Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
623 [599]

K. Henry.5. Iohn Hus. The Councell of Constance.

the sayd Iohn Hus, therefore this sayd * Marginalia* The sayd concilium malignantium.sacred Councell doth condēne and reproue all those bookes, which he wrote, in what forme or phrase soeuer they be, or whether they be translated by others, & doth determine and decree, that they all shalbe solemnely and openly burned in the presence of the clergy & people of þe city of Constance, & els where: adding moreouer for the premisses, that all his doctrine is worthy to be despised and eschewed of all faithfull Christians. And to the intēt this most pernicious and wicked doctrine, may be vtterly excluded and shut out of the Church, this sacred Synode doth straightly cōmaunde, that diligent inquisition be made by the ordinaries of the places by the Ecclesiasticall censure, for such treatises and workes, and that such as are founde, be consumed & burned with fire. And if there bee any founde which shall contemne or despise this sentence or decree, this sacred Synode ordeineth and decreeth that the ordinaries of the places and the inquisitours of heresies, shall procede agaynst euery such person as suspect of heresie.

[Back to Top]

Wherfore, after due inquisition made agaynst the sayd Iohn Husse, and full information had by the Commissaries and Doctours of both lawes, and also by the sayinges of the witnesses which were worthy of credite, and many other thinges opēly read before the sayd Ihon Hus, and before the fathers and Prelates of this sacred Councell (by the which allegatiōs of the witnesses it appeareth that the said Ihon Hus hath taught many euill and offensiue, seditious, and perilous heresies, and hath preached the same by a long tyme) this most sacred and holy Synode lawfully congregate and gathered together in the holy Ghost, the name of Christ beyng inuocate and called vpon, MarginaliaMany shall come in my name & shall deceaue many. Mark. 13by this their sentence which here is set forth in writyng, determineth, pronounceth, declareth, and decreeth, that Ihon Hus was and is a true and manifest hereticke, and that he hath preached openly errours and heresies lately condemned by the church of God, and many other seditious, temerarious, and offensiue thynges to no small offence of the Diuine maiestie, and of the vniuersall Church, and detriment of the Catholicke fayth and Church, neglectyng and despising the keyes of the Church and Ecclesiasticall censures. In the which his errours he continued with a mynde altogether indurate and hardned by the space of many yeares, much offendyng the faithfull Christians by his obstinacie and stubburnesse, whē as he made his appeale vnto the Lord Iesu Christ, MarginaliaTo appeale to Christ is derogatory to the popes holynes.as the most hyghe iudge, omittyng and leauyng all Ecclesiasticall meanes. In the which his appeale he alledged many false, iniurious, and offensiue matters, in contempt of the Apostolicke sea, and the Ecclesiasticall censures and keyes.

[Back to Top]

Wherupon both for the premisses & many other thynges, the sayd Synode pronounceth Ihon Hus to be an hereticke, & iudgeth him by these presentes to be condemned and iudged as hereticke, & reproueth the sayd appeale as iniurious, offensiue, and done in derision vnto þe ecclesical iurisdiction, MarginaliaVeritie condemned for heresie.and iudgeth the said Hus, not only to haue seduced the christian people by his writyngs and preachynges, and specially in the kyngdome of Boheme, neither to haue bene a true preacher of the Gospell of Christ vnto the sayd people, according to the exposition of the holy Doctours: but also to haue bene a seducer of them and also an obstinate and stifnecked person, yea and such a one as doth not desire to returne agayne to the lappe of our holy mother the Churche, neither to abiure the errours and heresies whiche he hath openly preached and defended. Wherefore this most sacred Councell decreeth and declareth that the sayd Iohn Hus, shalbe famously deposed and disgraded from hys Priestly orders and dignitie. &c.

[Back to Top]

Whilest these thynges were thus read, Iohn Hus, albeit he were forbidden to speake, notwithstanding he did often interrupt them, and specially when he was reproued of obstinacie, he sayd with a loude voyce: MarginaliaI. Hus cleareth himselfe of obstinacy.I was neuer obstinate, but as alwayes heretofore, euen so now agayne I desire to be taught by the holy Scriptures, and I do professe my self to be so desirous of the truth, that if I might by one onely word subuert the errours of all heretickes, I would not refuse to enter into what perill or daūger soeuer it were. When as his bookes were condēned, he sayd: MarginaliaThey condemne the bokes written in the Bohemian tounge, which they neuer read.wherfore haue you condemned those bookes, when as you haue not proued by any one Article, that they are cōtrary to the Scriptures or Articles of fayth? And moreouer, what iniury is this that you do to me, that you haue cōdemned these bookes written in the Bohemian toung, which you neuer saw, neither yet read? And oftē tymes looking vp vnto heauen he prayed.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaHus prayeth for his enemyes. 

Commentary  *  Close
Execution of Hus

Interestingly, although Foxe has a fair amount to say in the Commentarii and in the Rerum about Hus, his first Latin martyrologies had very little to say about Hus's execution per se. This situation changed dramatically in the 1563 edition, as Foxe made full use of the magnificent two volume Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, edited anonymously by Matthias Flacius and printed in Nuremburg in 1558. All of Foxe's account in 1563 of Hus's reaction to his condemnation, his degradation, Hus's execution, his behaviour and the crowd's reactions to it are taken from this work, even including the comparison of Hus to Hercules. (See Hus…Historia et Monumenta, I, fos. 28r-29r and 346v-347r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe repeated Johannes Cocleaus's speculation that the ultimate source of this account of Hus's martyrdom was Jan Prizibram; Foxe drew this from Johannes Cochlaeus, Historiae Hussitarum (Mainz, 1549), pp. 74-5. Foxe also added a letter from the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund (who was also the king of Bohemia) to the Bohemian nobles, absolving himself from any responsibility for Hus's execution. This letter is translated from Cochlaeus's Historia Hussitarum, pp. 156-7. The 1570 account of Hus's martyrdom was reprinted without change in subsequent editions of Foxe.

