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K. Henry. 5. The condemnation, cruell handlyng, and disgradyng of M. I. Hus.

Lords in Christ of the holy Church of Rome, Cardinals, Patriarkes, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Prelates, & Doctours of diuinitie and of both lawes in great number assembled and gathered together, Marginalia* They shall bring you before their councells, they shall persecute you, and cast you in prisō and bring you before kings & presidents for my nāe. &c. Luke, 21. this most sacred & holie Councell of Constance declareth & determineth þe articles aboue said (the which after due conference had, are found in his bookes written with his owne hand, the which also þe said Iohn Hus in opē audience, before this holy Councell, hath confessed to be in his bookes) not to be Catholicke, neither worthy to be taught, but that many of them are erroneous, some of them to be wicked, othersome to be offensiue vnto godly eares, many of thē to be temerarious and seditious, and the greater part of them to be notoriously hereticall, and euē now of late by þe holy fathers and generall Councels, reproued & condēned. And for so much as þe said Articles are expresly conteined in the bookes of the said Iohn Hus, therefore this said * Marginalia* The sayde concilium malgnantium. sacred Councell, doth cōdemne & reproue all those bookes which he wrote, in what forme or phrase soeuer they be, or whether they be trāslated by others, & doth determine and decree, that they all shall be solemnely & openly burned in the presence of þe clergy & people of þe city of Constance, & elsewhere: adding moreouer for the premisses, that all his doctrine is worthy to be despised & eschewed of all faithfull Christians. And to the intent this most pernicious & wicked doctrine, may be vtterly excluded & shut out of the Church, this sacred Synode doth straightly cōmand, that diligent inquisition be made by þe ordinaries of the places by the Ecclesiasticall censure, for such treatises and works, and that such as are found, be consumed & burned with fire. And if there be any found, which shall contemne or depise this sentence or decree, this sacred Synode ordeineth and decreeth that the ordinaries of the places, and the inquisitours of heresies, shal proceed against euery such person as suspect of heresy.

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Wherefore, after due inquisition made against the sayd Iohn Husse, and full information had by the Commissaries and Doctours of both lawes, and also by the saiengs of the witnesses which were worthy of credite, and many other things opēly read before the said Iohn Hus, and before þe fathers and prelates of this sacred Councell (by the which allegatiōs of the witnesses MarginaliaMany shall come in my name and shal deceiue many. Marke 13. it appeareth that þe sayd Iohn Hus hath taught many euill & offensiue, seditious, and perilous heresies, and hath preached the same by a long time) this most sacred & holy Synode lawfully congregate and gathered together in the holy Ghost, the name of Christ being inuocate & called vpon, by this their sentence which here is set forth in writing, determineth, pronounceth, declareth, & decreeth, that Iohn Hus was and is a true and manifest hereticke, and that he hath preached openly errours & heresies lately condemned by the church of God, and many other seditious, temerarious, & offensiue things to no small offence of the Diuine maiestie, and of the vniuersall Church, and detriment of the Catholicke faith & Church, neglecting and despising the keyes of the Church & Ecclesiasticall censures. In the which his errours he continued with a minde altogether indurate and hardned by the space of many yeares, much offending the faithfull Christians by his obstinacie & stubburnes, when as he made his appeale vnto the Lord Iesu Christ, MarginaliaTo appeale to Christ is derogatory to the popes holynes. as the most high iudge, omitting and leauing 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.

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Wherupon both for the premisses & many other things, the said Synode pronounceth I. Hus to be an hereticke, & iudgeth him by these presents to be condemned & iudged as an heretike, & reproueth þe said appeal as iniurious, offensiue, MarginaliaVeritie condemned for heresie. & done in derisiō vnto þe ecclesiastical iurisdictiō, & iudgeth the said Hus, not only to haue seduced the christian people by his writings & preachings, and specially in the kingdome of Boheme, neither to haue bene a true preacher of the Gospell of Christ vnto þe said people, according to the exposition of þe holy Doctours: but also to haue bene a seducer of them, & also an obstinate and stifnecked person, yea and such a one as doth not desire to returne againe to the lappe of our holy mother the Church, neither to abiure the errours and heresies which he hath openly preached and defended. Wherefore this most sacred Councell decreeth and declareth that the said Iohn Husse, shall be famously deposed and disgraded from his Priestly orders and dignitie, &c.

