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The Unitas Fratrum 




Bishop of the Unitas Fratrum. 









HE history of the Church founded in the fifteenth 
century by followers of John Hus has excited, in 
recent times, no little interest among Bohemian 
scholars. This is owing, on the one hand, to the spirit of 
inquiry roused by the abrogation of the Austrian censorship 
of the press, and on the other, to the discovery of new and 
important sources, especially the Lissa Folios. Such sources 
have been examined by Dr. Franz Palacky, the late Histori- 
ographer of Bohemia, by Professors Anton Gindely and 
Jaroslav Goll, of the University of Prague, and by other 
writers, all of whom have produced, in the German and 
Bohemian languages, valuable works on the subject. The 
majority of these historians are Roman Catholics, which 
circumstance renders their labors the more remarkable. 
No less important are the researches of Bernhard Czer- 
wenka, a Protestant clergyman of the Austrian Duchy of 
Steiermark, who has written a German History of the 
Evangelical Church in Bohemia. Of writers connected 
with the Moravian Church, Bishops Ernst William Croeger 
and Henry Levin Reichel have used the newer sources ; but 
their works are likewise in German. In order to find an 
English History of the Bohemian Brethren, the reader was 


obliged to fall back upon the brief and antiquated narratives 
of Cranz, Bost and Holmes, written prior to the discovery of 
the newest sources. 

In the pages which follow I have attempted to supply 
the existing want and to set forth, in an English History 
based upon those sources, the faith, works and sufferings of 
the Bohemian Brethren, as Reformers before the Reformation 
and as the fathers of the Moravian Church. 

My preparations for this History have been lectures which, 
for nearly twenty years, I have been delivering in the Theo- 
logical Seminary, at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Throughout 
this period I have been studying the subject. I have en- 
deavored to produce an authentic History in strict accord- 
ance with the sources at my command. At the same time I 
have not hesitated to express my own opinions, and to correct 
what ajipeared to me to be wrong views, or unwarranted de- 
ductions, on the part of other writers, especially of those who 
are Roman Catholics. 

The object which I have in view is, not only to make the 
members of the Moravian Church familiar with the history 
of their fathers and to set before the general reader a narra- 
tive that will, I trust, be found interesting and profitable ; 
but also to furnish a work of reference for scholars who may 
wish to consult the authorities upon which the facts are 
based. Hence I have furnished abundant references in the 
foot-notes and a complete table of the literature relating to 
the subject. 

The various names that the sources give to the Church of 
which I treat, I have used indiscriminately. All these names 
— that is, The Unitas Fratrum, The Unity, The Bohemian 
Brethren, The Brethren, and The Brethren's Church — were 
recognized and acknowledged by that Church. The title by 


which it is commonly known at the present day is, The 
Moravian Church. 

The orthography of the Bohemian and Polish proper 
names varies greatly, according as they are used by d liferent 
writers. It is owing to this circumstance that the same name 
will occasionally be found, in the following pages, spelled 
in different ways. When these discrepancies were discovered 
it was too late to correct them. 

As the chapters of my work were originally published 
in the columns of the official journal of the American Mo- 
ravian Church, it may be well to add, that before being 
made up in book form they were thoroughly revised and 
corrected, and that consequently the only History of the 
Unitas Fratrum which I acknowledge as from my pen, is the 
one contained in the volume herewith published. 

The "Mai in Library of Moravian Literature," recently 
presented to the Moravian Church by Mr. William Gunn 
Malin, of Philadelphia, has afforded me such constant and 
valuable aid that I can not forbear an expression of deep 
gratitude for this magnificent gift. It is owing to the gen- 
erosity of the same gentleman, that this volume is adorned 
with so beautiful a frontispiece. This engraving is a reduced 
copy of one by Wolff from the picture of Holbein, and the 
fac-siraile which it exhibits of the handwriting of John Hus, 
is taken from an official entry made by him in the year 1401, 
as Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, in the records of the 
University of Prague. 

My sincere acknowledgments are due to Professor 
Severin Einger, U. J. D., of the Lehigh University, at 
Bethlehem, for the valuable aid which he gave me in trans- 
lating important parts of the original Polish History of the 
Brethren by Lukaszewicz, not found in the German version. 


To the memoiy of mv late friend, Professor Theodore 
Wolle, of the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies, at 
Bethlehem, I reverently bring an affectionate tribute, for his 
kindness in reading the proofs, the last of them when he 
was already near to the shadow of the dark valley. 

I send forth this History with the humble prayer, that it 
may serve to promote the glory of Jesus Christ the Divine 
Head of the Church Universal, which He has founded upon 
Himself as the Rock of Ages and against which the gates of 
hell shall not prevail. 

If my life is spared, I propose, in the course of the next 
few years, to issue, as a supplementary volume, the History 
of the Renewed Unitas Fratrura, or Moravian Church. 

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, April 17, 1885. 


The wish and the purpose expressed iu the closing para- 
graph of the preface to the first edition of this History were 
destined not to be fulfilled, for the distinguished author was 
called to his eternal reward on December 18, 1887. But his 
successor as Lecturer on Moravian Church History iu the 
Moravian Theological Seminary at Bethlehem, Pa., the Rev. 
J. Taylor Hamilton, has in efiect fulfilled this design by 
publishing in 1900 an exhaustive History of the Moravian 
Church during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This 
publication has accentuated the desirability of publishing a 
new edition of the History of the Moravian Church during 
the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries by the late 
Bishop Edmund de Schweiuitz, S. T. D., the more so as the 
first edition has been totally exhausted. 

Ever since its original publication, sixteen years ago, it has 
been used as a text-book in the Moravian Theological Semi- 
nary at Bethlehem, Pa. Although thus subjected to con- 
stant scrutiny, now that opportunity for revision is offered, it 
is found that no essential changes are desirable. The work 
is generally recognized as the standard on the subject, and is, 
in fact, the only one in the English language. 

It has been felt, therefore, that it would be an historical 
blunder, and almost a literary crime, to tamper in any way 


with the finished and scholarly work of the deceased author. 
Consequently, the present publication is a reprint, rather than 
a new edition. Only a few typographical errors have been 

A cordial expression of thanks is due Prof. J. Taylor 
Hamilton for his careful examination of the work in view of 
its possible revision, and for his assistance in preparing it for, 
and seeing it through, the press. 

This second edition is published by the son of the author, 
Dr. George E. de Schweinitz, of Philadelphia, Pa., at the 
suffffestion of the constituted authorities of the Moravian 
Church in America, and the valuable service thus rendered 
the Church is herewith most gratefully acknowledged. 

In sending forth this second edition, the pious wish 
expressed by the author in the preface to the first edition 
may well be repeated. May this History promote the glory 
of the great Head of the Church Universal, Jesus the Christ, 
our adorable Saviour, and may it inspire all readers with a 
spirit of unquestioning devotion, even unto death, to Him, 
Who has redeemed them, even as so many, of whom this 
History tells, laid down their lives because of their fidelity 
to their Lord. 

P. DE S. 
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, March 20, 1901. 

literature relating to the 
u:n"itas fratrum. 

To adduce all the manuscripts and printed works relating, 
directly or indirectly, to the Unitas Fratrum, would require a 
separate volume. Those here presented, comprise the most im- 
portant sources and upon them is based, as the foot-notes show, 
the History which follows. In order to avoid, in these foot-notes, 
the repetition of the titles in full, abbreviations have been used 
which, in the subjoined list, appear in brackets. 


1. [Scriptores Rerum Boh..] Scriptores Rerum Bohemicarum. Tom.I- 

Pragse, 1783; Tom. II. 1784; Tom. III. 1829. 

The first and second volumes contain the Jjatin Chronicle 
of Cosmas, the father of Bohemian history ; the continuation 
of this Chronicle ; the Chronicle of Franciscus ; and the 
Chronicle of Benessius de Weitmil. The third volume com- 
prises Annals in Bohemian. 

2. [.^n. Syl.] ^Enese Sylvii De Bohemorum, et ex his Imperatorum 

aliquot Origine ac Gestis. Basilea, Anno M.D. LXXV. 

3. [Stransky.] Respublica Bohemise a M. Paulo Stranskii Descripta. 

Lugd. Batavorum, Anno 1634. 

The same work in German, corrected from a Romish point 
of view, by Ignaz Cornova, Professor in the University of Prague, 
and entitled : " Paul Stransky's Staat von Bohmen. Uebersetzt, 
berichtigt und erganzt." Prag. 1792-1803. 

Paul Stransky was a learned Professor of the University of 
Prague ; according to Cornova, a member of the Church of the 
Bohemian Brethren and "showing in this his religion a zeal 
that degenerated into intolerance." In the Anti-Reformation 
he was banished and wrote his work in exile. See pp. 468 and 
469 of our History. 



4. [Balbin.] Epitome Historica Rerum Boheinicarum. Authore Bo- 
huslao Balbino 5 Societate Jesu. Pragae. Anno 1677. 

5. [Palacky.] Geschichte von Bohmen. Grosstentheils nach Urkun- 

den unci Handschriften. Von Franz Palacky. Erster Band ; Zweiter 
Band, zwei Abtheilungen ; Dritter Band, drei Abtheilungen; vierter 
Band, zwei Abtheilungen ; fiinfter Band, zwei Abtheilungen. Prag. 

The Abtheilungen are published as volumes ; hence there are 
ten volumes, and we cite accordingly, not according to the Ab- 
theilungen. Palacky was a Protestant, a direct descendant of 
the Bohemian Brethren, a pronounced Czech, and Bohemia's 
most distinguished historiographer. His work must be regarded 
as the highest authority on that part of Bohemian history of 
which it treats, from about B. C. 388 to A. D. 1526. 

6. [Schlesinger.] Geschichte Bohmens, von Dr. Ludwig Schlesinger. 

Herausgegeben vom Vereine fiir Geschichte der Deutschen in Boh- 
men. Prag. 1870. 

Written from an ultra German point of view, as an offset to 
Palacky's work. 

7. [Pal. Boehm Geschicht.] Wiirdigung der alten Bohmischen Ge- 

schichtschreiber, von Franz Palacky. Prag. 1869. 

8. [Pelzel.] Franz Martin Pelzel's Geschichte von Bohmen, von den 

altesten bis auf die neuesten Zeiten. Vierte fortgesetzte Auflage. 
2 Bde. Prag. 1817. 

9. [Illust. Chronik.] lUustriste Chronik von Bohmen. Ein geschicht- 

liches Nationalwerk. Herausgegeben von einem Vereine vater- 
liindischer Gelerheteu und Kiinstler. 2 Bde. Prag. 1852-1854. 


10. [Gindely's30-jaehr. Krieg.] Geschichte des dreissigiiihrigen Krieges 

von Anton Gindely. Prag. 1869-1880. 

Four volumes have been published which bring the history 
of the Thirty Years' War to 1623. An abbreviated popular 
edition in three volumes has appeared, and been translated into 
English by Andrew Ten Brooks. New York, G. P. Putnam's 
Sons. ' 

11. [Gindely's Rudolf.] Eudolf II. und seine Zeit. 1600-1612. Von 

Anton Gindely. 2 Bde. in one. Prag. 1868. 

12. [Gindely's Majestaetsbrief.] Geschichte der Ertheilung des Bo- 

heraischen Majestatsbriefes von 1609. Von Dr. Anton Gindely. 
Prag. 1868. 

This is substantially a reprint of the Fourth Book of his 
" Geschichte der Bohmischen Briider." 


13. [Borott Majestaesbrief.] Der von Kaiser Rudolph ertheilte Majes- 

tiitsbrief vom Jahre 1609. Aus einer Bohmischen Urkunde iiber- 
setzt mit Anmerkungen, von Johann Borott. Gorliz. 1803. 

14. [Bucholtz.] Geschichte der Regierung Ferdinand des Ersten. Von 

F. B. von Bucholtz. 9 Bde. Wien. 1831-1838. 

15. [Apologia.] Apologia, oder Entschuldigungs Schrifft, aus was 

fiir unvermeidlichen Ursachen, alle drei Stende des loblichen Konig- 
reichs Bohaimb, sub utraq. ; ein Defension Werck anstellen miissen. 
Prag. M. DC. XVIII. 

16. [Andere Apologia.] Die Grosse oder Andere Apologia der Stiinde 

dess Konigreichs Boheimb,so den Leib u. das Blut unsers Herrn und 
Heylands J. C. unter Beyder Gestalt empfahen. Sampt den darzu 
gehorigen Beylagen. s. 1. M. DC. XIX. 

17. [Deductio.] Deductio, Das ist JSTothwendige Ausfuhrung, Bericht 

u. Erzehlung, deren Ursachen u. Motiven : darumb Kayser Ferdi- 
nandus der Ander, des Regiments im Konigreich Boheimb und 
demselben Incorporirten Lander, verlustigt : und wodurch die Liin- 
der zu der Befugten und Rechtmiissigen Wahl jtzt Regierender K. 
Majestiit in Boheimb, vermoge ihrer Freyheiten, zu schreitten be- 
wogen u. getrungen worden. Im Jahr M. DC. XX. s. 1. 

18. [Pescheck.] Geschichte der Gegenreformation in Bohmen. Von 

Mag. Chr. A. Peschek. 2 Bde. Leipzig. 1850. 2te Ausgabe. 

The first edition has been translated into English : " The Reforma- 
tion and Anti-Reformation in Bohemia." London, 1845. 

As a general thing we cite this English edition. It is, how- 
ever, faulty, omits entire paragraphs, and nearly all the impor- 
tant notes. 

19. [Pescheck's Exulanten.] Die Bohmischen Exulanten in Sachsen. 

Von Christian Adolph Pescheck, Theol. Dr. u. Archidiaconus zu 
Zittau. Leipzig. 1857. 

20. [Daum.] Die Verfolgungen der Evangelischen in Bohmen. Eine 

ernste Warnung fur alle Evangelische. Von Hermann Daum. 
Darmstadt. 1800. 


21. [Schottky's Prag.] Prag wie es war u. wie es ist. Von Julius 

Max Schottky, Professor. 2 Bde. Prag. s. a. 

22. [Burg Puerglitz.] Das Piirglitzer Thai u. die Burg Purglitz. Von 

J. Nitsche. Wien, 1876. 

23. Lissaer Geschichte.] Das Wichtigste u. Merkwiirdigste aus der 

Geschichte der Stadt Lissa. Von Pflug, Lissa. 


24. [Lissaer Gymnasium.] Zur dreihimdertjiihrigen Jubelfeier des 
Gymnasiums der Eeformirten Briider Unittitjetzigen Koniglichen 
Gymn<vsiums zu Lissa, am Dienstage, dem 13. November, 1855. 
Gedruckt in Lissa. 

For years we tried to secure this rare and important work but 
without success, until we visited Lissa in 1879, and found that 
. there were three copies remaining in the hands ot the Faculty. 
One of these copies the Rector of the Gymnasium presented to 
us, through the courteous intervention of the Rev. Dr. Koch, one 
of the Pastors of the Unitdtsgemeinde. 


25. [Dobrowsky.] Geschichte der Bohmischen Sprache und Literatur, 

von J. Dobrowsky. Prag. 1818. 

26. [Talvi.] Historical view of the Languages and Literature of the 

Slavic Nations. By Talvi. (Mrs. Robiason, wife of the Rev. Dr. 
Edward Robinson.) New York. 1850. 


27. [Palacky's Vorlseufer.] Die Vorliiufer des Husitenthums in Bohmen. 

Von F. Palacky. Prag. 1869. 

28. [Palacky's Waldenser.] Ueber die Beziehungen und das Verhiilt- 

niss der Waldenser zu den eiiemaligen Secten in Bohmen. Von Dr. 
Franz Palacky. Prag. 1869. 

29. [Hcefler."! Geschichtschreiber der Husitischen Bewegung in Bohmen. 

Von C. Hofler. 3 Bde. Wien, 1856-1866. 
Ultra Romish and full of faults. 

30. [Palacky's Hoefler.] Die Geschichte des Husitenthums und Prof. 

C. Hofler, von Franz Palacky. Prag. 1868. 
A severe criticism of No. 29. 

31. [Documenta Hus ] Documenta Mag. Joannis Hus, vitam, doctri. 

nam, causam in Constantiensi Concilio actam, et Controversias de 
Religionein Bohemia annis 1403-1418 motas illustrantia, qufe partim 
adhuc inedita, partim mendose Vulgata, nunc ex ipsis Fontibus 
hausta. Edidit Franciscus Palacky,Regni Bohemise Historiographus. 
Pragse. 1869. 

A most important collection of documents. 

32. [Hist, et Mon.] also [Hus Opera.] Historia et Monumenta J. 

Hus atque Hieronymi Pragensis. Norimbergensem, 1715. I et II 

A collection of the Latin works of John Hus. An earlier 
edition appeared in 1558, also at Nuremberg. We cite the 
edition of 1715. 


33. [Gillett.] Life and Times of John Huss by E. H. Gillett. 3d ed 

2 vols., Boston. 1871. "' 

34. [Wratislaw.] John Hus. The Commencement of Eesistance to 

Papal Authority on the Part of the Inferior Clergy. By A. H. 
Wratislaw, M. A. London, 1882. 

35. [Berger.J Johannes Hus und Konig Sigmund. Von Dr. Wilhelm, 

Berger. Augsburg. 1871. 

36. [Schwabe.] Die Eeformatorische Theologie des J. Hus. Von Dr. 

F. Schwabe. Friedberg. 1862. 

37. [Friedrich.] Die Lehre des J. Hus. Von Dr. J. Friedrich Regens- 

burg. 1862. 

38. fHelfert.l Hus und Hieronymus. Studie von Josef Alexander Hel- 

fert. Prag. 1853. 

39. [Von der Hardt.] Magnum CEcumenicum Constanticnse Concilium 

VI. Tomis comprehensum. Opera et labore Hermanni Von der 
Hardt. Helmestadt. 1697-1700. 

40. LHus Predigten.] Joh. Hus Predigten. Aus der Bohmischen in die. 

Deutsche Sprache iibersetzt von Dr. J. Xowotny. 3 Abtheilungen 
Gorlitz. 1855. 

These sermons are translated from a Bohemian Postil which 
the Moravian refugees brought to Herrnhut, in the eighteenth 

41. [Huss Sermons.] The Sermons of John Huss, by Rev. E. H. Gil- 

lett, D. D. From the " New Englander," October, 1864. 

42. [Gillett's Taborites.] The Taborites and the Germ of the Moravian 

Church. By Rev. E. H. Gillett. From the American Presbyterian 
and Theological Review. 

43. [Hus und Wiclif.] Zur Genesis der Husitischen Lehre. Von Dr. 

Johann Loserth. Prag u. Leipzig. 1884. 

An English translation by the Rev. M. J. Evans, has been 
published in London. 

This work appeared after those chapters in our History which 
treat of Hus had been electrotyped, so that we could make no 
use of it. It sets forth Hus as a mere slavish imitator of Wyc- 
liffe and is one-sided in its tendency, as has been shown in a 
review of the work written by the Rev. J. Max Hark and pub- 
lished in the Andover Review, September, 1884. 

44. [Krummel.] Geschichte der Bohmischen Reformation im funfzehn- 

ten Jahrhundert von L. Krummel. Gotha. 1866. 

45. [Krummel's Ut. u. Tab.] Utraquisten und Taboriten. Ein Beitrag 

zur Geschichte der Bohmischen Reformation. Von L. Krummel 
Gotha. 1871. 

46. [Bezold's Sigmund.] Konig Sigmund u. die Reichskriege gegen 

die Husiten. Von Dr. F. von Bezold. Miinchen. 1872. 


47. [Bezold Husitenthum.] Zur Greschichte des Husitenthums. Von 

Dr. F. von Bezold. Munchen. 1874. 

48. [Lechler.] Johann von Wicliff u. die Vorgeschichte der Keforma- 

mation. Von G. Lechler. 2 Bde. Leipzig. 1873. 

A large part of the second volume is devoted to the Bohemian 

49. [Reiser's Ref.] Friedrich Keiser's Reformation des K. Sigmund. 

Mit Einleitung u. Commentar von Dr. Willy Boehm. Leipzig. 1876. 


50. [L. F.] The Lissa Folios. MSS. Herrnhut Archives. 

The Lissa Folios comprise fourteen folio volumes of historical 
documents collected by the Brethren after the destruction of 
their earlier archives in the great conflagration at Leitomischl, 
in 1546. Thirteen of these Folios were found, in 1836, by the 
Eev. Frederick Emmanuel Kleinschmidt in the vestry of the 
Church of St. John, at Lissa. Two years later they were ex- 
amined by the Kev. John Plitt, the Historian of the Unitas 
Fratrum, who reported that they contained papers of the ut- 
most value. Thereupon they were purchased by the authorities 
of the Moravian Church, for 500 Thaler, and placed in the Ar- 
chives at Herrnhut. The fourteenth Folio has since been 
discovered in the Bohemian Museum at Prague. That Folio 
may possibly contain the documents which, according to Lukas- 
zewicz, disappeared after the death of Bishop Jablonsky, (See 
p. 632, Note 25, of our History). These Folios have been ex- 
amined by Gindely, who made them the principal source for his 
" Geschichte d. Bohm. Briider," as also by Palacky and _Goll. 
Some of the documents are written in Latin ; the majority in 
old Bohemian, and of these latter many have been translated 
into German by Hock (1841). At the present time the Rev. 
Joseph Miiller who, according to a resolution of the General 
Synod of 1879, has been appointed Historiographer of the Unitas 
Fratrum, and who has devoted several years to tlie study of the 
the old Bohemian, is engaged in a thorough examination of the 
Folios. We cite them in so far as they are referred to by 
Reichel, Gindely and Goll. (See pp. 142, 302, Note 2, 476, 596, 
Note 13 and 632; Note 25, of our History.) 

51. [Jaffet Enstehung d. B. E. or B. U.] Geschichte der Enstehung 

der Briider Einigkeit, by John JaSet, Assistant Bishop. MS. 
Herrnhut Archives. 
62. [Jaffet S. G.] Schwerdt Goliaths, by John Jaffet, Assistant Bishop. 
MS. Herrnhut Archives. 

We cite Nos. 51 and 52, as referred to by Reichel. Both these 

MSS. are very important, especially in connection with the 


53. [Blahoslaw's Summa.] Summa qusedam brevissime collecta ex 

variis scriptis Fratrum qui falso Waldenses vel Picardi vocantur, 


de eorundem Fratrum Origine et Actis. 1557. MS., copied from 
the 8th Lissa Folio. 

Since printed as an Appendix to GoU, No. 61. See our Hist, 
p. 314 and Note 36 

64. [Blahoslaw's Boh. MS. Hist.] also [Boh. Hist. Frat.] A MS. 

History of the U. F., in Bohemian, quoted by Gindely, Palacky and 


According to Gindely and Palacky it was written by Blahos- 
law ; according to Goll, the author is unknown. Gindely has 
furnished a German translation for the library of the Theo. Sem. 
at Gnadenfeld. The original is in the University Library at 
Prague. Blahoslaw wrote a second and more voluminous His- 
tory of the Church, but this work is lost. See our History, p. 145 
and Note 11. 

55. [Lasitius.] Lasitii Origo, Progressus, Res prosperae quam adversse, 

nee non Mores Instituta, Consuetudines Fratrum. MS. Herrnhut 

We cite this work in so far as it is referred to by Plitt. For 
an account of its origin see our History, pp. 411 and 412. 

56. [Plitt.] Denkwiirdigkeiten der Alten Briider Geschichte. Von 

Johannes Plitt. MS. 1828. 

A copy is in the library of the Theological Seminary at Beth- 
lehem. Plitt wrote his work before the L. F. had been secured 
and other new sources had come to light. Taking this circum- 
stance into consideration, his History is wonderfully accurate. 

57. [Reichel's Zusaetze.] Zusiitze und Berichtigungen zu Johannes 

Plitt's Denkwiirdigkeiten der alten Briider Geschichte, nach JafFet 
und den 1 3 Lissaer Folianten. Von H. L. Reichel, Lehrer am 
Seminarium in Gnadenfeld. MS. 1844-1845. 

A very important work to which we repeatedly refer. There 
is a coj^y in the Theological Seminary at Bethlehem. 

58. [Plitt's Bischofthum.] Vom Bischofthum der Briider Unitat, in 

alter und neuer Zeit. Von Johannes Plitt. MS. 1835. 

59. [Quellen ] Quellen zur Geschichte der Bohmischen Briider, vor- 

nehmlich ihren Zusammenhang mit Deutschland betrefFend. Ver- 
offentlicht von Anton Gindely. Wien. 1859. 

This work gives a large number of the documents contained 
in the L. F. and is very important. 

60. [Benham's Notes.] Notes on the Origin and Episcopate of the 

Bohemian Brethren, by Daniel Benham. London. 1867. 

61. [GoU.] Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Bohmischen 

Briider. Herausgegeben von Jaroslav Goll. Prag. 1878. 

For a criticism on this work see our History, p. 151, Note 20. 
The second part, published in 1882, treats of Peter Chelcicky, 
but reached us too late for use. 


62. [Cranz.] The Ancient and Modern History of the Brethren, by 

David Cranz, translated into English, with Emendations and addi- 
tional Notes, by Benjamin La Trobe. London. MDCCLXXX. 

The original appeared at Barby in 1771. The Ancient His- 
tory is very brief and antiquated. 

63. [Holmes.] The History of the Protestant Church of the United 

Brethren, by John Holmes. 2 vols. London. 1825. 
Brief and atiquated. 

64. [Croeger.] Geschichte der Alten Briiderkirche, Von E. W. Croeger 

Zwei Abtheilungen. Gnadau. 1865 and 1866. 

Bishop Croeger follows Plitt, often word for word, but makes 
use of the newer sources also, without, however, attempting to 
give a critical history. 

65. [CrcEger G. E. B.] Geschichte der Erneuerten Briiderkirche. 

Erster Theil. Gnadau. 1852. By Bishop Croeger. 

66. [Gindely.] Geschichte der Bohmischen Briider von Anton Gindely. 

2 Bde. Prag. 1857 u. 1858. 

Professor Gindely is a Koman Catholic, but writes with com- 
mendable fairness and uses all the newest sources. His work is 
very important, although as a Romanist lie cannot understand 
the true spirit of the U. F., which he looks upon as an interest- 
ing development of the national life of Bohemia. 

67. [Czerwenka.] Geschichte der Evangelischen Kirche in Bohmen. 

Von B. Czerwenka. 2 Bde. Bielefeld u. Leipzig. 1869 u. 18V0. 

The author is a Protestant clergyman familiar with the Bo- 
hemian language. Although he had no opportunity of consult- 
ing the L. F. he has used nearly all the other newest sources and 
produced a history which deserves the highest praise. He fully 
understands and forcibly sets forth the spirit of the U. F. 

68. [Regenvolscius.] Systema Historico-Chronologicum Ecclesiarum 

Slavonicarum. Opera Adriani Regenvolcii E. P. Trajecti at Rhenum 

(Utrecht). Anno M. D C. LII. 

The author's real name was Adrian Wengierski, which ap- 
peared in the second edition published at Amsterdam in 1679. 
Both editions came out after his death. For particulars see our 
History, p. 574, Note 1. 

69. [Camerarius.] Camerarii Historica Narratio de Fratrum Orthodox- 

orum Ecclesiis in Bohemia, Moravia et Polonia. Heidelbergae. 


Written originally at the request of the Brethren, but not 
published until thirty years after the death of the author. The 
volume contains a large number of additional documents. See 
our History, p. 412. 

70. [Rieger.] Die Alte und Neue Bohmische Briider, Von M. Georg 

Cunrad Rieger. 6 Bde. Ziillichau. 1734-1739. 


71. [Lochner.] Entstehung u. erste Schicksale der Briidergemeinde in 

Bohmen u. Mahren, u. Leben des Georg Israel. VonG. W. K. 
Lochner. Niirnberg. 1832. 

72. [Anbeten des Sacraments.] Vom Anbeten des Sacraments des 

heyligen Lychnams Christi. Mart. Luther. Wittemberg. Anno 

See our History, pp. 234 and 235, and Note 13. 

73. [Reichel's Geschichte.] Kurze Darstellung der alten Bohm.-Mahr. 

Briider Kirche, mit besonderer Riicksicht auf das Leben der Bischofe 
Horn, Augusta u. Comenius. Kothenburg. s. a. 

Written by Henry L. Reichel and based on the newest sources. 
A second edition published at Bunzlau. 

74. [Hist. Persecutionum.] Historia Persecutionum Ecclesiae Bohem- 

icffi. Anno Domini. M. D. C. XLVIII. 

A remarkable book written by exiled Protestant ministers, 
chiefly by Comenius and Adam Hartmann, giving a full account 
of the persecutions in Bohemia, and intended for Fox's Book of 
Martyrs; but completed (1632) too late to be incorporated with 
that work. It was originally published in Holland, according 
to a resolution of the Synod of the U. F., to which church the 
majority of the contributors belonged. See our History, p. 534, 
Note 3, 568, 569. 

75. [Eisner's Verfolgungs-Geschichte.] Martyrologium Bohemicum, 

oder die Bohimsche Verfolgungs-Geschichte, Von S. T. Eisner, Nebst 
einem hist. Vorbericht u. einigen Zugaben. Berlin. 1766. 
A German translation of No. 74. 

76. [Persekutionsbuechlein.] Das Persekutionsbiichlein. Von B. Czer- 

wenka. Giitersloh. 1869. 

The newest and best German translation of No. 74, with im- 
portant notes. 

77. [Hist, of Persecutions.] The History of the Bohemian Persecu- 

tion. London. M D C. L. 

A quaint English translation of No. 74. 

The Bohemian version appeared at Lissa in 1655, at Amster- 
dam in 1663, and at Zittau in 1756 ; earlier German versions in 
Switzerland in 1650 and 1669. 

78. [Comenii Hist.] Jo. Amos Comenii Historia Fratrum Bohemorum. 

Halae. 1702. 

The first edition appeared at Amsterdam in 1660 ; the edition 
of 1702, which we cite, was edited by Buddeus. In both the 
above History forms the introduction to the Ratio Disciplinse 
(No. 100). See our History p. 602. A German translation. 
Schwabach. 1739. 

79. [Mueller's Reports.] Reports of his Historical Researches, by the 

Rev. Joseph MuUer, the newly appointed Historiographer. Pub- 
lished in German and English. 1884 and 1885. 


80. [Fischer.] Versuch einer Geschichte der Eeformation in Polen. 

Von G. W. T. Fischer. 2 Theile. Gratz. 1855. 

81. [Lukaszewicz.] Von den Kirchen der Bohmischen Briider im ehe- 

maligen Grosspolen durch Joseph Lukaszewicz. Aus demPolnischen 

iibersetzt von G. W. T. Fischer. Gratz. 1877. 

The original Polish work contains 155 pages of important 
lists of bishops, churches, schools, etc., not found in the Ger- 
man translation. 

82. [Krasinski.] Historical sketch of the Kise, Progress, and Decline of 

the Eeformation in Poland. By Count Valerian Krasinski. 2 vols. 
London. 1838. 

83. [Con. Send.] Historia Consensus Sendomiriensis. Studio et Opera 

D. E. Jablonski. Berolini. 1731. 

84. [Dekrete d. B. U.] Dekrety Jednoty Bratrske. Edited by Anton 

Gindely. Prague. 1865. 

This volume contains the enactments, in Bohemian, of the 
Synod of the U. F. It is, however, not a complete collection ; 
the enactments of very many years are wanting. We cite this 
work in so far as it is referred to by Czerwenka. 

85. [Salig's Aug. Conf.] Christian August Salig's Vollstandige His- 

toric der Augspurgischen Confession u. derselben Apologie. 3 Bde. 
Halle. 1730-1735. 

The Sixth Book of the second volume of this voluminous 
work contains an extended account of the Bohemian Brethren. 

86. [Moravian Episcopate.] The Moravian Episcopate, by Edmund de 

Schweinitz. 2d edition. Published in London. 1874. 

87. [Lemme.] Das Evangelium in Bohmen, dargestellt von L. Lemme. 

Gotha. 1873. 

88. [Zezschwitz.] Lukas von Prag u. die Bohmischen Briider. By G. 

von Zezschwitz, in Herzog's Real-Encyklopiidie. 

89. [Acta Fratrum.] Acta Fratrum Unitatis in Anglia. MDCCXLIX. 

A collection of historical and other documents published in 
London, in 1749, in connection with the negotiations carried on 
with the British Parliament by the Renewed U. F., and result 
ing in its recognition. 

90. [Koelbing's Nachricht.] Nachricht von dem Anfange der bischof 

lichen Ordination in der Erneuerten Evangelischen Briiderkirche 
Von F. L. Kolbing. Gnadau. 1835. 


91. The Bible. The titles of the various editions of the Kralitz Bible 
are given in Chapter XL. of our History. 


92. [Eisner Bibel-Gesch.] Versuch einer Bohmischen Bibel-Geschichte 

entworfen von J. T. Eisner. Halle. 1765. 

93. [Malin Boh. Bible.] History of the Bohemian Bible, with an Ex- 

amination of its claim to European priority. By William G. Malin. 
Appendix to Catalogue of his Library. 

94. Hymnals. The titles of the Hymnals are all given in Chapter 

XXXVII. of our History. 

9,5. [Zahn.] Die Geistlichen Lieder der Briider in Bohmen, Mahren u. 
Polen, in einer Auswahl, fiir eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des 
Harmoniums oder des Klaviers eingerichtet, von Johannes Zahn. 
Nurnberg. 1875. 

96. Catechisms. The titles of the Catechisms are all given in Chapter 

XXXVIII. of our History. 

97. [Zezschwitz Katechismen.] Die Katechismen der Waldenser u. 

Bohm. Briider. Von G. von Zezschwitz. Erlangen. 1863. 

98. [Koecher.] Catechetische Geschichte, von J. C. Koecher. Jena. 


99. [Cat. Boh. Brn.] The Catechism of the Bohemian Brethren. Trans- 

lated from the old German, with an Introduction. By Eimund de 
Schweinitz. Bethlehem. 1869. 

100. [Ratio Disciplinae, or R. D.] Ratio Disciplinae Ordinisque Eccles- 

iastici in Unitate Fratrum Bohemarum. 

Firstedition at Lissa, 1633; German version in same year; 
second edition at Amsterdam. 1660 ; third at Halle, 1702. We 
cite the Halle edition of 1702. See our History, pp. 477, 478, 
and Note 25, 479, 568, 602-605. Later German editions : Schwa- 
bach, 1738 ; Koppen's, Leipzig, 1S45. 

101. [Seifferth Ch. Con.] Church Constitution of the Bohemian and 

Moravian Brethren. The original Latin, with a Translation, Notes, 
and Introduction. By B. Seiflferth. London. M D C C C LXVI. 



Confessions of the Brethren. For titles, etc., see our History 
Appendix, pp. 648-653. 
103. [Lydius.] Waldensia id est Conservatio verte Ecclesise. Demon- 
strata ex Confessionibus. Studio et Opera B. Lydii. Tom. I. Roter- 
odami, 1616. Tom. II. Dordraci. 1617. 

A collection of Confessions of Faith, including a number 
issued by the Brethren. 
[Koecher's Glaubensbekenntnisse.] Die drey letzen Glaubens- 
bekenntnisse der Bohmischen Briider. Von J. C. Koecher. Frank- 
furt u. Leipzig. 1741. 



105. [Ehwalt.] Die Alte u. Neue Lehre der Bohmischen Briider. Von 

J. G. Ehwalt. Danzig. 1756. 

106. [Niemeyer Conf.] Collectio Confessionum in Ecclesiis Eeformatis 

Publscatarum. Edidit Dr. H. A. Niemeyer. Lipsiae. 1840 

107. [Gindely Dog. Ansichten.] Ueber die dogmatischen Ansichten der 

Bohm. Mlihr. Briider. Von Anton Gindely. Sitzungsbericht der 
Kaiserl. Akademie. Wien. 1854. 

108. [Plitt's Lehrweise.] Ueber die Lehrweise der Bohm. Briider. Von 

Dr. Herman Plitt. Theologische Studien und Kritiken. 1868. 


109. [Todtenbuch.] Todtenbuch der Geistlichkeit der Bohm. Bruder. 

Herausgegeben in Bohmischer Sprache von Joseph Fiedler. Aus 

dem Bohmischen iibersetzt. Alt-Tschau. 1872. 

An important Necrology of the Bishops and Ministers of the 
U. F., from 1467-1606, originally written in Bohemian, for the 
most part, by Orlik, according to the data furnished by Blahos- 
law and Cerwenka. 

110. [Chlumecky's Zerotin.] Carl von Zerotin und seine Zeit. Von 

Ritter von Chlumecky. Briinn. 1862. 

111. [Gindely's Comenius.] Ueber des Comenius Leben und Wirksam- 

keit in der Fremde. Von Anton Gindely. Sitzsungsbericht der 
Kaiserlichen Akademie. 1855. 

112. [Palacky's Comenius.] Ueber Comenius und seine Werke. Von 

Franz Palacky. Monatsschrift des Vaterliindischen Museums in Boh- 

113. [Comenius nach Palacky.] Das Leben des Johann Amos Comenius, 

nach Palacky, u. dessen Testament der sterbenden Miitter d. B. U. 
Aus dem Bohmischen iibersetzt. Leipzig. 1866. 

114. [Benham's Comenius.] An Essay on the Education of Youth 

by Comenius. To which is prefixed a Sketch of the Life of the 
Author. By Daniel Benham. London. 1858. 

115. [Laurie's Comenius.] John Amos Comenius, Bishop of the Mora- 

vians, his life and Educational Works. By S. S. Laurie. London. 
'.6. [Criegern's Comenius.] Johann Amos Comenius als Theolog. Ein 
Beitrag zur Comenius literature, von Hermann Ferdinand von Crieg- 
ern. Leipzig u. Heidelberg. 1881. 
117. [Zoubek's Comenius.] Johann Amos Comenius. Eine biographische 
Skizze von Fr. J. Zoubek. Leipzig, s.a. 

Prefixed to the " Grosse Unterrichtslehre " of Comenius and 
followed by a list of his works. 


118. [Mueller's MS. Notes.] Biographical Notes of some of the Ministers 

and Laymen of the U. F. who were prominent after the Anti-Eefor- 
mation. MS. furnished us by the Kev. Joseph Miiller and based on 
Josef Jirecek's Bohm. Literaturgeschichte. Prag. 1875. 

119. [Pelzel's Abbildungen.] Abbildungen Bohm. u. Miihrischer Ge- 

lehrten u. Kiinstler, nebst kurzen Nachrichten von ihren Leben u. 
Werken. Von Franz Martin Pelzel. 4 Bde. Prag. 1773-1782. 

120. [Pelzel's Jesuiten.] Boehmische, Maehrische u. Schlesische Gelehrte 

u, Schriftsteller aus dem Orden der Jesuiten. Von Franz Martin 
Pelzel. Prag. 1786. 

121. [Tomek Zizka.] Johann Zizka. Versuch einer Biographic desselben 

von W. Wladiwoj Tomek. Uebersetzt von Dr. V. Prochaska. Prag. 

122. [Malin Zizka.] Zizka. Brief Notices of the Career of this great 

Captain of the Hussites. By William G. Malin ; Appendix to Cata- 
logue of the Malin Library. 

123. [Bily's Slaven Apostel.] Geschichte der Heiligen Slaven-Apostel 

Cyrill und Method. Zur tausendjiihrigen Jubelfeier der Christianisir- 
ung von Miihren u. Bohmen. Von Dr. J. E. Bily. Prag. 1 863. 