[Back to Top]

Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

When the sentence and iudgement was ended, kneelyng downe vpon his knees, he sayd: Lorde Iesu Christ, forgeue mine enemyes, by whom thou knowest that I am falsly accused, and that they haue vsed false witnes and slaunders against me: forgeue them I say, for thy great mercies sake. This hys prayer and oration the greater part, and specially the chiefe of the Priestes did deride and mocke.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaI. Hus commaunded to put on the priestes garmentes.At the last, the seuen Byshops which were chosen out to disgrade hym of hys priesthood, commaunded him to put on the garmentes pertayning vnto priesthood, which thing when he had done, vntil he came to the putting on of the Albe, he called to hys remembraunce the white vesture which Herode put vpon Iesus Christ to mock him withall. So likewise in all other thynges he did comfort hymself by the example of Christ. When he had now put on all hys priestly vestures, the Byshops exhorted him that he should yet alter and chaunge hys minde and purpose, and prouide for his honour and safegard. Then he (according as þe maner of the ceremony is) goyng vp to the top of the scaffold, being full of teares, he spake vnto the people in this sort.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaI. Hus his oration vnto the people.These Lordes and Byshops do exhort and councell me that I should here confesse before you all that I haue erred, the which thyng to doe, if it were such as might be done wyth the infamy and reproch of any man, they might peraduenture easely perswade me thereunto: but now truely I am in the sight of the Lord my God, without whose great ignominy, and grudge of myne owne conscience, I can by no meanes doe that which they require of me. For I do wel know that I neuer taught any of those thinges which they haue falsly alleged agaynst me, but I haue alwayes preached, taught, written, & thought contrary thereunto. With what countenaunce then should I behold the heauens? with what face should I looke vpon them, whom I haue taught, whereof there is a great number, if thorow me it shoulde come to passe that those thinges which they haue hetherto knowne to be most certaine and sure, should now be made vncertayne? Should I by this my example astonishe or trouble so many soules, so many consciences, endewed with the most firme and certayne knowledge of the scriptures and Gospel of our Lord Iesu Christ and his most pure doctrine, armed agaynst all the assaultes of Satan? I will neuer do it, neyther committe any such kinde of offence that I should seme more to esteeme this vile carcas appointed vnto death, then their health and saluation. At this most godly word he was forced agayne to heare by the consent of the byshops, that he did obstinatly and maliciously perseuere in his pernicious and wicked errours.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe disgrading of Iohn Hus.Then he was commaunded to come downe to the execution of his iudgement, and in his comming downe, one of the seuen Byshops afore rehearsed, first tooke away the chalice from him which he helde in hys hand, saying: O cursed Iudas, why hast thou forsakē the counsell & wayes of peace, and hast counsailed wyth the Iewes? we take away from thee this chalice of thy saluatiō. But Iohn Hus receiued this curse in this manner: but I trust vnto God the father omnipotent, and my Lord Iesus Christ, for whose sake I doo suffer these thynges, that he will not take away the chalice of his redemption, but haue a stedfast and firme hope, that thys day I shall drinke thereof in hys kyngdome. Thē followed the other byshops in order, which euery one of thē tooke away the vestimentes frō him, which they had put on, eche one of them geuing hym their curse. Wherunto Iohn Hus aunswered that he did willingly embrace and beare those blasphemies for the name of the Lord Iesus Christ. At the last they came to the rasing of hys shauen crowne. But before the bishops would goe in hand wyth it, there was a great contention betweene them, wyth what instrument it should be done, wyth a rasour, or with a payre of sheares.

[Back to Top]

In the meane season Iohn Hus turning hym selfe toward the Emperour, sayd: MarginaliaThe wordes of Iohn Hus vnto the Emperour.I maruell that forsomuch as they be all of like cruell mynde and stomacke, yet they cannot agree vpon their kynde of crueltie. MarginaliaThe crowne of Iohn Hus pared away with sheires.Notwithstandyng, at the last they agreed to cut of the skinne of the crowne of hys head with a payre of sheares. And when they had done that, they added these woordes: now hath the Church taken away all her ornamentes and priuilegies from him. Now there resteth nothing els, but that he be deliuered ouer vnto the secular power. But before they did that, there yet remayned an other knacke of reproch. For they caused to be made a certayne crowne of paper, almost a cubite depe, in the which were painted three deuils of wonderfull ouglye shape, and this title set ouer their heades, Heresiarcha. The which when he saw, he sayde: MarginaliaThe maruelous constancie and courage of the blessed martyr.My Lord Iesus Christ for my sake did weare a crowne of thorne: why should not I thē for his sake againe weare this light crown, be it neuer so ignominious? Truely I will do it, and þt willingly. When it was set vpon his head, the byshops said: now we commit

[Back to Top]
thy
Go To Modern Page No:  
Click on this link to switch between the Modern pagination for this edition and Foxe's original pagination when searching for a page number. Note that the pagination displayed in the transcription is the modern pagination with Foxe's original pagination in square brackets.
Find:
Type a keyword and then restrict it to a particular edition using the dropdown menu. You can search for single words or phrases. When searching for single words, the search engine automatically imposes a wildcard at the end of the keyword in order to retrieve both whole and part words. For example, a search for "queen" will retrieve "queen", "queene" and "queenes" etc.
in:  
Humanities Research Institute  *  HRI Online  *  Feedback
Version 2.0 © 2011 The University of Sheffield