p. 702 (edition of 1837).

Printed by Höfler, Geschichtschreiber der Hussitischen Bewegung in Bohmen, vol ii. p. 210.

« PredošláPokračovať »