The History of Bohemia and Moravia preparatory to the page 
History of the Unitas Fratrum.— A. D. 451-1457. 1 102 


The History of Bohemia and Moravia Prior to the Time 

OF Hus.— A. D. 451-1369. • 3-26 


I. — The Introduction of Christianity and its earliest 

Development.— A D. 451-885. 5 

II.— The further History of Christianity in Bohemia 

and Moravia.— A. D. 885-1347. 13 

III.— The Forerunners of John Hus.— A. D. 1347-1369. 18 


The Life and Times of John Hus, the Precursor of the 

Brethren's Church.— A, D. 1369-1415. 27-78 


IV. — The Beginning of the Bohemian Reformation as 

inaugurated by Hus.— A. D. 1359-1411. 27 

v.— Hus and the Papal Indulgences.— A. D. 1412. 39 

VI. — Hus in voluntary Exile devotes himself to literary 

Labors.— A. D. 1412-1414. 45 

VII.— Hus and the Council of Constance. — A. D. 1414- 

1415. 55 

VIII. — The Condemnation and the Martyrdom of Hus. — 

A. D. 1415. 68 


The History of the Hussites. — A. D. 1415-1457. 79-102 


IX.— The Hussite "Wars and Factions.— A. D. 1415- 

1434. 79 




X. — Eokycana and the Utraquist National Church. — page. 
A. D. 1434-1453. 93 

XI.— Peter Chelcicky and the Men who founded the 

Unitas Fratrum.— A. D. 1454-1457. 95 

PART 11. 

The History of the Ancient Unitas Fratrum.— A. D. I457- 




The Church under the Rigorous System Introduced by 

ITS Founders.— A. D. 1457-1496. 104-178 


XII. — The Founding and Earliest Development of the 

Church.— A. D. 1457-1460. 105 

XIII.— The First Persecution of the Brethren.— A. D. 

1461-1463. 114 

XIV.— The Synod of Reichenau and final Separation of 
the Brethren from the Utraquist Church. — A. D. 
1464-1466. 121 

XV.— The Synod of Lhota and Institution of an Inde- 
pendent Ministry. — A. D. 1467. 132 

XVI.— The Introduction of the Episcopacy and Second 

Synod at Lhota.— A. D. 1467. 141 

XVII.— The Second Persecution of the Brethren.— A. D. 

1468-1471. 155 

XVIII.— Increase and Prosperity of the Church. — A. D. 

1471-1490. 163 

XIX.— Dissensions and a Schism.— A. D. 1490-1496. 172 


The Unitas Fratrum under the Influence of Bishop 

Luke of Prague.— A. D. 1497-1528. 179-239 


XX.— Increase of the Church in Spite of the Persecutions 

inaugurated by Uladislaus.— A. D. 1497-1506. 179 

XXI.— The Edict of St. James and the General Persecu- 
tion which it brought about.— A. D. 1507-1516. 189 

XXII.— Doctrine and Life of the Unitas Fratrum at the 

Beginning of Luther's Reformation. — A. D. 1517. 200 


XXI n 


XXIII. — The Ministry, Constitution, Ritual and Discipline 

of the Unitas Fratrum at the Beginning of page. 
Luther's Reformation.— A. D. 1517. 208 

XXIV. — The Growth and Enterprises of the Unitas Fratrum 
at the Beginning of Luther's Reformation. — 
A. D. 1517. 223 

XXV. — Intercourse of the Brethren with Erasmus and 
Luther ; and other Events to the Death of Luke. 
— A. D. 1517-1528. 228 

The Unitas Fratrum in its Relations to the Reformers 

AND ITS consequent DEVELOPMENT. — A. D. 1529-1580. 

XXVI. — Further Intercourse between the Unitas Fratrum 
and Luther ; new Confessions of Faith. — A. D. 

XXVII. — The Unitas Fratrum and the Strasburg Reformers. 
Last Mission to Luther.— A. D. 1539-1546. 




-The Smalcald War and a General Persecution of 
the Unitas Fratrum.— A. D. 1546-1548. 

-The Unitas Fratrum established in Prussia and 
Poland.— A. D. 1548-1553. 

-The Brethren and the Reformed in Poland.- 


XXXL— The State of the Unity in Bohemia and Moravia 
during the Continuance of the Persecution. — 
A.D. 1548-1557. 

XXXII.— The Synod of Slezan and the History of the 
Church in Bohemia and Moravia to Augusta's 
Liberation. — A. D. 1557-1564. 

XXXIIL— The Polish Branch of the Unitas Fratrum; its 
Relation to the Reformed and Lutherans ; and 
renewed Correspondence with the Swiss Divines. 
—A. D. 1557-1564. 

XXXIV. — Augusta reconciled to the Council. The Synod 
of Sendomir in Poland.— A. D. 1564-1570. 
XXXV. — The Bohemian and Moravian Branch of the Unitas 
Fratrum in the Reign of Maximilian the 
Second— A.D. 1564r-1576. 

XXXVL— The Beginning of Rudolph's Reign. A. D. 1576- 
1580 ; and the Polish Branch of the Unitas Fra- 
trum in the first Decade after the Synod of 
Sendomir.— A. D. 1570-1580. 


-Hvmnology of the Unitas Fratrum. — A. D. 1517- 










XXXVIII.— The Catechisms, other Literary Works, and the page 
Schools of the Unitas Fratrum. — A. D. 1517- 
1580. 406 


The Unitas Fratrum in the Time of its outward Pros- 

Bohemian Charter.— A. D. 1580-1620. 415-502 


XXXIX. — The Unitas Fratrum in Bohemia and Moravia.— 

A. D. 1580-1590. 415 

XL. — Progress of the Unity and the Kralitz Bible. — 

A. D. 1591-1593. 421 

XLL— Further History of the Brethren's Church in 

Bohemia and Moravia.— A. D. 1594-1607. 432 

XLIL— The Polish Branch of the Church to the General 

Synod of Thorn.— A. D. 1581-1595. 442 

XLIII. — Negotiations with the Greek Church and further 
History of the Polish Branch of the Unity. — 
A. D. 1595-1607. 449 

XLIV.— The Bohemian Charter.— A. D. 1608-1609. 457 

XLV. — The Unitas Fratrum as a legally recognized Church 
in Bohemia. Its further History in Poland. — 
A. D. 1610-1620. 467 

XLVL— The Bohemian Revolution.— A. D. 1617-1620. 481 


The Unitas Fratrum as a Church in Exile and a Hidden 

Seed.— A. D. 1621-1722. 503-646 


XLVIL— The Day of Blood at Prague.— A. D. 1621. 503 

XLVIII. — The Anti-Reformation in Bohemia and Moravia. — 

A. D. 1621-1628. 532 

XLIX. — The Overthrow of the Unitas Fratrum in Bohemia 

and Moravia.— A. D. 1621-1628. 548 

L. — The Bohemian and Moravian Branches of the 
Unitas Fratrum reorganized, with Lissa as a new 
Centre.— A. D. 1628-1636. 559 

LI. — The Labors of Amos Comenius and the History of 
the Unitas Fratrum from the Synod of 1636 to the 
Peace of Westphalia.— A. D. 1628-1648. 574 

LII. — The Unitas Fratrum from the Peace of Westphalia 

to the Destruction of Lissa.— A. D. 1648-1656. 587 

LIII. — The Resuscitation of the Church in Poland. 

Further Labors of Comenius.— A. D. 1657-1662. 597 




LIV. — Perpetuation of the Episcopacy. Death of Come- 
nius. The Hidden Seed in Bohemia and Moravia. 
—A. D. 1662-1670. 

LV. — The Polish, Hungarian and Silesian Remnant in 
the Half Century prior to the Renewal of the 
Unitas Fratruni.— A. D. 1671-1722. 

LVI. — The Bohemian and Moravian Hidden Seed which 
developed into the Renewed Unitas Fratrum — 
A. D. 1671-1722. 






A.— The Work of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum in 

B. — The Confessions of the Unitas Fratrum. 

C— The Bishops of the Unitas Fratrum to the Transfer 
of the Episcopacy to the Renewed Church. — 
A. D. 1467-1735. 





John Hus, 
John Rokycana, . 
John Horn, . 
John Augusta, 
Wenzel von Budowa, 
Charles von Zerotin, 
John Amos Comenius, 

To face page 90 








A.D. 451-1457. 




A.D. 451-1369. 


The Introduetion of Christianity and its earliest Developments. 
A. D. 451-885. 

Bohemia and Moravia. — Coming of the Czechs. — Their Manners, Customs, 
Government and Religion. — First Introduction of Christianity through 
the Latin Church. — Christianity as introduced by the Greek Church. — 
Cyrill and Methodius. — Their Labors in Moravia. — Tiiey are cited to 
Rome. — Death of Cyrill and Consecration of Methodius as Archbishop 
of Pannonia. — Spread of Christianity in Bohemia. — Methodius again 
cited to Rome. — His Death. 

Bohemia is the original home of the Brethren's Church. 
It is a country that lies in the heart of Europe, like a natural 
fortress, with four mountain-chains for its ramparts and its 
rocky bastions directed to the four points of the compass. 
The Erzgebirge and Riesengebirge defend its northern sides ; 
the Bohmerwald and Saarer ranges form its bulwarks on the 
South. Although but a small kingdom of the Austrian 
Empire, comprising only twenty thousand square miles, it is a 
land of plenty. Its meadows are rich and its fields fruitful. 
Mineral springs abound. Numerous rivers bring the tribute 
of their waters to the Elbe, which makes its way toward the 
German Ocean through a rugged gorge on the Saxon frontier. 

To the southeast of Bohemia is Moravia, a still smaller 
margraviate of the same Empire, embracing about eighty-five 
hundred square miles. There the Brethren found adherents 
at so early a day that it may be said to constitute the twin 
land of their birth. In former ages it embraced a larger 
extent of territory than at present, stretching into Silesia and 
Hungary. Bohemia and Moravia have substantially the 



same history. One in their joys and in their sorrows, they 
look back upon a joint ancestry of Reformers before the 
Reformation and upon a common but most disastrous Anti- 

About the time that Attila had left the Catalaunian plains 
reeking with the blood of his followers and retreated to 
Hungary by way of Bohemia and Moravia (451)/ there 
migrated into these two countries a body of Slavonians led 
Dy Czech. Tradition says that they came from Chrowatia, 
in the northern regions of the Carpathian Mountains. The 
remnant of the Boji and Marcomanni, which had survived the 
devastations of the Huns, passively submitted to their sway. 
By way of distinction they adopted the name of their leader 
and called themselves Czechs. 

During the first five centuries of their history they were 
devoted to the pursuits of peace; whenever they took up 
arms, it was in self-defence.^ They tilled the ground, raised 
cattle, and opened an extensive traffic with neighboring nations 
in grain and horses. Patient industry distinguished them, 
and a tenaciousness which has become proverbial. Social in 
their habits, they pressed hospitality to unlawful extremes, 
not hesitating to rob their neighbors in order to entertain 
their guests. Music and dancing, but especially singing, for 
which they are still celebrated, constituted their pastimes. 
Family ties were held sacred.^ The shades which darkened 
their character were their frivolity and dogmatical ways, their 
quarrelsome disposition, their vindictiveness. 

In the court of the castle at Wyssehrad,^ under the open 
heavens, stood a block of hewn stone, called the Furstenstuhl. 

* Palacky, I. p. 70. Great uncertainty exists with regard to the time in 
which the Czechs took possession of Bohemia and Moravia. 

2 Palacky, I. p. 185. 

^ The chastity and faithfulness of the Slavonian women seemed to the 
Greek writers to be superhuman, and filled them with astonishment. 
Palacky, I. p. 60. 

* An ancient castle, on the right bank of the Moldau, at the southern 
extremity of Prague, the earliest seat of the Dukes, inclosed, in the four- 
teenth century, by Charles the Fourth, within the city walls. 


In this rude throne inhered the limited sovereignty of the 
Duke. If the stone was taken from him, his reign came to an 
end. A senate of twelve Kmety, or Elders, constituted his 
advisers. Upon important occasions a diet was convened, 
embracing, besides the Kmety, the Lesi, who were owners of 
large estates, and the Wladyka, who constituted the heads of 
the clans into which the freeholders were divided. Prior to 
the ninth century serfdom was unknown, although some of 
the peasantry rendered service to the Lesi. 

The country was laid out in circuits, or counties, each 
governed by its own magistrate, with a fortified castle for its 
capital. Within the fortifications were temples, built of wood 
and enshrining the images of the gods to which they were 
dedicated. None but priests were allowed to enter the inner 
sanctuary, and they held their breath when approaching an 
idol. Sacred groves surrounded the temples. The. principal 
temple stood within the Wyssehrad. 

The mythology of the Czechs is obscure.' Although the 
Slavonians were originally monotheists, a polytheism, rivaling 
that of Greece and Rome, had grown up among them and 
extended to Bohemia and Moravia. Perun was their Jupiter, 
the thunderer, the god of gods. Around him were grouped 
Swatowit, the god of war, Radihost, the god of industry, 
Weles, the god of cattle-breeding, Lada, the goddess of love, 
Ziwa, the goddess of corn, Dewana, the goddess of forests and 
the chase, Morana, the goddess of death, and many other 
'divinities ; but the relation in which they stood to him, and 
the forms under which they were represented, are unknown. 
The forces of nature and the affections of the human heart 
were set forth as nymphs and demons; while each family 
had its own household idols, to which visitors invariably 
bowed on entering or leaving a dwelling. Even formal wor- 
ship was not restricted to temples. The country was full 
of sacred hills and fountains and rivers, where the Czech 
brought his offering in the twilight hour, smiting upon his 
forehead and singing a hymn of praise. 

» Palacky, I. p. 178. 


Into the darkness of such superstition shone the light of 
Christianity, in the first half of the ninth century. It dawned 
in Moravia and came from the Latin Church, through the 
agency of the Franks. Everything else touching its intro- 
duction remains unknown. Prince Mojmir, whose seat was 
at Welehrad,^ on an island of the March, embraced the new 
faith, and three churches were dedicated, at Neitra^ (836), 
Olmiitz., and Briinn. Nor did the night of paganism continue 
unbroken in Bohemia. On New Year's Day, of 845, fourteen 
of its nobles, while visiting Louis the German, were baptized 
at Regensburg. In both countries, however, the new light 
shone feebly. It did not shed its beams upon the nation. A 
few spots only were illumined. It was in the East, above the 
horizon of the Greek Church, that the Sun of Righteousness 
appeared to the Czechs as a people. 

In 846, the German Emperor deposed Mojmir, and invested 
Rastislaw, his nephew, with the ducal dignity. Rastislaw 
shook off the Frankish yoke. In order to be entirely inde- 
pendent of German influences, but moved also by higher 
motives, he sent to Constantinople for Christian teachers. 
His ambassadors found two distinguished Missionaries, Con- 
stantine, or Cyrill, and Methodius, at the court of the 
Emperor Michael. 

Their early history is obscure.^ They were brothers, the 
sons of Leo, and born at Thessalonica. Both displayed extra- 
ordinary talents and were known for their singular piety. 
Cyrill was honored with the title of "The Philosopher;" 
Methodius saw the highest political distinctions within his 
reach. But both turned their backs upon worldly prospects, 
however flattering, and entered a monastery, where they lived 
in seclusion until a call for Missionaries to the heathen reached 
their ears. Then they came forth full of zeal and courage. 
Cyrill took his way to the Khazares, a Hunnic-Tartaric tribe, 

' Now Hradist. 

* Now in Hungary, twelve miles from Presburg, on the river Neitra. 
' Palacky, I. Bk. 2, Chap. 5; Bily's Cyrill u. Method, p. 1. Bily gives 
a number of legends concerning their early years. 


whose country extended from the Volga and Caspian Sea 
across the Caucasian Isthmus and the Peninsula of Taurida 
as far as Moldavia and Walachia, and converted the Khan, 
together with the greater part of his people. Methodius 
brought the Bulgarians to a knowledge of the Gospel, and 
made a penitent of their proud king Boris, by painting for 
him a startling picture of the last judgment. 

The success of these Missions gave to the two brothers a 
name which was in all the churches of the East. They had 
won to the side of Christianity nations that had long been its 
wild and formidable foes. Accordingly, in response to 
Rastislaw's application, Michael sent them to Moravia. They 
arrived in 863, and made Welehrad the centre of itinerancies 
that extended throughout the country. Wherever they came, 
they preached repentance and remission of sins. 

The principles which guided them in such work were 
calculated to open a way for the Gospel into the hearts of the 
people. They trained young Czechs as native priests. They 
finished that Slavonian version of the Bible which Cyrill had 
previously begun, and for which he had invented an alphabet 
known as the Oyrilitza} They rendered the liturgy into the 
same tongue, and introduced it into every parish. They 
caused the reading of the Scriptures, public worship, and 
preaching to be conducted in the vernacular. They built up 
a national Church, in which the Czechs felt at home. Cyrill 
and Methodius, therefore, deserve their title of "Apostles of 

^ The Cyrilitza was invented by Cyrill in 855. It consisted of 46 letters, 
and was based on the Greek alphabet. According to the latest researches 
the Old or Church Slavonian language, into which Cyrill and Methodius 
translated the Bible, was not, as writers formerly supposed, the mother of 
all the living Slavonian dialects, but a dialect like these, only developed at 
an earlier time. It is no longer a living tongue, but the sacred language 
of the Slavonian nations, whose common property it has long since become. 
Cyrill translated the Gospel lessons, the Epistles, the Psalms, and the Old 
Testament lessons ; Methodius the rest of the Bible. That, as some writers 
assert, the Cyrilitza was a mere modification of the so-called Glagolitic 
letters, whose origin is obscure, cannot be substantiated. Even if such 
letters existed in Cyrill's time, it is very doubtful whether he was 
acquainted with them. 


the Slavonians." Both in its character and results, their 
work resembled the Missionary activity of the primitive 
Christians, and stood out in bright contrast to the system 
which Rome introduced wherever she gained a foothold. 

Her priests who had been sent to Bohemia and Moravia 
from Germany, used the Latin language in public worship, 
impressed upon the minds of the heathens the importance of 
tithes far more earnestly than the necessity of a conversion to 
God, and set forth doctrines which, even in that early age, 
constituted a wide departure from the standard of the Bible. 
Cyrill and Methodius, on the contrary, drew their inspiration 
from the Greek Church, which taught purer doctrines and 
unfolded the Gospel, not as a succession of unintelligible 
chants and lessons, but, in the vernacular, as " the power of 
God unto salvation to every one that belie veth." 

Both the countries in which they labored were, however, 
claimed by Rome upon the strength of the original introduc- 
tion of Christianity through the Franks. This claim was 
urged the more persistently, because the controversy, which 
eventuated in their total separation, had begun between the 
Latin and Greek Churches. Nicholas the First, with the 
triple crown upon his head^ and the forged Isidorian decretals 
in his hand, asserted his supremacy over Photius, the Patriarch 
of Constantinople, and maintained that Rome must be the 
final court of appeal in all important questions. So bitter did 
this feud grow, in 867, that Nicholas deposed Photius, and 
Photius excommunicated Nicholas. 

Informed, by envious German bishops, of what was trans- 
piring in Moravia, the Roman pontiff cited Cyrill and Meth- 
odius before his tribunal. They obeyed the summons (868), 
but Nicholas died before they reached Rome. His successor, 
Adrian the Second, received them with great distinction, not 
only because they brought with them the reputed bones of 
St. Clement,^ discovered by Cyrill in Cherson, but also because 

^ Nicholas the First was the first pope who was crowned (858). 
^ It is said that St. Clement, who was an illustrious contemporary of the 
Apostles, suffered martyrdom about the year 102. 


he hoped that the two brothers would aid him in resuscitating 
the ancient diocese of Pannonia, which had fallen into decay 
amidst the Hunnic wars. This was a favorite project at Rome. 
The resuscitated diocese was to be independent both of the 
Greek Patriarch and of the German bishops, and to embrace, 
along with Moravia and Bohemia, the eastern part of the 
archduchies of Austria, the duchies of Styria, Carinthia, and 
Carniola, all of Hungary between the Danube and the Save, 
Slavonia, and a section of Croatia and Bosnia. In this way 
Moravia and Bohemia would remain under papal jurisdiction; 
their peculiar privileges were to be recognized merely until an 
opportunity would oifer to withdraw them. 

With such a purpose hidden in his heart, Adrian sanctioned 
the Slavonian Bible and liturgy, allowed the Greek system of 
theology to be taught, and appointed Cyrill and Methodius 
Bishops of the new diocese. 

But Cyrill, whose health was failing, declined the honor. 
He preferred the vows of a monk and the solitude of a cloister, 
that he might prepare for death. In a few weeks, on the 
sixteenth of February, 868, death came and brought his illus- 
trious career to a close.^ After his decease, Methodius, satis- 
fied with the concessions of the Pope, promised him obedience 
and was consecrated Archbishop of Pannonia. He returned 
to Moravia in 869. 

A few years later, probably in 871, Boriwoj, Duke of 
Bohemia, together with his wife, Ludmila, while visiting 
Swatopluk, who had ^vrested Moravia from Rastislaw and 
married a Bohemian princess, received baptism, at Olmiitz, at 
the hands of Methodius. Christianity now spread rapidly 
throughout Bohemia. Whether Methodius himself labored 
in that country is not known. But his fatherly eye directed 
the work, and his pious heart gave to it the same tendency as 
in Moravia. A National Church was built up, with the 
Slavonian Bible for its light, and the promises of the Gospel, 

^ It was as a monk at Rome that he assumed the name of Cyrill, by 
which he is now universally known. 


proclaimed in the Czechish mother-tongue, for its joy. The 
first Christian sanctuary which was erected stood on the left 
bank of the Moldau, about seven miles from Prague, near the 
Castle of Lewy Hradec. 

These new victories over heathenism but intensified the 
jealousy of the German bishops, especially those of Salzburg 
and Passau, who filled all Rome with their lugubrious com- 
plaints. Methodius was cited a second time before the papal 
throne. He appeared and triumphantly vindicated his course. 
John the Eighth renewed the concessions of Adrian, but 
adroitly interwove with them the following stipulations : The 
Gospels were to be publicly read first in Latin and then in 
Slavonian ; should the Duke desire it, mass was to be cele- 
brated in Latin also ; a German suffragan was to be appointed. 
Harmless conditions they seemed to be ! And yet they pre- 
pared the way on which Bohemia and Moravia were led into 
the arms of Rome. The influence of Methodius began, at 
once, to wane, while Wiching, the German suffragan, grew in 
importance and power. Many bitter experiences saddened 
the declining years of the last of the two Apostles of the 
Slavonians. He died, according to tradition, on the sixth of 
April, 885, and was buried at Welehrad, in the church -of 
St. Mary. 



The further History of Christianity in Bohemia and Moravia. 
A. D. 885-1347. 

The German faction in the ascendency. — Persecutions on the part of the 
heathen. — Murder of Ludmila and Wenzel. — Suppression of Heathen- 
ism. — Increasing influence of the Roman Catholic Church and spread 
of her principles. — Gregory the Seventh forbids the Slavonian ritual. 
— Final supremacy of the Romish system. 

The German party now gained the ascendency. Gorasd, 
whom Methodius had appointed as his successor, was set aside 
and Wiching became archbishop. Under his administration 
the native priests were persecuted. Many of them fled to 
Bulgaria, where they introduced the Slavonian Bible and 
liturgy, both of which, in a later period, passed into the 
keeping of the Russians. 

But the German faction did not constitute the only power 
which interfered with the progress of Christianity. Heathen- 
ism, too, assumed a hostile attitude, and did not hesitate to 
dye its hands in blood. Ludmila, who had received the 
surname of The Holy, on account of her many pious works, 
was peacefully spending the days of her widowhood in the 
castle of Tetin. Thither Drahomira, her pagan daughter-in- 
law, sent a body of armed men who surrounded the castle, 
while two of their officers burst into her apartment. They 
found her in the act of prayer and strangled her with her own 
veil (927). The next victim was the Duke himself, Wenzel, 
Drahomira's older son, illustrious as a promoter of the Gospel 
and distinguished by a life of faith and charity. His brother 
Boleslaw, surnamed The Cruel, supported by other couspira- 


tors, fell upon and killed him as he was about to enter the 
church at Altbunzlau, where he had been the assassin's guest 
(936). But the fratricide could not murder Wenzel's fame. 
It lived from generation to generation. Bohemia crowned 
him as a martyr and chose him for her patron saint. Boleslaw 
seized the government and maintained his antagonism to the 
Christian religion until he was forced by the Emperor Otho 
the First to re-establish its rights.^ More than a century 
elapsed, however, before heathenism was finally suppressed. 
In 1092, Bretislaw the Second banished the remnant of its 
priests and soothsayers, and set on fire the last of its sacred 

Important events in the history of the national ritual pre- 
ceded this forcible triumph of Christianity. Boleslaw the 
Cruel was followed by Boleslaw the Pious. He deserved this 
surname. A wise ruler and an earnest Christian, he made the 
growth of religion to keep pace with the extension of his 
realm. While Moravia, Upper and Middle Silesia, and the 
southern half of Poland fell to him, numerous churches arose 
through his munificence, widows and orphans found in him a 
protector, and justice stretched out a firm but gentle hand. 
Cosmas, the oldest chronicler of Bohemia, contrasting him 
with his father, calls him a rose blooming on a thorn-bush, a 
lamb begotten of a wolf.^ He was, however, devoted to the 
Roman Catholic Church. The great service which Otho had 
rendered Bohemia in the preceding reign, and the alarming 
progress of the Magyars, had brought about a close fellowship 
with Germany, which formed one of the strongholds of the 
Hierarchy. Hence, when a bishopric was established at 
Prague (973), as a part of the archbishopric of Mayence, the 

^ Palacky represents the murders set forth above as the result of jealousies 
in the ducal family and says nothing of their having been instigated by 
hostility to the Christian religion. We follow the Hist. Persecutionum, 
even if we do not accept all the details of its narrative. (See Chap. III.) 
Schlesinger says, p. 31 : "Aber einer Partei im Lande war nichts verhasster 
als das Christenthum und der Deutsche Einfluss." 

^ Cosmae Chronicon. Scriptores Eerum Boh., I. p. 46. 


Emperor persuaded Boleslaw to disregard the wishes of his 
subjects and to accept the conditions which the Pope had 
fixed. The Latin language, the Romish ritual, the papal 
system of doctrines, was introduced, and Dietmar, a German 
received the episcopal office. About the same period, monas- 
teries were, for the first time, founded in Bohemia. 

In this way Romanism began a defiant march through the 
country, favored by the court, the nobility, and such of the 
inhabitants as traded with Germany, but bitterly opposed by 
the common people, who clung to their ancient usages with 
all the tenacity of their national character, and conceived a 
hatred of the Germans which has never died out. Impor- 
tunate calls were heard for a native bishop and the re-intro- 
duction of the vernacular in public worship. At last, both 
the Pope and the Emperor promised to fulfill these demands. 
On the death of Dietmar (982), Adalbert, a Bohemian by 
birth and the scion of a noble house, was actually appointed 
to the vacant see. But when he attempted to carry out the 
wishes of the people, the Emperor as well as the Archbishop 
called him to an account. Baffled and perplexed, he twice 
relinquished and twice returned to his diocese. On leaving it 
a third time, he found a martyr's grave among the Prussians 

Romanism now spread unhindered for many years ; while 
the Czechish language and Greek ritual fell into disuse more 
and more. The accession of Wratislaw the Second to the 
throne, in 1061 , brought about a change. This prince enjoyed 
the love of his people in an extraordinary degree, and fostered 
the national feeling until it burst into new life. 

His reign occurred in eventful times. Henry the Fourth 
was Emperor, Gregory the Seventh, Pope. The one passionate 
and fickle ; the other calm, cold and determined, striving for 
a universal theocracy and the elevation of the pontificate to 
supreme power upon earth as the one unchanging object of 
his life. The result was a protracted conflict between these 
two heads of Latin Christendom. In the midst of this 
struggle, Wratislaw, who had formed an alliance with Henry 


in 1075/ sent a deputation to Gregory and begged him to 
sanction the Slavonian ritual (1079). Such a petition could 
not have been presented at a less auspicious time and addressed 
to a more unyielding pontiif. A chief means by which 
Gregory endeavored to render the papacy supreme was a 
common ritual for the Christian world. Hence his reply 
assumed the form of a bull, dated January the second, 1080, 
and directed to the Duke, but without the usual greeting and 

" Your Highness," wrote the haughty Pope, "has asked us 
that we should allow your people to make use of the Slavonian 
tongue in divine worship. We can in no wise sanction this 
petition, in as much as a frequent study of the Holy Scriptures 
has convinced us, that it has pleased Almighty God, and not 
without reason, to allow certain parts of them to remain 
hidden, lest, if they were clearly open to all, they might, 
perhaps, become of trifling value and be subjected to contempt, 
and being incorrectly understood by minds of mediocre 
capacity, might lead men into error. Nor does the fact that 
certain holy men formerly bore with patience what the people 
asked for in simplicity, or let it pass uncorrected, serve as a 
precedent. The primitive Church took no notice of many 
points which were afterward corrected by the holy fathers, in 
consequence of more accurate investigations, when Christianity 
had been established and religion had increased. Hence that 
which your people imprudently ask for may not be done. We 
forbid it, by the authority of the blessed Saint Peter, and 
command you to resist such foolish rashness with all your 
strength, to the honor of Almighty God."^ 

' As a reward for the services which Wratislaw rendered in consequence 
of this alliance, he was constituted the first king of Bohemia, in 1086. 

^ The above letter differs materially from that given by Plitt, Holmes, 
Croeger, and others, including even Czerwenka, who have all taken their 
version from the Hist. Persecutionum, which got it from Hagek's old but 
notoriously unreliable chronicle. Our version is translated from the 
original Latin letter as found in Palacky, I. p. 338, Note 143, who took 
it from the correspondence of Gregory the Seventh, published in Vol. VI. of 
the Acta Conciliorum. Compare also Dobrowsky, pp. 48 and 49. The 


This edict was a death-blow to the uewly awakened hopes. 
Wratislaw, indeed, in spite of the Pope, continued to favor the 
convent on the Sazawa, where the ancient ritual had its prin- 
cipal seat; but his successor, Bretislaw the Second, expelled 
the Slavonian brethren, owing chiefly to their own unceasing 
disputes, and transferred the monastery to Latin monks (1096), 
There followed other measures which gave Rome the victory 
at last. The vernacular in public worship was prohibited, the 
clergy were forbidden to marry, the cup in the Lord's Supper 
was withdrawn from the laity. Yet even now the Bohemians 
did not wholly yield the ground on which their fathers had 
stood. Families and single churches, here and there, could 
still be seen maintaining the national worship, and priests 
administering the cup. Married priests were found as late 
as the reisrn of Charles the Fourth. For the next two cen- 
turies and a half religious liberty slumbered but was not dead. 
It only needed a bold hand to break its sleep. 

Some writers assert that a national Christianity was not 
merely kept up but even purified in doctrine and life, through 
the agency of the Waldenses.^ Numerous churches arose, it 
is said, representing a union of the old Slavonian and Wal- 
densian elements, and flourished greatly to the glory of God. 
This view was first promulgated by Paul Stransky,^ and 
adopted by Plitt.^ Modern researches, however, especially 
those instituted by Palacky,"* show that however convenient 
it is wholly without foundation. If the Waldenses appeared in 
Bohemia at the close of the thirteenth century, which is barely 
possible, they were few in number, exercised no influence, and 
cannot, from any point of view, be recognized as a power in 
its religious development. 

Hist. Persecutianum, moreover, as also Plitt, Holmes. Croeger, and Czer- 
wenka, gives a wrong date and prefixes the apostolic salutation, which was 
intentionally omitted in order to show the Pope's displeasure with the alli- 
ance between Wratislaw and the Emperor. 

' Cranz, p. 5; Croeger, I. p. 9 ; Holmes, I. p. 14. 

2 Stransky, p. 256. 

=» Plitt, Chap. I. Sec. 5. 

* Palacky's Waldenser, p. 18; Compare also Krummel, p. 51. 



The Forerunners of John Hus. A. D. 1347-1369. 

Gradual breaking up of the medieval Church-System. — Decline of Scho- 
lastic Theology. — The reign of Charles the Fourth, the Golden Age 
of Bohemia. — The Archbishopric, the Convent of Emmaus, and the 
University of Prague. — The three Forerunners of Hus. — Conrad of 
Waldhausen. — Milic of Kremsier. — Matthias von Janow. 

About the middle of the fourteenth century signs began 
to appear that the medieval church-system was breaking up. 
It had held the human mind bound in its icy fetters for ages, 
but it could not bind the Spirit whom God had sent. Under 
His divine influences a reaction set in and slowly gained 
strength, sometimes in silence and again amidst the noise of 
storms, until at last it burst forth as an overwhelming flood. 
Such a result was rendered inevitable by the abuses of the 
papacy and its perversions of the fundamental principles of 
the Gospel. 

A decline of scholastic theology constituted the beginning 
of this movement. Men began to think for themselves, and 
not as the Church commanded. An issue was made which 
still separates Protestantism from Romanism. The authority 
of the Bible as the only source and norm of belief was set up 
against the pretensions of the Church to promulgate doctrines 
of its own creation. It is true that such an issue did not 
become prevalent, but it constrained single reformers to 
unsheath the sword of the Spirit, and prepared the way for a 
general reformation. Nor did the revival of classical litera- 
ture, about the beginning of the fifteenth century, fail to send 
the human mind forward on its new course of thought and 


John Wycliffe was the first leading representative of such 
reformatory movements, and England the realm where they 
gained temporary strength ; but they were fully developed in 
Bohemia and Moravia. These twin countries had always 
given religious liberty a home ; now they furnished its battle 
ground. For two centuries, until the ojDening of the Thirty 
Years' War, the conflict was kept up. Then Rome tri- 
umphed again, and the land of the Czechs, a second time, 
lay helpless at her proud feet. 

In 1347 Charles the First, of the house of Luxemburg 
into which the Bohemian crown had passed by marriage, 
ascended the throne, and eight years later, in 1355, became 
Emperor of Germany, assuming the title of Charles the 
Fourth, by which he is generally known. However unequal 
he may have been to the duties of this position, and however 
little he may have understood the times in which he lived, 
Bohemia was the object of his love and the end of his 
ambition. Under his guidance it entered a golden age. Its 
bounds were extended ; its agricultural and commercial pros- 
perity was furthered ; and its capital enlarged to a metropolis 
which rivaled Paris.^ 

Three of his undertakings were particularly important. 
In 1344, while he was still Margrave, he emancipated the 
Bohemian Church from the control of the archbishopric of 
Mayence by the creation of the archbishopric of Prague ; in 
1347, he organized, in the same city, the Slavonian Monasteiy 
of Emmaus ; and, in 1348, founded the University of Prague, 
which soon became one of the most illustrious in Europe. 

^ The origin of Prague is unknown. It is ascribed to Libusa, a distin- 
guished princess of tlie mythical period of Bohemian History. The city 
is situated on both banks of the Moldau, in a basin-shaped valley, on whose 
slopes the buildings rise in tiers, giving to the town something of oriental 
splendor. That part of it which stands on the right bank is called the 
Altstadt (Old Town) and the Neustadt (New Town); the part on the left bank 
the Kleinseite (Small Side). A massive stone bridge and a chain bridge 
connect the two parts. Charles the Fourth built the Neustadt and the stone 
bridge, enlarged the Kleinseite, began the palace of the Hradschin, which 
stands on that side, and erected a number of churches. 


These enterprises were meant to advance Romanism, but God 
overruled them for the spread of the Gospel of His Son. 
The archbishopric re-invested the Church with a national 
character. Ernst of Pardubitz, its first incumbent, a man of 
apostolic ways, originated diocesan synods, which caused the 
Christian life of Bohemia to revive.^ The Convent of Em- 
maus, where the Slavonian ritual, although in a Romish form, 
and the Czech vernacular had been re-introduced, gave to such 
life something of an evangelical tendency. This tendency 
grew to be a power in the University, which sent forth John 
Hus, ordained to wake religious liberty from its sleep. 

Three illustrious forerunners prepared the way for his 

Between the years 1340 and 1360 there flourished, at 
Vienna and other places in Austria, a distinguished preacher 
named Conrad of Waldhausen.^ The jubilee proclaimed by 
Clement the Sixth, in 1350, brought him to Rome. There 
his eyes were opened. He saw the danger of such pilgrimages 
and the evil of selling indulgences. Multitudes, from every 
part of Europe, came swarming into the city, paid the price 
of absolution without a thought of repentance, and imme- 
diately, amidst the abominations of the papal capital, fell into 
deeper sin. On his return to Austria he set forth the scrip- 
tural conditions of forgiveness with words of power and an 
earnest heart. Charles the Fourth invited him to Bohemia, 
whither he was drawing other celebrities. Waldhausen 
accepted the invitation, settled at Leitmeritz, either in 1360 
or 1362, and labored with great success. After a time he 

1 Lechler, II. p. 114. 

^ Palacky's Vorlaufer, p. 1, &c.; Neander, VI. p. 240, &c.; Krummel, p. 
57, &c. Since the publication of Cochlaeus' Hist, of the Hussites, in 1549, 
Conrad in all works that treat of him, down to recent times, has received 
the family name of Stekna. This is an error. John von Stekna was a 
Cistercian monk and priest, who flourished at Prague, after Conrad's death, 
as incumbent of the Bethlehem Chapel, and in other capacities. The error 
originated in the omission, by Cochlaeus, of a comma between Conrad's 
and Stekna's name, as Palacky has shown. Waldhausen was the name of 
the village in which Conrad was born. 


began occasionally to preach at Prague. There his congrega- 
tions grew so large that no building could hold them, and 
they were forced to assemble in a market place. In 1364 he 
was appointed incumbent of the Thein Church, the most 
important in the capital.^ He preached in German. His 
bearing was calm, his thoughts were set forth with great 
clearness, his language was plain but forcible and eloquent. 
With a boldness that came from God and feared neither man 
nor devil, he exposed the vices of the times and called sinners 
to repentance. The result was wonderful. Women who had 
been leaders of extravagant and immodest fashions laid aside 
their costly robes, glittering with gold and pearls, and devoted 
themselves to works of charity ; usurers, fattening on unright- 
eous gains, made restitution ; notorious libertines set an 
example of holy living. 

Such success excited the jealousy of the mendicant friars, 
whose churches were almost deserted. But when Conrad, to 
use his own figure, drew the bow of God's Word against these 
monks themselves, their envy was turned into hate bitter as 
gall. And yet his arrows told, for they came with the force 
of truth. He directed them against the hypocrisy, simony 
and degenerate ways of the various orders. He said that if 
their founders were to come back to earth in order to resus- 
citate first principles, they would be stoned ; that the monks, 
instead of assuming voluntary poverty and humbly walking 
in love, manifested insatiable avarice, inordinate pride, and 
selfishness in its worst forms ; that their appeals for alms 
were morally wrong, because alms ought to be given to the 
poor; that the idolatry which they practised with relics was 
abominable ; that holiness deserved more reverence than the 

Smarting under sharp truths such as these, the Dominicans, 
Franciscans, Augustines and others, forgot their own inces- 
sant quarrels, and made common cause against Waldhausen. 

^ The Thein Church stands in the Altstadt, on the Grosser Ring, opposite 
the Council House. It is famous in the history of the Hussites and the 


But his popularity was so great that they did not venture 
to attack him openly until the Vicar General of the Domini- 
cans had arrived at Prague. His presence gave them courage 
to lay twenty-four articles of accusation before the Arch- 
bishop (1364). These charges Conrad triumphantly refuted, 
in the presence of many witnesses, and prepared a written 
defence of his course for Duke Rudolph, who urgently re- 
quested that he should come back to Vienna. But he pre- 
ferred Bohemia, and continued his victorious career until 
1369, when he died, on the eighth of December, beloved by 
the people and blessed of God. 

Although he did not directly attack the dogmas of the 
Romish Church, he taught the necessity of a living Chris- 
tianity, of a renewal of the heart, and of saving faith in 
Christ. In view of such principles he deserves to be counted 
as the first forerunner of Hus. 

The second was Milic, of Kremsier, in Moravia.^ His 
early life is shrouded in obscurity. He took orders about 
1350, and subsequently became an arch-deacon and a canon 
of St. Vitus.^ At the same time he filled a responsible post 
in the imperial chancellor's office, and owned an estate which 
brought him a considerable income, in addition to his many 
emoluments. But neither honors nor wealth could satisfy 
him. He longed to serve the Lord in poverty and lowliness. 
Hence, in 1363, he resigned all his lucrative and high posi- 
tions. The Archbishop reasoned with hira. "In what better 
work could you engage," he said, " than helping your poor 
Archbishop to feed the flock which has been committed to his 
care ?" But Milic remained firm, and retired to Bischof 
Teinitz, where he began to labor as a preacher of the people. 