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Whilest these things were thus read, Iohn Husse, albeit he were forbidden to speake, notwithstāding he did often interrupt them, and specially whē he was reproued of obstinacie, he said with a loude voice: MarginaliaI. Hus cleareth himself of obstinacyI was neuer obstinate, but as alwaies heretofore, euē so now againe I de-sire to be taught by the holy Scriptures, and I do professe my selfe to be so desirous of þe truth, that if I might by one only word subuert the errours of all heretickes, I would not refuse to enter into what peril or dāger soeuer it were. When his bookes were condēned, he said: wherefore haue you cōdemned those books, when as you haue not proued by any one Article, that they are cōtrary to the scriptures or Articles of faith? And moreouer, what iniury is this þt you do to me, MarginaliaThey condemne the bokes written in the Bohemian tongue, which they neuer read.that you haue cōdēned these bookes written in the Bohemian toung, which you neuer saw, neither yet read? And oftētimes looking vp vnto heauē, he prayed.

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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.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

Whē the sentence and iudgement was ended, kneeling downe vpon his knees, he said: MarginaliaHus prayeth for his enemies.Lord Iesu Christ, forgeue mine enimies, by whome thou knowest that I am falsely accused, and that they haue vsed false witnes and slanders against me: forgeue them I say, for thy great mercies sake. This his praier and oration the greater part, and specially the chiefe of the Priests did deride and mocke.

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At the last, the seuen Bishops which were chosen out to disgrade him of his priesthood, MarginaliaI. Hus commanded to put on the priestes garmentes.commanded him to put on the garments pertaining vnto priesthood, which thyng when he had done, vntill he came to the putting on of the Albe, he called to his remembraunce the white vesture which Herode put on Iesus Christ to mock him withall. So likewise in al other things he did comfort himselfe by the example of Christ. When he had now put on all his priestly vestures, the Bishopes exhorted him that he should yet alter and change his minde and purpose, and prouide for his honour and safegard. Then he (according as þe maner of the ceremony is) going vp to the top of the scaffold, being full of teares, hee spake vnto the people in this sort.

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MarginaliaI. Hus his oration vnto the people.These Lords and Bishops do exhort and councell mee, that I should heere confesse before you all that I haue erred, the which thing to do, if it were such as might be done with the infamy and reproch of anye man, they might peraduenture easily perswade me therunto: but now truly I am in the sight of the lord my God, without whose great ignominy, and grudge of mine owne conscience, I can by no meanes do that which they require of mee. For I doo well knowe, that I neuer taught any of those thinges which they haue falsly alledged against mee, but I haue alwayes preached, taught, written, and thought contrary thereunto. With what countenance then should I behold the heauens? with what face should I looke vpon them, whome I haue taught, whereof there is a great number, if thorough me it should come to passe that those things which they haue hetherto knowne to bee most certaine and sure, should now be made vncertaine? Should I by this my example astonish or trouble so manye soules, so manye consciences, endewed with the most firme and certaine knowledge of the Scriptures, and Gospell of our Lord Iesu Christ and his most pure doctrine, armed against all the assaults of Satan? I will neuer do it, neither commit any such kinde of offence, that I shoulde seeme more to esteeme this vile carcas appoynted vnto death, then their health and saluation. At this most godly worde he was forced againe to heare by the consent of the Bishops, that hee did obstinately and maliciously perseuere in his pernicious and wicked errours.

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MarginaliaThe disgrading of Iohn Hus.Then he was commanded to come downe to the execution of his iudgement, and in his comming downe, one of the seauen Bishops afore rehearsed, firste tooke awaye the chalice from him which he helde in his hand, saieng: O cursed Iudas, why hast thou forsakē the counsell & waies of peace, and hast counsailed with the Iewes? we take away frō thee this chalice of thy saluation. But Iohn Hus receiued this curse in this maner: but I trust vnto God the father omnipotent, and my Lorde Iesus Christ, for whose sake I do suffer these things, that hee will not take away the chalice of his redemption, but haue a stedfast and firme hope that this day I shall drinke thereof in his kingdome. Then followed the other Bishops in order, which euery one of them tooke away the vestiments from him, which they had put on, eche one of them geuing hym their curse. Whereunto Iohn Hus answered, that hee did willingly embrace and beare those blasphemies for the name of the Lord Iesus Christ. At the last they came to the rasing of his shauen crowne. But before the Bishops would go in hand with it, there was a great contention betweene them, with what instrument it should be done, with a rasour, or with a paire of sheares.

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In the meane season, Iohn Hus turning himselfe toward the Emperour, saide: MarginaliaThe wordes of I. Hus vnto the Emperour.I maruell that forsomuch as they be all of like cruell minde and stomacke, yet they can not agree vpon their kinde of crueltie. Notwithstanding, at the last they agreed to cut off the skinne of the crowne of his head with a paire of sheares. MarginaliaThe crowne of Iohn Hus pared away with sheares. And when they had done that, they added these words: now hath the Church

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