Jan Hus 1369 - 1415
Jan Hus was a popular preacher and the rector of Prague University. He became an advocate of John Wyclif's views, the English reformer, arguing for greater use of the scriptures for doctrine and ethical life, and reception of Communion in both forms (bread and wine). He was summoned to the council of Constance to defend his teaching, being offered safe conduct. On arrival he was imprisoned in appalling conditions. He was summarily condemned and burned at the stake outside the city. A stone now marks the likely spot.
Council of Constance
The papacy had reached a point of moral and spiritual depravity by the thirteenth century. Europe had by 1378 divided up behind two rival popes, one in Rome and the other in Avignon both of which excelled in arrogance and depravity. Then a third pope was added, making three rival popes in all. The Emperor Sigismund called an ecumenical council in 1414 to end this scandal and reform the church. John XXIII, the Pisan pope came to Constance and was deposed. Gregory XII, the Roman pope resigned, while Benedict XIII, the pope in Avignon was deposed in absentia. The cardinals present then appointed Martin V who quickly forgot his benefactors and the promises he had made. The Munster, where the council met, and the 'Council House', where the papal concave occurred, are still to be seen in remarkable condition.