^ Neander, VI. pp. 228, &c.; Palacky's Vorliiufer, pp. 18, &c.; Czerwenka, 
I. Chap. III.; Knimmel, pp. 62, &c. There is no authority for the name 
John, which is commonly given him. 

2 This cathedral was begun in 1344 and stands within the enclosure of 
the Hradschin, the celebrated palace of the Bohemian kings, built by 
Charles the Fourth, in 1353, rebuilt by Ferdinand the First in 1541, but 
not completed until 1756. 


His stay in this village was short. The incumbent had a 
pleasant garden which, Milic feared, might tempt him to 
idleness. Hastening back to Prague, he gained access to 
various pulpits. At first his congregations were small and 
his Moravian dialect excited ridicule. But he persevered, 
until he found acceptance. In course of time he became as 
famous an orator as Waldhausen. His style, however, was 
wholly different. It was mystical, excited the imagination, 
and glowed with figures borrowed from the Apocalypse. 

The biblical studies in which Milic diligently engaged, led 
him to the conclusion that Antichrist would appear between 
the years 1365 and 1367, and that, therefore, the end of the 
world was at hand. This view he set forth in his work De 
Antichristo, and urged from the pulpit, pointing, in the way 
of proof, to the degeneracy of the age. His denunciations 
were bold and terrific. He spared no one, from the Arch- 
bishop to the lowest monk, from the Emperor to the meanest 
peasant. On one occasion he publicly reproved the Emperor 
by name. But Charles recognized his motives and honored 
his zeal. Nor could his enemies, although their number 
increased, prevail against him. It is true that they induced 
the new Archbishop to order his arrest; but he was soon set 
at liberty. Milic himself, however, grew discouraged, es- 
pecially in view of the imwillingness of the Bohemians to 
accept his apocalyptical theory, relinquished his work, and 
went to Rome to consult the Pope. 

Urban the Fifth filled the papal chair and was about to 
transfer his court from Avignon, where his predecessors had 
lived for more than half a century, to its proper seat (1367). 
While awaiting his arrival, Milic was, as he says, moved by 
the Spirit to announce, through a poster affixed to the door of 
St. Peter's, that he would preach on the coming of Antichrist. 
For this bold act he was cast into prison. But Urban, as 
soon as he had reached the city, set him free and punished his 
persecutors. The consultations in which he now engaged 
with the Pope and various ecclesiastics led him to recognize 
the propriety of giving less prominence to his prophetical 


views, but encouraged him to return to Prague and resume 
his activity in other respects. 

On the death of Waldhausen, he was appointed his suc- 
cessor in the Thein Church. In order to reach the German 
population he began to study their language, and persevered 
until he could preach in it with fluency. He delivered daily 
sermons, besides attending to his pastoral duties, visiting the 
poor, and instructing students in theology. The most notable 
instance of his success in reformmg the morals of Prague 
was the breaking up of a whole block of brothels, which had 
long been infamously known as " Little Venice." More than 
one hundred of their inmates repented in a body. The houses 
were torn down, and a chapel and home erected, in which the 
penitents found an asylum. Their number increased by 
accessions from the country. There were often as many as 
three hundred women in this retreat, which received the name 
of " Jerusalem." Near by stood a house that Milic had 
converted into a Seminary for his students, who assisted him 
in his work. 

His growing fame and widespread influence incited his 
enemies to renewed activity. The mendicant friars, in par- 
ticular, opposed him. Twelve articles of accusation were 
sent to Gregory the Eleventh, which aroused his utmost 
displeasure. He wrote to the Emperor, to the Archbishop, 
and to several Bishops in Moravia, Silesia and Poland, 
condemning the entire course which Milic was pursuing. 
Milic hastened to Avignon, where the papal court had again 
been established, in order to defend himself, and succeeded in 
refuting the charges that had been brought against him. 
While waiting for the final decision of the Pope, he fell ill 
and died, on the twenty-ninth of June, 1374. 

His solemn protest against the vices of the age, his earnest 
call for the convocation of a General Council that the Church 
might be reformed, his eloquent plea for the preaching of the 
pure Gospel that the spiritual kingdom of Christ might 
spread, constituted him the second forerunner of John Hus. 
"In Milic that religious thought and feeling which have 


always distinguished the Bohemians, found its embodiment," 
says Palacky in substance. " He stirred the spirit of the 
people to its depths, and first caused it to rise in those waves 
which, at a later time and with the co-operation of new 
elements, grew to be the billows of a great storm,"* 

The last precursor of Hus was Matthias von Janow,^ the 
son of a Bohemian Knight, and an enthusiastic pupil of Milic. 
In 1381, he was appointed a prebendary of the Cathedral at 
Prague and a father confessor. Distinguished for his learning 
which he acquired at the Universities of Prague and Paris — 
whence his title of "Parisian Master" — converted, while 
searching the Scriptures, from a vicious life to the service 
of God, he used both his knowledge and his experience in 
bravely promoting the Truth. He was a writer and not a 
preacher. The collection of his works, composed between the 
years 1388 and 1392 and entitled De regulis Veteris et Novi 
Testamenti, exercised an unprecedented influence in its day.^ 

His position is bold and evangelical. He bewails the 
worldliness of the clergy and their neglect of the Bible, 
rebukes their pride and hierarchical pretensions, and disap- 
proves of monastic orders as well as of that wide distinction 
between the ministry and the laity which conflicts with the 
scriptural idea of a universal priesthood. He protests against 
the worship of pictures, the invocation of saints, and the 
idolatry practiced with relics. He urges that the Gospel 
shall be preached in the vernacular, that Christians shall 
receive the Lord's Supper daily, and that the cup shall be 
given to the laity, although he does not consider this 
absolutely essential. He asserts that Antichrist is already in 
the world, in the form of the hierarchy which has become 

1 Palacky, IV. p. 173. 

2 Neander, VI. p. 252, &c.; Palacky's Vorlaufer, p. 47, &c.; Krummel, 
Chap. V. 

^ This collection was divided into five books, each book containing a 
number of treatises. It exists in manuscript only and is very rare, except- 
ing one treatise, on The Abomination in the Holy Place, which essay was 
printed along with the works of Hus to whom it was incorrectly ascribed. 


wholly secularized ; predicts the renewal of the Church in its 
primitive purity and dignity ; defines it to be a living 
organism whose members ought all to work together, 
including the Pope, who must direct the bishops in the 
proper discharge of their duties, but not exalt himself above 
them and seek his own ends through the agency of princes 
and kings ; and finds a chief cause of its corruption in its 
many decretals, which usurp the place of the Scriptures. 
Finally, he sets forth the immediate relation of the soul to 
Christ, the necessity of faith, and the insufficiency of works 
when separated from faith/ 

Some of these views Janow was forced to recant, at the 
Diocesan Synod of 1389.^ But this seems to have been a 
mere form, for we find them still more fully developed in his 
later writings. He died in the prime of manhood, on the 
thirtieth of November, 1394. But the truths which he 
promulgated were a trumpet-blast that announced the coming 
Reformer and the dawn of a new epoch. Indeed, if we may 
trust tradition, he appears to have looked even beyond the 
days of Hus and to have foretold the rise of the Brethren's 
Church. " We find it also recorded," says the History of 
the Bohemian Persecution, " that this Parisian, his death 
approaching, amongst others gave this comfort to his friends: 
The rage of the enemies of truth hath now prevailed against 
us ; but this shall not be always ; for an ignoble people shall 
arise without sword or power, over whom they shall not be 
able to prevail."^ 

^ Czerwenka, I. p. 50. 

* Docuruenta Hus, pp. 699 and 700, where the retraction is given in full 
and the penance set forth, namely, suspension, for half a year, from min- 
isterial functions outside of his own church. 

^ History of the Bohemian Persecution, London, 1650, Chap. VII. 5, p. 
19, the quaint English version of the Hist. Persecutionum. 



A. D. 1369-1415. 


The Beginning of the Bohemian Reformation as inauguraied 
by Hus. J. i). 1369-1411. 

Birth and Education of Hus. — His moral Character. — A Professor in the 
University of Prague. — Magnitude of the University. — State of Latin 
Christendom. — The Philosophical and Theological tendencies of Hus. 
— His Friends and Coadjutors. — Incumbent of the Bethlehem Chapel. — 
Hus as a Pastor and Preacher. — Appointed Synodical Preacher. — 
Condemnation of Wycliffe's articles in the University. — Beginning of 
the Reformation. — The miracle at Wilsnak. — The Keformatory Labors 
of Hus and the Opposition they evoked. — The Reformation strengthened 
by the State of the Country and Empire. — Exodus of the Germans 
from the University. — The Reformation about to die a natural Death. 

Four years after the death of the last of his forerunners 
John Hus himself appeared on tlie stage of history. Through 
his instrumentality the new ideas, to which his age was giving 
birth, were developed into a national reformation that proved 
to be the harbinger of the General Reformation. In bringing 
this about he opened the way, on the one hand, for the coming 
of the Unitas Fratrum whicli was founded by his followers 
and inherited his principles, and, on the other, led Bohemia 
and Moravia out of the darkness of the Middle Ages a century 
before it began to disappear from other countries. 

In the southern part of Bohemia on the Planitz, not far 
from the Bavarian frontier, stands a small market-town called 


Husinec. It constituted, originally, one of twenty-four vil- 
lages which belonged jointly to the royal exchequer and the 
Castle of Hus, built, in 1341, by the Barons of Janowic. In 
that town John Hus was born on the sixth of July, 1369.i 
He took his name from the Castle.^ His family name is not 
known. Although his parents ranked no higher than peasants, 
they were in good circumstances. His early years are shrouded 
in obsciirity.^ 

He studied at the University of Prague and took his first 
degree in 1393. In 1396 he was constituted a Master of 
Arts. His talents were not brilliant but his diligence never 
flagged. He devoted himself to his books with the patience 
of a student and the tenacity of a Czech. Such perseverance 
had its reward. He became a man of comprehensive learning, 
and slowly but surely made his way to the side of the greatest 
celebrities of his age.^ His moral character was blameless. 
It was never aspersed even by his bitterest enemies. They 
were constrained to recognize the purity of his heart and the 
holiness of his life. In other respects, however, he is stig- 
matized by some modern writers of the Romish school, who 
call him " a vain declaimer, a plotter, a proud Czech, a fanatic, 
a revolutionist, an ignorant fellow, as rude and bold as a 
peasant."^ While such denunciations recoil upon their authors, 
there may be some truth in the charges of Palacky. He asserts 
that Hus was rash, obstinate, greedy of popularity and am- 
bitious to win a martyr's crown. ^ Tradition has it, that on 

' Gillett, Croeger and other Moravian writers, give the year 1373, but 
1369 is adopted by all the best modern authorities. 

^ Not Huss, but Hus, is therefore the correct way of spelling his name. 
It lias been adopted by German and ought to be adopted by English writers. 

3 The details given by Becker, Die Bohm. Reform, u. Miirt. J. Hus u. H. 
V. Prag, 1858, and found in Croeger, I. p. 18, &c., are without historic 

* Berger, p. 79, Note 2, asserts that the learning of Hus was not extra- 
ordinary, but merely such as was common among all scholars of his day. 
In what estimation Berger's testimony is to be held, will appear later. 

^ Helfert, Hofler and Friedrich. 

^ Palacky, IV. p. 215. In Note 218, he adds: "That Hus, at an early 
period of his life, dwelt upon the possibility of his suffering martyrdom, is 


reading an account of the cruel execution of St. Lawrence, 
who was roasted alive in an iron chair, he thrust his own 
hand into the fire in order to test his ability to endure such 
torments. Greatness and faults are inseparable. We must 
not expect the record of Hus to be spotless. In his inter- 
course with others he was modest and kind. A spirit of 
melancholy gave tone to his whole bearing. It seemed as 
though he could not forget the degeneracy of the Church and 
the evil of the times in which he lived. He was a tall man, 
with a thin, pale, sad face. 

Two years after he received the Master's degree, he was 
called to a professorship in the University (1398.) 

This school, next to that of Paris, after which it was 
modeled, constituted the most distinguished seat of learning 
on the Continent of Europe. It formed a state within the 
state. It enjoyed peculiar privileges and extraordinary im- 
munities. It grew to be a Bohemian republic of letters with 
an authority second only to that of the king. It was pervaded 
by a literary spirit, active, keen, thorough, delighting in 
disputations on the grandest scale. It embraced four faculties, 
one for theology, one for law, one for medicine, and one for 
philosophy ; and was divided into four nations, the Bohemian, 
the Bavarian, the Polish, and the Saxon. Its teachers and 
students far outnumbered those of modern universities how- 
ever large.* 

A school such as this inspired Hus with enthusiasm. He 
became one of its lights. In 1401 he was elected Dean of the 
Philosophical Faculty, and in 1402 Rector of the University. 

evident from various passages of his Bohemian works which bring out his 
individuality in sharper lines than his Latin writings." 

' Some authorities give fabulous figures. It is said that, about 1408, there 
were 200 Doctors and Masters, 500 Bachelors, and more than 30,000 students. 
Others assert that there were never more than 4000 students, and only 2,500, 
about 1408. (Lechler, II. p. 153.) But this estimate is incorrect; for we 
have data which show that in that year, there were 64 Doctors and Masters 
and 150 Bachelors belonging to the Bohemian nation alone. Palacky 
thinks there must have been more than 7,000 students. (Palacky, IV. 
p. 183.) 


Dire confusion reigned throughout Latin Christendom. For 
more than twenty years the Church had been rent by a dis- 
graceful schism. Two popes, each claiming to be Christ's 
vicar upon earth, the one at Rome, the other at Avignon, were 
hurling anathemas at each other.^ This was a gross scandal 
that called forth protests from the University of Paris, than 
which no literary seat exercised a higher authority. Peter 
D'Ailly, John of Gerson, Nicholas of Clemanges and others, 
scrutinously investigated the claims set up by the popes, asserted 
the supremacy of a General Council, and, in ringing tones, 
proclaimed the necessity of reform. Nor did the University 
of Oxford remain silent. Wycliffe was dead, but his writings 
were exercising a widely spread influence.^ They found their 
way to Bohemia through Bohemian students who studied at 
Oxford, and soon began to play an important part in the 
theological history of that country.^ 

Charles the Fourth died in 1378, and was succeeded by 
Wenzel, his oldest son. He was an incompetent ruler. The 
sceptre fell from his weak grasp into the hands of unworthy 
favorites who governed in his name. Although not without 
good qualities, he acted, for the most part, in the words of 
Palacky, like a spoiled child, offending his nobles, maltreating 
the clergy, quarreling with his brother Sigismund, and giving 

^ The scliisin began in ] 378 by the election of Urban the Fifth and Clement 
the Seventh. 

^ John de Wycliffe, written also Wickliffe, Wyclif, or Wiclif, was born 
near Kichmond, England, in 1324. A controversy with the Mendicants led 
to his illustrious career as a Keformer before the Reformation. He attacked 
some of the most cherished dogmas of Rome, such as plenary indulgence 
and transubstantiation ; drew a sharp line between Biblical Christianity 
and Romish ecclesiasticism ; translated the Bible into English from the 
Vulgate; and labored by his writings, sermons, and lectures at Oxford for 
the spread of the pure Gospel. Protected' by the Duke of Lancaster, he 
withstood every persecution, and died, as parish priest at Lutterworth, 
December the thirty-first, 1384. His followers were the English Lollards. 
The newest and best work on Wycliffe is Lechler's Wiclif und die Vorge- 
schichte der Reformation. 2 Vols. Leipzig and London, 1873. 

' In 1382, Anne, a daughter of Charles the Fourth, married Richard the 
Second. This brought about a close connection between Bohemia and 


occasion for the appearance of a rival Emperor in the person 
of Ruprecht, who disputed the crown for ten years. 

It was in such a period of European, history, when no honest 
mind could fail to recognize the necessity of reforming the 
Church, that Hus began his public career. His earliest lectures 
were mostly philosophical. He was a decided adherent of the 
realistic school.^ His theology received its tendency from 
Matthias of Janow and WycliflPe. The theological writings of 
the latter were brought to Bohemia in 1398, by Jerome of 
Prague. When Hus had overcome the prejudice which he 
entertained against them and began to study them, he was 
attracted by their reformatory spirit and the supreme authority 
which they ascribed to the Bible. The longer he searched 
this sacred volume the more he became convinced of the cor- 
ruptness of the Church and the necessity of a reformation. 
But he did not set out with the intention of inaugurating such 
a work. Nor did he take a position antagonistic to Rome in 

^ Realism and Nominalism constituted tlie two conflicting doctrines of 
scholastic philosophy. The former taught, that general notions, such as tlie 
notion of a tree, have an objective existence and reality; in other words, 
" that genus and species are real things, existing independently of our con- 
ceptions and expressions" (Fleming's Vocab. of Phil., p. 422). The latter, 
" that general notions, such as the notion of a tree, have no realities 
corresponding to them, and no existence but as names or words" (lb. p. 
346). Applied to theology, realism set up the reality, that is, the absolute 
truth of the dogmas of the Church, which were binding upon all and might 
not be questioned by any. Nominalism, on the other hand, subjected such 
dogmas to critical investigation, and asserted the right of research as a 
necessary consequence of that capacity to investigate which has been given 
to every man. From this point of view the realism of Hus is surprising. 
Indeed, Czerwenka (I. p. 59), denies its existence. But while Hus, in many 
of his theological views, was practically a nominalist, because he recognized 
the authority of the Bible as supreme, yet in his philosophical views, which 
had an influence upon his theology also, he was technically, without question, 
a realist. For he took his philosophical views from Wycliffe whose work 
on the " Reality of General Ideas " was, for years, a text-book in the 
University of Prague. His national feelings, moreover, had much to do 
with this position. He would not uphold a system to which the German 
Doctors, who were mostly nominalists, adhered, and which, in itself con- 
sidered, did not satisfy his aspirations. 


obedience to an inward development. Every forward step 
was induced by outward circumstances. 

His doctrinal system was circumscribed in the same way. 
He searched for truth, and the truth as found in the Bible 
constituted the foundation on which he built. But as long as 
he did not recognize any discrepancy between the Scriptures 
and a dogma of the Church, he upheld the latter even if it 
was not explicitly taught in the former. On the other hand, 
whenever such a disagreement became j)lain, he rejected the 
dogma and followed the Scriptures. "From the very be- 
ginning- of my studies," he writes, " I have made it a rule, 
whenever I meet with a sounder ojjinion, to joyfully and 
humbly give up the one I previously entertained. For I am 
well assured, as Themistius says, that what w^e know is far less 
than what we do not know."^ 

The Bohemian Doctors were not slow to acknowledge the 
commanding position which Hus occupied. A distinguished 
circle gathered around him. His most intimate friend and 
active coadjutor was Jerome of Prague, a highly gifted man, 
an acute reasoner and eloquent speaker, but of a restless dis- 
position and fiery temperament." He had studied at Prague, 
Oxford, Cologne, Heidelberg and Paris, was honored with two 
degrees, and had visited many countries, including Palestine. 
Other associates of Hus were Stanislaus of Znaim, one of his 
teachers, Peter of Znaim, Stephen of Palec, Christian of 
Prachatic, John of Jesenic and Jacobellus of Mies, a disciple 
of Janow and the illustrious advocate of the cup in the Lord's 
Supper.^ They were accustomed to meet at the house of John 
Protzwa, the incumbent of St. Michael's. The bond of 
fellowship between them was not only a common philosophical 
tendency but also a strong national feeling. They were pro- 
nounced Czechs and looked upon German Bohemians wdth no 

^ De Trinitate Sancta, Hist, et Mon., I. p. 131. 

^ Jerome of Prague, incorrectly surnamed Faulfisch, which name belonged 
to an entirely different person, was a native of Prague, and descended from 
a noble family. He was several years younger than Hus. 

' Jacob of Mies, called Jacobellus on account of his small stature, was 
born at Misa and graduated at the University of Prague. 


favor. Hus himself was an intense patriot. He never ceased 
to labor for the development of the Czech element.^ 

The mission of Hus was not circumscribed by his academical 
labors. On the fourth of March, 1402, after having been 
ordained to the priesthood, he was installed as the incumbent 
of the Bethlehem Chapel at Prague.^ 

This historic edifice had been erected at his own expense, 
in 1391, by John de Milheim, an enthusiastic pupil of Milic 
and Janow. He called it Bethlehem, because, in the language 
of the deed of gift, it was to be "a house of bread for the 
common people in which they were to be refreshed with holy 
preaching in the vernacular." Such an undertaking became 
possible only because Milheim stood high in the favor of the 
King. It constituted one of the signs of the times. No other 
church of the capital afforded the same opportunity for teaching 
the Word of God. While the reading of mass was left to the 
discretion of the incumbent, he was bound to preach twice, on 
every Sunday and feast-day, and only in Bohemian. 

Hus entered upon the duties of his office with zeal. It 
opened a wide field from which he garnered plentiful harvests. 
It brought him into personal contact with the wants of the 
human soul. It led him to search the Scriptures, not in 
order to enrich scholastic theology, but in order to find words 
of eternal life. It carried him forward directly in the way of 
a reformation. It proved the means whereby he fomid that 
truth which renewed and sanctified his own heart.^ 

^ The German Doctors of the University devised the following genea- 
logical travesty: "Stanislaus of Znaim begat Peter of Znairu, Peter begat 
Palec, Palec begat Hus." 

^ The Bethlehem Chapel stood next to the College of Lazarus, on the' 
street leading from the bridge to the Ring of the Altstadt. It could seat 
3,000 hearers. The pulpit was four-cornered, with a staircase at the side 
of it leading to the dwelling-room of Hus. Zach. Theobald, p. 37. This 
Chapel was eventually given to the Bohemian Brethren. In the Anti- 
Reformation it passed into the hands of the Jesuits. It was closed in 1786, 
and subsequently torn down. Since 1868 a marble tablet marks its site. 

^ Hus has nowhere recorded the time or the particulars of his conversion. 
He merely says that the study of the Scriptures and especially the life of 
the Saviour led him to a knowledge of the truth. 


As a pastor he distinguislied himself by self-denying faith- 
fulness and an earnest desire to benefit his fellow-men. It is 
said of him : " He was untiring in the confessional, unwearied 
in his efforts to convert sinners, assiduous in bringing comfort 
to the afflicted. He sacrificed everything, he sacrificed himself, 
in order to save souls."^ His own favorite saying was borrowed 
from St. Ambrose : " Prayer and tears are the weapons of a 
priest." Laboring in such a spirit he won esteem and con- 
fidence. Queen Sophia chose him for her confessor ; he was 
welcomed to the houses of the nobility ; the common people 
loved him as a friend. 

His success in the pulpit was extraordinary. Vast congre- 
gations thronged to hear him representing every class of society, 
except the clergy of rank, the German Masters and the monks. 
Nobles, Bohemian ]\Iasters, students, mei'chants, mechanics and 
jjeasants, all hung uj)on his words. The Queen was one of 
his most ftiithful hearers. And yet, according to the standard 
of our day, his sermons were not eloquent. They either con- 
sisted of expositions of the appointed Gospels and Epistles 
interwoven with practical applications and passages from the 
church-fathers, or treated of doctrinal points, or brought out 
some subject relating to the history of the times. An occa- 
sional anecdote occurred, but rhetorical ornaments were 
wanting. Their biblical character and the evidences with 
which they abounded that they were the outflow of personal 
conviction and living faith, gave them power; while the pure 
Bohemian which gushed from his lips, the idiomatic phrases 
which he used, and the transparent simplicity of his style 
rendered them exceedingly attractive.^ 

^ Sermo habitus in Bethlehem a quodam Pio, in Memoriam novorum 
Martyrum M. Joan. Hus et M. Hieronymi. Hist, et Mon., II. p. 537. 

2 The Brethren who founded Ilerrnhut brought from Moravia the Postil 
of Hus containing his Bohemian sermons. A series taken from this work 
has been translated into German by Dr. John Nowotny. It was published 
at Gorlitz, in 1854 and 1855,in four Parts: Johannes Hus Predigten. 
The late lamented Dr. Gillett wrote a review of these sermons in "The 
New Englander," for October, 1864. 


One year after his installation he received another important 
appointment. The first Archbishop of Prague had introduced 
not only diocesan synods but also the preaching of synodical 
sermons. Both these institutions were kept up by his suc- 
cessors. In 1403 Zbynek Zajic von Hasenburg was elevated 
to the see. He knew more of the weapons of carnal warfare 
than of the sword of the spirit, and was better versed in 
military aifairs than in the things appertaining to the kingdom 
of God. But his intentions were good. He meant to purify 
his diocese and elevate the moral standard of his clergy. Hence 
he a|)pointed Hus synodical preacher and commissioned him 
to report any abuses which might fall under liis notice. 

The synodical sermons of Hus differed from his popular 
discourses. They were delivered in Latin, showed the scholar 
and the theologian, were more systematically and logically 
arranged, contained occasional bursts of eloquence and keen 
satire, and sparkled with gems from the church -fathers. Their 
chief characteristic, however, was the moral heroism which 
they displayed, the merciless method in which they set forth, 
and the terrific maner in which they condemned, the sins of 
the clergy.^ 

The first intimation which the public had that the University 
was divided into two factions and that there existed a deep- 
rooted theological difference between them, was given on the 
twenty-eighth of May, 1403. Walter Harasser, who had 
succeeded Hus in the rectorship, called an academical meeting 
and presented for its examination forty-five articles extracted 
from the writings of Wycliffe. A stormy debate followed. 
The articles were condemned and the members of the 
University forbidden to teach them. This act, combined with 
the two-fold commission which Hus had received from the 
Archbishop, may be said to have constituted the beginning of 
the Bohemian Reformation. Its first development was the 
correction of a scandalous abuse. At Wilsnak, on the Elbe, 
amidst the ruins of an old church, three communion wafers 

^ In Hist, et Mon., II. pp. 35-84, we find eight so-called synodical sermons, 
sonie of which, however, were delivered before the people. 


were found impregnated with what seemed to be blood. The 
priests having spread the report that it was the blood of Christ 
and could cure all manner of diseases, pilgrims came streaming 
to the spot from Bohemia and Moravia, from Hungary and 
Poland, and even from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. At 
the instance of Hus, the Archbishop appointed a commission 
to investigate the reported miracles. They proved to be a 
fraud and the pilgrimages were forbidden. This was a hard 
blow at the superstition of the age. It opened the eyes of 
many to the priestcraft by which they were beguiled, and 
caused an intense sensation among the clergy. 

Hus followed it up by efforts to purify both the doctrine and 
life of the Church. In the University, where the condemna- 
tion of Wycliffe's writings had remained practically a dead 
letter, he devoted special attention to exegetical lectures and 
imbued the minds of the students, and through them, the 
popular mind, with such a love for the Holy Scriptures as had 
never been known before. In the Bethlehem Chapel he 
discussed the essential doctrines of the Christian religion, 
setting forth the difference between their biblical form and 
that in which they were ordinarily presented, pointing out the 
evils to which such perversions had led, and calling, with the 
authority of a prophet, the people to repentance and faith. In 
his synodical discourses he probed and laid bare the moral sores 
of the clergy to the very bone, gave to every sin its right 
name, burst in upon it with a tempest of indignation, and blew 
an alarm that startled the hardest heart. And thus the work 
went bravely on. Anti-scriptural usages, however time- 
honored, were recognized in their real character. New ideas 
sprang into life. The true light began to shine. Men's re- 
sponsibilities to God outweighed their duties to the Hierarchy. 
The people of Prague and of all Bohemia were profoundly 

On the eighteenth of October, 1407, Hus delivered a sermon 
before the clergy^ which was so full of stinging invectives that 

1 This sermon, on Ephesians vi, 14 and 15, is found in Hist, et Mon., II. 
p. 47, &c. 


it led to his deposition from the office of synodical preacher. 
This was but one instance of the hostility which his course 
evoked. Enemies met him at every step. The clergy of 
rank, the foreign Doctors and the monks, formed an unbroken 
phalanx against him. They were joined by the Archbishop 
himself. Instigated by John the Iron, Bishop of Leitomischl, 
the leader of the conservative party, he forgot the favor with 
which he had originally looked upon Hus, denounced him a.s 
a disobedient son of the Church, forbade him to preach, put 
him under the ban, laid an interdict on the city of Prague, 
and made himself notorious throughout Europe by committing 
to the flames, amidst the tolling of bells and the singing of 
the Te Deum, more than two hundred volumes of Wycliffe's 
writings, beautifully engrossed and splendidly bound, (July 
the sixteenth, 1410). Appeals and counter-appeals to the 
Pope followed. Commissioners were appointed at Rome to 
try Hus; advocates were sent from Prague to defend him. 
Papal bulls against him were met by royal edicts in his favor. 
Amidst such experiences he stood firm as a rock and his work 
went on. This would have been impossible if dire confusion 
had not continued in church and state. Popes and anti-popes 
still hurled anathemas at each other. The Council of Pisa 
accomplished nothing (1409). At one time there were three 
Popes and three Emperors. Old landmarks disappeared. 
The foundations of government and of society were shaken. 
In such a period af history the Bohemian Reformation grew 
rapidly ; in any other, it would have been nipped in the bud. 
It was, moreover, upheld to a certain extent by Wenzel him- 
self, although he understood neither its character nor object. 
One of his acts, in particular, gave a new impetus to the 
movement. Contrary to the intentions of its founder, the 
German nations in the University had gradually secured 
three votes while the Bohemian had but one. This caused 
great dissatisfaction among the native Doctors. At their 
instigation, Nicholas von Lobkowic, the favorite adviser of 
the King, induced him to issue a decree, on the eighteenth of 
January, 1409, which reversed the academic status. Three 


votes were given to the Bohemian nation and one to the foreign 
nations. Thereupon a large number of German Professors, 
the majority of whom belonged to the ultra wing of the con- 
servative faction, and several thousand German students, left 
Prague in indignation.* The liberal party gained strength in 
consequence of this exodus. At the same time it intensified 
the animosity of the Germans toward the Bohemians, and 
made Hus, who had been active in bringing about the change, 
notorious throughout Germany. 

While the Bohemian Reformation outlived every attempt 
to bring it to a violent end, it nearly died a natural death. 
In July, 1411, the Archbishop was reconciled both to Hus 
and the King. The ban and interdict were to be annulled, all 
suits to be quashed, all appeals to be withdrawn, all disputes 
to cease. Hus consented to cleanse himself from the suspicion 
of heresy by a public confession of his faith, and Zbynek 
promised to report to the Pope the complete pacification of the 
Church. It is true that the Archbishop, persuaded by John 
the Iron, eventually refused to carry out his part of the 
compact. But he died while on his way to claim the protection 
of Sigismund, the King of Hungary,^ and his successor, Albicus 
von Unicow, was too intent upon hoarding money to find 
time for the theological questions of the day. The storm of 
the past years seemed to have spent its strength. And yet 
this was merely a lull in the tempest. 

1 These Professors and students subsequently met at Leipzig, and founded 
the celebrated University of that city. 

* After protracted disputes and conflicts between Wenzel and Sigismund, 
these two brothers entered into a compact (June, 1411), according to which 
Wenzel was to be Emperor and Sigismund Koman King. After Wenzel's 
death Sigismund was to occupy both the Imperial and Bohemian thrones. 
Previous to this compact the latter had been chosen Roman King by some 
of the Electors, now he was unanimously re-elected (July twenty-first, 1411). 
He was not crowned Emperor until 1436 ; Wenzel was never crowned. 


Hus and the Papal Indulgences. A. D. 1412. 

Election of Alexander the Fifth. — Accession of John the Twenty-third. — 
Driven from Rome by Ladislaus of Naples. — Crusade proclaimed 
against him. — Papal Indulgences. — Hus opposes their sale. — Sermons 
in the Bethlehem Chapel and Disputation in the University. — Speech 
of Jerome. — The Students burn the papal Bull — Execution of three 
young Mechanics. — Hus extols them as Martyrs. — A Crisis in the 
Reformation. — Hus excommunicated. — Interdict at Prague. — Appeals 
to Jesus Christ. — Retires from the City. — Futile efforts of Wenzel to 
bring about a pacification. 

The Council of Pisa elected Alexander the Fifth to 
the Papal chair, after having deposed both Gregory the 
Twelfth and Benedict the Thirteenth (1409). Although 
neither of them would submit, the new pontiff was acknowl- 
edged by the larger part of Latin Christendom. But he died 
the next year (1410), and was succeeded by Balthasar Cossa, 
an atrocious character, who assumed the title of John the 
Twenty-third. In the early part of his reign he was driven 
from Rome by Ladislaus of Naples, who was not only an 
adherent of Gregory but had also conceived the project of 
consolidating all Italy under his own sway. The most for- 
midable anathemas were immediately fulminated. Ladislaus 
was put under the ban and branded as " a perjurer, schismatic, 
reviler, heretic, traitor and conspirator;" a general crusade 
was proclaimed against him, and those same indulgences for 
sin which a campaign against the Turks conferred, were offered 
to all who would engage in this holy war, or furnish troops 
or money toward its prosecution. 


The sale of such indulgences was intrusted to commissioners. 
Two of them, Wenzel Tiem and Pace de Bononia, reached 
Prague in the Spring of 1412, and began their work with 
unblushing effrontery. The papal bull was read in the 
churches. Drummers appeared in the public streets, followed 
by preachers of the crusade who indiscriminately sold certifi- 
cates of pardon. Three large chests were set out for the safe- 
keeping of the receipts. In the country the indulgences were 
disposed of wholesale, for single parishes or entire districts, 
to the highest bidder who retailed them at a profit. It was 
the most scandalous abuse which Bohemia had ever seen. 

In all his past efforts at reform Hus had avoided a personal 
conflict with the Pope. He recognized him as the head of 
the Church, appealed to him, addressed him in tespectful 
language, and showed him due reverence. Such a position 
was no longer possible. His soul revolted at the sale of the 
indulgences ; and his duty to Christ and the Church required 
that he should express this abhorrence. He knew the risk. 
He knew that he was staking his life on the venture. He 
knew that some of his friends would desert him. He knew 
that, even though the papacy had lost much of its prestige, to 
rouse it was to rouse a dragon breathing out fire and smoke. 
But he knew also that he was right and that the Lord God 
Omnipotent was on his side. Hence he protested, from his 
pulpit and cathedra, against the sale of the indulgences. His 
sermons on the subject were bold and evangelical. In one of 
them he says: "From all this it appears, dear Christian, that 
a man can receive the pardon of his sins only through the 
power of God and by the merits of Christ. Let who will 
proclaim the contrary, let the Pope, or a bishop, or a priest 
say : ' I forgive thee thy sins, I absolve thee from their pen- 
alty, I free thee from the pains of hell' — it is all vain and 
helps thee nothing. God alone, I repeat, can forgive sins 
through Christ, and He pardons the penitent only."^ His 

' Sermon preached on Sundaj' Quasimodogeniti. Hus Predigten, Part 
III. pp. 25 and 39. 


address in the University, at a public disputation held on the 
seventh of June, 1412, was "a model of acute and striking 
argumentation,"^ and proved conclusively that the papal bull 
ran counter to the Holy Scriptures and was an outrage upon 

On both these occasions, however, Hus avoided everything 
calculated to excite his hearers. A different course was 
adopted by Jerome of Prague. At the disputation he de- 
livered a speech which roused the feelings of the students to 
the highest pitch. The Rector could scarcely maintain order. 
When the meeting had adjourned, they accompanied Jerome 
in a triumphal procession to his lodgings. A few days later 
they grew still bolder. The bulls in the hands of the com- 
missioners were seized and fastened to the breast of a student 
disguised as a courtesan. Seated in an open wagon, sur- 
rounded by armed men and followed by a large body of 
students, he passed through the city, sometimes making las- 
civious gestures and again pretending to impart the papal 
benediction, while, from time to time, his guards proclaimed : 
" We are carrying the writings of a heretic to the stake !" 
Arrived at the pillory the bulls were committed to the flames. 
Near by stood an iron chest which the students filled with dirt 
and other foul things, as their contribution to the crusade. 
Hus took no part in these proceedings. 

On Sunday, July the tenth, while the priests of the city 
were preaching on the indulgences and encouraging the people 
to buy them, three young mechanics, each in a different church 
and, no doubt, according to previous agreement, publicly pro- 
tested against what was said, exclaiming : " Priest, thou 
liest! We have heard better things from Master Hus; the 
indulgences are a fraud !" The offenders were instantly 
seized and beaten, hurried to the Council House and stretched 
on the rack, brought before the magistrates and condemned 
to death. When Hus heard of this occurrence he presented 

* This is the testimony of a Koman Catholic, Berger, p. 77. The address 
of Hus is found in Hist, et Mon., I. pp. 215-235. 


himself, at the head of two thousand students, before their 
judges and begged that the lives of the young men might 
be spared. He said, that he did not approve of their course, 
but that it was the outgrowth of his teachings and that he 
alone must bear the blame. Meantime the whole city became 
profoundly agitated. A mob gathered around the Council 
House, so that the magistrates were alarmed and begged Hus 
to pacify the people, promising to grant his request. But 
scarcely had he induced the multitude to disperse when they 
ordered the immediate execution of the culprits. They were 
led to death under a strong guard. When the people dis- 
covered this breach of faith they again rushed together from 
every side, blocking the way and rendering an advance im- 
possible. Thereupon the offenders were summarily beheaded 
in the street. A great cry of rage burst from the multitude. 
Many pressed forward exclaiming: " We are ready to do and 
suffer what these have done and suffered !" Women dipped 
their handkerchiefs in the blood of the slain. A company 
of students headed by a Master arrived, seized their bodies 
and reverently bore them to the Bethlehem Chapel, where 
Hus buried them the next day, with all the rites of the 
Church. In his funeral discourse he extolled the young men 
as martyrs. 

The stand which he took against the papal indulgences 
was a turning point in the history of the Bohemian Reforma- 
tion. A number of his friends deserted him, as he had 
anticipated, and some of them, notably Stanislaus of Znaim 
and Palec, became his most embittered enemies. But among 
the nobility and the lower classes he gained new su})porters. 
Wenzel himself, although the three young men had been 
executed in consequence of his own edict, was indignant that 
it had been so literally understood, and allowed Hus to pursue 
his way unhindered. 

Stanislaus and Palec, together with six other Doctors of the 
University, made two attempts to subdue him, but failed. 
He was too completely armed with the weapons of truth and 
used them with too much skill. Then the clergy of Prague 


came to their aid. Through the instruraentality of Michael 
of Deutschbrod, later known as Michael de Causis,^ who had 
defrauded the King, fled to Rome and there become a fit 
associate and tool of John the Twenty-third, they once more 
appealed to this Pope, denounced Hus as a "son of iniquity," 
and pitifully called for protection from the fierce wolves that 
had invaded the flock .^ 

John the Twenty-third hastened to the rescue. Hus was 
again excommunicated, and in the severest form known to 
the papacy. No man was to associate with him ; no man was 
to give him food or drink ; no man was to grant him a place 
where he might rest his head ; wherever he staid, religious 
services were to cease; in case of his death, he was not to 
receive Christian burial.^ At the same time, the interdict at 
Prague was renewed. Subsequent decrees commanded the 
faithful to seize his person and lay the Bethlehem Chapel even 
with the ground. An attempt to take him was actually made, 
on the second of October, 1412, while he was preaching, by a 
large body of armed men, mostly Germans, but the firm atti- 
tude of the congregation prevented this outrage. Nor would 
the Bohemian portion of the citizens permit the razing of the 
Chapel, proposed by the Germans. Over against such ex- 
periences Hus prepared an appeal from the papal tribunal to 
Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge, which document he read 
from the pulpit and publicly posted.^ Meantime the interdict 
was so strictly observed at Prague, that Wenzel begged him 

^ John the Twenty-third appointed him Procurator de causis fidei, hence 
this name. 

* Supplicatio cleri facta papae contra M. J. Hus, Palacky's Documenta, 
p. 460. 

5 Petri Cardinalis S. Angeli mandata de M. J. Hus excommunicatione, 
Palacky's Documenta, pp. 461-464. 

« Hist, et Mon., I. p. 22, etc. Palacky's Documenta, pp. 464-466. Ac- 
cording to the sermon which Hus preached on the second Sunday after 
Easter, it would appear that he left Prague for a short time immediately 
after the attempt to seize him, prepared his appeal while absent, and read 
it after his return. (Hus Predigten, Part I. p. 56.) Krummel is the only 
authority that notices this point. It seems to be obscure. 


to retire from the city for a time, promising to use every effort 
to bring about a speedy pacification. Hus obeyed and left 
Prague in December. 

The King kept his word. First he consulted the College 
of Twelve Elders, the highest body of advisers in the realm, 
and at their suggestion a Provincial Synod was convened in 
February, 1413, which, however, failed to restore peace. 
Next he appointed a commission which was as unsuccessful, 
owing chiefly to the intractableness of Palec and Stanislaus. 
Thereupon, in great wrath, he banished both these leaders, 
together with two other prominent Professors of theology. 
This measure put an end to the disputes but not to the two 
parties. Both at the Synod and before the commission Hus 
was represented by John of Jesenic. 



Hus in Voluntary Exile devotes himself to Literai'y Lohors. 
A. D. 1412-1414. 

Hus at Kozi Hradek and Krakowec. — His Literary Labors in the Bohemian 
tongue. — His Latin Works. — His Views on the Bible. — Summary of 
his Doctrines. — Natural State of Man. — Predestination. — Faith and 
Justification. — The Church. — Its Head and the Power of the Keys. — 
The Papacy. — Eights of the Laity. — The Word and Sacraments. — 
The Virgin Mary and the Saints. — Purgatory. — Obedience. 

Hus spent a year and seven months in voluntary exile. 
His first retreat was Kozi Hradek, the castle of Baron John 
von Austi, on the Luzuik, near Austi -^ his second, after 
Baron von Austi's death, Krakowec, the seat of Baron Henry 
von Lazan. He devoted himself, in part, to preaching in 
villages, forests and fields, whither the peasantry streamed 
from all sides to hear him, but chiefly to literary labors. The 
majority of his Bohemian and Latin works were produced in 
this period. 

Of the former he wrote fifteen, several of which have 
never been translated.^ The most important are his Postil 
and a Treatise on Simony. His merits as a Bohemian writer 
can not be overestimated. What Luther did for the German 
language, and Calvin for the French, Hus accomplished 
for the Czech. Each was the father of his native tongue in 

^ This castle was situated in the immediate neighborhood of the town of 
Tabor, the celebrated centre of the Taborites. Anna von Mochow, Baron 
Austi's widow, became one of the most ardent supporters of the Hussite 

^ The Bohemian works of Hus, entitled Mistra Jana Husi Spisy Ceske, 
&c., were published for the first time by K. J. Erben, Prague, 1865-1868. 


its modern form. Hus purified the Czech, fixed etymological 
and syntactical rules, and invented a new system of orthogra- 
phy distinguished for its precision and simplicity. This 
system was adopted by the Bohemian Brethren, who brought 
it into general use in the sixteenth century, since which time 
it has remained the acknowledged standard. He also revised 
the Bohemian Bible translated by an unknown hand, in the 
fourteenth century, and composed many hymns which mostly 
appeared in the Hymnals of the Brethren.^ 

His Latin works comprise theological treatises, academical 
discourses and polemical writings.* The most celebrated of 
them is the Treatise on the Church, with its two supplements, 
the one a reply to Palec, the other a refutation of Stanislaus.^ 
Nearly one-half of these works are reformatory in their 
character, and afford a clear insight into the doctrinal system 
of Hus. 

His views with regard to the Holy Scriptures are of primary 
importance. In all questions of Christian faith and life — so 
he teaches — the Bible is the only infallible norm. Hence 
there is but one proof which can be acknowledged as sufficient 
in the case of such doctrines as are essential to salvation: 
namely, " Thus say the Holy Scriptures, either directly or 
indirectly.'"' This position, however, does not require us to 

3 The German Hymn Book of the Renewed Church (edition of 1778) 
contains two hymns, Nos. 857 and 1124, ascribed to Hus. The latter, found 
also in the new edition of 1875 (No. 809), is called a translation, by Luther, 
of the Latin hymn given in Hist, et Mon., II. p. 520. But it is not a 
translation ; scarcely a paraphrase. In the same way the so-called English 
version (Liturgy and Hymns, Am. ed., 1877, No. 637) differs greatly both 
from the Latin and the German. Hus composed the hymn in prison, on 
receiving his last communion. 

* Many of them are found in Hist, et Mon.; Krummel, p. 304, &c., counts 
up seventeen ; Palacky in his Hofler, p. 38, says, that not nearly all the 
Latin writings of Hus are contained in that collection, and that a number 
which are ascribed to him belong to Matthias von Jano^. Hofler in his 
second vol. adduces several that had not previously been pablished. 

^ Tractatus de Ecclesia, His. et Mon., I. pp. 243-365. 

^ " Hoc dicit Scriptura Sacra explicite vel implicite.' Hist, et Mon., 
I. p. 364. 


reject the doctrinal explanations of the fathers, or the decrees 
of Councils, or the laws of the Church, provided that such 
explanations, decrees and laws agree with the Word of God, 
or are deduced from the same either explicitly or by implica- 
tion. For even that which is merely implied may be accepted, 
if it be not contraiy to the explicit instructions of the sacred 
volume. Hence what the fathers, the Councils and the 
Church teach, constitutes, as long as it is in harmony with 
the Scriptures, merely the old truth in a new dress.^ At the 
same time, however, the Bible remains the only source of truth. 
This is the fundamental position of Hus to which he always 
returns and from which he investigates the doctrines of the 

Those relating to God and His attributes, to the creation, 
preservation and government of the world, to the Trinity, to 
the person and work of Christ, and to the Holy Ghost and 
His operations, he accepts in their authorized form. With 
regard to others he differs, more or less decidedly, from the 
views of the- Church, Krummel says, that the reformatory 
tenets of Hus led him back to the side of Augustine from 
whose position the Church of the Middle Ages had lapsed f 
Lechler, that, like an ellipse, these tenets contained two foci, 
the one of which was the law of Christ, that is, God's Word, 
the other, the true Church.^" 

A brief summary of the views of Hus will serve to prepare 
the way for a correct understanding of the doctrines of the 
Brethren who, in many instances, followed him closely.^^ 

■f Krummel, pp. 360-368. 

* His views with regard to the authority of the Scriptures are set forth 
fully in De sufficientia Legis Christi, Hist, et Mon., I. p. 55, &c., which 
treatise he prepared as a part of his defence before the Council of Constance. 

9 Krummel, p. 376. 

1" Lechler, II. p. 233. 

" Authorities for this summary are the Tractatus de Ecclesia and other 
theological writings of Hus in the Hist, et Mon.; Lechler, II. pp. 233-270 ; 
Czerwenka, I. pp. 89-92; Schwabe's Reformat. Theologie des J. Hus; 
Friedrich's Lehre des J. H.; and especially Krummel's excellent review in 
his 15th, 16th and 17th chapters. 


We begin with the natural state of man. " Man, on 
account of sin is blind, impotent, full of error and exceedingly 
poor. He is blind, because he does not properly recognize 
God ; impotent, because he is unable to accomplish anything 
in the way of his own salvation ; full of error, because he 
does not walk in the holy laws of God, which are the way 
of God ; and poor, because he has lost everything which he 
possessed.'"^ He cannot fulfill the divine laws without pre- 
venient grace.^^ In consequence of the fall, "Adam lost his 
dominion over nature, met death and subjected all his pos- 
terity, even the new Adam, to death. "^^ There is a difference 
between original and actual sin. No personal guilt attaches 
to the former, nevertheless in as much as all men fall into 
actual sin, the human family is, by nature, lost, ruined and 
depraved. ^^ The natural man can accomplish nothing really 
good and virtuous. 

Proceeding to the doctrines involving salvation, we find, 
in the first place, that there are sayings of Hus which imply 
predestination in its gross form ;^^ but on comparing them 
with others relating to the same subject, his position becomes 
milder and more scriptural. Thus he teaches that the grace 
of God is universal ; that it is God's will that all men should 
be saved ; that He does what He can, consistently with their 
free will, to bring about their salvation ; that the lost are 
condemned in consequence of their unbelief which makes them 
unwilling to accept salvation, and that, hence, the fault is 

»' Hus Predigten, II. p. 30. 

'^ "Nisi praeveniens ejus adjuvet charitas." Com. Ps. 118, Hist, et 
Mon , II. p. 433. 

^* De Decimis, Hist, et Mon., I. p. 162. 

'^ Com. Chap, iv of 1 Cor., Hist, et Men., II. p. 148. Hus uses the expres- 
sive term, borrowed from Augustine, "massa perdita," or "massa perdi- 

'^ For instance: "Christ loves His Church, which is His spouse, always 
and will love her after the day of judgment, and in the same way He 
hates every one who has been foreknown as lost (quemcunque praescitum), 
and will hate him always after the day of judgment." De Ecclesia, Hist, 
et Mon., I. p. 250. 


altogether their own. He never speaks of a decree of repro- 
bation, and unites predestination with the foreknowledge of 

His views on faith and justification bring us, in the next 
place, to a position which is evangelical in a surprising degree.^^ 
True faith works by love and endures to the end ; there is a 
dead faith which even the devils have and tremble. The former 
alone saves.^^ Faith "is a state of mind in which eternal life 
begins in us and induces our understanding to assent to the 
unseen but irrefutable truths which the inspired Scriptures 
reveal in a divine way."'" " It is the foundation of the other 
virtues with which the Church of Christ is in fellowship. "^^ 
Such faith alone justifies. "Through the law no one is justi- 
fied, but through faith in Christ, because He removes from 
us the way of iniquity through the law of grace."^^ " Jesus 
Christ is the Mediator of our salvation,"^ " the ground of all 
merit in the members of His Church."^ Krummel adds : 
" The mode in which Hus represents the theory of justifica- 
tion is, however, very diifereut from that of the later Re- 
formers. He does not conceive justification to be a merely 
objective occurrence, a judicial act of God, but, being con- 
nected with faith, he looks upon it also as a subjective occur- 
rence in man. Thus he says : ' If there is no time to do 
good works, faith alone is sufficient, as is shown by the case 
of the malefactor on the cross. But if there is time, then not 
faith alone, and not works alone, but both together are neces- 

" Ibid. 

^* It is interesting to note, that while Krummel, following Schwabe, asserts 
the position of Hus on the subject of justification to be " wholly Protestant," 
Lechler, following Friedrich (a Catholic), maintains that it is wholly Koman 
Catholic ! 

^^ De Ecclesia, Hist, et Mon., I, p. 259. 

^" Com. on Chap. I. of St. James, Hist, et Mon., II. p. 182. 

21 De Ecclesia, Hist, et Mon., I. p. 259. 

22 (1 pgj legem nemo justificatur, sed per fidem Christi, quia amovet viam 
iniquitatis, et de lege gratiae." Com. Ps. xviii (xix), Hist, et Mon., II. p. 

*^ Com. Chap, i, of 1 Corinthians, Hist, et Mon., II, p. 132. 
2* Sermo, lb., p. 79. 


sary for salvation and justification.' Justification and sancti- 
fication, faith and love, he conceives to be one. Grace, 
which produces faith, produces also in man a religious moral 
regeneration, in the strength of which he loves God and man 
with all his heart and, of necessity, performs good works."^^ 

In regard to the Church Hus expresses his views at great 
length.^" The representation given in the twenty-fifth chapter 
of St. Matthew shows,^ that the Church is the communion of 
all men under Christ as their King. Hence it consists both 
of sheep and of goats. The holy catholic or universal 
Church, on the contrary, comprises those only who have been 
predestinated unto everlasting life by the omniscient God. 
It includes such as live on earth, such as are dead, and such 
as are yet to be born ; all these are the sheep. Distinct from 
them are the wicked who live in impenitence, whether they 
are outwardly in fellowship with the true members or not ; 
these are the goats. 

The holy catholic Church is composed of three parts : the 
militant, or the predestinated on earth ; the sleeping, or the 
predestinated in purgatory; and the triumphant, or the saints 
in their eternal rest. This is the only true Church, and no 
human agency, but God alone, can make a man a member 
of it. For there is a great difference between being of the 
Church and in the Church. The predestinated are its mem- 
bers, and Christ is its only head. He, too, constitutes its sole 
foundation ; not Peter, nor the Popes. Christ is the rock 
on which the Church is built ; Peter is the Church, which has 
received the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The power of 
the keys is general and particular. In virtue of the former, 
every Christian has the right to engage in spiritual work, 
such as teaching, advising, warning and comforting ; in virtue 

^^ Kruramel pp. 389 and 390. This was essentially the position of the 
Brethren in the time of Bishop Luke of Prague. 

^'^ Tractatus de Ecclesia, in 23 chapters. 

^' "And before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate 
them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." 
Matt XXV, 32. 


of the latter, the clergy preach the word and administer the 
sacraments. The whole system of the Romish papacy is 
radically wrong. It rests upon the false assumption that 
Christ made Peter pope. Christ never transferred His 
authority to one apostle ; Peter never claimed the primacy. 
A single man, mortal and fallible, cannot possibly govern 
the Church scattered over the whole earth. This tendency 
to centralization is dangerous. There ought to be national 
churches, not one ecclesiastical government in the heart of 

The laity have rights and privileges in the Church as well 
as the clergy and the civil rulers. It is the duty of civil 
rulers to help the laity to secure these rights, so that their 
voice, too, may be heard in the management of ecclesiastical 
affairs. Remembering the age in which he lived, this position 
of Hus is very remarkable. 

Among the means of grace which have been appointed in 
the Church, the Word and the Sacraments attract his special 

As regards the former, its divine origin, power and suffi- 
ciency, and the fact that it has been given for the salvation 
of man, captivate his whole heart. He urges that it must be 
absolutely free; that neither the Pope nor a Bishop, nor any 
other man, has the right to prevent humble ministers from 
preaching ; that papal or episcopal permission to proclaim the 
Gospel need not be given to a Presbyter or Deacon; that 
such priests as renounce this duty through fear of excommu- 
nication, or such laymen as, constrained by the same fear, 
desist from hearing the Word, betray Christ ; that an excom- 
municated minister is not bound to relinquish preaching until 
it has been fully established that there are sufficient grounds 
for his excommunication.^ This last point Hus consistently 
carried out in his own case. 

^^ Defensio quorundam Art. J. Wicliff. In primo Actu. Determinatio 
J. H., de Praedicatione et Auditione Verbi Dei, Hist, et Mon., I. pp. 
139-146. As this title shows, the most of the above points were either 
articles of Wycliffe defended by Hus, or deductions from such articles. 


His conviction of the inestimable price of the Word and 
of the transcendent importance of proclaiming it is further 
shown by the interesting fact, which Lechler has pointed out,^ 
that the earliest letter extant from his hand urges upon the 
Archbishop of Prague the necessity of providing for the 
preaching of the Gospel, and that his last letter, written a 
week before his death, closes with the solemn admonition, 
addressed to Hawlik, his pupil, in charge of the Bethlehem 
Chapel: "Preach the Word of God." 

As concerns the sacraments, Hus recognizes seven of them, 
namely. Baptism, the Lord's Supper, Penance, Confirmation, 
Ordination, Marriage and Extreme Unction, and defines them 
in the authorized way;^** but he protests against ascribing 
efficacy to them as an opus operatum, and teaches that God, 
not the priest, gives them efficacy, of which faith on the part 
of the recipient is an absolute condition. Hence, in the ease 
of the Lord's Supper, while he accepts the doctrine of tran- 
substantiation, he sets forth the believer as the only worthy 
partaker of this sacrament, who alone receives the essence 
of it, that is, the grace of being united with the Lord Jesus 
Christ f^ and, in the case of penance, ascribes the real power 
to forgive iniquities exclusively to God, and looks upon 
genuine contrition of heart and a sincere confession of sin as 
essential. ^^ 

The views of Hus on the Virgin Mary and the saints are 
undecided. Sometimes he teaches the Eomlsh doctrine and 

29 Lechler, II. p. 234. 

^" The scholastic divinity of tUe age in which Hus lived accepted seven 
sacraments; they were not sanctioned by the Church until 1439, at the 
Council of Florence. Lechler, II. pp. 248 and 249. 

^1 "Rem sacramenti, quae est gratia, qua unitur Domino Jesu Christo.'' 
De Sacramento corporis et sanguinis Domini, Hist, et Mon., I. p. 51. 
Also, De Corpore Christi in Sacramento Altaris," Hist, et Mon., II., pp. 
511-512. After Hus had gone to Constance, Jacobellus of Mies began to 
advocate the giving of the cup to the laity, and Hus approved of this 
position, in several letters and in a treatise entitled : De Sanguine Christi 
sub specie vini a Laicis sumendo. Hist, et Mon., I. pp. 52-54. 

32 De Ecclesia, lb. I. p. 267. 


then again seems to reject it; at all times, however, he warns 
against the abuses to which the invocation of the Virgin and 
the saints may lead, and, in particular, against the idolatry- 
practiced with pictures and relics. Adoration, in the true 
sense, is never to be given to a creature.^^ 

He believes also in the existence of purgatory and does 
not condemn prayers for souls that are there undergoing 
purification. The Bible, he says, gives no warrant for such 
intercessions, but they naturally grow out of the communion 
of saints. In this case too, however, he protests against the 
evils which the usage produces, and denounces the sale of 
masses for the dead and the avariciousness of the priests in 
encouraging this practice. Nor does he fail to teach that 
salvation can be gained on earth alone and that the surest 
way to eternal life is to follow, in this life, the instructions of 
Christ and the Apostles.^^ " But who knows of a single soul 
that has been freed from purgatory by thirty masses ?"^^ 

Finally we find that Hus treats, with much force, of 
obedience and brings it into connection with the papacy .^^ 
" Nothing," he says, '' constitutes a more essential part of 
religion than the obedience which men owe to God."^'' But 
there is a difference between true and false obedience. True 
obedience is, to do the will of God ; false obedience, to do 
what is contrary to the will of God. True obedience consists 
in refusing to fulfill any command which is injurious to the 
Church, or interferes with the worship of the Lord, or stands 
in the way of one's own salvation. Even the Pope and his 
college of Cardinals may err; he may be deceived by avarice, 
or mistaken through ignorance. To resist the Pope, when 
he errs, is to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. 

^' De Adoratione, Hist, et Mon., II. pp. 512-515. "Vera adoratio 

nuUo modo debemus in aliquara creatiiram dirigere," pp. 513 and 514. 

^* Sermo de exequiis sen suffragio Mortuorum, Hist, et Mon., II. pp. 

3' Ibid, p. 81 . 

3« De Ecclesia, Cap. xvii, &c , Hist, et Mon., I. p. 287, &c. 

" Ibid, p. 302. 


Such is a brief review of the doctrinal system of Hus. It 
is imperfect, but contains all the elements of a body of pure 
divinity and develops some of them to evangelical complete- 
ness. Had his days been prolonged, he would have attained 
to a still clearer insight into the truth, and might, perhaps, 
have anticipated the position and even the work of Martin 


Hus and the Council of Constance. A. D. 1414-1415. 

Alarming State of the Church. — A General Council called at Constance. — 
Hus invited by Sigismund to appear before this Body. — The royal 
Promise. — Preparations for the journey. — Arrival at Constance. — The 
Safe-Conduct. — Arrest and Imprisonment of Hus. — Confined in the 
Dominican Monastery. — Arrival of Sigismund. — Persuaded by the 
Cardinals to leave Hus in their Hands. — His Sufferings in the Castle 
of Gottlieben. — His Trial and its three Hearings. 

The state of tlie Church was continually growing worse. 
Not only did the schism remain a disgraceful source of con- 
fusion, but the general corruption of the clergy and the 
wickedness which showed itself among the laity were also 
bringing about the most alarming results. Iniquity in many 
shapes, each more hideous than the other, stalked abroad 
unchecked and defiant.^ Under such circumstances the better 
classes of Latin Christendom were unanimous in urging the 
convocation of a General Council. They found a warm 
supporter in Sigismund, who both in virtue of his office as 
Roman King and from personal conviction took energetic 

' As evidence we adduce the testimony of Pileus of Genoa, a R. C. 
Archbishop, who writes: "The Eoman Catholic Church has become a step- 
mother. The vices which show themselves openly are these: tyranny 
among the clergy, confusion in the churches, quarrels, lawsuits, suppression 
of the liberty of the Church, a despising of all virtue and morals, neglect 
of learning, ridiculing justice, oppressing the people, endless wars between 
the princes, sacrilege, profanation of that which is holy, adultery, murder, 
theft, simony, in a word, everything that can be called infamous." Von der 
Hardt, II. p. 70. Schwabe, pp. 170-186, gives an appalling array of 
testimony gathered from many writers and showing the corruption of the 
clergy in particular. 


measures to bring about the desired end. The negotiations 
were protracted and delicate, especially with Pope John the 
Twenty-third, who, in view of his own character and course, 
had reason to hesitate; but they proved successful at last. 
On the thirtieth of October, 1413, a call was issued convening 
a Council on the first of November, 1414, at Constance. 

Before this Council Sigismund invited Hus to plead his 
cause. He promised him a safe-conduct, a fair hearing, and 
a free return to Bohemia even in the event of his not sub- 
mittincr to the decision of the Fathers. Barons Henry Left von 
Lazan and Mikes von Jemnist were the bearers of this 

In spite of the warnings of some of his friends and of one 
of the King's own messengers,^ Hus unhesitatingly accepted 
the invitation. The prospect of meeting, in the presence of 
the representatives of the entire Western Church, the charges 
which had been brought against him and of explaining his 
views, filled him with joy. There was nothing which he 

^ Palacky, IV. p. 306; Kramrael, p. 429. The above promise of 
Sigismund is set forth by Hus himself in a letter to his friends in Bohemia 
sent from Constance, subsequent to the eighth of June, 1415. Speaking of 
Sigismund he writes : " Had he at least said, ' Behold I have given him a 
safe-conduct ; if he therefore does not wish to submit to the decision of the 
Council I will send him to the King of Bohemia with our sentence and the 
testimony, and he and his clergy may judge him !' For he (Sigismund) 
made known to me by Henry Lefl and others, that he intended to secure 
for me a sufficient hearing, and that, if I would not submit to the judgment 
pronounced, he intended to send me back in safety," (vellet me dirigere 
salvum vice versa). Documenta Hus, Ep. No. 70, p. 114: Hist, et Mon., 
I. pp. 87 and 88. Berger, pp. 92-94, the object of whose entire work is to 
screen Sigismund, asserts that the King could not have given such a 
promise, and that Baron Lizan either said more than he was authorized to 
say, or that the memory of Hus failed him when he wrote the above letter ! 
Both of these suppositions are, in the highest degree, unlikely. Would the 
messenger of Sigismund, in a case of such importance, venture to deliver 
anything but the exact message? Is it credible that Hus would forget the 
exact tenor of a promise on which his life depended ? 

^ Mikes von Jemnist, who said to him: " Know of a certainty, Master, 
that thou wilt be condemned." "I think he knew the intention of the 
King," Hus remarked when a prisoner at Constance. Documenta Hus, 
p. 114. 


desired more : nay, might he not, when the object of his work 
in Bohemia came to be understood, be permitted to co-operate 
with the Fathers in reforming the Church ? 

Conrad von Vechta, the new Archbishop of Prague, who 
had succeeded Albicus on the retirement of the latter, having 
convened a Diocesan Synod (August, 1414,) Hus, who had 
meantime returned to the city, asked permission, through his 
advocate Jesenic, to appear before this body in order to give 
an account of his faith. Although this request was declined 
the Archbishop verbally bore testimony to his orthodoxy, and 
the Papal Inquisitor, Nicholas, Bishop of Nazareth, gave him 
a written testimonial to the same effect. Having posted a 
placard which called upon all who charged him with heresy 
to meet him at the Council and sent a letter to Sigismund 
expressive of his gratitude for the promised hearing, he went 
back to Krakowec* There he composed a refutation of the 
articles drawn up by his enemies, as soon as his intention of 
going to Constance had become known ; addressed a touching 
letter to his pupil Martin, which was to be opened only in case 
of his death and which set forth several small legacies f and 
wrote a farewell epistle to the Bohemians full of apostolic 
unction, instinct with the spirit of godliness, and earnest in its 
requests for their prayers, that God would give him strength 
to glorify the Gospel, if it need be, even by his death.® The 
nearer the time of his departure from Bohemia approached, 
the more he realized the risk which he was assuming, and the 
less he expected a favorable reception on the part of the 

The expenses of his journey were assumed by his friends ; 
in order to cover the cost of the prosecution, those of the 
clergy of Bohemia and Moravia who were opposed to him 

* The letter is found in Documenta Hus, pp. 69-71. That Berger, p. 94, 
bases upon this letter, which says nothing of the King's promise of personal 
safety but expresses the willingness of Hus to die for the truth, a new 
argument to show that such a promise was never made, is another instance 
of the illogical deductions with which his work abounds. 

^ Documenta Hus, No. 38, p. 47. 

6 Ibid, No. 37, pp. 71-73. 


eagerly contributed a large amount. Sigismund and Wenzel 
conjointly furnished an escort, consisting of Barons John von 
Chlum, Wenzel von Duba and Henry von Chlum/ John 
von Chlum was accompanied by his secretary, Peter of 
Mladenowic;^ and Kardinalis of Reinstein, a priest and friend 
of Hus, together with several other Bohemians, joined the party. 
On the eleventh of October they left Prague with more than 
thirty horsemen and three wagons, in one of which Hus rode 
in his priestly robe. Their route lay through Bernau, Sulz- 
bach, Hersbruck, Lauf and Nuremberg. To his surprise the 
inhabitants of these towns, Germans though they were, gave 
him a friendly reception. He had frequent discussions on 
theological questions with the clergy and caused posters to be 
affixed to the church doors, inviting such as had charges 
against him to present them to the Council. From Nurem- 
berg, where the streets were crowded with people eager to see 
him. Baron Duba traveled to the Phine to get the safe-conduct 
from Sigismund, while the rest of the party went directly to 
Constance. They arrived on the third of Nov^ember, and 
entered the city amidst a great concourse. Hus took lodgings 
with a pious widow, named Fida, on St. Paul Street.^ 

' Henry von Chlum, called Lazembock, did not join the escort until after 
its arrival at Constance. 

® Peter of Mladenowic, a Bachelor of the University of Prague, wrote a 
full account of all that happened to Hus at Constance : Relatio de J. Hus 
causa in Constantiensi Concilio acta, found, in its original form, in 
Documenta Hus, pp. 237-324. It has also been given by Hofler, I. pp. 
in-3"20, who has, however, fallen into a multitude of errors, as Palacky 
has abundantly shown (Palacky's Hofler, pp. 22-37.) The narrative 
contained in Hist, et Mon , I. pp. 1-37, as also in the second part of 
Epistolae Hus, edited by Luther, is a free rendering, with interpolations 
and omissions, of the author's work and belongs to the sixteenth century. 

* Hus gave an account of his journey in letters to his friends in Bohemia. 
Documenta Hus, pp. 66-83; Hist, et Mon., pp. 72 etc.; Bonnechose, pp. 
86-88. The house in which he lodged is still standing, No 328, St. Paul 
Street. It is three stories high, with an attic, and has two wings. On the 
outside wall is a picture of Hus and the following inscription : "Herberge 
des Bohmischen Reformators Mag. Joh. Hus, ira Jahr 1414;" to the left 
of the picture is a bust of Hus, put up toward the end of the last century, 
with another inscription in German ; to the right a Bohemian inscription. 


The grandest ecclesiastical pageant which the Middle Ages 
saw was the Council of Constance. It continued for nearly 
four years, and brought together the Roman King, the Pope, 
thirty Cardinals, four Patriarchs, thirty-three Archbishops, 
one hundred and fifty Bishops, several hundred Doctors of 
Theology and inferior clergy, four Electors, twenty-four 
Princes and Dukes, seventy-eight Counts and six hundred and 
seventy-six Barons, together with a multitude of retainers, 
merchants, artizans and visitors, so that the number of 
strangers was never less than fifty thousand.^" Booths were 
erected outside of the walls for the accommodation of those 
who could not find room in the city itself. 

Constance is beautifully situated on the Swiss bank of the 
Rhine and occupies a projecting angle of ground at the 
western extremity of the Bodensee. At the time of the 
Council it was a free imperial town, with fifty thousand in- 
habitants ; now it belongs to Baden, and its population, as 
though the curse of God had lighted upon the place, has 
dwindled to ten thousand. 

Barons Chlum and Lazembock notified the Pope of the 
arrival of Hus and asked that he might be protected. " Not 
if he had killed my own brother," was the answer of John 
the Twenty-third, "would I, in any wise, wish to molest him, 
or permit him to be molested. He must be safe while he is 
at Constance."" On the following day, November the fifth, 
which sa^v the opening of the Council, Duba reached the city 
and brought the safe-conduct. 

This document has given rise to a protracted controversy.^^ 
Did it, or did it not, guarantee personal safety under all 
circumstances ? The latest and most astute champion on the 
Romish side of this question is Dr. William Berger, in his 
Johannes Hus ufid Konig Sigismund. He tries to prove, and 

i» Palacky, IV. p. 307, Note 420. 

" Mladenowic Relatio, Doc. Hus, p. 246. 

''^ The safe-conduct was written in Latin. Its original text is given in 
full in Hist, et Mon., I. p. 2; Documenta Hus, pp. 237 and 238; and 
Berger, pp. 178 and 179. Krummel, p. 452, furnishes a German version. 


in SO far as its mere wording is concerned, successfully, we 
think, that the paper furnished by Sigismund was a passport, 
drawn up in the style of other passports, protecting Hus from 
illegal interference and violence, but not from the consequences 
of a legal sentence pronounced by competent authority ; and 
shows further, that ''judicial safe-conducts,"^^ which absolutely 
guaranteed personal safety for a limited period, were written 
in a different form. Yet, even if we concede these points, 
which are not new but have in substance been urged by earlier 
writers, Sigismund remains branded with disgrace and the 
Council guilty of infamy. For the passports issued in view 
of its convocation, by the Roman King, as the head of the 
Empire, declaring their bearers to be under its " protection 
and tutelage," had, in every instance, a wider significance than 
ordinary documents of this kind ; in the case of Hus, however, 
who had been formally assured of personal safety by two 
royal deputies, the paper set a seal to this promise and assumed 
the force of a judicial safe-conduct. That Sigismund himself 
took this view of the case, is evident from the indignation 
which he manifested on finding that the instrument had not 
been respected ; that Hus supposed himself to be under the 
aegis of a royal pledge, his letter proves which we have cited 
in another connection ; that his countrymen at home interpreted 
the document in the same way, becomes clear from the solemn 
protest against his breach of faith, forwarded to the King, 
by two hundred and fifty Bohemian noblemen, and their 
unanimous demand that Hus should be set at liberty, have a 
public hearing, and then be sent back to Bohemia ;^* that even 
the Council practically conceded the point at issue, is shown 
by its resolutions exonerating Sigismund. Moreover, the 
very argument which Dr. Berger urges, recoils upon himself. 
Hus, he says, held a passport which was to defend him from 
illegal interference and violence. What could have been more 
illegal than his arrest and imprisonment, and cruel sufferings, 

^* " Das gerichtliche Geleite," p. 105. 

'* Letter in full, in original Bohemian, translated into Latin by Palacky, 
dated May 12, 1415, given in Documenta Hus, pp. 550-553. 


without a hearing, without a trial, without a sentence, before 
the Council had even taken up his case? To attempt a 
justification of the treatment which the Bohemian Reformer 
received at Constance, is an intellectual feat that can be 
performed only by the pliant mind of a Roman Catholic 

Hus was relieved from his sentence of excommunication 
and permitted to go about the city ; but he j)referred to remain 
in his lodgings, where he prepared for his defence before the 
Council. Meanwhile his personal enemies, and among them 
especially Michael de Causis and Wenzel Tiem, bestirred 
themselves. About the middle of November, they were joined 
by Stephen Palec, John the Iron and others, who arrived 
from Bohemia with his latest writings. These men posted 
placards denouncing him as a most obstinate and dangerous 
heretic ; they spread false reports, that he intended to preach 
against the clergy and that he had tried to escape from the 
city in a covered wagon ; they hurried from bishop to cardinal, 
and from cardinal to bishop, urging his immediate arrest. 

On the twenty-eighth of JN^ovember he was cited to an 
interview with the Cardinals. Baron Chlum, who happened 
to be with him when their messengers arrived, vehemently 
protested against his going but Hus declared his willingness 
to obey the summons. His hostess, in great anxiety, met him 
in the hall and wept as he gave her his blessing. On leaving 
the house he found the street full of soldiers, who immediately 
surrounded him and conveyed him to the episcopal palace, 
where the Cardinals awaited his coming. They interchanged 
a few words with him and then retired, leaving him in the 
hands of a guard. Chlum staid at his side. The afternoon 
passed in a painful suspense. Toward evening a papal officer 
appeared and dismissed the Baron ; Hus, he said, must remain 
in the palace. Shameful perfidy ! He was a prisoner, in spite 
of the safe-conduct, in spite of the King's pledge and the 
Pope's promise. When this breach of faith had been 
determined on, at a meeting of the Cardinals held at four 
o'clock in the afternoon, Palec, Michael and other enemies of 


Hus, who were present, danced round the apartment exclaim- 
ing: " Ha, ha, now we have him ! He shall not escape until 
he has paid the uttermost farthing !"^^ 

Chlum, burning with indignation, hastened to the Pope, 
whose lodgings were in the palace, reminded him of his 
promise, threatened him with the displeasure of the King, and 
said that he would proclaim to all the world how grossly the 
safe-conduct had been violated. But John the Twenty-third 
cast the responsibility upon " his brethren," as he called the 
Cardinals, and privately assured him that his own relations to 
them were of such an uncertain character as to render any 
interference on his part impossible. " But he deceived him," 
pithily remarks the chronicler.^^ 

At nine o'clock in the evening Hus was taken to the house 
of the precentor of the cathedral, where he remained a week, 
closely guarded. On the sixth of December he was removed 
to the Dominican monastery, on the shore of the lake. From 
the windows of this building the eyes of the monks could 
range far over the placid waters and see, in the distance, the 
snow-clad peaks of the Appenzell Alps glittering in the sun, 
or covering their sheen with a soft and transparent veil of 
mist. But the harassed soul of Hus was not to be cheered 
with such manifestations of God's glory. A few feet from 
the water's edge rose a round tower, containing a dark and 
gloomy dungeon.^^ Into this he was mercilessly cast. The 
drain of the convent passed close by, poisoning the air with its 
exhalations ; he fell ill and was brought to the brink of the 
grave. At the instance of the physicians whom the Pope 
sent — that a natural death might be prevented — he was con- 
fined in a more healthful cell (January the eighth, 1415), and 
treated with less rigor, being allowed to read and write and 

'^ Mladenowic Relatio, Documenta Hus, p. 250. 

'" Documenta Hus, p. 252. John the Twenty-third hoped to win the favor 
of the Cardinals by imprisoning Hus. In a letter which he wrote to the 
University of Paris, after his deposition, he boasted of what he had done. 

" " Opacum vel tenebrosum carcerem." Documenta Hus, p. 252. 


receive visitors. In this convent he remained for two months 
and a half.^^ 

The Council appointed a commission of three prelates to 
investigate the charges against him. "Weak and helpless 
though he still was, they began to worry him with questions 
and brought witnesses — on one day not less than fifteen — who 
were sworn in his presence, as the canonical law required. 
His request that he might be allowed the services of an 
advocate was, at first, granted ' but subsequently refused. A 
man accused of heresy, said the commissioners, had no right 
to expect the protection of the law. " Then let the Lord 
Jesus be my advocate," replied Hus, " He will soon judge 
you. To Him I have committed myself, as He committed 
Himself to God the Father."'^ 

While the representatives of the Council were dealing thus 
unjustly with him, his friends continued to urge his liberation. 
John von Chlum was particularly active. He wrote to the 
King, importuned the Pope, tried to rouse all Constance ; but 
his efforts were fruitless. Sigismund, indeed, sent a message 
requiring the immediate release of Hus, and when he arrived 
in person, on the Eve of Christmas, and found that his order 
had not been obeyed, repeatedly and vehemently demanded of 
the Cardinals that they should respect his safe-conduct, 
threate"bing to leave the city, if they would not yield. He 
actually did withdraw for a short time. But they remained 
inflexible. Faith, they asserted, need not be kept with a 
heretic ; the Council could free him from his obligations ; he 
had no right, without its consent, to give Hus a safe-conduct; 
if he left Constance, they would instantly break up the 

'^ The Dominican Monastery at Constance is now the Insel Hotel, but 
retains some vestiges of its ancient character. The long cloisters, surround- 
ing an open court, remain intact, and the old refectory, with scarcely any 
changes, is used as a restaurant whose doors open upon a narrow terrace 
extending to the water's edge. On this terrace, around the very tower in 
which Hus languished, refreshments are served in summer. The Gothic 
chapel of the convent is the dining saloon, the walls of which are hmig with 
tapestry that can be removed, displaying the original frescoes underneath. 

19 Hist, et Mon., I. y,. 92, Ep. xlix; Hofler, I. p. 141. 


Council. The King allowed himself to be persuaded, and on 
New Year's day, 1415, formally withdrew his protest, declaring 
that, in all matters of faith, the Fathers should be free to act 
as they might think best. He sacrificed Hus for the sake of 
the Council.^" 

This body, however, did not at once take up his case. It 
was the schism which first engaged its attention ; and the idea 
gained ground that all the three Popes should be set aside. 
In the case of John the Twenty-third other considerations 
also came into play. Latin Christendom, as with one voice, 
had brought charges against him. His deposition was im- 
minent. In order to avoid this he resigned his crown, March 
the second, but subsequently fled to SchafFausen. Thereupon 
the keepers of Hus, who were John's servants, delivered the 
keys of the cell to Sigismund and followed their master. 
This was the King's opportunity ; he could now redeem his 
word and wipe a foul blot from his escutcheon. Chlum, 
Duba and others, besought him to do so ; and their entreaties 
were supported by the most urgent letters which he had 
previously received from Bohemia, Moravia and even Poland. 
But influenced again by the Cardinals, he declined, and 
sanctioned their decision to commit Hus into the keeping of 
the Bishop of Constance. 

About four miles from the city this prelate had a* castle, 
on the Phine, called Gottlieben, with two quadrangular towers 
nearly two hundred feet high. In the night of Palm Sunday, 
the twenty-second of March, Hus, heavily fettered, was taken, 
in a boat, to this castle and made to ascend its western tower 
to the very top, his chains clanking dismally as, with weary 
steps, he mounted the long stairs. Immediately beneath the 
roof was a small wooden structure, or cage, divided into two 
compartments. Into one of these he was thrust; his feet 
were chained to a block ; at night his right arm was pinioned 
to the wall. In this miserable plight he remained for more 

'■"' This Sigismund himself practically confessed in a letter, dated Paris, 
March the twenty-first, 1416, written to the Bohemian nobles. Documenta 
Hus, p. 612. 


than two months, cruelly suifering from hunger and cold and 
painful attacks of hemorrhage, neuralgia and stone, brought 
on by the damp spring-winds which swept through the 
windows of the tower.^^ 

For a time his friends knew not what had become of him ; 
when they discovered the place of his imprisonment, they 
bribed his keepers and tried to alleviate his sufiFerings. Nor 
did they fail to protest against the cruel treatment he was 
enduring. At several formal interviews, in the latter half pf 
May, with representatives of the Council, they demanded that 
he should be set free, offering bail to any amount and in any 
form, and that he should have a public trial. Such a trial 
was promised and fixed for the fifth of June ; as regarded his 
liberation, however, it was, the Fathers said, not to be thought 
of, even if bail were given " a thousand times." Nevertheless 
he was removed from Gottlieben, about the beginning of June, 
brought back to the city, and confined, with far less rigor, in 
the Franciscan Monastery. 

'^ Dr. Berger — impartial historian ! — describes the cruelties which Has 
suffered in this tower as follows: " Dort wurde Has in einem luftigen 
Gemache und viel scharfer bewacht als zuvor." (Berger, p. 143.) The 
present Castle of Gottlieben is comparatively a modern building and fronts 
the Rhine, but the two ancient towers, which flank the rear and are covered 
with ivy, remain unchanged. In the western, first a wooden stairway, then 
a circular one of stone, and next two more wooden stair-cases, lead to the 
prison of Hus which is still to be seen, each of its two compartments being 
in the form of a parallelogram. Gottlieben is the property of Count 
Larrasch, of Vienna. In the museum of the Rosen- Garten, at Constance, 
interesting relics are preserved : the block of stone to which Hus was 
chained, which is about one foot thick and two feet square ; the wooden 
door of his dungeon, with its massive lock, huge bolt and staple for a 
padlock, having a smaller door in the middle, twelve inches long and four 
inches wide, according to our own measurement, with a clasp for another 
padlock, through which smaller door his food was handed him ; the bricks 
with which his prison was paved and on which he traced words that are 
now illegible; and a large stone, three feet long, containing a narrow 
opening eighteen inches in length, crossed by two iron bars, which opening 
constituted his only window. This last relic evidently belonged to the 
dungeon in the Dominican Monastery, as did, in all probability, the bricks 
also, and perhaps the door. 


A new commission of four prelates had meantime been 
named, under whose direction the trial began on the day- 
appointed. The first sitting was disgraceful. No sooner did 
he attempt a defence than " immediately, with one voice, many- 
cried out against him."^^ " They all screamed above measure," 
he himself writes,^^ besetting him on every side, so that he 
was obliged to turn continually and meet the vociferations 
uttered on his right hand and on his left, behind his back and 
before his face. He attempted to show that the articles 
drawn from his writings had been misrepresented — " Stop 
your sophistry, answer yes, or no !" was the cry. He cited 
the church-fathers — " That does not belong here," called out 
some. He was silent — " Now you are silent," exclaimed 
others, " that shows that you really entertain the errors laid to 
your charge !""^ Amidst all this wild confusion Hus main- 
tained a dignified bearing and showed a manly self-possession. 
As soon as order had, to some extent, been restored, he 
remarked in a loud voice that rang through the apartment : 
" I supposed, that in a Council like this there would be'more 
dignity, order and piety." " What do you say ?" answered 
the President, the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, "you spoke more 
humbly in the Castle." "Because, in the Castle, no one 
screamed at me," replied Hus, " but here you all scream at 
once."^^ This rebuke told. The Council deemed an imme- 
diate adjournment to be the only way of escape from its 
disgraceful position. 

Two more hearings took place, on the seventh and eighth 
of June, at both of which Sigismund was present and better 
order observed. On the last occasion, however, a tumult 
again broke out and grew so stormy that Hus, who had 
suffered all night long from neuralgia, nearly fainted.^^ 

^^ Documenta Hus, p. 275. 
^* Hus Briefe, p. 6. 

^* The above is reproduced almost literally from the Mladenowic Relatio, 
Documenta Hus, p. 275. 

2' Hist., et Mon., I. pp. 77 and 78. Ep. xii. 
26 Hist, et Mon., I. p. 31. 


" They pressed upon me, with threats and deceitful words, to 
induce me to recant," he wrote to his friends in Bohemia.^ 

Although it cannot be denied that an opportunity was given 
him, at these two hearings, to defend his views, yet there was 
a total lack of equity. His explanations, however biblical, 
were disregarded ; doctrines were brought forward which he 
had never taught; an absolute recantation was demanded, 
without the least regard to the authority or genuineness of the 
articles ; and — most shameful of all ! — their condemnation as 
heretical had been agreed upon and actually committed to 
writing before the trial began.^ " We do not recognize a 
single trace of impartiality or real justice," writes Lechler.^^ 
A century later, Erasmus of Rotterdam forcibly said : " John 
Hus was burned, not convicted."^" 

The trial closed with a solemn asseveration on the part of 
Hus, that he could not retract articles which he had never 
taught, but that he would recant such as were his own, provided 
they were shown to be false. On being led out, John von 
Chlum warmly pressed his hand ; Sigismund, on the contrary, 
not perceiving that the Bohemian Barons were still present, 
urged that Hus, unless he recanted, should be burned alive, 
and that, even in the event of a recantation, he should be 
deprived of his priestly office and forbidden to return to 

" Ibid, p. 78. 

"8 Krumme!, p. 509 ; Lechler, II. p. 216. 

»» Lechler Ibid. 

'" " J. Hus exustus non convictus." 

*' Documenta Hus, pp. 314 and 315. 



The Condemnation and Martyrdom of Hus. A. D. 1415. 

Injustice of the Council. — Reasons why Hus was condemned. — Sentence 
delayed.— The Letters of Hus as an Evidence of his Faith and 
Courage. — His written Prayer. — Attempts to induce him to recant. — 
The fifteenth General Session of the Council in the Cathedral.— Hus 
brought before this Meeting.— The Sermon. — Reading of the Articles 
reputed as heretical. — Comments of Hus. — The Blush of Sigismund. — 
The Sentence. — Hus degraded.— Delivered to the secular Authorities. 
—On the way to Execution.— His last Words and Death.— His Ashes 
cast into the Rhine.— Martyrdom of Jerome of Prague.— Reflections. 

The eyes of John Hus were now opened. He saw the 
great gathering of the heads of the Latin Church, the repre- 
sentatives of its learning and piety, from whom he had 
expected at least an impartial hearing, swayed by the grossest 
injustice, practically rejecting the Bible as the norm of faith, 
clinging to traditional dogmas of human invention, stooping 
to the despicable trick of foisting on his system articles which 
he had never taught, and treating him as a common criminal. 
And yet the purpose for which this Council was convoked 
and the end which he had in view, were identical. Both 
desired to bring about a reformation of the Church ; and he 
had not gone farther, or been bolder, in denouncing its sins 
than some of tlie Fathers who sat in judgment upon him. 
Why was it that he was rejected and that they were honored ? 
The premises from which the Council and Hus severally 
proceeded were discrepant and irreconcilable. The one upheld 
the traditional authority of the Church to which authority 
the individual must unconditionally submit in matters of 
doctrine and faith ; the other maintained the right of private 


research and criticism. The one wished to reform the Church 
organically out of itself and through itself; the other contended 
for a reformation according to the image of primitive Chris- 
tianity as set forth in the New Testament.^ Hence the re- 
peated protestations of Hus, that he was willing to be 
" instructed/'^ meant nothing less than a refutation of his 
doctrinal articles from the Holy Scriptures. 

But even this view of the case does not offer a sufficient 
explanation; there were other forces at work also. The 
inveterate animosity of the Bohemian clergy whose sins he 
had mercilessly uncovered, the unceasing machinations of his 
personal foes, the bitter antagonism of the realistic and 
nominalistic schools of philosophy, the national prejudices 
of the Germans against the Bohemians, intensified by the 
German exodus from the University of Prague, for which 
occurrence Hus was held mainly responsible — all these things 
had much to do with his condemnation. 

Its formal sentence was delayed for an entire month, Hus 
remaining a prisoner in the Franciscan Monastery. He knew 
that death, in a cruel form, was approaching, and prepared 
for it with the fortitude of the early martyrs. Sometimes a 
faint hope that God might yet see fit to deliver him, came 
into his mind, but it was like a dim ray of sunlight struggling 
through the clouds. He wrote to his friends and bade them 
farewell. These letters as well as others, sent from the 
Dominican Monastery, bring out his character in beautiful 
features and his faith in all its manly strength.^ 

The patience which he exercises amidst his sufferings is 

1 Palacky, IV. pp. 308 and 309. 

* The word which Hus invariably used was informari. 

^ Four of these letters a^e found in Luther's German publication (Hus 
Briefe); a number of them in his Latin Collection (Epistolae Hus); the 
most of them in Hist, et Mon., pp. 72-108 ; and all of them, as far as they 
are known to exist, in Documenta Hus, pp. 83-150, where they are given 
in their only correct form. In the other works the translation of the 
Bohemian letters is often faulty. Tlie title which Luther assigns to his 
Latin collection is characteristic: Epistolae quaedam, etc., J. H., quae 
solae satis declarant Papistarum pietates, esse Satanae furias. 


wonderful. "They are," he says, "a deserved punishment 
on account of my sins, and a sign of God's love."^ He 
forgives his personal enemies and moves Palec to tears by 
begging his pardon for the sharp words with which he has 
addressed him. The smallest favors excite his deepest 
gratitude. He can never forget the grasp of Baron Chlum's 
hand at the Council ; he loves to tell of the kindness of his 
keepers, especially of one Robert, at whose request he com- 
poses, while the theologians of the Church are denouncing 
his writings as full of pernicious errors, short religious treatises 
which instruct this unlettered man and fill his heart with joy. 
The ordeal that is drawing ever nearer leads him to Christ. 
He does not rely upon himself, but upon divine grace and 
strength. "O holy Lord Christ!" he writes, two weeks 
before his death, in closing a letter to his friends at 
Constance, "draw us after Thee. We are weak, and if 
Thou dost not draw us, we cannot follow Thee. Give us a 
strong and willing spirit, and when the weakness of the flesh 
appears, let Thy grace go on before us, accompany and 
follow us. For without Thee we can do nothing, least of 
all suffer a cruel death for Thy sake. Grant a willing spirit, 
a fearless heart, true faith, steadfast hope, perfect love, that 
for Thy sake we may, with patience and joy, surrender our 
life. Amen."^ 

It was the hope entertained both by the Council and 
Sigismund that Hus would, in the end, recant, which delayed 
the formal sentence. A recantation would give the victory to 
the Fathers ; the intelligence of the growing excitement in 
Bohemia and Moravia could not but impress the King. 
Frequent attempts were made, by individual members of the 
Council, to induce Hus to yield to its decision ; and, on the 
first of July, a number of prelates and eminent divines 
officially urged him to take this step. His answer was a 
written declination. Four days later, July the fifth, Sigis- 
mund sent deputies in his own name to make a last attempt. 

* Hist, et Mon., I. p. 88. Ep. xxxvii. 

* Documenta Hus, p. 131, Ep. 82. 


Hus referred them to the paper with which ho had furnished 
the first deputation ; that paper, he said, contained his final 
reply. The next day, Saturday, July the sixth, was his forty- 
sixth birthday; he celebrated it at the stake, sealing his 
testimony with his blood. 

The Council met in the Cathedral,^ and held its fifteenth 
general session with extraordinary pomp. A strong guard 
brought Hus to the portal, where he was obliged to wait until 
the service of mass had been concluded, so that the holy 
mysteries might not be profaned by his presence. On entering 
he found, in the middle of the church, a small platform erected, 
with a table and wooden rack on which hung the vestments of 
a priest. He was assigned a place in front of this platform, 
and immediately knelt in silent prayer.'^ That prayer was 
heard. Hus was not only about to enter the noble army of 
martyrs, but also showed that he deserves to be counted 
among those heroes of faith " of whom the world was not 
Avorthy," "who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought 
righteousness, obtained promises." In that cathedral an 
ordeal awaited him which was calculated to torment his mind 
as severely as the fire would torment his body. He looked 
around and saw an august and imposing assembly. There 
was the King on an elevated throne, surrounded by the 
magnates of the Empire — the Elector Palatine Louis with 
the imperial globe, the Count of Nuremberg with the sceptre, 
the Duke of Bavaria with the crown, a Hungarian prince 
with the sword, and many other nobles in splendid armor 
and nodding plumes. There were the President of the 
Council, the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, the other Cardinals 
and many prelates, robed in rich vestments and wearing 

^ The Cathedral of Constance, begun in 1048, is a large Gothic but other- 
wise unsightly building, which has been greatly changed since the time of 
the Council, both internally and externally, presenting therefore a very 
diferent appearance now from what it did then. 

'' Krummel, p. 537, says that Hus was made to ascend the platform as 
soon as he entered the church, and that he remained there until his degra- 
dation. Mladenowic, who is our principal authority, particularly says. 
Doc. Hus, p. 317, that he took his stand in front of the platform. 


scarlet hats or jeweled mitres. There was an array of 
learned doctors of theology, of abbots and priests and monks, 
from almost every part of the Christian world. There, 
finally, appeared a throng of citizens and visitors all eager 
to see and hear, and filling the church to its utmost capacity. 
In the presence of this assembly Hus was to be sentenced 
and degraded. Every eye was upon him, but he flinched 
not ; and, as occasion offered, uttered words so telling, so full 
of trust, so mighty in their power, that they have inspired 
the good and the true in all the centuries since. For it was 
not he that spoke, but the Spirit of his Father spoke in him.^ 
The proceedings began with a sermon, preached by the 
Bishop of Lodi, on the words of St. Paul, " that the body 
of sin might be destroyed,"^ which words he applied to Hus 
as the heretic who was to be destroyed and to Sigismund as 
God's agent in so glorious a work, which would bring him 
" perpetual praise." Thereupon a report of the past proceed- 
ings was communicated, including the articles extracted as 
heretical from the writings of Hus. As soon as the first of 
these articles had been read, he protested that it did not 
correctly set forth his views, but was ordered to remain silent ; 
and although he begged, for God's sake, to be allowed to 
speak, this request was refused and the vergers were told to 
silence him by force, if necessary. When he heard this, he 
fell upon his knees and lifted up his folded hands in mute 
appeal to heaven. The reading continued, but so flagrantly 
untrue were some of the accusations, that he made another 
effort to be heard and succeeded in interposing several com- 
ments, adding, in a loud voice, while his eyes were fixed full 
upon Sigismund, that in reliance on the safe-conduct granted 
him by the King, which was to protect him from violence, he 
had come to Constance of his own free will, in order to give 
an account of his faith. As he uttered these words a deep 

« Matt. X, 20. 

* Rom. vi, 6. The sermon is given in full in Hist, et Mon., I. pp. 33 
and 34. 


blush overspread the royal countenance.^" Additional formal- 
ities having been gone through with according to canonical 
law, Antonius, Bishop of Concordia, an aged prelate of vener- 
able aspect, ascended the pulpit and published the formal 
sentence : The writings of Hus were to be publicly committed 
to the flames ; he was to be degraded from the priesthood and 
to be punished as a heretic." " Lord Jesus," he said as soon 
as this sentence had been read, " forgive mine enemies ! Thou 
knowest that they have borne false witness against me. For- 
give them for Thy great mercy's sake!" At this prayer the 
eyes of many prelates flamed with indignation and a mocking 
laugh burst from their lips. 

The ceremony of degradation had been committed to six 
Bishops, who now commanded Hus to ascend the platform 
and array himself in the priestly vestments which were hang- 
ing there. When fully robed they once more exhorted him 
to recant and abjure his errors. Facing the vast assembly 
he spoke touching words, in a voice almost choked with 
emotion. *' Behold, these Bishops demand of me that I shall 
recant and abjure. I fear to do this. For, if I complied, 
I would be false in the eyes of God and sin against my 
own conscience and divine truth ; seeing that I have never 
taught what has been falsely charged against me, and that I 
have rather written and preached the contrary. There is 

^° Lechler, Berger and others omit the incident of the blush ; Alzog, in 
his Roman Catholic Manual of Universal Church History, Cincinnati, 
1876, Vol. II. p. 964, denies it and pronounces it to be an invention of the 
Bohemians, basing this assertion upon the fact that Mladenowic says 
nothing of it in his Relatio. Mladenowic, however, does report the inci- 
dent, not in his Relatio, but in his brief Bohemian chronicle which, as 
Palacky, IV. p. 364, Note 470, tells us, is found in a Latin version in Hist, 
et Mon., II. pp. 515-520 (Vide p. 518). Von der Hardt, IV. p. 393, also 
relates the occurrence, but has evidently taken it from the Latin version 
of Mladenowic's chronicle, for he uses the very words there found. Of 
modern authorities, besides Palacky, Krummel, p. 541, Gillett, II, p. 55, 
Czerwenka, I. p. 105, and Neander, IV. p. 488, all accept the incident as 

" The sentence which was very lengthy, the first part relating to the 
writings of Hus and tiie second to himself, is given in full in Hist, et 
Mon., I. pp. 35 and 36. 


another reason why I cannot recant. I would thereby offend 
not only the many souls to whom I have proclaimed the 
Gospel, but others also who are preaching it in all faithful- 
ness."^^ " Now we see," exclaimed the Bishops, " how 
hardened he is in his wickedness and obstinate in his heresy !" 
Ordering him to descend, they pressed around him and 
snatched from his hand the chalice, saying : " We take from 
thee, thou cursed Judas, who hast forsaken the council of 
peace and become one with the Jews, this cup of salvation !" 
" But I," he answered, " confide in the Lord God Almighty, 
for whose name I patiently bear this blasphemy, and who will 
not take from me the cup of salvation, but will permit me, I 
am firmly persuaded, to drink it, this day, in His kingdom." 
Then they tore from his person the priestly vestments, piece 
by piece, each with a more fearful malediction, Hus replying 
with words of faith and hope. When the tonsure was to be 
effaced, a most unseemly wrangle occurred as to the manner 
in which this should be done, and whether a razor or shears 
should be used; at last it was cut in four directions with 
shears, and thus the last symbol of his priestly office dis- 
appeared. A paper cap, a yard high, in the shape of a 
pyramid, displaying the hideous picture of three devils 
struggling with one another for his soul, and the words Hie 
est haeresiarcha^^ was then put upon his head, the Bishops 
saying: "Thus we deliver your soul to the devil !" Clasping 
his hands and lifting his eyes to heaven Hus replied : " But 
I commit it to my most gracious Lord Jesus Christ ! For 
my sake He bore, though innocent, a much harder and 
heavier crown of thorns; why should I poor sinner not wear 
this lighter though blasphemous one for His name's and 
truth's sake ?" 

A formal announcement followed, that the degradation was 
completed and that Hus no longer had part in the Church, 
but was delivered to the secular arm for punishment. Sigis- 

^^ Mladenowic Relatio, Doc. Hus, p. 320. Other sources give the address 
in a somewhat different form. 
" " This is the Arch-heretic." 


raund charged the Elector Palatine with its execution ; the 
Elector told the burgher-master of Constance to issue the 
necessary orders ; the burgher-master commanded his bailiffs 
and the executioners, who were in waiting, to convey Hus 
to the stake and forthwith burn him alive. When these 
directions had been severally given, the Council continued its 

He was led first to the square in front of the Cathedral, 
that he might witness the burning of his writings. This 
spectacle provoked but a smile ; for he well knew that how- 
ever many copies might be destroyed at Constance, there were 
far more at Prague and throughout Bohemia. Then, walking 
between two servants of the Elector, guarded by more than 
one thousand armed men, and followed by a great multitude, 
he went forth to die. His step was firm, his bearing manly, 
his countenance full of joy. " He proceeded to his punish- 
ment as to a feast. Not a word escaped him which gave 
indication of the least weakness."^^ About eleven o'clock the 
procession reached the fatal spot. It was a meadow, known 
as the Bruhl, outside of the city walls, to the left of the road 
to Gottlieben. As soon as he came near to the stake he 
knelt and prayed the thirty-first and fifty-first Psalms, with 
great fervency of heart, so that the people standing by were 
deeply moved. While thus engaged the paper cap fell from 
his head ; one of the bailiffs replaced it with a brutal jest. 
The executioners now ordered him to rise. He obeyed, 
saying : " Lord Jesus Christ, this cruel and terrible punish- 
ment I will cheerfully and humbly bear for the sake of Thy 
holy Gospel and of the preaching of Thy blessed Word !" 
His wish to address the people was refused by the Elector, 
who commanded him to be burned without further delay, 

^* This is the testimony of that elegant Roman Catholic writer Aeneas 
Sylvius, afterward Pope Pius the Second. He speaks both of Hus and 
Jerome of Prague, and adds : " In the midst of the flames they sang 
hymns uninterruptedly to their last breath. No philosopher ever suffered 
death with such constancy as they endured the flames." Aen. Syl. Cap. 
xxxvi, p. 33. 


granting him time merely to bid farewell to his keepers. He 
was bound to the stake with seven moistened thongs and a 
heavy chain, which was wound round his neck. " Willingly," 
he said, " do I suifer myself to be bound with this chain for 
the sake of the holy name of my Lord Jesus Christ, who, 
for my sake, was far more cruelly bound." Some of the 
bystanders remarking that his face was turned to the East — 
a thing unseemly in the case of a heretic — his position was 
changed so that he looked to the West. Fagots of dry wood 
and straw saturated with pitch were now piled about him up 
to his chin. Everything was ready for the torch. In that 
supreme moment Count Oppenheim, the Marshal of the 
Empire, accompanied by the Elector, rode up to the stake 
and offered him his life, if he would recant. " What shall 
I recant," was his answer, in a voice clear and loud, "not 
being conscious of any errors ? I call God to witness that I 
have neither taught nor preached what has been falsely laid 
to my charge, but that the end of all my preaching and 
writings was to induce my fellow-men to forsake sin. In the 
truth which I have proclaimed, according to the Gospel of 
Jesus Christ and the expositions of holy teachers, I will, this 
day, joyfully die." At these words both the nobles clapped 
their hands and rode off. It was the signal for the execution. 
The torch was applied. As soon as Hus saw the smoke rising 
he began to sing : 

Christe, fill Dei vivi, miserere nobis ! 
Christe, fili Dei vivi, miserere mei / 
Qui natus es ex Maria virgine — ^* 

here the wind drove the flames into his face. His lips con- 
tinued to move, but his last words had been spoken. The 
agony was short, and then 

" Hus, the victim of perfidious foes, 
To heaven upon a fiery chariot rose." 

^' "Christ, Thou Son of the living God, have mercy upon us! 
Christ, Thou Son of the living God, have mercy upon me! 
Thou who wast born of the Virgin Mary — " 

— Mladenowic Relatio, Documenta Hus, p. 323. 


When the fire had spent its strength, there appeared a 
charred post and hanging to it a ghastly corpse. Both were 
torn down by the executioners. They crushed the bones, 
cleft the skull, heaped up fresh fuel, and reduced these 
remains and the stake to ashes. The heart they stuck on a 
spear and held it in the flames until it was consumed. Every 
article of the martyr's dress and the paper cap, which the 
wind had blown away, were burned ;^^ and, at last, the ashes 
were gathered and, together with the ground into which the 
stake had been driven, cast into the Rhine. There remained 
not the smallest memento of the Bohemian Reformer ; but his 
countrymen came, dug out, on the place where the stake had 
stood, a quantity of earth and carried it as a sacred relic to 
their native land.^'' 

Nearly a year later, on the thirtieth of May, 1416, Jerome 
of Prague suffered martyrdom on the same spot.^® It is 
marked by a boulder on which are graven simply the names 
of the two friends and the dates of their death. Ivy and 
flowering creepers twine about the stone. Near by stands a 
Protestant church.'^ 

^* There is a discrepancy in the chronicles with regard to the clothing, 
some saying that Hus was burned in his clothes, others that they were 
stripped off before the execution and afterward burned. 

" Aen. Syl., Cap. xxxvi, p. 33. 

'* True to the chivalry of his nature and the loyalty of his friendship 
Jerome came to Constance to aid Hus and plead his cause before the 
Council, but was advised, by his friends, to return to Bohemia as quickly 
as possible. On the way he was arrested, delivered to the Council, and 
cruelly imprisoned. Weakened by sickness and the protracted sufferings 
of his dungeon he was induced to recant, but soon retracted his recantation 
and died with the same fortitude as Hus. 

^^ The incident given by Croeger, I. p. 35, of an old peasant woman 
dragging a faggot to the stake and eliciting from Hus the exclamation, 
"Sancta simplicitas !" — as also his reputed prophecy respecting the coming 
of Luther, are legends without historic foundation. 

An important source for the history of Hus while at Constance is " Ulrich 
Eichtental's Bericht iiber J. Hus," a manuscript diary written in quaint old 
German. The substance of this diary was twice printed, in 1536 and 1575; 
recently the oldest manuscript, that of Aulendorf, profuselv illustrated with 
pen and ink sketches by the author, has been photographed. The Malin 
Library at Bethlehem contains a copy of this work. 


Thus perished John Hus, in the prime of manhood, in the 
midst of his work, a noble man, a valiant confessor, the illus- 
trious forerunner of the Unitas Fratrum. The full account 
which we have given of his life and labors belongs to its 
history. This Church would never have arisen if he had 
not promulgated principles which led to its birth. What he 
taught, the Brethren reproduced in their confessions and 
catechisms. What he preached, served their preachers as a 
model or was communicated to their congregations by lay- 
readers. The hymns which he composed, they sang with deep 
devotion. Even the new forms in which he clothed his 
native tongue became chiefly their heritage. The Reformation 
which he began, they, and not the Hussites, developed to its 
legitimate end. The martyr spirit which he manifested, they 
upheld. His weapons were theirs — not carnal, but the two- 
edged sword of the Word and the whole armor of God. 
Well, therefore, may the Brethren's Church still commemorate 
the day of his death and sing, in the course of its memorial 
office, with special reference to Hus and those of its fathers 
who, like him, sealed their testimony w^ith their blood : 

" For all Thy saints, O Lord, 
Who strove in Thee to live, 
Who followed Thee, obeyed, adored, 
Our grateful hymn receive. 

For all Thy saints, Lord, 

Accept our thankful cry. 
Who counted Thee their great reward, 

And strove in Thee to die." 



A. D. 1415-1457. 

The Hussite Wars and Factions. A. D. 1415-1434. 

Disturbances in Bohemia. — Letter of the Diet to the Council. — The Hussite 
League. — Adjournment of the Council. — Gathering of Hussites on 
Mt. Tabor. — Councilors killed at Prague. — Death of Wen zel.— First 
Crusade against the Hussites. — Zizka. — Victory at the Witkowberg. — 
The Articles of Prague. — The Diet renounces allegiance to Sigismund. 
— The Utraquists. — The Taborites. — The Orphans. — Further Crusades 
against the Hussites and Victory at Tauss. — The Council of Basle opens 
Negotiations with them. — The Compactata of Basle.— Defeat of the 
Taborites at Lipan. 

The fire of the stake at which John Hus suffered, kindled 
a conflagration that raged for years with insatiable fury.^ As 
soon as the news that he had been executed reached Bohemia, 
all classes were profoundly moved. Many who had been 
undecided in their views, or timid in expressing them, openly 
jained his followers ; the Roman Catholic priests were quickly 
expelled from their parishes which were given to Hussites ; 
the houses of his personal enemies among the clergy at 
Prague were plundered, and siege was laid to the palace of 

^ Sources for this and the next chapters are : Palacky, Vols. IV. V. and 
VI.; Krummel's Ut. u. Tab.; Bezold Husitentum ; Czerwenka, I.; Hofler's 
three Vols.; Palacky's Hofler; Lechler, II, Chap. VI. We present, in 
outlines, the history of the Hussites merely in so far as it is preparatory to 
the history of the Unitas Fratrum. 


the Archbishop, who fled in dismay. The efforts of the 
Council to restore order increased the commotion. Letters 
which it issued justifying the execution of Hus, warning 
against his doctrines, and threatening his adherents with the 
severest discipline of the Church, called forth a defiant answer 
from the Diet (September the second, 1415,) signed by four 
hundred and twenty five barons and knights, full of reproaches 
and counter-menaces. Three days later, a Hussite League was 
formed, whose members pledged themselves to act in unison, 
to allow free preaching of the Gospel on their estates, to obey 
episcopal mandates in so far only as they were in harmony 
with the Holy Scriptures, to resist all unjust bans, and to 
uphold the decisions of the University of Prague.^ Although 
the Fathers were encouraged, by the speedy organization of a 
Catholic League, to persevere in their denunciations and to 
enforce them with the ban, the Hussites were not overawed. 
Nearly three years passed by without effecting a change ; so 
that when the Council finally adjourned, on the twenty-second 
of April, 1418, Bohemia and Moravia were still fired with 
excitement which was ready, at any moment, to burst into 
flames. Nor had anything been accomplished at Constance in 
the way of reform. The new Pope, Martin the Fifth, elected 
on the eleventh of November, 1417, disregarding the hopes 
of all Christendom, postponed this work to the next Council. 
Impotent end of the august convocation that had, for nearly 
four years, deliberated on ways and means to purify the 
Church ! 

A peculiar feature of the Hussite movement was the 
preaching of itinerant evangelists, in private houses or open 
fields. They attracted large congregations; and when 
Wenzel, in 1419, ordered the restoration of the catholic 
priests to the parishes from which they had been expelled, 
such congregations began to undertake pilgrimages to neigh- 
boring or more distant churches, where they could enjoy the 
Holy Communion under both kinds. A hill, in the vicinity 

2 Krummel's Ut. u. Tab., p. 8; Palacky, IV, p. 376. 


of Austi, constituted a favorite gathering place and received 
the name of Mt. Tabor .^ It was dotted with the tents of the 
Hussite clergy who had been driven from Austi, but continued 
to minister to the people that came to them in crowds. 

On that hill, at the instance of Nicholas von Pistna/ an 
extraordinary meeting was held on the twenty-second of July. 
In the early hours of the morning there began to arrive, from 
all parts of Bohemia and Moravia, solemn processions carrying 
banners and the emblems of the Holy Sacrament, until a 
multitude of not less than forty-two thousand people was 
assembled. They gave each other a jubilant welcome as 
brethren and sisters in the Lord. To worship Him, under 
the open canopy of His own heaven, was their common 
object. Accordingly they divided, each sex. by itself, into 
numerous congregations of which the priests took charge. 
Some preached, while others heard confessions, or adminis- 
tered the Lord's Supper under both kinds. At noon the 
entire assembly partook of a simple meal ; the rest of the day 
was spent in religious conversation and social fellowship. 
The utmost decorum prevailed ; no levity or worldly amuse- 
ments were allowed. It was a primitive camp-meeting on 
a grand scale. Toward evening the pilgrims bade each other 
farewell, with mutual pledges to uphold the holy cause of the 
Cup and of free preaching; then each company, again in 

^ According to the latest researches of Palacky, Mt. Tabor was not that 
hill which subsequently constituted the site of the town of Tabor, but was 
situated somewhere in the region between this town and Bechin and 
Bernartic (Benarditz). Palacky, V. p. 85, and Note 64. 

* Nicholas von Pistna, also called von Hus, or von Husinec, in view of 
his appointment as royal burggrave of the Castle of Hus, was attached to 
the court of Wenzel, who employed him in various afiairs of state. In 
1419 he fell under the displeasure of the King, because he asked that more 
churches might be granted to the Hussites, and was banished from Prague. 
Thereupon he became one of their leaders and an agitator among the 
peasantry in particular, working in unison with Zizka. He took part in 
the first Hussite campaign against the imperial crusaders, and died at 
Prague, on the twenty-fourth of December, 1420. He was not the heredi- 
tary lord of the Castle of Hus, and John Hus was not his vassal, as some 
writers maintain. Palacky, IV. p. 416, Note 525. 


procession, took its way homeward and made the long 
summer-twilight vocal with sacred song. The owners of the 
fields, where the gathering had taken place, were liberally 
indemnified for the losses which it had occasioned. Similar 
meetings were subsequently held at the same place.^ 

An event of a different and most alarming character 
occurred at Prague. On Sunday, the thirtieth of July, a 
Hussite procession, led by John of Selau,^ the priest of the 
church of Maria-Schnee, while passing the Council House of 
the Neustadt, was insulted by some of the councilors and their 
servants. A fearful tumult ensued ; men rushed together 
from all sides with arms in their hands ; the Council House 
was stormed and whoever attempted to oppose the mob was 
cut down without mercy ; eleven councilors escaped, but seven 
others were hurled from an upper window and impaled on the 
spears and lances of the multitude below. Amidst peals of 
alarm the riot spread throughout the Neustadt, which was 
seized by the populace. Wenzel, who was at the castle of 
Wenzelstein, when informed of what had happened gave 
way to so terrible a burst of anger that a slight attack of 
apoplexy ensued ; on the sixteenth of August he had a 
second and severe attack, in consequence of which he died in 
a few hours. 

According to the compact of 1411, Sigismund was to be 
his successor. Blind to his own interests and obstinate in 
his resolution to crush the disturbances in Bohemia by force, 
lie did not come to claim the kingdom, but appointed Queen 

* There are two original and very valuable sources giving an account of 
the meeting on Mt. Tabor and of many other events in the history of the 
Hussites. The one is Brezowa's Diarium Belli Hussitici, and the other the 
Chronica of Pilgram, the Taborite Bishop. Both are frequently quoted 
by Palacky. 

® John was a monk who had escaped from the Premonstrant Monastery 
of Selau. He became prominent during the hegemony of Prague, and for 
two years, 1420 to 1422, practically ruled Bohemia. In the latter year a 
party was formed against him, and he was secretly executed. Although 
originally a demagogue and fanatic, he showed, when in power, great 
moderation both in his measures and theology, and labored hard to unite 
the two great parties among the Hussites. 


Sophia his regent and persuaded the Pope to inaugurate a 
crusade against the Hussites. Thus began one of the most 
remarkable, and at the same time terrific, wars the world has 
seen. For sixteen years Bohemia single handed defied all 

The truth which history sets forth, more or less clearly, in 
every age, that when a nation is passing through a crisis it 
produces the man for the crisis, was anew established at the 
opening of this war. A greater general, a mightier man of 
valor, a more invincible leader than John Zizka von Troconow, 
never drew sword. He created armies. He originated the 
most novel and successful tactics. He never lost a battle. 
Through his indomitable energy, peasants and mechanics, 
armed with lances and slings, iron-pointed flails and clubs, 
were trained to beat down the mail-clad knights of Europe 
like straw and to scatter them like chaif. His barricades of 
wagons, now motionless as a rampart, and again circling over 
the field of battle in bewildering evolutions, were a notable 
instance of his military genius ; and the battle hymn, " Ye 
who the Lord God's warriors are," etc., which he is said to 
have composed and which his men were accustomed to sing 
when advancing to the fight, shows that he made religion the 
source of their irresistible courage. Intolerant, fanatical and 
cruel, he was nevertheless a true patriot, disinterested and 
humble, striving to lead a godly and righteous life. Deeming 
himself an avenger of the divine law, he mercilessly destroyed 
all whom he believed to be its foes, and in the spirit of 
Israel's stern leader, " hewed in pieces before the Lord."^ 

' 1 Sam. XV, 33. Zizka was born, probably about 1354, at Trocnow, now 
included in Forbes, about ten miles South East of Budweis, and was the 
owner of several small estates. He belonged to the lower order of nobility, 
is supposed to have, at one time, served under the king of Poland, and 
subsequently found a place at the court of Wenzel with whom he stood in 
high favor. He left the court and espoused the cause of the Hussites. At 
an earlier time he lost one of his eyes, in what way is not known ; at the 
siege of Raby, in 1422, the other was destroyed by an arrow. Totally 
blind though he now was, he continued in command of the army ; in time 
of battle he mounted a wagon and stood under the folds of his banner 


The first crusade against the Hussites laid the foundation 
of his fame. On the fourteenth of July, 1420, at the 
Witkoivberg, now known as the Zizka Hill, half a mile to 
the East of Prague, he totally defeated, with a far less 
numerous force, the imperialist army of more than one 
hundred thousand men. Sigismund fled in dismay from 
Bohemia, while the Archbishop of Prague went over to the 

About the same time they issued the celebrated Four 
Articles which set forth the principles for which they were 
contending. These articles were the following : 

I. The Word of God is to be preached, in a proper way, 
by priests of the Lord, without let or hinderance, throughout 
the Kino-dom of Bohemia. 

II. The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is to be admin- 
istered, under each kind, of bread and wine, according to the 
institution of the Saviour, to all believers not disqualified to 
receive it by reason of mortal sin. 

III. The secular dominion exercised by the clergy over 
worldly goods and possessions, to the prejudice of their 
spiritual office and the damage of civil authority, is to be 
taken away from them, and the clergy are to be brought back 
to the evangelical rule and apostolic practice of Christ and 
His disciples. 

TV. All mortal sins, especially such as are public, as also 
all other irregularities contrary to the divine law, in whatever 
estate they may appear, are to be punished by those to whom 
it pertains.^ 

These four Articles of Prague, as they are commonly called, 
supported by many citations from Scripture and references to 

whose device was the cup. He died, October the eleventh, 1424, while 
besieging the Castle of Pribislaii, and was buried first at Koniggriitz and 
then at Caslau. Malin's Zizka, pp. 133-134; Millauer's Diplomatisch- 
hist. Aufsiitze uber J. Z, Prag, 1S24; Palacky, IV. pp. 414-415, and V. 
pp. 358-371 ; Krummel's Ut. u. Tab., pp. 11, 69 and 70. 

* Hofler, I. pp. 380-384, in Brezina de Gestis et variis accidentibus regni 
B., and II. p. 480, etc., in Pelhrizimow's Chronicon ; Palacky, V. pp. 136- 
138 ; Krummel, Ut. u. Tab , pp. 34-38 ; Gillett, II. pp. 442-444. 


the early Fathers of the Church, were drawn up in Latin, 
Bohemian and German, and sent to all parts of Europe. In 
June, of 1421, they were formally ado23ted by the Diet of 
Caslau, which body at the same time renounced allegiance to 
Sigismund and appointed twenty Regents to administer the 

But there was no harmony among the Hussites. At an 
early day two principal parties arose, the Calixtines, or Utra- 
quists, and the Taborites.^ 

The former received their tendency from the University of 
Prague. They were conservative and aristocratic, and as they 
continued to hold to the Romish doctrines and usages, except 
in so far as these were at variance with the Four Articles of 
Prague, they hoped for an eventual reconciliation with the 
Church, after it would have been purified and reformed. 
There resulted a policy which was both unstable and crooked. 

The leaders of this party, to which the higher order of the 
nobility mostly belonged, were John of Jesenic, Jacobellus of 
Mies, Christian of Prachtic, John Kardinalis of Reinstein, 
Simon of Tisnovic, John of Rokycana, John of Pribram, 
Prokop of Pilsen, and Peter Payne, an English man, kuovvn 
as Master English.'" 

The germs of the Taborite party were planted in 1415, at 
Austi, where a rich weaver, one Pytel, opened his house to 
several Hussite leaders whose extreme views had given offence 
at Prague and who began to exercise an influence in opposi- 

» Palacky, V. pp. 191-193 ; Krummel's Ut. u. Tab., pp. 87-96; Lechler, 
II. pp. 472-474. The name Calixtines was derived from Calix, the cup in 
the Lord's Supper, which cup became the symbol of all the Hussites, and 
the name Utraquists from the words sub utraque, that is, the Communion 
under both kinds. 

'" He was expelled, as a follower of Wycliffe, from the University of 
Oxford and received by the University of Prague in 1417. Next to 
Jacobellus he was the leading theologian of the Hussites, but remained 
true to WyclifFe's doctrines, never fully joining any of the Bohemian fac- 
tions, although he was reckoned first as a Utraquist, then as an Orphan, 
and finally as a Taborite. His name occurs for the last time in 1452. 
Palacky, VII. p. 453, &c. 


tion to its University, drawing together a large number of 
adherents. In 1420 Tabor was founded, by order of Zizka, 
which town gave to the entire faction its name and became 
its chief and formidable seat.^^ 

The tendency of this party was progressive, radical and 
democratic, leaning, in its political aspect, toward a republican 
form of government with an abolition of all differences of 
rank, and taking a theological position which was far in 
advance of the Articles of Prague and, in almost every point, 
at variance with the Romish Church. The Taborites accepted 
the Bible as the only source of faith and rule of practice, 
recognizing in Christ the only Lawgiver of His people. They 
acknowledged Baptism and the Lord's Supper as the only 
sacraments, and taught that the latter may be celebrated in 
any place and not merely in a consecrated church or chapel, 
but that the ministration of a priest guilty of mortal sin is 
not valid ; they rejected transubstantiation, purgatory, prayers 
and alms for the dead and the invocation of the saints ; they 
denounced fasting as a penance, the idolatry practiced with 
relics, images and pictures, the use of priestly vestments, the 
singing of the hymns of the Roman Catholic Church, and the 
distinction which it made between bishops and jjriests, claim- 
ing that priests have the right to elect and ordain bishops. 

The leaders of this party, which embraced nobles of low 
rank, burghers and the great mass of small land-holders and 
peasants, were Nicholas Pelhrimow or Pilgram, the only 
Bishop whom the Taborites appointed, Wenzel Koranda of 

" Tabor, which was not far from Austi, was situated on a broad hill 
crowned with the Castle of Hradist and bounded, on one side, by the 
Luznic and, on the other, by a tributary stream. Steep rocks surrounded 
the place, and the only passage to it was a narrow neck of land but a few 
paces in width. This natural position which rendered the town almost 
impregnable was strengthened by massive fortifications. Within these 
walls war and religion maintained a strange fellowship and gave to Tabor 
a character wholly its own. The inhabitants were divided into a " Field 
and a House Community," the former carrying on war, the latter engaging 
in the pursuits of peace. At regular intervals the members of these Com- 
munities, each of which had its commanders, inspectors and captains, inter- 
changed places. 


Pilsen, Markold, John Capek, John Nemez of Saaz, John of 
Jicin, Ambrose of Koniggratz and Prokop the Great. 

AVhile the system of the Taborites, in not a few particulars, 
bore a scriptural character that has re-appeared in Protest- 
antism, it was marred by extreme views and, at times, by 
gross fanaticism. As instances of the former we may mention 
their opposition to the Latin language and a collegiate course 
of education, although they carefully trained their children in 
the common branches and in a thorough knowledge of the 
Bible; their tenet, that to give or receive an academical 
degree constituted a mortal sin; the loose notions, which 
occasionally showed themselves, with regard to the adminis- 
tration of the Lord's Supper by unordained men and even by 
women ;^^ and the tendency to emancipate women, in other 
respects also, from the rule laid down by the apostle in 
connection with public worship.^^ Examples of fanaticism 
were the chiliastic errors into which they fell, under the 
leadership of Martin Hauska, and the gross excesses which 
followed ;^^ the community of goods established at Tabor 
during a period of nearly two years, when the possession of 
private property was pronounced to be a mortal sin ; and the 
wanton destruction of churches, chapels and altars, with all 
their beautiful works of art. For the blasphemy and shameful 
immoralities of the Adamites, who grew out of the scum of 
the chiliasts, the Taborites must not be held responsible. 

A third faction, occupying a middle position between the 
Utraquists and Taborites, became prominent after Zizka's 
death. This faction consisted of his immediate followers, who 
assumed the name of Orphans. There were several other 
parties of minor note, 

'2 Palacky, V. 193 ; Bezold, p. 39 ; Hofler, T. p. 482. 

" Bezold, pp. 38-44. 

'* Martin Hauska, a learned and eloquent man, surnamed Loquis on 
account of his eloquence, but the boldest of radicals, was expelled from 
Tabor in consequence of his offensive views on the Lord's Supper. About 
300 adherents followed him, with whom he wandered about Bohemia until 
Zizka attacked and dispersed them. Hauska was taken prisoner and cruelly 
executed in 1421. The chiliastic errors continued for only about two years. 


Efforts were not wanting, although they proved unsuc- 
cessful, to put an end to these divisions and unite the Hussites. 
The only common ground they occupied was their acceptance 
of the Articles of Prague. When engaged in war, however, 
they forgot their differences. It continued in all its fury and 
was disgraced by horrible cruelties on both sides, but especially 
on the part of the Catholics. Four more crusades were under- 
taken by the imperialists, in all of which they were ignobly 
defeated. In 1427, led by Procop the Great,^^ who took the 
place of Zizka, the Hussites began offensive campaigns and 
invaded Austria, Silesia, Bavaria, Hungary, Franconia and 
Saxony, filling these countries with the terror of their name. 
Their most wonderful victory was gained at Tauss, where they 
routed one hundred and thirty thousand crusaders, led by the 
Margrave of Brandenburg and the Cardinal Legate Julian 
(August the fourteenth, 1431). All Europe stood aghast. 
It seemed as though God Himself had sent confusion into the 
midst of one of the most puissant hosts that had ever been 
marshalled. It fled, in abject terror, as soon as the noise of 
the war-wagons and the sound of the battle hymn, heralding 
the approach of the Hussites, were heard in the distance. 
They had but to pursue and slay and spoil. After this no 
more crusades were proclaimed against them. Sigismund 
unwillingly confessed that the Bohemians could be con- 
quered by Bohemians only; Julian declared that the sole 
hope remaining was the Council which had been appointed 
to meet at Basle. Well might he say this ! The Roman King 
and the Roman Pontiff had exhausted the strength of arms, 
the power of anathemas, expedients of every kind, including 
even a menacing letter which the Maid of Orleans was induced 
to issue^^ — the Bohemians remained unsubdued. 

'^ Procop, called Weliky, the Great, or Holy, the Bald, was a married 
priest, a man of clear understanding, free from blind fanaticism, thoroughly- 
versed in the Scriptures and bitterly opposed to Rome. Bezold, pp. 70 
and 71. 

'* This letter, dated Suliaci, March the twenty-third, 1430, threatened the 
Bohemians with the divine vengeance if they did not at once return to the 
obedience due to the Church. Palacky, V. p. 481 and Note 488. 


Hastening to Basle, where he assumed the presidency of 
the Council, Cardinal Julian induced this body to invite the 
Hussites to take part in its deliberations, to the end that peace 
might be restored. The invitation was accepted, after the 
vehement opposition of the Taborites had been overcome. 
In January of 1433, a delegation representing the Utraquists, 
the Taborites and the Orphans, reached Basle and was wel- 
comed with every token of amity and respect. And now 
began a spectacle unprecedented in the history of the Church 
of Rome. For nearly two months the Hussite delegates 
engaged in disputations with the Council, using the utmost 
boldness of speech, uncovering the sins of the Hierarchy, 
exalting Hus and Jerome of Prague as witnesses of the truth, 
and maintaining, with masterly skill and unflinching deter- 
mination, the principles set forth in the Articles of Prague. 
In May, accompanied by deputies of the Council, they 
returned to Bohemia. The negotiations were continued at 
Prague and resulted, after a second delegation of Hussites 
had visited the Council and a second deputation from the 
Council had come to Bohemia, in the Compactata of Basle, 
which substantially conceded the Four Articles of Prague. 
On the thirtieth of November, 1433, these Compactata were 
ratified by the Diet. The Taborites and Orphans, however, 
manifested the utmost dissatisfaction and insisted on further 
concessions. But their power was rapidly waning. Weary 
of the ceaseless strife of the past years and instigated by the 
Utraquists, the nobility formed a league with which all men 
of rank, irrespective of party, united and which had for its 
object the forcible pacification of Bohemia and Moravia. 
This league raised a formidable body of troops; the Taborites 
and Orphans gathered their forces. On the thirtieth of May, 
1434, the two armies met, at Lipan, in a fierce and deadly 
conflict. The Taborites and Orphans were totally defeated. 
Prokop the Great and tliirteen thousand of his warriors lay 
dead on the field. 



Rohycana and the Utraquist National Chureh. 
A. D. 1434-1453. 

Bohemia and Moravia in the Hands of the Utraquists. — John Rokycana, 
Archbishop elect. — Sigismund acknowledged King of Bohemia. — 
Begins a Eeaction.— His Death. — Albert's Death. — Interregnum and 
Leagues. — Baron Ptacek. — Convention of Kuttenberg. — Utraquists the 
National Church of Bohemia. — Disputation at Kuttenberg and Diet at 
Prague. — End of the Taborites. — George Podiebrad Regent. — Union 
with the Greek Church projected. — Accession of Ladislaus Posthumus. 
— Rokycana's sermons against Rome. — State of Morals and Religion 
in Bohemia and Moravia. — Sects. — Societies. 

The battle of Lipan was a turning point in the history of 
the Hussites, It put Bohemia and Moravia into the hands 
of the Utraquists, and enabled them to cany out their plans 
unhindered. The man who was foremost in shaping events 
and who became more and more prominent, until he exercised 
a commanding influence, was John of Rokycana. 

Born at Rokitzan, near Pilsen, a child of poverty but 
endowed with rare gifts, he passed through the University as 
a charity-student, attained a Master's degree, and, in 1425, 
was appointed to the Thein Church at Prague. This position 
gave him power and his eloquence won him fame. He was 
one of the leading Bohemian delegates at the Council of Basle 
and stood, by common consent, at the head of the Utraquists. 
But he was vain, greedy of popularity, and inordinately 
ambitious. To become the spiritual ruler of all Bohemia 
was the goal toward which he pressed. With this object in 
view he was mainly instrumental in bringing about the civil 
war which led to the overthrow of the Taborites as a military 
power, and now labored incessantly to uproot them as a re- 



Hgious bodj. At the Diet of 1435 he was unanimously elected 
Archbishop, and Martin Lupac of Chrudim and Wenzel of 
Hohenmauth were appointed his suiFragans. 

Meantime Sigismund endeavored to regain his kingdom. 
The Diet made demands Avhich were stringent and humiliating ; 
but he pledged himself to fulfill them, and on the fifth of 
July, 1436, at a meeting held, with great pomp and solemnity, 
in the market place of Iglau, was formally acknowledged as 
King of Bohemia. On the same occasion, the Compactata 
were anew ratified and the Bohemians re-admitted to the 
fellowship of the mother church. But scarcely had Sigis- 
mund reached his capital when he began so serious a reaction 
in favor of Rome that Rokycana secretly left the city and 
retired to a castle near Pardubic (1437). The King's 
treachery was, however, cut short by the hand of death, on 
the ninth of December, of the same year, at Znaim, while on 
his way to Hungary ; and his successor and son-in-law, Albert 
of Austria, followed him to the grave in 1439, in the midst 
of a campaign against the Turks. Bohemia was left without 
a ruler, for Albert had no children except a posthumous son. 
A time of anarchy began and various leagues arose, the most 
powerful of which stood under Baron Ptaeek. It was a 
fortunate circumstance that he proved to be a man of sound 
judgment and liberal views, who endeavored to prevent law- 
lessness and unite the religious factions. He caused a Diet of 
his party to meet at Caslau in 1441, where measures looking 
to the public good were adopted, and, in the same year, 
called an ecclesiastical convention at Kuttenberg (October the 
fourth). This convention brought about far-reaching results. 
Three hundred priests were in attendance. Rokycana was 
acknowledged as Archbishop elect, the supreme direction of 
ecclesiastical affairs was committed into his hands, the priests 
promised him obedience, and twenty-four doctrinal and con- 
stitutional articles were adopted which laid the foundation of 
the Utraquist Church as the National Church of Bohemia, 
But the Taborites stood aloof. Two more conventions were 
held without effectiug a change in their position. At last a 


disputation was agreed upon, the results of which were to be 
referred to the Diet for final decision. After the Taborites 
had reluctantly consented to give a written pledge, to which 
the seals of their cities were attached, that this decision should 
be binding, the disputation took place, on the eighth of July, 
1443, at Kuttenberg. The Diet met on the eighth of 
January, of the following year, at Prague. But few Taborites 
attended. The doctrinal formulas, embracing the results of 
the disputation, were read and referred to a committee that 
brought in a report wholly Utraquist in its character. It 
was adopted by an overwhelming majority. The Taborites 
suffered a worse defeat than at Lipan; with every show of 
fairness their cause was condemned by the Diet of their 
country. They lost all prestige ; their towns, with the excep- 
tion of Tabor, passed out of their hands; their membership was 
scattered and a large part of it joined the National Church. 

In the following summer Ptacek died and George Podiebrad 
succeeded him as the head of the league. Although a young 
man of only twenty-four years, he displayed the sagacity of 
an experienced statesman and was distinguished by the virtues 
of a patriot. In 1448 a bold stroke made him master of 
Prague and constituted him practically Regent of all Bohemia; 
four years later his regency was formally acknowledged. He 
was a warm friend of Pokycana whose consecration he en- 
deavored to bring about. The Archbishop elect, who returned 
to Prague as soon as it fell into the hands of Podiebrad, was 
no less eager to be consecrated, and entertained high hopes of 
conciliating the Pope and reaching the goal of his ambition. 
But when he perceived that these hopes were not well founded 
and gradually realized that he would never receive the mitre 
from papal hands, he began to favor a project which had been 
suggested by others and which he had opposed, as long as he 
deemed it expedient to foster the good will of Rome. The 
Bohemian Church was to cut itself loose altogether from the 
Roman Catholic and unite with the Greek Church. With 
this end in view negotiations were actually begun in 1452, but 
came to an abrupt close in the following year, in consequence 


of the fall of Constantinople. About the same time Ladis- 
laus Posthumus, Albert's son, assumed the crown, Podiebrad 
remaining Regent. The latter continued the friend of 
Rokycana ; the former, who was a Catholic, conceived a 
strong dislike to him. 

As soon as Rokycana had given up the hope of conciliating 
Rome, he began to preach, with great power and eloquence, 
against its corruptions; his sermons grew vehement and 
intensely bitter when Pope Nicholas the Fifth sent Nicholas 
of Causa, one of his most learned Cardinals, and John 
Capistran, a brilliant orator and reputed worker of miracles, 
to bring the Bohemians and Moravians back unconditionally, 
with no further thought of the Compactata, under the sway 
of the Hierarchy.^ 

But the Roman Catholic was not the only church that 
deserved strictures. Rokycana could not shut his eyes to the 
sins of his own people. Iniquity abounded in Bohemia and 
Moravia. The wars begot an evil progeny. That puritanic 
severity of morals which had distinguished Zizka and the early 
Taborites no longer gave tone to the nation. It is true that 
religious questions still constituted a general subject of thought 
and topic of conversation, and that the Church, the Papacy, 
the Lord's Supper, the Cup and the Word of God, were every- 

^ In order to understand this effort we must glance at the history of the 
papacy. Martin the Fifth, who had unwillingly convened the Council of 
Basle and appointed Julian its President, died In 1431, and was succeeded 
by Eugene the Fourth, who dissolved it in the following year. But the 
Fathers continued their sessions in spite of him, and an open rupture took 
place which was subsequently, to some extent, healed, so that Eugene was 
induced to accept the Compactata. In 1437, however, he again dissolved 
the Council and called another at Ferrara. Thereupon a number of the 
Fathers left Basle and went to Ferrara; those that remained deposed 
Eugene, in 1438, and elected Felix the Fifth in his place. Thus there were 
again two Popes and even two Councils. But the larger part of the Church 
acknowledged Eugene ; the Council of Basle, greatly reduced in numbers, 
came to an end in 1443. Eugene died four years later (1447) and was suc- 
ceeded by Nicholas the Fifth, in whose favor Felix abdicated. Nicholas 
refused to sanction the Compactata and looked upon them with extreme 
disfavor, as the production of a schismatic Council. 


where discussed ; but, at the same time, vices of all kinds were 
increasing both openly and in secret, the Hussite period, in 
spite of its democratic tendencies, had not elevated the peas- 
antry but rather put a heavier yoke of serfdom upon their 
necks, the poor were oppressed, violence and robbery were 
common, avarice, ostentation and pride of birth disgraced the 
higher classes ; vanity and extravagance in dress, luxurious 
tables, inordinate pleasures were features of their daily life.^ 
The clergy were degenerating and religious affairs generally 
sinking into confusion. The Utraquist Church, indeed, was 
established, but no harmony of aim and fellowship of heart 
existed. There were differences of doctrine and many spirits, 
each antagonistic to the other and deeming its own position 
to be exclusively correct.^ As regarded the Taborites, their 
last seat, Tabor with its impregnable walls, surrendered at the 
call of Podiebrad in 1452 ; yet this very circumstance gave 
rise to new sects. Not a few earnest Taborites remained true 
to their faith and lived in quietness ; but the restless spirits 
that had, after the battle of Lipan, fled to Tabor for refuge, 
now began to wander through the country. False teachers 
arose who proclaimed antiscriptural doctrines, the Nikolaites 
appeared claiming direct revelations from God, remnants of 
the Adamites showed themselves, and numerous societies, each 
with views and regulations of its own, were organized at 
Wilemow, Diwisow, Saaz, Kolin, Koniggratz, Leitomysl, 
Eeichenau and other places. 

All these strange and unsatisfactory results were, however, 
the outcome of the Hussite movement, not of the testimony 
borne by Hus himself. His martyr-blood had not been shed 
in vain. In a better sense than that which Utraquism 
afforded, it was to be the seed of the Church ; for the time 
drew on which would reveal his true followers. They became 
known mainly through the instrumentality of Peter Chelcicky. 

"^ Palacky, VII. pp. 535-544, who presents copious extracts from the 
writings of Peter Chelcicky describing the morals of the age. 
3 Ibid, p. 465, Note 381, Extract from Chelcicky's Postil. 



Peier Cheleiehy and the Men who founded the Unitas Fratrum. 
A. D. 1454-1457. 

Peter Chelcicky. — His Character, Life and Writings. — Independent Posi- 
tion. — Views on the Lord's Supper. — His Ethical Principles. — Protest 
against War. — Extreme Views. — Eokycana and Chelcicky. — The 
Founders of the Unitas Fratrum. — Gregory the Patriarch. — The 
Spiritual Seed of Hus. — Rokycana's Earnest Sermons. — Chelcicky's 
Influence on the Founders of the Church. — They urge Rokycana to 
begin a Reformation. — He declines. — Waiting and Praying for the 
Lord's Help. 

Among- the Bohemian writers of the fifteenth century no 
one, except HiiSj ranked higher than Peter Chelcicky.^ With- 
out the advantages of a theological or even a classical training, 
having but an insufficient knowledge of the Latin language, a 
simple layman and small landholder of the village of Chelcic, 
near Wodnan, he watched, with a keen eye, the events that 
were transpiring around him, investigated, with an indepen- 
dent mind and a fearless criticism, the great questions of his 
age, acknowledged no authority but the Bible, and unfolded 
an originality of thought and power gf diction that made him, 
in spite of the obscureness of his position, a master among the 
learned and a teacher among the unlettered. The time of his 
birth is unknown and his personal history, for the most part, 

^ Sources: Palacky, VII. pp. 465-482; Gindely,L pp.13-17; Cerwenka, 
II. pp. 6-14; Gillett's Taborites and the Germ of the Moravian Church 
in Am. Presb. and Theo. Review, 1864. 


remains shrouded in mystery.^ We first meet with him in 
the Bethlehem Chapel of Prague, in 1420, engaged in a dis- 
putation with Jacobellus of Mies on the unfitness of appealing 
to arms in matters of religion. His activity as a writer did 
not begin until a number of years later, probably between 
1433 and 1443. The pen was thrust into his hand by his 
friends, but when he had grasped it, he employed it with 
unwearied diligence. Three of his works — The Net of Faith, 
a Postil, containing expositions of the Gospel Lessons, and 
The Picture of Antichrist — were printed in the sixteenth 
century ; the rest remain in manuscript.^ 

The position which Chelcicky assumed in these writings, 
was wholly independent. He walked in no man's footsteps. 
He criticised even John Hus. He took sides with neither of 
the Hussite factions. What the Utraquists taught in relation 
to indulgences, transubstantiation, the invocation of the saints, 
purgatory and the power of the keys as claimed by the priest- 
hood, he utterly rejected ; against the Taborite doctrine of tlie 
Lord's Supper — that bread and wine are mere symbols of the 
body and blood of Christ — he earnestly and solemnly protested. 
His own view in this respect is important, because it shaped 
the teachings of the Brethren's Church on the subject. He 
accepted the simple words of Scripture and believed, on the 
one hand, that in the sacrament Christ's body is not born, not 
begotten and not created ; yet, on the other, that God, by His 

^ He is supposed to have been born about 1390, and it is said that he 
intended to enter a convent but was deterred by the unsettled state of the 
Church. That he studied, for a time, at Prague, without finishing his 
course, seems to be certain. 

^ Gindely, I. pp. 489-490, Note 4, adduces eleven works of Chelcicky, 
besides a collection of seven tracts. In addition to the three mentioned in 
the text, the most important are: A Reply to Rokycana; A Reply to Nich- 
olas, the Taborite Bishop, found at Herrnhut, in the L. F., II, pp. 221-229 
and endorsed, in the handwriting of Comenius, with the words, a " golden 
letter;" A Treatise on the Body of Christ; and The Foundation of human 
Law. The Net of Faith was published at Wilimow, in 1521 : the Postil, at 
Prague, in 1522 and again in 1532 ; the Picture of Antichrist is no longer 
extant. Copies of his MS. works are preserved at Paris, Prague and Olmiitz. 


power and through the words of institution spoken by the 
priest in faith, causes it to be spiritually present along with the 
substance of the bread. 

It was, however, not doctrine which chiefly engaged the 
attention of Chelcicky, but ethics. He looked upon Chris- 
tianity rather as a life than a creed, and his entire system 
shows that the dogmatic was made subordinate to the 

To imitate the example of Christ — so he teaches — is the 
most exalted rule of life ; to love God above all and one's 
neighbor as oneself, the supreme law. Such love implies 
hearty obedience to the divine commandments, willingness to 
suffer injustice, and an unwavering determination never to 
repay evil with evil. The show of virtue without the sub- 
stance, hypocrisy and Phariseeism, attaching importance to 
mere outward rites, ceremonies and usages of the Church, 
without fostering holiness of heart and seeking a reformation 
of life, he denounces in the strongest terms. Under all 
circumstances the divine law is sufiicient; and Christianity 
constitutes the kingdom of liberty. In this kingdom the 
spiritual part of man lives and strives for that which is good, 
undisturbed by discord, violence, or war. The realm of 
heathenism, on the contrary, is the outgrowth of his carnal 
nature and hence full of wickedness which must be coerced. 
If all men were true Christians there would be no necessity 
for kings or lords. Worldly government originates in sin and 
is an evil, but a necessary evil over against iniquity. The 
nobility are base tyrants ; doctors of theology, masters of art 
and priests " satraps of the Emperor," who strive to exalt the 
secular power to an article of faith. 

Nothing, however, excites the indignation and horror of 
Chelcicky so much as war. It is absolutely inadmissible ; a 
warrior is a murderer; to shed human blood, even in the 
way of self-defence or of capital punishment, constitutes an 
abominable sin. His literal interpretation of the Sermon on 
the Mount leads him, moreover, to forbid his followers to 
a.ppeal to the secular arm, to take an oath, or to fill a civil 


office. They must humbly and patiently bear injustice, never 
avenge themselves, neither murmur nor be profane, but 
imitate Christ who was brought as a lamb to the slaughter 
and opened not His mouth. 

In setting forth such views he often adopted the tone of 
the satirist, and his invectives cut like a two-edged sword. 
" There are," says Gillett, " passages of his writings which 
well entitle him to the epithet of the Christian Juvenal." 

In course of time his followers constituted themselves into 
a Society, known as the Brethren of Chelcic. 

A character so original and independent attracted the 
attention of Rokycana. He opened a correspondence with 
Chelcicky, called him " his beloved brother,"* visited him at 
his home, entertained him at Prague, and was the means of 
brinofino: him into connection with the men whom God had 
foreordained to take the lead in founding the Unitas Fratrum, 
but who did not, as yet, recognize their mission. 

They were members of the Thein parish and among the 
most faithful of Rokycana's hearers. His eloquence capti- 
vated their minds and his earnestness touched their hearts. 
When he preached they took notes of his sermons and after- 
wards committed them to writing, that they might study them 
at their leisure. Painfully recognizing the pictures which he 
drew of the corruptness of the Church and the evil of the 
times as startling copies of what was transpiring before their 
very eyes, they endeavored to regulate their own lives by the 
divine law and to save themselves from the "untoward 
generation" by which they were surrounded. Earnest men 
they were, seeking the truth, thirsting for God. 

Foremost among them was Rokycana's nephew, Gregory 
the Patriarch, as he is commonly called — a man of strict 
morals and deep piety, active, ready to undertake and endure 
all things for God's honor, but humble, without ambition, 
seeking not his own. In his youth he entered a monastery 
of the Cordeliers and attained a high reputation for sanctity. 

* A letter of Eokycana to Chelcicky is found in L. F. II. pp. 224-227. 


The Hussite disturbances put an end to his monastic life. At 
the time when he became prominent he was about fifty 
years of age.^ 

Rokycana asserted that Antichrist had corrupted even the 
sacraments of the Church, so that the peojjle partook of them 
to their own condemnation. It was this jjosition which filled 
Gregory and his friends with the deepest anxiety. If the 
sacraments were thus corrupted, how could they, through 
them, obtain a seal to their acceptance in the sight of God and 
be nourished unto life ? This and other cognate questions 
they discussed among themselves and with Rokycana, uniting 
in frequent prayer that they might be led in the Avay of truth. 

But these men were not alone in their aspirations. Others 
of like mind were found in many parts of Bohemia and 
Moravia,^ true followers of Hus who had, for years, been lost 
among the Hussite factions.^ In the language of Lasitius, 
they were the young sprouts which appeared when the forest 
had been cut down.* That they sought and found fellowship 
among themselves was a necessaiy consequence of the attractive 
force which inheres in tlie communion of saints. The bond 
of union grew continually stronger, imtil there existed, 
thoughout Bohemia and Moravia, what might be called an 
invisible church of the genuine seed of Hus, unconsciously 
preparing, by God's appointment and under the leadership of 
Gregory and his associates at Prague, for a manifestation in 
visible form. 

In the early part of 1 454 Rokycana, wounded by the con- 

^ Gregory's father was a Bohemian knight and his mother the sister of 
Kokycana, as Gindely, I. p. 21, sets forth. Palacky, VII. p. 484 and Note 
394, calls this relationship into question ; but the only evidence which he 
adduces seems Xo us to be quite insufficient. Blahoslaw, in his Summa 
quaedam, &c., MS. L. F. VIII. pp. 157-171, says : " Quorum non postremus 
fuit Gregorius, sororis Kokycanae filius." There exists no sound reason 
why the usual view should be abandoned. 

^ Jaffet's Geschichte der Enstehung de Briider-Einigkeit, p. 33, &c., MS., 
H. A., found in Keichel's Zusatze, pp. 10 and 12. 

' Blahoslaw's Summa quaedam, MS. L. F. VIII. 

* Croeger, I. p. 49. 


tinued coldness of young Ladislaus and anticipating a new 
reaction against Utraquism, began to preach on the Lamen- 
tations of Jeremiah, the Prophecies of Daniel and portions 
of the Revelation of St. John. With even more than his 
ordmary power he set forth the deplorable state of the Chui'ch, 
the misuse of the sacraments, the sins of the priesthood. Even 
the Utraquists, he said, had not reached the solid ground of 
faith ; others would reach that ground to the good of men 
and the glory of God ; the Church must be built up, as Hus 
had taught, upon a threefold foundation, embracing Christ, 
the Holy Scriptures and the model of the apostolic church.^ 
When speaking of a reformation he added, that the number 
of those who followed the truth was very small ; that they 
would not be accepted of the world; and that if they attempted 
a reformation, great and terrible dangers would beset them, 
illustrating this last point by the image of a city burned and 
destroyed, whose ruins formed the dens of wild beasts that 
would not suffer men to come and rebuild its houses and 

Such sentiments excited, in the highest degree, Gregory 
and his friends, who besought the eloquent preacher to tell 
them what they must do in order to be accepted of God. 
Rokycana referred them to Peter Chelcicky. This was a 
turning point in their development and a long stride forward 
on the way by which God was leading them. Chelcicky was 
as necessary an agent in bringing about the founding of the 
Unitas Pratrum as Hus himself. The latter quarried, from 
the hills of truth, the stones which were used in its building, 
the former shaped these stones and gave firmness to the hands 
that set them up. Through him, Rokycana's disciples, and 
Gregory in particular, were led to understand that it was not 
enough to long and pray for a reformation, but that for such 
a cause they must work, venture and suffer. At the same 
time, the tendency to subordinate doctrine to practice, the 

^ Lasitius, I. pp. 58 and 59, quoted by Plitt. See list of authorities. 
'" Blahoslaw's Bohemian MS. History, quoted by Palacky, VII. pp. 483 
and 484, Note 393. See list of authorities. 


principle of non-resistance, the duty of patiently bearing 
persecutions for Christ's sake, the extreme views with regard 
to civil offices, taking oaths and cognate subjects — as these 
points subsequently showed themselves in the system of the 
Brethren and, in part, led to dissensions and a schism — were 
all received from Peter Chelcicky. His intercourse with 
Gregory and Gregory's friends continued for several years. 
When he had imparted his principles to them, his mission 
came to an end. He died about the time of the founding of 
the Church. 

Each successive visit to Chelcic filled Rokycana's disciples 
with greater enthusiasm, until they began to importune him 
to put himself at their head and begin a reformation, assuring 
him that they would stand by him whatever might happen 
and follow wherever he might lead. But his heart had no 
chord which vibrated in harmony with their appealing touch. 
He saw only difficulties like mountains in the way, and grew 
almost as eloquent in explaining the reasons why he could not 
yield to their wishes, as he was in setting forth the corrup- 
tions of the Church. At the same time he told them, that if 
they had courage to undertake the work, he would not 
absolutely dissuade them, for God might possibly grant them 
that success which He had withheld from those who had 
sought the same end by an appeal to arras. A second effi^rt 
which they made, irritated him. " You are," he said excitedly, 
" urging me to a most dangerous leap. Do you want to have 
things perfect at once ? Every great undertaking involves 
great peril."" 

Deeply grieved to find that their master was unwilling to 
be their leader, they began to" absent themselves from the 
Thein church and hold services of their own. Similar services, 
conducted by priests of like mind, were instituted by their 
brethren throughout the country ; in case no such priests 
were present, the Scriptures were read and explained by lay- 
men. This formed the first step toward a secession from the 

" Laeitius, I. 69, &c., quoted by Plitt. 


Church. And yet Gregory and his circle at Prague did not 
relinquish the hope that Rokycana would eventually put 
himself at their head and take a stand as the reformer of his 
day. But in spite of their renewed and urgent entreaties, 
they were doomed to disappointment. He advised them, 
however, to settle in various parishes which he named, where 
they would find priests sharing their views and aspirations.^^^ 
This counsel they rejected ; for they were too firmly con- 
vinced, that if their union was to be maintained, its bonds 
must be drawn closer and not loosened. What they and their 
associates throughout the country now needed, was a rallying- 
place. Such a place God showed them, and there the Unitas 
Fratrum was founded. 

From the preparatory history which we have thus given 
it appears, that John Hus, the Bohemian Reformer, John 
Rokycana, the Bohemian Archbishop elect, and Peter, the 
stern moralist of Chelcic, were God's appointed agents 
in brinffino; about this result, but that the corner-stone was 
actually to be laid by Gregory the Patriarch and his associates 
of Prague. The immediate founders of the Church were 
therefore, as Jaffet explicitly sets forth, not foreigners, not 
sectaries, not Taborites, but native born Czechs, members 
of the Utraquist National Church, comprising not merely 
common people but also nobles, priests, masters and bachelors 
of arts trained in the wisdom of the schools.^^ 

12 Blahoslaw's Bohemian MS. Hist, quoted by Palacky. 

13 Jafiet's MS. Geschichte der Entstehung d. B. E., p. 33, &c., H. A., in 
Eeichel's Zusatze, p. 10. He says : " Die Anfanger der Unitiit waren keine 
Auslander, sondern achte eingeborne Bohmen und Miihren ; audi keine 
Sektirer, sondern wahre Christen des gewcihnlichen Katholisclien Glaubens 
sub utraque, auch nicht Taboriten, sondern von der Partei der Meister (i. e. 
Calixtines). Es waren nicht bloss gemeine Leute, sondern Herrn, Ritter, 
kluge Clerici, Priester, Magister, Baccalaurei von Schulgelehrsamkeit." 




A.D. 1457-1722. 




A.D. 1457-1496. 



The Founding and Earliest Development of the Church. 
A. D. 1457-1460. 

Lititz and the Barony of Senftenberg. — Gregory and his Friends settle at 
Kunwald. — Michael Bradacius and others join them. — Principles of 
Doctrine and Practice agreed on. — Names of the Church. — The original 
Object of its Founders. — The Year of Organization. — Twenty-eight 
Elders elected. — Their Names. — Other Representative Men. — Increase 
of the Church. — Rokycana's Relation to it. — Disputes among the 
Brethren about the Lord's Supper. — Synod of 1459. — Doctrine of the 
Lord's Supper formulated. — Resolution with regard to the Writings 
of the Taborites. — Ritual simplified.— Moravian Taborites join the 

The traveler who enters Bohemia at its eastern boundary, 
on the railway to Koniggriitz, passes, beyond Geiersberg, into 
the romantic valley of the Wilde Adler and soon reaches a 
narrow gorge formed by the Chlura Mountain on one side and 
a height crowned with the ruins of an ancient castle, on the 
other. Fields creep far up this latter hill to the edge of its 
forest and a village nestles at its base which is pierced by 
a tunnel ; near by the stream, with rapid current, hastens to 
meet its Southern branch, the Stille Adler, that they may 
together flow into the Elbe. A steep path leads to the ruins. 
Over the outer gateway appears a tablet with this inscription, 
now almost illegible : A. D. regnante Geo. Podiebrado 
MCDLXVIII. Other gateways are still standing; a huge 
tower rears its head and shows its subterranean depths, where 
once were gloomy dungeons ; in the main court-yard, across 
whose pavement knights were wont to dash, great trees have 


sprung up and cast their shade over walls which, even in their 
decay, are vast and imposing. A grand castle it must have 

This is Lititz, the centre of an estate constituting a part of 
the Barony of Senftenberg, which stretches to the Silesian 
frontier. To the east lies the chief town of this domain and 
bears its name. It is a market-town, with a modern castle, 
an ancient church and a large square adorned with statues of 
saints. Due north is the village of Kunwakl. 

In the German War of Liberation the Emperor Francis 
invested an Englishman, of Hamburg, one Parrish, Mdio had 
rendered Austria important services, with this entire Barony, 
creating him Baron of Senftenberg, and from him it descended 
to his nephew who was the owner until recently, when he died 
without issue ;^ at the time of which our history treats it 
belonged to George Podiebrad, had but a sparse population 
and was suffering from the devastations of the Hussite war. 
The inhabitants inclined to the principles of the Taborites, 
some of whose prominent leaders had been brought, after the 
fall of Tabor, to the Castle of Lititz for safe-keeping. 

Gregory heard of this domain. It seemed to oifer the abode 
for which he and his friends were looking and which they had 
sought in vain among the Societies at Diwisow and Wilemow. 
It was a retreat, amidst lonely hills and mountains, where 
they could worship God in fellowship and peace, and a centre 
around M-hich their associates from the country could gather. 
Accordingly they asked Rokycana to secure for them the 
Regent's permission to settle on this Barony.^ Rokycana, 
hoping to rid himself of his troublesome followers, gladly 
presented their request. It was at once granted ; for Podiebrad 
foresaw the advantages which would accrue to his property. 
He designated Kunwald as the place for the settlement. 

^ The recent owner, who did not bear his uncle's title, was well acquainted 
in the United States, where he often visited and had large properties. To 
whom the Barony has passed since the death of the late Mr. Parrish, we do 
not know. 

2 Jaffet's Entstehung, &c., p. 91, MS., H. A. 


Thither Gregory and his companions took their way. They 
found a hamlet almost hidden within a narrow valley and 
surrounded on all sides by forests, deep, silent and solemn, 
above which, toward the East, appeared the massive ridge of 
the Glatz Mountains. The place formed a natural sanctuary, 
secluded from the turmoil of the world, and fit to be the 
earliest seat of a church of confessors and martyrs.^ 

The settlers began to build cottages and were joined by some 
of their associates from other parts of the country.* Ere long 
came the priest of Seuftenberg, Michael Bradacius, a venerable 
and godly man, and cast in his lot with the new community. 
Whether he was a stranger attracted by its earnest spirit, or 
an associate acquainted with its aims, does not appear ; in any 
case, this priest, together with Gregory, was put at its head, 
and under their joint direction, certain principles were drawn 
up to regulate its doctrine and practice.^ Of these principles, 
however, we know nothing except that they were based on the 
Bible and the Articles of Prague. They were not published 
to the world, but constituted a private code of statutes. Indeed 
the settlers formally determined not to make them known, 
unless it became imperatively necessary. They were moved 
to adopt this resolution by the fear that a proclamation of 
their views would increase the discord and confusion prevail- 
ing throughout Bohemia and Moravia in matters of religion.^ 
The name which they chose was " Brethren of the Law of 
Christ" — Fratres Legis Ckristi ; in as much, however, as this 
name gave rise to the idea that they were a new order of 

* Kunwald is half an hour's drive from Senftenberg. At the present day 
it is a large village stretching up the valley, which is only about three 
hundred yards wide and whose sides are partly cultivated and partly still 
covered with woods. The cottages, some of which undoubtedly occupy sites 
selected by the Brethren, are embowered in shrubbery and orchards and 
present a picturesque appearance. Toward the northern end of the valley, 
on an elevation, stands the church on the same spot, it is said, where the 
Brethren built their chapel. The Glatz Mountains are distant between 
three and four miles. 

* Palacky, VII. pp. 486 and 487. 
^ Reichel's Geschichte, p. 13. 

« Lasitius, I. p. 76 fPiitt). 


monks, they changed it simply into " Brethren."^ When the 
organization of their church had been completed, they assumed 
the additional title of Jednota Bratrska, or Unitas Fratrum, 
that is, " The Unity of the Brethren," which has remained 
the official and significant appellation of the Church to the 
present day.^ 

Such was the beginning of the Unitas Fratrum. No further 
details can be given, because they were intentionally concealed. 

In effecting this original organization its founders had no 
thought of setting up a new church. This was God's plan, 
but they did not recognize it until after the lapse of several 
years. What they now aimed at was a fraternal association 
within which they could carry out the reformation that Hus 
began but did not live to complete, and that liokycana urged 
but had not the courage to bring about. Its practical object 
was their own salvation. Hence they introduced a strict 
discipline, searched the Scriptures, admonished and edified 
one another in the Lord, and determined, if need be, to 
suffer persecution patiently, without appealing to arms, as the 
Taborites had done ; but, while they repudiated Romanism in 
every form, they did not absolutely secede from the National 
Church, and were satisfied with the ministrations of such of 
its priests as shared their views and aspirations.^ There were, 
as yet, comparatively few Brethren residing on the domain of 
Senftenberg, but new settlers continued to arrive until 1461, 
and the entire association throughout the country numbered 
several thousand members. ^'^ 

' Comenii Hist., Sect. 51, p. 15. 

* It was often abbreviated into " The Unity." Another name by which 
the Church called itself was " The Bohemian Brethren." It related to all 
the Brethren, whether they belonged to Bohemia, Moravia, Prussia or 
Poland. To call them "The Bohemian-Moravian Brethren," or "The 
Moravian Brethren," is historically incorrect. The name "Moravian" 
arose in the time of the Renewed Brethren's Church, because the men by 
whom it was renewed came from Moravia. The Bohemian Brethren were 
frequently called " Waldenses" to denote their supposed origin. 

3 Plitt, Chap. 24. 

i» Gindely, I. p. 27. 


The organization of the Unitas Fratrum took place in 
1457/' in the year which witnessed the unexpected death of 
young King Ladislaus (November the twenty-third), in the 
reign of Pope Calixtus the Third and of the Emperor 
Frederick the Third, sixty years prior to the Reformation of 
the sixteenth century. 

Either in the same or in the following year, twenty-eight 
Elders were elected as the spiritual guides of the people, who 
were pledged to obey and consult them in all matters affecting 
religion. These Elders, writes JaflFet, constituted " so to say, 
the Rectors of the congregation for a period of nearly ten 
years, before priest or bishop had been appointed. "^^ Some 
of them resided at Kunwald, the rest were dispersed through 
the country. At stated times they met for consultation, or 
convened Synods at which the membership generally w^as 
represented. In addition to the Elders were priests, ordained 
in the Roman Catholic or Utraquist Church, to whom all 
ministerial functions were committed. 

The names of the Elders have been preserved and are set 
forth by Jaifet in the following order: 1, Brother Gregory; 
2, Priest Michael, that is, Michael Bradatz or Bradacius, 
ordained in the Roman Catholic Church; 3, Augustin Halar, 
a Bachelor of Arts; 4, George of Fiinfkirchen, a man of 
humble origin ; 5, Veit the Great, also of humble origin ; 6, 
Thomas of Prelouc, a well-educated man ; 7, John Korunka, 
probably the same as John of Sdberle or Zabori, a priest 
ordained in the Utraquist Church ; 8, Brother John Chel- 
cicky, a priest from Chelcic, ordained in the Roman Catholic 
Church; 9, Brother John Klenovsky, of humble origin; 10, 

'^ Blahoslaw's Latin MS. Hist. L. F., who says. "Acta sunt haec anno 
Domini 1457 ;" Ratio Disciplinae, Praefatio, p. 3 ; Bekentniss des Christ- 
lichen Glaubens, von 1572, Vorrede, p. 11. While there is no authority 
for celebrating the first of March as the day of the founding of the U. F., 
as is done throughout the Church, it is proper to commemorate the event, 
and this may as well be done on that day as on any other. 

" Jaffet's Goliath's Schwert, p. 9, &c., MS., Herrnhut Archives ; also his 
Geschichte der Entstehung, &c.; both found in Reichel's Zusatze, pp. 13 
and 14. 


Brother Matthias of Kunwakl, a farmer, a young man of 
extraordinary gifts and holy life, subsequently the presiding 
Bishop of the Church ; 11, Lawrence Krasonicky, a Bachelor 
of Arts and learned scholar, who, at a later time, by his 
disputations and writings, became one of the most zealous 
supporters and able defenders of the Unity ; 12, Prokop 
Hradecky, or, of Neuhaus, a Bachelor of Arts; 13, Brother 
Elias of Chrenow, a miller; 14, Brother Adalbert; 15, 
Brother Ambrose, of Prague, a man of culture; 16, Hawel 
(Gallus), a Master of Arts ; 1 7, Victorin, a Master of Arts ; 
18, Matthew (Notardus Cathedralis), a Bachelor of Arts ; 19, 
Isaiah Wenzl, of Reichenau, a scrivener ; 20, Adalbert 
Wenzl, a servant at the royal court; 21, John Jestrebsky, a 
learned nobleman ; 22, George of Chropin, of humble origin, 
as were all the rest whose names follow; 23, Wenzel of 
Stecken ; 24, Thomas Prostegowsky ; 25, Amos ; 26, John 
Holek ; 27, Wenzel of Beroun ; and 28, John Javornicky.^^ 

Only three of these Elders were priests; the rest were 
laymen representing various stations in life from the nobleman 
to the servant and the peasant. Such as belonged to the 
lower classes were, however, far from being rude and ignorant 
men. Popular education, as we have said in another connec- 
tion, was zealously furthered by the Taborites. In this respect 
the common people of Bohemia and Moravia were in advance 
of those in other countries. A thorough knowledge of the 
Bible in particular was almost universal, and for years 
religious questions were discussed in all circles. A Bohemian 
mechanic, or servant, or peasant, might well, therefore, be 
intrusted with duties such as the eldership among the Brethren 

Other priests, not belonging to the Elders, were John of 
Taborsky, ordained in the Roman Catholic Church, subse- 
quently a Taborite officiating at Tabor, where he was known 

" Jaffet's Goliath's Schwert, p. 20, MS., H. A., found in Reichel's Zusiitze 
p. 15. In our copy of these Zusiitze No. 21 of the above list is given as 
John Gesteubsky ; but this is probably an error and the name should read 
Jestrebsky, which is found in Gindely's list. 


as John Wilemek ;^^ William of Tabor ; Andrew, formerly 
abbot of the Slavonian Monastery of Emmaus at Prague; 
and Martin of Krcin, all three ordained in the Utraquist 
Church : other prominent laymen were George of Sussic, 
Peter of Ledec and Methudius Strachota, a nobleman.*^ 

These thirty-five men constituted therefore the leading 
representatives of the primitive Church of the Brethren. 

In the second year of its existence it developed rapidly. 
*'At that time," says JafFet, "friend longed for friend and 
brother for brother, so that more persons continually joined 
the Brethren, and their number increased. "^^ 

Rokycana, who was commonly regarded as the patron of the 
settlement at Kunwald, looked upon them with favor. It 
seemed to him that they were merely endeavoring to repro- 
duce, in an evil time, the ideal of the apostolic church, without 
seceding from the National Church. Why should he not be 
satisfied, especially as his former disciples still kept up, to some 
extent, a connection with him and, in conjunction with their 
numerous associates, might yet be of use to him in extending 
his influence ? The election of his friend George Podiebrad 
to the Bohemian throne (March the second, 1458), had filled 
him anew with ambitious hopes. 

Discordant elements, however, began to appear among the 
Brethren themselves (1459). The subject in dispute was the 
Lord's Supper. Some maintained the Utraquist or Romish 
dogma, others the Taborite belief. The contention grew 
violent and bitter, threatening the very existence of the 
Church. In this emergency the Elders convened a Synod at 
which the differences were adjusted through the adoption, in 
substance, of the view taught by Peter Chelcicky.^'' This 
view was formulated as follows : " All Avho receive the sacra- 
ment in truth, through faith, believe and confess that it is the 

" Gindely's Quellen, p. 326. 
15 Gindely, I. p. 27. 

1® Entstehung, &c., p. 33, &c., found in Reichel's Ziisatze p. 12. 
" Gindely, I. p. 26, whose autliority is L. F., Ill, p.258 and Blahoslaw's 
Boh. MS. Hist., I. p. 21. 


true body and blood of Christ, according to His word and 
mind, without adding anything, or taking away anything, 
and rejecting all human explanations.'"^ 

This position of the early Brethren with regard to the 
doctrine of the Lord's Supper is still maintained by their 
latest descendants. These accept as their fathers did, in simple 
laith, the words of Christ, without attempting to explain them ; 
and can look back upon the centuries of their past with the 
consciousness of having contributed nothing to those eucha- 
ristic controversies which form one of the strangest and saddest 
chapters in the history of Protestantism.^^ 

There was another subject which engaged the serious atten- 
tion of the Synod. The disputes about the Lord's Supper 
had, to a great extent, been originated by the polemical works 
of the day, especially by so-called Tracts of the Taborites. 
Such writings were consequently deemed to be unprofitable 
and injurious, and a formal declaration was adopted that the 
Brethren " should be satisfied with God's Word and simply 
believe what it taught, avoiding all Tracts; and that even 
such as seemed to approximate to the Truth ought not to be 
read until they had been examined and approved by the 
Elders."^" This resolution was carried into effect. In a 
letter written to Rokycana in 1468, the Brethren say: " For 
more than eight years we have set aside all (theological) 
writings and Tracts, and avoid them, especially those of 

^^ Waldensia B. Lydii, Part II. pp. 295 and 296, in the Apology of the 
Bohemian Brethren presented to the Elector of Brandenburg in 1532 and 
revised in 1538, where is given the resolution of the Synod of 1459. 

^^ Bishop Spangenberg's Exposition of Christian Doctrine, a modern 
standard of the Church says, § 146, p. 245 : " The Holy Communion is a 
mysterious enjoyment of the body and blood of Christ; that is, the enjoy- 
ment of the bread and wine is connected with the enjoyment of the body 
and blood of Jesus in a manner incomprehensible to us, and therefore 
inexpressible, whenever the Holy Supper of the Lord is enjoyed according 
to the mind of Jesus Christ." 

20 Blahoslaw's MS. Boh. Hist., quoted by Palacky, VII. p. 487 and 
Note 396. 


Martinek and Biskupec."^^ It thus appears that, from the 
very beginning of their Church, the Brethren insisted upon 
reo-ulatinsr Christian life according to the biblical standard 
alone, and endeavored in this way to avoid the confusion, the 
inconsistencies and the fanaticism into which the Taborites 
had fallen. 

After the adjournment of the Synod Michael Bradacius 
began to simplify public worship and, in particular, the cere- 
monies at the administration of the Lord's Supper. This 
,vas the first step in the direction of a Protestant ritual. 

In 1460 a large body of Taborites from Moravia, after 
having suffered severe persecutions both in that country and 
in Bohemia, were led, through the instrumentality of Gregory, 
vho visited them in their seats near Klattau and whom they 
received " as an angel of God," to unite with the Brethreu.^^ 

^^ The name by which Nicholas Pilgram, the Taborite Bishop, was 
known. The above letter is cited by Palacky, Ibid. 

'^'^ These Taborites drew up a full account of their sufferings and subse- 
quent union with the Brethren, which chronicle is given by Bishop 
Turnovius in his notes to Lasitius* MS. History. Compare Croeger, I. 
pp 60-62. 



The First Persecution of the Brethren. A. D. 1461-1463. 

The Position and ambitious Projects of George Podiebrad — The Cause of 
the first Persecution. — Edict against tlie Brethren.— The Meeting at 
Prague. — Arrest of a number of Brethren. — Gregory on the Rack. — 
His Dream. — Recantations. — Podiebrad disappointed in his Hopes. — 
The Persecution continued. — Second Decree against the Brethren. — 
Imprisonments and Martyrdom. — Appeal to Rokycana. — What the 
Brethren wrote to him. — Third Decree against them. — Hiding in 
Forests and Mountains. — End of the Persecution. 

It was not the natural disposition of George Podiebrad, 
which, as a rule, was liberal and just, but the force of 
circumstances, that made him notorious as the first persecutor 
of the Brethren. He had been elevated to the Bohemian 
throne both by Utraquist and Catholic members of the Diet. 
He was pledged by a solemn oath, taken prior to his corona- 
tion, to uphold the Roman Catholic Church, to obey the Pope, 
and to put an end to all sects and heresies in the realm ; and 
by another oath, sworn at his coronation, to maintain the 
Compactata as well as the other liberties and privileges of 
the kingdom. And for his own part, he was convinced that 
he must guard it against all such anarchy as the Hussite con- 
flicts had brought about. Hence his reign involved the 
difficult problem of satisfying two parties and the necessity of 
watching, with the utmost care, the developments which were 
going on both in religious and political life. Before long, 
moreover, his ambition was roused. Confusion prevailed 
throughout the German empire because Frederick, its head, 
proved to be the weakest of rulers. Why should not 


Podiebrad, whose firm sway was everywhere recognized and 
who ah*eady possessed a controlling influence in central 
Europe, be elected Roman King, and thus become practically 
Regent of the Empire? Such was the suggestion of a 
German, Martin Mayr, one of his councilors. In order to 
the success of this scheme the aid of Rome was necessary, and 
Rome, in the hope of furthering her own interests, was not 
unwilling to stretch out her powerful hand. That learned 
scholar and astute politician, Aeneas Sylvius, under the title 
of Pius the Second, occupied the papal chair.^ He had 
visited Bohemia, was well acquainted with its people and 
their King, and believed the project could be made a means 
to bring them into full subjection to the Hierarchy. 

In February of 1461, Podiebrad returned to Prague from 
Eger, where he had met a large number of German Princes 
and Electors. Although he had not yet openly avowed his 
purpose of securing the imperial crown, he knew that the 
prospect was brightening. Flushed with high hopes, he 
beheld, in imagination, the most powerful sceptre of Europe 
in his grasp and himself occupying, although he could boast 
of no royal line, the exalted seat of Charles and of Sigismund. 

Under such circumstances and while he was in such a frame 
of mind, he was told that complaints had been laid before the 
Utraquist Consistory against those adherents of Rokycana 
M'hom he had permitted to settle at Kunwald. They had 
changed the ceremonies usual at the Lord's Supper; they 
would not indiscriminately admit the people to this sacrament, 
but exercised a strict discipline ; no one knew what they prac- 
tised at their secret assemblies. These were the accusations 
vehemently urged by the priests of neighboring parishes. 
Podiebrad was indignant. Should a handful of obscure 
religionists bring the odium of heresy anew upon his king- 
dom just at at a time when he wished to conciliate the Pope? 
His indignation increased, when he heard of a Taborite 
tendency among some of the students at the University of 
Prague and of the fanatical sects that were beginning to 

^ He was elected August the tenth, 1458. 


wander through tlic country. He must hasten to convince 
Pius the Second, to whom he was about to send a splendid 
embassy, that he meant to be true to his oath and that neither 
sects nor heresies would be allowed to exist in Bohemia. 
Accordingly he issued an edict commanding all his subjects 
to join either the Utraquist or the Roman Catholic Churches, 
and Taborites and Picards of every name to leave the country.^ 

On the strength of this mandate an investigation began in 
the University (March the fifteenth, 1461.) A number of its 
students, and at a later time, several of its Masters and 
Professors, were arrested, cast into prison and eventually 

About the time of this investigation Gregory came to 
Prague in order to visit the Brethren. A meeting was 
appointed in a house of the Neustadt. Among those who 
assembled were two Elders, Augustin Halar and George of 
Fiinf kirchen, as also two students, George of Sussic and Peter 
of Ledec. The King having been informed of this gathering 
gave orders, that all present should be arrested and examined 
according to the cruel usage of the age.* A friendly magis- 
trate warned Gregory of what was impending. Gregory 
advised the Brethren to disperse. Some of them followed 

^ Picards was the opprobrious name by which the Brethren were com- 
monly known among their enemies. It was often applied to all such as 
separated from the R. C. and National Churches and denied the doctrine of 
transubstantiation. Its derivation is uncertain. Aeneas Sylvius, without 
the least authority, derives it from the name of a man, Pilchard, who, he 
says, was the founder of the sect of the Picards. Whatever its origin, it 
expressed the greatest contempt and implied that those to whom it was 
addressed were vile and immoral people. In a document of 1475 the 
Brethren themselves say : " Picards was the name given to the worst of 
men, who believed neither in Christ nor in the resurrection, and hence, 
deeming sin to be no sin, walked openly in licentiousness and the lusts of 
the flesh." (Goll, p. 9, Note 1.) The Brethren always indignantly rejected 
this name ; and yet even at the present day it is sometimes applied to them 
in Bohemia. 

3 Palacky, VIII. pp. 185 and 186. 

* Palacky, VIII. p. 186, says that everything was done " auf des Konigs 
speciellen Befehl." 


his counsel, others, and the students in particular, rejected it, 
boastfully exclaiming : " The torture shall be our breakfast 
and the stake our dinner!"^ Under such circumstances 
Gregory also deemed it to be his duty to remain. In a little 
while the door was thrown open and the magistrate who had 
sent the warning appeared with his bailiffs. He advanced to 
the threshold and surveying the assembly said : "All that will 
live godly shall suffer persecution.*' You therefore, who are 
here gathered, follow me to prison."'' 

At the prison the rack was immediately applied. But no 
sooner were the boastful students stretched on this instrument 
of torture, than they offered to recant. Of political intrigues, 
which were laid to their charge, they knew nothing, but they 
were willing to deny their faith. "After having tasted of 
their breakfast, they had no appetite for their dinner.'"^ 
Gregory alone remained steadfast, and was wrenched so 
frightfully, that when the tormentors ceased from their horrid 
work, he fell as dead from the rack. Rokycana having been 
informed of what had occurred, hastened to the torture 
chamber and broke out into tears and loud lamentations, 
exclaiming : " O that I were where thou art, my Gregory !" 

But Gregory was not dead. He gradually revived and 
complained of great pain, but did not, at first, seem to be 
conscious of what had happened. After a time he told those 
who were standing by that, in his swoon, he had had a vivid 
dream. Planted in a pleasant meadow he saw a tree laden 
with fruit, of which various birds were eating. Among them, 
on a branch, sat a boy with a rod, directing and controlling 
them so completely that not a single one ventured to fly away 

° Luke of Prague in L. F. IV. p. 118, quoted in Reichel's Zusiitze, p. 29. 
In many respects Bishop Luke's account is confused and unreliable. In- 
deed, however distinguished a leader he otherwise was, his historical 
writings in general are untrustworthy and marred particularly by a polem- 
ical bias. 

« 2 Tim. 3, 12. 

' Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XIX, 2. 

« Plitt, Chap. XXVI. 

® Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XIX, 3. 


or leave its place. Near by were stationed three men t-o 
guard the tree. Their countenances he particularly notic(^d 
and could not forget.^*' 

The day after this occurrence Halar, George of Sussic, and 
George of Fvinf kirchen, Elders though two of them were, 
]niblicly recanted their faith in the Thein Church, accepted 
the Utraquist doctrines and abjured aM further connection 
with the Brethren." Thereupon they were set at liberty. 
Others of those who had been arrested were kept in prison 
until 1463. Gregory regained his freedom through the inter- 
cessions of his uncle Rokycana, and took up his abode on the 
domain of Reichenau, contiguous to that of Senftenberg.^^ 

The persecution which George Podiebrad thus inaugurated 
was not only shameful and unjust in the highest degree, in 
spite of all the circumstances which brought it about, but it 
also wholly failed to accomplish the end which he had in view. 
Instead of furthering his plan to ^ain the imperial crown, it 
rendered, in conjunction with the incautious conduct of the 
Romish party, that scheme so unpopular, spread the idea so 
generally among the Bohemians that their King was forsaking 
the Hussite traditions and becoming a German, and roused so 
great a commotion, that he hastened to relinquish the project, 
dismissed its originator, and gave the Diet a written assurance 
that its rights and privileges, and the Compactata in particular, 
should be upheld.^^ 

But the persecution did not, on that account cease, nor was 
it confined to Prague. A new edict appeared, soon after the 
liberation of Gregory, forbidding every form of public wor- 
ship except that of the Utraquists and Catholics and com- 
manding all priests who would venture to conduct it according 

^° Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XIX, 3. 

" Gindely, I. p. 29, whose authority is L. F., II. pp. 342-344. 

'2 Gindely, I. p. 29, says, that it can not be doubted that Gregory also 
recanted. He cites Luke in L. F., IV. as authority. We consider this 
assertion as contrary to all we know of the character and faith of Gregory, 
and follow the Hist. Persecutionum, which is our authority for what is said 
in the text. Cap. XIX, 4. 

13 Palacky, VIII. p. 187. 


to the manner of the Picards to be put to death. ^* Michael 
Bradacius was seized and cast into a dungeon of the Castle of 
Lititz; other influential Brethren were imprisoned in the 
Castle of Podiebrad, where they were kept in constant fear of 
execution. At Richenburg, Baron Zdenek Kostka, Lord of 
Leitomischl, caused four members of the Church to be burned 
alive.^^ On the estates of other zealous Utraquist nobles the 
Brethren were cruelly oppressed and their priests expelled. 

In this extremity they appealed to Rokycana. Although 
he had officially sanctioned the persecution, he did not approve 
of it. " Many evil accusations against us," writes Gregory, 
"were laid before Rokycana, but, for a long'time, he rejected 
them, for he knew us intimately and was well disposed toward 
us. But he could not resist the King, whom prominent-clergy- 
men incited against us, inducing the Queen, too, to believe the 
things which were said, although, as God liveth, they were all 
untrue. Hence the King ordered us to be imprisoned and 
tortured. Rokycana could not prevent this."'^ 

Several letters seem to have been addressed to him, in one 
of which occurred the following passage : 

" Have we deserved the persecutions which you have brought 
upon us ?^'' Have we not been your disciples ? Have we not 
followed your own words in refusing to remain in connection 
with the corrupt Church? Is it right to invoke the civil 
power against us? Civil power is intended for the punish- 
ment of those who have broken the laws of society and must 
be coerced within proper bounds. It arose in the heathen 
world. It is absolutely wrong to use it in matters of re- 
ligion. "^^ 

" Comenius Hist. ^ 55, p. 16. 

'^ Lasitius, quoted by Gindely, T. p. 30. 

i« Palacky, VII. pp. 488 and 489, Note 397. 

^' The Brethren refer to his oflBcial sanction. 

^* L. F., II. p. 1, etc. In this Folio are found seven oflScial epistles to 
Rokycana, all of which were written subsequent to 1467, except the fifth, 
from which the above is quoted. This fifth epistle contains the following 
endorsement: "This letter was delivered to Master Rokycana when the 
Brethren, after having suffered tortures, were freed from prison in the 
year 1463." 


Whatever the views aud feelings of Rokycana may have 
been, he was afraid of the King and did nothing for the relief 
of the Brethren. Hence they closed their correspondence with 
him in these words : " Thou art of the world and wilt perish 
with the world."'^ Now he became angry and took active 
steps against tliem, inducing Podiebrad to issue another edict 
banishing them from the country. It is said, that the Bishop 
of Breslau advised the King to shed no more blood, because 
martyrdom \vas like a half-roasted piece of meat, apt to breed 
maggots.^'^ In consequence of this new decree many Brethren, 
and especially the more prominent, fled to the mountains and 
forests round about Brandeis, where they eked out their lives 
in great distress and misery .^^ 

Gradually, however, the persecution died out. This was 
owing, in part, to the state of political affairs, which required 
the entire attention of Podiebrad. Pius the Second turned 
against him and began a series of intrigues to deprive him of 
his kingdom. Under such circumstances the Brethren were 

1^ Hist. PersecutioDum, Cap. XIX, 4. 

^^ Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XIX, 5. 

^' In consequence of their liiding in this way another opprobrious name, 
namely, Jamnici, was applied to the Brethren. It means inhabitants of 
pits and caves. 



The Synod of Reichenau and final Separation of the Brethren 
from the Utraquist Church. A. D. 1464-1466. 

Results of the Persecution. — Increase of Memberchip. — Desire for a more 
complete Organization. — Synod among the Mountains of Reichenau. — 
The Statutes adopted by the Synod. — Election of three Directors of the 
Church. — The Question of a Separation from the Utraquists. — Martin 
Lupac and his Counsel. — Looking for a Church not under the Papacy, 
with which Church the Brethren might unite. — Another Synod called. 
— The Question of separating from the National Church and instituting 
an independent Ministry decided by the Lot. 

Persecution for the Gospel's sake invariably defeats 
itself. The more God's people are oppressed, the more they 
learn to endure, the stronger they grow in faith, the more 
rapidly they increase in numbers. 

Of this truth the first persecution which came upon the 
Brethren was an evidence. A few of them denied their faith 
and fell, but as a body they were inspired with new courage 
and the firm determination to carry on, while bearing patiently 
whatever suiferings might yet await them, the work which 
they had begun in the Lord's name and to the Lord's glory. 
^ov did an increase of their membership fail to take place. 
Attracted by the steadfastness which they had shown there 
came both priests and laymen, asking to be admitted to their 
communion. Among the former were several Waldenses 
from a colony on the confines of Austria, and among the 
latter, noblemen who invited the Brethren to settle on their 
estates.^ Throughout their whole history, persecutions pro- 

^ Keichel's Geschichte, p. 16. 


duced similar results. The Brethren were, more or less at all 
times, in the language of one of their own writers, " cast 
down, oppressed and greatly afflicted ;"^ and yet, until the 
Anti-reformation, they continually grew in numbers and 

But the first persecution brought al)out other consequences 
also, which proved to be of far reaching importance. The 
conviction spread that a more complete organization must be 
given to the Church and that it must be more absolutely 
grounded, in doctrine and practice, on the Holy Scriptures. 
To this end the Elders convened a Synod among the moun- 
tains of Reichenau. 

It took place in 1464 and was held under the open canopy 
of heaven.^ Many representatives, from different parts of 
Bohemia and Moravia, attended. First of all, the principles 
according to which the Church should be governed, were 
anew discussed and adopted. These principles have been 
preserved and constitute the oldest document extant setting 
forth the doctrine and practice of the Brethren. It reads as 
follows :* 


We are, above all, agreed on the following points : 
To coutinue, through grace, sound in the faith of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; to be established in the righteousness which is of 
God, to maintain the bond of love among each other, and to 
have our hope in the living God. We will shew this both in 
word and deed, assist each other in the spirit of love, live hon- 
estly, study to be humble, quiet, meek, sober, and patient, and 
thus testify to others that we have in truth a sound faith, genuine 
love, and a sure and certain hope. 

We are moreover agreed, all and each to shew willing obe- 
dience in all things, as the inspired Scriptures of our Lord exhort 

^ Quellen, p. 278, Blahoslaw's Letter to Lasitius. 

^ L. F., V. 260, etc. 

* L. F., V. No. 17. A German translation is given in Reichel's Ge- 
schichte. Appendix I.; also in Croger, 1., pp. 66-71 ; Benham in his Origin 
and Episcopate of the Boh. Brn., Chapt. V., p. 38, furnishes an English 
version which we have adopted above. 


US to do ; each is to accept in the spirit of mutual good will, 
instruction, warning, exhortation, and reproof from his brother, 
and withal he will maintain the covenant into which we have 
entered with God and His Holy Spirit, through our Lord Jesus 

We are unanimously agreed, mutually to strengthen each 
other, according to our several abilities in the truth, which by 
the grace of God we confess, and to undertake and execute with 
cheerfulness whatever may be deemed useful to our edification 
and spiritual welfare. 

We will, above all, observe Christian obedience, acknowledge 
our faults and shortcomings, humble ourselves, and be subject 
one to another ; we will have the fear of God before our eyes 
when we are exhorted and reproved, try to amend our ways and 
confess our sins before God and man. If any one should be 
unwilling to abide by the rules and prove unfaithful to the 
covenant made with God, and faithful Christian brethren, we 
must declare, though with deep regret, that we cannot assure such 
an one of his salvation ; but on the other hand, it may possibly 
become necessary to exclude him from our church-fellowship. 
And if any one is excluded from our communion on account of 
some grievous transgression or glaring error in doctrine, we 
cannot re-admit him until he has entirely cleared himself, and 
given manifest proofs of a changed conduct. 

We further agree, that each one abide faithful in his calling, 
and have a good conscience in all things, according to the apos- 
tolic exhortations. The priests and teachers should, in particular, 
set a good example to others, and in word and deed demean 
themselves so that they may escape all blame and just reproof. 
Those who, of their own accord, have renounced their claims 
upon their personal estates for the good of the Church, should 
faithfully adhere to their engagement, and not urge any private 
or personal claims upon their estates, monies, or other property, 
but follow the example of the primitive Christians, willingly 
submitting to have all things common, as it is written : " They 
had all things common, and parted to all men as every man had 
need." This is a very praiseworthy and reasonable thing, espe- 
cially from those who become the messengers of the churches, in 
order that they may learn while discharging the duties of their 
office to be content with a moderate diet and decent clothing, 
leaving all the rest to the Lord who cares for them. They 
ought, therefore, to abstain from all extravagance, and be content 
with the support which the stewards of the common fund are 
able to allow them. 

Moreover, it is necessary that the priests and teachers should 
be freed from all care regarding their temporal support, to enable 
them to devote their whole attention to the spiritual duties of 
their office. They must patiently bear whatever Divine provi- 


dence may appoint for them ; distress, hunger, cold, persecution, 
imprisonment, and even death itself, after the example of the 
early Christians, who were wholly devoted to God — they must 
surrender themselves entirely to His government, which they 
must patiently follow, and leave the world. 

Whoever possesses this world's goods should remember the 
poor, and freely communicate according to the word of God ; 
work with his own hands, and do what is just and right. They 
ought only to trade with heavenly goods and treasures, preach 
the word of God, teach their dear neighbors and pray for them, 
that the Lord may grant them grace to grow and increase more 
and more in their spiritual lives. 

Priests and teachers may, however, engage in domestic labors 
in their leisure hours. Whatever they can spare from their own 
necessary expenses they should spend in remembering the poor ; 
but if they suffer want they are to be supported, with the consent 
of their brethren, from the general fund; yet care should always 
be taken to avoid giving offence, or causing disharmony and 

The same rule obtains among brethren and sisters who are 
engaged in handicraft business, or hire themselves out for labor 
in order to secure a decent support and maintenance. Whoever 
goes on errands, or is employed to do a certain work, shall be 
paid a fair remuneration for his labor, unless he can and will do 
it gratuitously for the benefit of the congregation. 

Orphans and minors must shew at all times due obedience to 
the superintendents and elders of the congregation who have 
charge of them, and do nothing without their counsel or advice 
and consent. 

Servants are bound to obey their masters in all things, for they 
are their nursing-fathers, counsellors and supporters, who care 
for them both in health and sickness. 

The sisters who are in service stand in the same relation, and 
are under the same obligations to their mistresses. Indeed all 
are expected to demean themselves as it becometh Christians, in 
order to walk blamelessly before God, and to be useful and 
pleasant to their brethren and sisters, whose well-meant counsels 
and directions they ought faithfully to follow, preserving a good 
conscience and purity of heart, w^alking in simplicity of mind, 
and always remembering that the eye of God penetrates their 
inmost thoughts. If they are thus walking in truth they may 
rejoice in sure and certain hope of salvation. 

Every master and mistress of a house must treat their servants 
with kindness, encourage them in everything that is pleasing to 
God, set them a good example in word and deed, and bear rule 
over them in the spirit of meekness, peace, and gentleness, 
coupled with a prudent exercise of forbearance such as becometh 
a Christian master. 


We further agreed on certain points respecting our domestic 
relations to each other, certain rules were laid down in harmony 
with the word of God, regulating the mutual relationships 
between man and wife, and further as to how a husband is to 
behave towards his wife with all modesty, how to bring up his 
children well, how to superintend his servants and whole house- 
hold, how to act towards his neighbor, and likewise how to 
regulate his conduct towards his superiors, magistrates, &c., that 
in all things the true spirit of the Divine law be obeyed. 

Our people are to be supported to the best of our ability. 
Towards strangers and travelers we will exercise kind hospitality, 
more especially if the object of their journey be the furtherance 
of the Gospel. Whenever we see any of our brethren suffer 
want or otherwise in affliction, we will follow the example of the 
apostles and our early fathers in the faith, and communicate 
according to his need from the store which the Lord in His 
mercy has vouchsafed to us. For if all faithful Christians were 
united in love, and each one did study to bear the other's burden, 
the commandment of Christ would be fulfilled. Sympathizing 
love is the fulness of the Christian faith, promoting edification 
and spiritual life, and is the firmest and most enduring bond of 
human happiness. He that loveth not has denied the faith, and 
is worse than an infidel, and the Spirit of the Lord condemns 

It was further agreed : We will receive with brotherly kind- 
ness a penitent soul, and every one who turns away from the 
world unto God, and assist them, that they may come to the 
knowledge of the truth. Whoever he be he shall find every- 
where a kind and hospitable reception. We will faithfully 
converse with him, give him advice and instruction, exhortations, 
and every needful warning, that he may be corrected and edified, 
and may grow in spirituality. 

Concerning our external comforts, it was agreed : We will not 
needlessly change our place of residence, except it can be shown 
that we can be of 'greater and more extensive usefulness to the 
Church of God in the new place. 

Neither will we change our servants needlessly, unless a master 
is convinced that a change would be beneficial for the spiritual 
well-being of his household, in which case he himself should 
suggest the means of facilitating it. 

If any are persecuted and driven into exile on account of 
their faith, or if their property and possessions are taken away 
from them or burnt, we consider it our duty to receive and care 
for such. 

The orphan, the widow, and the destitute, are to be regarded 
with peculiar compassion by the Brethren, and to be received in 
the name of Christ; the necessary support being provided for 
them in the spirit of charity. 


The Brethren will inquire after all devoted and faithful 
servants of God who may be in want and distress, and assist 
them to the best of their ability. 

Whenever any sum is paid from the general fund of the 
congregations of the Brethren for charitable purposes, the 
treasurer is to keep a faithful and correct account of it, and 
procure a receipt for it from the party to whom it is paid. 
Hereby every suspicion, every false report and hurtful under- 
standing are prevented, and love and harmony preserved in the 

In general the Brethren should seek their resting-place in the 
Lord, and guard against the dazzling and vaunting seductions of 
the world. The tempting exterior of worldly-mindedness, the 
subtlety and secret malice of its prevailing wicked spirit, which 
continually endeavors to overcome Christian simplicity of heart 
by its flattering delusions, are very dangerous rocks for a faithful 
soul. The spirit of this world pursues only selfish objects, and 
promising to its dupe temporary advantages, which often are not 
attainable, it can do no more after all than deceive ; from which 
spirit may God in mercy preserve us. 

All this is contained in the Holy Scriptures, and therefore we 
are bound faithfully to adhere to it. 

Regarding our earthly appointed Rulers, we consider ourselves 
bound to show them due obedience, to follow their wise counsels, 
to be subject to them with all humility, to manifest loyalty in all 
things, and faithfulness towards them, and to pray unto God for 

In the congregations we will preserve peace with all, cultivate 
brotherly harmony, and do all in our power to further the 
common well-being, and to maintain firmly the bond of brother- 
hood in and with and through our God. Thus our conscience 
will be preserved in the peace of God, and the blessings of the 
grace of" God will at all times abound among us. 

It is with feelings of profound admiration that we read 
this venerable document more than four centuries old, and 
recognize in its opening sentence justification by faith as the 
doctrinal ground on which the Brethren stood.^ At the same 
time it plainly shows how decided was the tendency which 
they had received from Peter Chelcicky, to subordinate the 
doctrinal to the practical. And yet, when a man has been 
justified by faith what can be more acceptable to God than 
holiness manifesting itself, as this document enjoins, in every 

* Even Gindely, I. p. 31, acknowledges this. 


duty and in all the relations of daily life ? The statutes of 
Reichenau set forth personal godliness in a way worthy of the 
earnest men who were there assembled. 

In the next place, the Synod proceeded to consider measures 
looking to a more complete organization of the Church. This 
was a subject which, in its widest scope, involved questions 
of great moment. The recent persecution had taught the 
Brethren that the number of their priests was insufficient. 
Not a few of them had been rudely dragged from their fields 
of labor and cast into prison ; and although they had, for the 
most part, been subsequently set at liberty, so that they could 
resume their work, the hope of keeping their ranks full by 
secessions from the Utraquists was uncertain. Should the 
Brethren therefore cut themselves loose entirely from this 
Church and institute a ministry of their own ? They ap- 
proached this question, not with the rashness of modern 
sectarianism, which almost seems to think that every new 
divisif>n among the Protestants is a new trophy for the cause 
of Truth, but with the utmost caution and feelings well nigh 
of awe. Would so momentous a step be well pleasing in the 
sight of God ? Would it tend to promote His glory and 
advance His kingdom ? Or would it increase the confusion 
prevailing in matters of religion and be a stumbling-block in 
the way of men ? These and other cognate points were 
discussed, but without bringing the Synod to a decision. 
Hence it was agreed that, for the time being, the ministrations 
of Utraquist priests should continue, but that the supervision 
of the Church should be rendered more efficient. To this end 
three of the Elders — Gregory, Procop of Hradeck and John 
Klenovsky — were elected Primarii,^ or Chief Elders, and 
received authority to direct, in accordance with the new 
Statutes which were now delivered into their hands, the other 
Elders and rule the membership.^ Thereupon the Synod 

® The title given them by Lasitius. 

' Lasitius, II. 35 ; Blahoslaw's Summa quaedam L. F., VIII. pp. 157- 
171. Camerarius, p. 90 ; Comenii Hist. Sect. 58, p. 17 ; Gindely, I. p. 31. 


But the question of an independent ministry was not 
dropped. It continued to engage the attention of the 
Brethren; they made it the subject of special prayer; they 
consulted leading Utraquists upon whose friendship and 
sympathy they could rely. 

Among these Martin Lupae, who had been appointed 
Rokycana's suffragan, but who, like Rokycaua, had never 
been consecrated, was prominent. Originally a Taborite, he 
ioined the Utraquists when the Taborite faction came to an 
'Bnd. In point of learning he was Rokycana's superior ; his 
knowledge of the Truth was deeper and his views were far 
more liberal. 

An incident showing his advanced opinions has been pre- 
served. One day, while carrying the sacrament to a village 
near Prague, he met a peasant who fell upon his knees and 
adored the host. Lupac raised him up and pointing to 
heaven said : " My son, Christ must be adored as He sits on 
high, at the right hand of the Omnipotent Father."^ 

Lupac had manifested a warm interest in the work of the 
Brethren from its inception; and now he strongly advised 
them to secede from the Utraquists and establish a ministry 
of their own. Such a step, he said, would indeed be contrary 
to the will of the heads of the Church and to the mind of the 
Church itself, which was infected with popery, but in har- 
mony with the will and mind of God. As regarded himself 
personally, he would rejoice to see among the Brethren an 
independent order of ministers properly ordained. In no 
other way could the work which they had begun be brought 
to its legitimate end.^ Similar advice was given them by 
other Utraquist priests, especially by Stephen and Martin.^*^ 

Lupac's liberal views eventually led to a rupture with 
Rokycana. Ha\4ng been banished from the capital, he found 
a refuge with the Brethren on the domain of Senftenberg." 

^ Camerarius, p. 90. 

9 Lasitius, II. p. 25, etc., (Plitt); Croger, I. p. 72; Blahoslaw's Summa 

1° Lasitius, 11 p. 55. 
" L. F., I. and HI. 


In consequence of a letter which he issued setting forth his 
theological views/^ Rokycana had him arrested and imprisoned 
at Prague. Thereupon he addressed a second letter personally 
to Rokycana/^ defending the theological positions of the first 
and interceding with him on behalf the Brethren who were, 
he said, " orphans forsaken and scattered." This communi- 
cation brought about a public disputation between the two,'^ 
which however led to no change in their relations. Lupac 
was remanded to prison and died on the twentieth of April, 
1468. Whether he regained his freedom prior to his death is 
not known. In any case, he lived long enough to see the 
ministry, whose institution he had urged, established among 
the Brethren. 

But at the time when he and others gave them this advice, 
they still hesitated to take so decisive a step. Was there not, 
they reasoned, a way of gaining their object without creating 
a schism ? Could not, somewhere on earth, a body of 
Christians be found that traced its origin to the primitive 
church, that had maintained the true faith and preserved an 
uncorrupted priesthood ? Several Brethren proposed to travel 
to the countries of India,'^ in search of such Christians. 
But before they could undertake this journey, two men from 
that distant region visited Prague. The account which they 
gave of the state of religion in India convinced the Brethren 
that they would not there meet with the ideal for which they 
were seeking. Their inquiries with regard to the Greek and 
Armenian churches proved equally unsatisfactory. Nowhere 
did they hear of a priesthood which came up to the standard 
of the apostolic writings and which was not, more or less, 

'' L. F., I. p. 236. 

" " The Letter of the prisoner M. Lupac to Rokycana." L. F., I. p. 225. 

" Report of the Disputation in L. F., I. p. 343, &c. 

^= " In die Indische Lander." Goll, Appendix F., p, 100. It is not clear 
to what body of Christians the Brethren here refer or what countries they 
mean by those of India. The Christians of St. Thomas lived in India. 
Perhaps they refer to the Copts of Egypt, or to the Abyssinian Church. 

■® From a treatise " Wie man sich gegen die Romische Kirche verhaiten 


At last, " constrained by the necessity which their own 
salvation imposed upon them,"^'' they convened another Synod, 
with the understanding that this body should bring the 
question to an issue. The Elders having appointed fasting 
and prayers throughout the Church, to the end that God 
might, by His Holy Spirit guide the deliberations, the Synod 
met, probably in 1465.'^ Its members soon agreed that, even 
now, they would not venture to decide the question by their 
own votes, or upon the strength of their own arguments but 
would submit it, in simple laith, through the use ot the lot, 
to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Two of His promises, in 
particular, filled their minds with confidence ; " That whatso- 
ever ye shall ask of the Father in My name. He may give it 
you ;" and " if two of you shall agree on earth as touching 
anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My 
Father which is in heaven. "^^ 

Accepting these promises as addressed to them, they 
formulated the following questions : 

" Is it God's will that we shall separate entirely from the 
power of the Papacy and hence from its priesthood ? Is it 

soil," cited in the preceding chapter, Note 16, Palacky, VII. pp. 492 and 
493; Goll, Appendix F., pp. 99 and 100. The former ascribes the work to 
Gregory ; tlie latter says its authorship is uncertain. We adopt Palacky's 

^' " Die Noth unsers Heils hat uns dazu getrieben." This saying 
frequently occurs in the documents relating to the institution of the 
ministry. Goll, p. 15. 

^* While the events narrated in this chapter are not to be disputed, the 
chronological order in which they occurred is very uncertain. The latest 
sources seem to us to show, although we adopted a different position in our 
lectures in the Seminary, that there were three Synods which engaged in 
establishing the ministry, namely, that of 1464, which took the preliminary 
steps, a later Synod, probably in 1465, which used the lot to decide the 
question, and the Synod of 1467, which appointed the first ministers. GoU, 
p. 19. Lasitius takes this view ; but in giving an account of the Synod of 
1465, introduces a number of points which evidently belong to that of 1467. 
Plitt, Keichel and Croger closely follow him. 

" John xiv, 16 ; Matt, xviii, 19. 


God's will that we shall institute, according to the model of 
the primitive Church, a ministerial order of our own ?"^ 

With earnest prayer the lot was cast and decided both 
questions affirmatively.-^ 

Thanking God for this manifestation of His grace, the 
members of the Synod returned to their homes, where the 
intelligence which they brought excited universal trust and 
joy. The Brethren were now confident that God was for 
them ; who could be against them ? What they had failed to 
understand in 1457, was made plain in 1465. They were 
ordained to build up, not a fraternal union within the 
Utraquist Church, but an independent Church on the model 
of the apostolic. Great and glorious was this mission. 

^^ Fourth Letter to Kokycana, L. F., II. found in Goll, Appendix A, p. 
87. In this document the Brethren combine with the above two questions 
a third, which, however, evidently relates to the second use of the lot, at the 
Synod of 1467, when the first ministers were appointed. 

21 Fourth Letter to Rokycana, L. F., II. found in Goll, Appendix A, pp. 
87 and 88; Blahoslaw's Summa quaedam, L. F., VIII. who says: "Utuntur 
et ipsi sorte, hoc unicum quaerentes, an placeat Domino, ut sese in uni- 
versum separent ab Ecclesia Eomana, adeoque et Boemica. Confirmantur 
sorte placere hoc Deo, et jam esse tempus id fieri. Agunt Deo gratias, et 
confidentius obdurant unanimiter in proposito suo." (Goll, Appendix L, 
p. 117.) The use of the lot on this occasion gave rise, in later times, to the 
legend that God had worked a miracle and that the Brethren had heard a 
supernatural voice saying, " This is my will." This legend Lasitins adopted 
in one part of his history, but in another he relates the use of the lot. 
Regenvolscius also accepts the legend. 



The Synod of Lhota and Institution of an Independent 
Ministry. 1467. 

A Synod appointed at Lhota. — The Delegates. — Proceedings in Connection 
with the Appointment of the first Ministers. — Matthias, Thomas and 
Elias designated by Lot. — Gregory's Dream fulfilled. — The Thanks- 
giving Hymn. — Rebaptism and what it meant. — The Lord's Supijer. 
— Ordination of the new Ministers discussed. — They receive, first of 
all, presbyterial Ordination. — Further Discussions on the Subject of 
Ordination. — The Synod resolves to introduce the Episcopacy. — Tiie 
Moravian Waldenses. — Tiiree Priests sent to them to secure episcopal 

The year 1467 saw the consummation of the measure that 
God had sanctioned. At a Synod which the Elders called for 
this purpose, and in view of which they appointed fasting and 
prayers in all the parishes, the ministry of the Brethren was 
established. A chain of many links — it has continued un- 
broken to the present day. 

More than sixty representatives, comprising nobles, priests, 
artizans and peasants, assembled at Lhota, a village near 
Reichenau, in the house of a man named Duchek.^ They 
came mostly from the Prachin, Saaz and Chrudim Circuits 
of Bohemia, and from the Olmiitz and Prerau Circuits of 

' This village, which properly bears the name of Lhotka, is mentioned 
for the first time in Luke's Ursprung d. Unitiit, MS., H. A. (See GoU, 
Appendix, p. 111). There are several other places of the same name. In 
1879 we visited one to the south-west of Pottenstein, a secluded hamlet 
completely surrounded by hills. According to the Rev. E. Schmidt, of 
Pottenstein, this was the spot where the Synod met, and where alone the 
nece.ssary secrecy could be secured. But the mass of evidence is in favor 
of the village near Reichenau. 


Moravia. Gregory and Michael Bradacius were the ruling 
spirits; but a deep sense of responsibility to God and His 
Church pervaded every mind. 

The Synod was opened with prayer and the reading of the 
Scriptures. As soon as the deliberations began, there shone 
forth the same implicit confidence in God which had illu- 
mined the meeting at Reichenau.^ On that occasion the 
question whether an independent ministry should be instituted 
had been decided by the lot ; now, on the strength of apostolic 
precedent in the case of Matthias, not only the men who were 
to be the first to assume this ministry should be designated in 
the same way, but the Lord should also determine whether 
the time had come for taking this final step. 

The proceedings were conducted by the Elders. They 
seated themselves at a table in front of which were ranged 
the other members in semi-circular rows. First of all nine 
men, of high repute for piety, were nominated by ballot. 
Then twelve slips of paper, three inscribed with the word Jest 
(is) and nine blank, were rolled together and put into a vase. 
An earnest prayer followed, that God, in mercy and according 
to His good will, would designate either one, or two, or three 
of the candidates as the first ministers of the Brethren's 
Church ; but that, if the men whom He had chosen were not 
among the nine that had been nominated, or if this was not 
the time which He had ordained for instituting an inde- 
pendent priesthood, He would cause all the nine to receive 
blanks. In this event the Brethren would have postponed 
further proceedings to a future period.^ 

^ "Als wir wieder zusammen traten in demselben Vertrauen wie vor- 
dem." Letter of the Brethren to King George, in L. F., I.; GoU, Ap- 
pendix, p. 95. 

^ " Wenn aber Gott in diesem Jahr es noch nicht haben wolle, so solle es 
keiner werden. Und ware es anf keinen gefallen, so wiiren wir dieses Jahr 
ohne jedwede Priester geblieben, und aiich fernerhin, bis uns Gott zeigen 
wiirde auf unser Gebet hin und unsern Glauben, Er wolle es schon haben, 
und auch diejenigen Personen, von denen es Ihm gnadig wohlgefalle dass 
sie es wiirden." Fourth Letter to Rokycana, L. ¥., IV, p. 4, etc. Goll, 
Appendix, p. 88. 


After the prayer Gregory addressed the Synod, in substance 
as follows : " My brethren, in as much as we have given 
this whole matter into the hands of the Lord, that He may 
designate, if it so please Him, some of these men to be His 
ambassadors, let us submit implicitly to His will and judg- 
ment. Be of good courage. He who has promised that the 
prayer of faith shall be fulfilled, will not put us to shame." 
A lad, named Prokop, was now called in and told to distribute 
the lots. He drew one and gave it to the first candidate ; he 
drew another and presented it to the second ; he continued to 
draw the lots until all the candidates had been supplied. 
There ensued a moment of intense expectation and yet of 
calm confidence. Three slips of paper remained in the vase. 
If these should prove to be the three which were marked, the 
faith of the Synod would be tried but not shaken ; for the 
Lord's will, under all circumstances, should be the will of 
His servants, and whatever the issue, to Him should belong 
the praise. Amidst profound silence and a feeling of such 
awe as must have pervaded the council of the apostles, the 
candidates advanced to the table and presented their lots to 
the Elders for examination. The Elders unrolled them. All 
the three inscribed with Jest had been drawn. They desig- 
nated Matthias of Kuuwald, Thomas of Prelouc and Elias of 
Chrenovic as the first ministers of the Unitas Fratrum. A 
thrill of joy passed through the assembly, and was intensified 
when Gregory announced that these were the men whom he 
had seen, in his dream while on the rack, guarding the tree 
with the birds. That dream, he added, had evidently been 
prophetic, and its fulfillment now might be looked upon as an 
additional sign from the Lord.^ As by a common impulse 

* Vide page li? and 118. The Fourth Letter to Rokycana, one of the 
earliest documents, alhides to the vision (Goll, Appendix, p. 89) ; Blahoslaw 
in his Summa speaks of it (Goll, Appendix, p. 117); and Eegenvolscius, p. 
172, gives it in full. There is nothing improbable or contrary to Scripture 
in such a dream ; and if that of the Elector Frederic of Saxony, at the 
beginning of Luther's Reformation, was historic, this one may claim the 
same character. But no other sign occurred at the Synod. Ijasitius mis- 
understanding Blahoslaw's words, "ostentum seu prodigium," which evi- 


the whole Synod rose, and exultingly acknowledged Matthias, 
Thomas and Elias to be priests appointed of God, each mem- 
ber hastening to pledge to them his right hand in token of 
fellowship and submission. Thereupon, with one heart and 
voice, was sung a thanksgiving hymn composed for the occa- 
sion by Gabriel Komarowsky^ : 

" With unity of heart and voice 
Together let us all rejoice, 
And render praise to God alone, 
The Father, Holy Ghost, and Son. 

Since He hath shown us mercy free, 
In time of greatest jeopardy, 
And deep His holy law imprest 
Upon each heart within each breast. 

We needed faithful men, and He 
Granted us such : Most earnestly 
We pray, Lord, let Thy gifts descend 
That blessing may Thy work attend ; 

What is begun, O Lord, fulfill, 
According to Thy gracious will : 
To Thee alone we turn our face, 
Trusting entirely to Thy grace. 

Pity Thy Church, which, gone astray, 
No more discerns the heavenly way, 
That by Thy truth's direction tends 
To happiness which never ends; 

But lur'd by doctrine false to Thee, 
Distracted mourns her misery : 
Oh Thou ! our Shepherd, faithful Lord, 
Help to Thy helpless sheep aflford, 

dently refer to Gregory's vision, again reports a miracle — a supernatural 
light filling the apartment — which miracle even Camerarius, p. 85, and it 
would appear, Croeger also, I. p. 79, accept. 

^ The original is found in the Brethren's Bohemian Hymnal, ed. of 1615, 
p. 351, beginning, Radugme se wzdy spoke cne; a German translation was 
introduced into their German Hymnal, ed. of 1585, p. 127, ed. 1606, p. 311, 
see also Croeger, I. pp. 78 and 79 ; the above English version is from Ben- 
ham's Notes, pp. 51-53. 


By Thy bright word O give them light, 
Thee the true God to know aright ; 
And humbly seek that glorious rest 
Which Thou reservest for the blest. 

Thou, Lord, art own'd, with one consent, 
The great I AM, Omnipotent, 
Monarch of all the hosts that be 
In heav'n, on earth, and 'neath the sea ; 

Root out foul error and deceit, 
And Antichrist, O Lord, defeat ; 
Nor suflFer persecuting might 
To harass Thee by day and night. 

Help Thine elected flock, that they 
No more may feel the tyrant's sway ; 
But from all thraldom now set free, 
Raise grateful songs of praise to Thee. 

Eternal God ! we Thee implore, 
Help that Thy Word may more and more 
So dwell and rule in us, that we 
* May always stand approv'd of Thee. 

Grant that we one and all may live 
In Thee, and rich in virtue thrive ; 
And find above, in endless day, 
That crown which ne'er shall fade away. 


This hymn was an expression of the profound gratitude 
which filled the hearts of the members of the Synod. God 
had visited them. Great things, which they received in the 
spirit, had He done ; good things had He accomplished in the 
end of days among His people. They thanked Him and 
took courage ; they rejoiced in Him and gloried in His work.^ 
Enabled by His grace, strong in the power of His might, they 

8 " Und viele von uns erkannten und fuhlten, Gott babe uns heimgesucht 
und zu unserer Bestarkung grosse Dinge gewirkt in unserem Geiste. Und 
so haben wir in festem Vertrauen es empfangen und in der ^reude unseres 
Geistes Gott gedankt, dass Er gnte Dinge thue am Ende der Tage und sein 
Werk wirke in diesen Liindern der Erde, in seinem Volke." Letter of 
the Brethren to King George, L. F., I. and II.; Goll, Appendix, p. 95. 


had come out from a corrupt Church and constituted them- 
selves "an habitation of God through the Spirit."^ 

This separation was now solemnly avowed and rendered 
irrevocable by a symbolical act. The members of the Synod, 
in a body, were rebaptized.^ And in as much as this act 
formed, at the same time, a protest against the errors of Rome 
and the validity of her sacraments, it was repeated, for a 
number of years, as often as Romanists joined the Brethren. 
The celebration of the Lord's Supper closed the proceedings of 
the Synod in connection with the institution of the ministry.^ 

It is noteworthy that the lot designated not scholars, of 
whom a number were present, but men in the lower walks of 
life. Matthias was a farmer, only twenty-five years of age; 
Thomas, a town-clerk ; and Elias, a miller. But they were 
all men of "approved godliness, Avisdom and prudence."^" 

The important subject of their ordination next engaged the 
attention of the Synod, and the following results were reached : 
The New Testament makes no distinction between bishops and 
priests ; in the time of the Apostles priests administered the 
rite of ordination ; the Brethren desire to follow the example 
of the Apostolic Church in all things ; therefore the three 
newly-appointed ministers shall be ordained by the priests 
present at the Synod, one of whom shall be designated by lot 
to preside on the occasion. To this end the names of Michael 
Bradacius and of an aged Waldensian priest were submitted 

^ Ephesians 2 : 22. 

* Gindely, I. 36. Such a rebaptism had nothing whatever in common 
with the standpoint of modern Baptists. Infant baptism was not rejected, 
nor was it a rebaptism by immersion. 

^ The principal sources for the above narrative of the Synod are : Fourth 
Letter to Rokycana, 1468, L. F., VI., Goll, Appendix, pp. 87-90; Michael's 
Treatise, 1473, L. F., V. in Eeichel's Zusiitze, pp. 50 and 51; Apology of 
1503, L. F, VI., Reichel's Zusatze, p. 42, etc. ; Luke's Narratives, 1523, 
L. F., IV., Goll, Appendix, I and K ; Blahoslaw's Summa, L. F., VIII., 
Goll, Appendix, pp. 117 and 118; Lasitius, II. pp. 47 and 48, quoted by 
Plitt ; Camerarius, pp. 93 and 94 ; Regenvolscius, Bk. I. Chapt. viii ; 

^^ Jaffet's Geschichte des Ursprungs d. B. U. Eeichel's Zusatze, p. 54. 
Comenius, Section 59 and 90 ; Gindely, I. pp. 33-35. 


to the lot. It decided in favor of the latter. Accordingly 
with prayer and the laying on of hands he ordained Matthias^ 
Thomas and Elias to the priesthood." 

But now that the Brethren had complied with the usage of 
the primitive Church, the question was raised whether such 
an ordination would suffice in their day and amidst the cir- 
cumstances by which they were surrounded, or whether it 
would be expedient to introduce the episcopacy. A difference 
of opinion appeared. Some were in favor of abiding by the 
presbyterial ordination, others urged that the episcopacy should 
be secured.*^ The latter view prevailed. A distinction, it 
was said, was made at an early day, "immediately after the 
time of the Apostles," between bishops and priests ; to the 
former was committed the exclusive power to ordain ; the 
prerogatives of a bishop are historically established. " These 
considerations induced the Synod to resolve upon the intro- 
duction of the episcopal office, through which the congregations 
would be more closely united among themselves and better 
able to meet inimical proceedings, indignities and evil speaking 
from without."^^ The minds of the Brethren, writes Come- 
nius, " were agitated by the fear whether an ordination would 
be sufficiently valid if a presbyter and not truly a bishop 
were to ordain a presbyter ; and in what manner, in case of 
controversies, such an ordination could be defended either 
among themselves or against others."^* Regenvolscius adds : 
"Nevertheless, in order to meet the calumnies of the adver- 

" Fourth Letter to Rokycana, L. F., VI., GoU, Appendix, pp. 88 and 89; 
Letter to King George, L. F., I. and II., Goll, Appendix, p. 96 ; Wie sich 
die Mensclien gegen die Rom. Kirche verhalten sollen, L. F., I., Goll, Ap- 
pendix, p. 102; Reichel in his Zusatze, p. 94; Goll, p. 19; Jaffet's Ur- 
sprung d. B. U. II. p. 48, etc., in Reichel's Zusatze, p. 55; Regenvolscins^ 
pp. 32 and 33. 

12 Koranda's Letter to Baron Kostka, MS., Lib. University of Prague, 
printed in Palacky's Archiv Casky, Goll, p. 25 and Palacky, IX. pp. 191 
and 192. Zuversichtliche Hoffnung, etc., L. F., V., Goll, p. 28. 

'3 Jaffet's Ursprung d. B. U., II. p. 48, etc., in Reichel's Zusatze, pp. 55 
and 56. 

1* Comenii Hist, et R. D., Sect. 59, p. 17. 


saries, especially in the beginning of this reformation, they 
decided that the same usage (the episcopacy), as far as it could 
be done, should be observed.'"^ 

In this connection the views of the Roman Catholic his- 
torian of the Unitas Fratrum may well find a place : 

"However radical the Brethren were in rejecting the old 
Church and some of her doctrines, they had not then reached, 
and never did reach, so utter a point of sectarianism as to 
imagine, like the sects, that they could find among themselves 
all they needed, or that they could keep aloof from the Christian 
development of the rest of the world. Not one of them believed 
that the Church of Christ was restricted to Reichenau and its 
vicinity, and that fourteen hundred and forty-two years after the 
death of Christ it could be re-established by an act that would, 
in no wise, link it to the primitive Church. On the contrary, 
there was a means by which the new Church, now to be formed, 
would be made to stand in an unbroken connection with the old. 
While proceeding to the election of priests, care must be taken 
to secure the Roman Catholic priesthood, which was alone 
legitimate — to secure it in some way, but in all truth. Thus 
provision would be made for a priestly family that would continue 
to supply itself in an endless development.'"" 

That the determination to introduce the bishop's office was 
a result of the Utraquist antecedents of the founders and 
leaders of the Church is self-evident. A body sprung exclu- 
sively from the Taborites would not have attached so much 
importance to the question ; whereas men like Gregory and 
his friends, coming from the associations of the Thein parish 
and a close fellowship with the Bohemian Archbishop elect, 
naturally looked in the direction of the episcopacy .^'^ But 
where should it be secured ? 

At that time there was settled in Moravia, on the confines 
of Austria,^^ a colony of Waldenses said to have a historic 
episcopate. Their fathers immigrated probably from the 

^* Regenvolscius, p. 33. 

'« Gindely, I. p. 33. 

" With this view Goll, p. 34, agrees, who says: "Den Utraquisten im 
engeren Sinne des Wortes, oder den Calixtinern entstamrate ein grosser 
Theil der Briider: die utraquistischen Anschauungen sind es gewesen, 
welch.e den Sieg davon trugen." 

^® Cerny's Letter to lllyricus, Gindely's Quellen, p. 278. 


South of France, in the first quarter of the fifteenth century, 
hoping that the land of the Hussites would aiFord them a safe 
retreat. At first they retired from public view, but soon 
grew bolder and openly maintained a position among the 
religious bodies by which they were surrounded. ^^ In the 
course of time their relations to the Utraquists in particular 
became close and friendly, and they fraternized with them at 
the mass.^" Some of their ministers were on a familiar footing 
with Rokycana, Lupac and other leading divines, whom they 
frequently visited and by whom they were highly esteemed. 
Stephen, their principal Bishop, was especially honored as a 
man of eminence. 

At the time the Brethren were looking for a body of 
Christians with which they might unite, they had formed the 
acquaintance of these Waldenses.^^ Hence the Synod knew 
something of their history and claims, and now determined 
to make overtures to them for episcopal consecration. Three 
priests, Michael Bradacius, the old Waldensian who had con- 
ducted the presbyterial ordination, and a priest of Roman 
Catholic origin, were commissioned to present such overtures 
and to receive consecration.^^ The appointment of this 
deputation constituted the last act of the Synod of Lhota. 

•» Herzog's Encyklopsedie, XVII. p. 520. 

^'^ Blahoslaw's Summa, Goll, Appendix, p. 119: Comenius Hist, et R. D. 
Sect. 62. 

2* Wie sich die Menschen, etc., L. F., I. see Goll, Appendix, p. 100 and 
Palacky, VII. p. 494 ; Jafiet's Ursprung d. B. U., II. p. 48, in Reichel's 
Zusatze, p. 71. 

2' JaflFet's Ursprung d. B. U., II. p. 59, in Reichel's Zusatze, pp. 78 
and 79. Gindely, I. p. 37, says that Matthias probably accompanied 
Michael Bradacius ; Goll, p. 83, doubts the narrative as presented by Jaffet, 
tliat is, that Michael had two companions. We see no reason whatever for 
not following Jaffet who, as Goll says, "used sources and writings which 
are no longer within our reach." 



The Introduction of the Episcopacy and Second Synod at 
Lhoia. A. D. 1467. 

Michael and his Companions consult with the Waldensian Bishops. — 
Origin of their Episcopate. — The Deputies of the Brethren Consecrated 
Bishops. — Examination into the Authenticity of the Narrative. — 
Authorities proving the Act of Consecration. — Sources of the Account 
of the Waldensian Episcopate. — General Remarks.— Return of the 
Deputies of the Brethren. — Second Synod at Lhota. — Re-ordination of 
the first three Ministers. — Matthias consecrated Bishop. — The Execu- 
tive Council. — Michael resigns his Episcopate. 

Michael Bradacius and his companions were cordially 
welcomed by the Waldenses, among whom they found two 
Bishops, Stephen, who appears to have been far advanced in 
years, and another whose name is not known. With these 
men they had a fraternal and satisfactory interview, reporting 
what had been done at Reichenau and Lhota, asking their 
opinion with regard to the proceedings, and formally sub- 
mitting the request of the Synod, that the Waldensian Bishops 
might impart to its deputies episcopal consecration. In reply 
Stephen and his associate strongly commended the course 
pursued by the Brethren, recognized it as good and of divine 
authority, and with the greatest joy promised to fulfill the 
wishes of the Synod.^ At the same time they gave the 
deputies an account of the origin and episcopate of the Wal- 

1 The above is based on Blahoslaw's Summa, L. F., VIII. see Goll, 
Appendix, p. 118. 


It appeared, that while, in common with all their brethren 
of that day, they claimed a very high antiquity — a claim 
which modern historical researches have shown to be un- 
founded — the episcopate which they then possessed had been 
secured from the Roman Catholic Church. In the year 1433, 
their ministry having practically died out, they applied, by 
the advice and assistance of their Utraquist friends, to the 
Roman Catholic Bishop Nicholas for ordination.^ This 
prelate, on the Feast of the Holy Cross, the fourteenth of 
September, ordained two of their number, Frederick Nemez 
and John Wlach, to the priesthood, in the Slavonian Monas- 
tery of Emmaus, at Prague. Thereupon these two priests 
were elected Bishops by the Moravian Waldenses and sent to 
Basle, where the Council was in session. At Basle they were 
consecrated to the episcopacy, in the summer of 1 434, again 
by a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.^ 

The deputies of the Brethren having expressed their satis- 
faction with what they had heard, a meeting of the Walden- 
sian elders and priests was called. At this meeting, Michael 
Bradacius and his two companions were set aj^art as Bishops, 
with prayer and the laying on of hands, by Stephen and his 
colleague. At parting, the consecrators admonished them to 
go and labor in the vineyard of the Lord, and then dismissed 
them to their own people.* 

Here it will be proper to interrupt the narrative in order to 
examine into its authenticity. 

First of all the question arises, what authorities have we 
for the act of consecration ? 

1. In the Fifth Lissa Folio there is a Bohemian Treatise, 
entitled, " Did the Secession of the Brethren come from 

^ Palacky, VII. p. 492, who otherwise accepts the narrative as not im- 
probable, says that the consecrating Bishop was the Legate Pliilibert, 
although he acknowledges that this Legate had not yet reached Prague on 
the fourteenth of September. Palacky has no authority for his statement. 
It is, as GoU says, a mere conjecture. 

^ The above account of the Moravian Waldenses is based on Jaffet's 
Ursprung d. B. U., II. p. 53, etc., in Reichel's Zusatze, pp. 71-73. 

* Blahoslaw's Summa, L. F., VIII. see Goll, Appendix, p. 118. 


God ?" According to the testimony of Cerwenka, a distin- 
guished leader of the Church about the middle of the 
sixteenth century, which testimony is endorsed on the manu- 
script, it was written, in 1473, by Michael Bradacius. This 
document says, that one of the priests of the Brethren, and 
that one who was of Roman Catholic origin, that is, Michael 
Bradacius himself, " received consecration as a Bishop at the 
hands of an old Waldensian."^ 

2. On the twelfth of September, 1478, in accordance 
with a resolution of the Bohemian Diet, a Colloquy began 
between AYenzel Koranda, who succeded Rokycana as the 
head of the Utraquist Church, and several Masters of the 
University on the one part, and Michael Bradacius, John 
Chelcicky and Prokop of Neuhaus, as representatives of the 
Unitas Fratrum on the other. Of this Colloquy which con- 
tinued for several days and was held in the Carolinum, 
Wenzel Koranda himself sent a report, before the close of 
the year, to Baron John Kostka von Postupic, who was a 
warm friend of the Brethren, in order to induce him to 
withdraw from them his powerful protection. This report, 
in Koranda's own handwriting, is still extant in the 
University Library of Prague, and contains the following 
passage :^ 

"They said (the deputies of the Brethren, Michael Bradacius 
being the spokesman) : ' At the time that we separated from the 
Roman Catholic Church and from you, we decided by lot who 
among us was to be a Bishop, and who a priest. And when the 
lot had designated three, and that one of them should be a 
Bishop, a difference of opinion arose amongst us. At last, how- 

5 L. F., V. p. 23, etc., in Eeichel's Ziisatze, pp. 50 and 51. GoU, p. 28, 
Note 3, maintains that Michael Bradacius was not the author and that the 
treatise was not written in 1473; but he grants that it must have been 
composed prior to the end of the fifteenth century. And yet Cerwenka. 
fifty or sixty years after the composition, ought to be a more reliable 
authority than Goll, three and a half centuries later. In any case, the fact 
which the document sets forth remains undisputed. 

^ Koranda's Manual, MS. XVII. F. 2, the passage being quoted in full 
by Palacky, IX. pp. 191 and 192. The report is printed in Palacky's 
Archiv Cesky, VI. See also Goll, p. 25, who likewise cites the passage. 


ever, we agreed to send a deputation to a Waldensian Bishop, 
who consecrated me a Bishop' — so said Michael concerning 
himself — ' and I thereupon, after my return to my brethren, 
ordained one of the three first a priest and then a bishop.' " 

This testimony alone is conclusive. It is emphatically 
re-iterated in the " Book of the Masters of Prague," of which 
we will speak more at length in another connection, and which 
appeared not long after the Colloquy.'' 

3. The Third Lissa Folio contains a document entitled an 
Apology, and dated May the third, 1503. It sets forth the 
reasons why the writer joined the Brethren, and is addressed 
to a friend. In this document we are again told that JNIichael 
Bradacius was consecrated a Bishop by the Waldensian Bishop, 
with prayer and the imposition of hands.^ 

4. The Sixth Lissa Folio embraces the answer of the 

Brethren to the Articles, drawn up in 1504, of the Masters of 

the University of Prague, in which answer is found the 

following passage : 

" We have a lawful priesthood, which was produced as well by 
the birth of faith as established through that order which men 
introduced. We have priests who were properly ordained both 
in accordance with the divine institution" — presbyterial ordina- 
tion — "and in accordance with that order which comes from 
men" — episcopal ordination.® 

5. An important witness is John Blahoslaw, (born 1523, 
died 1571,) one of the most illustrious leaders and learned 
authors of the Church. In 1 556 he wrote a brief summary 
of its history. This work was occasioned by the dogmatic 
assertions of Flacius Illyricus, the celebrated author of the 
Catalogus Testium Veritatis and of the Magdeburg Centuries, 
that the Brethren were not the spiritual seed of John Hus, 

' "I, Michael," so this passage reads, "went to him (the Waldensian 
Bishop). He thanked God with tears that he was permitted, before his 
latter end, to hear of such men as the Brethren, and he consecrated me as 
a Bishop with the imposition of hands." Goll, Appendix, p. 105. 

* L. F. III. p. 227, etc., in Keichel's Zusatze, p. 45. Goll, Appendix, 
p. 107. Goll thinks the author was Luke of Prague; the Bohemian 
Historia Fratrum says he was either Thomas, Prokop of Neuhaus, or 
Lawrence Krasonicky. 

^ L. F., VL p. 48, etc., in Keichel's Zusatze, p. 37. 


but a mere branch of the Waldenses. Blahoslaw had a 
violent dispute with Flacius on this subject at Magdeburg. 
Under such circumstances it may well be supposed that he 
prepared his epitome with the greatest care. At the same 
time, in as much as he was the archivist of the Church, 
specially charged with the collection of its official records and 
of documents relating to its history, he had the best oppor- 
tunity of rendering his narrative authentic and absolutely 
reliable. Now, in the course of it he says, that the Waldenses 
had two Bishops who "consecrated them (the deputies of the 
Brethren), with the imposition of hands, and declared them to 
be their associates in the Lord and fellow-bishops."^" 

At a later time Blahoslaw wrote a second and more 
voluminous History of the Church. This work is lost. It 
was, however, known to Jaifet, Regenvolscius and other 
writers of the seventeenth century. One of these, Samuel 
Martinius of Drazov, a bitter enemy of the Brethren, em- 
bodied almost literally in a polemical work, Zur Abwekr, 
which he published in 1636, Blahoslaw's account of the 
introduction of the episcopacy, taken from his second History. 
In this citation Blahoslaw says that the deputies of the 
Brethren M^ere sent to the Waldensian Bishop in order to be 
empowered, through their consecration, to ordain other 
ministers, and that he gave them such consecration, adding : 
"But it is not true, as some assert, that he laid his hands 
upon them merely as a sign of repentance; although we will 
not deny that the Waldensian Bishop may perhaps have said 
this, at a later time, constrained by fear." That is, he feared 
the consequences of having invested the Brethren's Church 
with the episcopacy; for as soon as this became known a 
severe persecution broke out.^^ 

1" Blahoslaw's Summa, L. F,, VIII.; Goll, Appendix, p. 118. 

" Goll, pp. 60 and 61, and Appendix, p. 132. The manuscript collection 
of historical documents, written in Bohemian and preserved in the Univer- 
sity Library at Prague, which work we have cited in other connections 
{vide p. 100, No. 10, etc.) is generally ascribed to Blahoslaw, although Goll 
doubts the correctness of this view (Goll, pp. 56-59). This collection 
contains no document relating to the introduction of the episcopacy. 


6. A no less important witness is John Jaffet (ordained 
priest in 1576, Assistant Bishop in 1589, died in 1614), who 
was appointed by the Bishops to meet the attacks of a Jesuit 
opponent, of whom we will presently speak more at length. 
Jaifet began his literary labors by a thorough study of the 
history of the Brethren, and became so well read in it that 
Regenvolscius calls him, by way of eminence, "the writer of 
the History of the Unity of the Bohemian Brethren.'"^ 
Jaffet says, in his Ursprung der Bruder-Unitnt, that the 
priests sent to the Waldenses were consecrated by their 
Bishops "to the episcopal office with prayer and the laying on 
of hands."^^ 

7. In the year 1616, the General Synod of Zerawitz resolved 
to publish the Ratio Disciplince Ordinisque JEcclesiastici, or the 
'•Ecclesiastical Discipline and Order" of the Church. To 
this document was prefixed, in the name of the Bishops and 
Ministers, a historical introduction, which says, speaking ot 
the deputation sent to the Waldenses : " Since they affirmed 
that they had regular Bishops, and a regular succession unin- 
terrupted from the Apostles, they in a solemn manner created 
three of our ministers Bishops, and conferred on them the 
power of ordaining ministers."^^ This is the official testi- 
mony on the subject given by the Church in Synod assembled. 

8. In closino- this series of authorities we merely refer to 
the additional and unanimous evidence furnished by Bishop 
Amos Comenius, by the History of Persecutions, by Regen- 
volscius, and, in modern times, by the Roman Catholic writer 
Gindely, and the Protestant writer Cerwenka, both of whom 
have studied the history of the Brethren with the utmost 
care.'^ Cerwenka says: "That the first priests of the 
Brethren received their ordination, and the Unity its first 

" Regenvolscius, p. 328. 

" Ursprung, p. 59, MS., Herrnhut Archives, Reicliel's Zusiitze, p. 79. 

" Seifferth Ch. Con., pp. 26 and 94; Ratio Discipline, ed. 1702, pp. i 
and 4. 

15 Coraenii Hist, et R. D., | 21, p. 18 ; Hist. Persecutionum, cap. XX, 4; 
Regenvolscius, p. 33 ; Gindely, I. p. 37 ; Cerwenka, II. pp. 28 and 29. 


Bishop through the agency of the Waldenses, can not be 

In the next place we will examine into the credibility of 
the account which has come down to us respecting the origin 
of the Waldensian episcopate. 

The circumstances which called forth this narrative and the 
source whence it is derived both tend to give it authority. It 
is not taken from Waldensian records, but from a formal 
document issued by the University of Prague, which paper, 
in the very nature of the case, must be disinterested. Soon 
after the Colloquy in 1478, between the Masters of the 
University and the representatives of the Unitas Fratrum, 
Wenzel Koranda, in the name of the former, drew up " The 
Book of the Masters concerning the ten Articles ; a Defence 
of the faith against the Picards." These articles contained 
the reputed heresies which the Brethren had acknowledged 
at the Colloquy, and the entire work was written in refuta- 
tion of such errors. It contains the following passage : 

" In order that no one may, in any wise, doubt that the ordina- 
tion of those Waldenses of whom the Picards speak, springs from 
the Roman Catholic Church, we will here set forth when and how 
this thing came to pass. It is a thing which stands fast, which 
was reported by the Waldenses themselves, and which was recorded 
by those who were present as a memorial for all time to come."^^ 

There follows the narrative as given above. It is derived, 
therefore, from the bitter enemies of the Brethren, and was 
written only about forty-five years after the occurrence which 
it relates, Jaifet fully endorses it and introduces it into his 
reply to the attacks of the Jesuit whom, as we have said, he 
was appointed to refute.^'' This Jesuit was Wenzel Sturm, 
one of the most learned and acute of his order, and so adroit 
a sophist that it was a common saying : " Hippias ought to 

^® Goll, pp. 26 and 27, and Appendix, p. 106. The document ("Das 
Buch der Magister von den 10 Artikeln. Die Vertheidigung des Glaubens 
gegen die Pikarden") is found in a codex of the Bohemian Museum, in 
which codex it was inscribed in 1491. A part of it was printed in 1842 in 
the Bohemian Transactions of the " k. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften," 
Rozbor staroceske literalury. 

" Ursprung d. B. U., II. "p. 48, etc., Reichel's Zusatze, pp. 72 and 73. 


have been Sturm's scholar," In dealing with such an 
antagonist, it is not likely that Jaffet would have brought 
forward the narrative if he had not been sure of his ground. 
In considering the occurrence itself we must, first, carefully 
distinguish between the position of the Moravian Waldenses 
in the fifteenth century and the Waldenses of the Piedmont 
Valleys in the seventeenth ; the former being recognized and 
honored by their Utraquist neighbors, the latter hated and 
oppressed by their Romish foes. And then we must take 
into consideration the peculiar circumstances of the time. 
Unparalleled confusion reigned in the Roman Catholic 
Church and among the religious parties of Bohemia. The 
Council of Basle had openly broken with the Pope and was 
continuing its work in defiance of his decree of dissolution. 
That work included the pacification of the Hussites. They 
were flattered and cajoled. They were allowed to dispute, in 
open session, with the Fathers, and to defend the principles 
for which Hus had been put to death. They were assured 
that their demands would be granted. They were incited 
against each other, so that even if the Taborites would not 
agree to a pacification the Utraquists might be won. That in 
such a period two Waldensians, previously ordained to the 
priesthood by a Roman Catholic Bishop and representing a 
body which fraternized with the Utraquists, should, at their 
request, be consecrated to the episcopacy, not in accordance 
with an act of the Council, but by Bishops who were mem- 
bers of it^ — for there undoubtedly were several consecrators, 
even if only one be mentioned — is not less credible than the 
many other unusual events which were transpiring at Basle. 
" Such an act, just at that time," writes Palacky, " may have 
been meant as an example and encouragement for the Bohe- 
mians, that they might be the more ready to agree to the 
Compactata of Basle."'* 

i» Palacky, VII. p. 492. It would be a misconception of the whole 
narrative, to 'suppose that the Acts of the Council of Basle ought to contain 
a record of the consecration of Nemez and Wlach. The Council, as such. 
had nothing to do with the transaction. Gindely, like Palacky, practically 


Goll doubts the narrative and attempts, in a note, to explain 
it by saying that Frederick Nemez was a certain Frederick 
Reiser, who was arrested and executed at Strassburo;, and 
claimed, in the course of his trial, to have been ordained by 
the Taborite Bishop, Nicholas Pilgram. But in giving this 
explanation Goll falls into a strange inconsistency. For if 
his note is correct, then the record found in the " Book of 
the Masters " must be absolutely rejected ; and yet, in the 
text, he says merely, that their narrative " must be received 
with caution."^^ It is, moreover, extremely improbable that 
the Waldenses, the friends of the Utraquists, would apply to 
the Taborites for ordination just at the time when their power 
was fast waning. Such an ordination, even in the period of 
their greatest prosperity, would not, as Goll's note makes 
Pilgram himself say, have been acknowledged by the Utra- 
quists. Nor are these the only objections to GoU's conjecture. 
Two others present themselves which are insurmountable. 
In the first place, Reiser was no Waldensian ; in the second, 
Goll wholly fails to account for the consecration at Basle. It 
would be absurd to suppose that Nicholas Pilgram had been 
connected with that act ; for it took place not long after the 
battle of Lipan, when he and the whole remnant of Taborite 
leaders were hiding behind the strong walls of Tabor. 

But the historic character of the episcopate of the Unitas 
Fratrum does not stand or fall with the above account of 
the origin of the Waldensian episcopate. That character 
depends rather upon the question whether the deputies of 
the Synod of Lhota were actually consecrated Bishops by 
the Waldensian Bishops. If this is conceded, then these 
bishops must have had a legitimate episcopate even if the 
way in which they obtained it can not be satisfactorily 
explained. For it has been shown, and is confessed by Goll, 
that one of the chief reasons why the Brethren sought the 
episcopacy was the desire to establish a ministry which would 

endorses the narrative, and says that the Utraquists maintained it to be 
correct. I. p. 37. 
^» Goll, p. 27. 


be acknowledged by the Roman Catholics and Utraquists. 
It is plain, therefore, that the deputies who negotiated with 
the Waldenses and the Synod which sent them, must have 
been fully satisfied with regard to the validity of the Wal- 
densian episcopate, and must have known that this validity 
would not be called in question by the Roman Catholics and 
Utraquists. If Stephen and his colleague were not lawful 
Bishops, they could confer nothing more than what the 
deputies had already received. And yet these deputies joy- 
fully accepted the laying on of their hands; and, upon 
returning to Bohemia, re-ordained Matthias, Thomas and 
Elias, who had received presbyterial ordination at the Synod 
of Lhota. Hence the Brethren must have been convinced 
that they were securing a valid episcopacy. If such were not 
their convictions, we must suppose an order of events utterly 
absurd and preposterous. 

Three priests, ordained in the Roman Catholic and Wal- 
densiau Churches, ordain the first three candidates for an 
independent ministry of the Unitas Fratrum. Having done 
this, these priests are sent to two ministers who are not 
Bishops, hence priests and their equals, and accept from them 
a new ordination, although it is nothing more than what they 
had before, and although one of their number had already, 
in all probability, been ordained by those very ministers. 
Thereupon, having thus been re-ordained by priests, these 
three priests go home and, as priests, re-ordain the same men 
to whom they had before imparted a presbyterial ordination. 

Is it not more reasonable to believe that the Waldenses had 
a valid episcopate, the origin of which can not be explained, 
than to suppose that the Brethren would so stultify themselves? 
Now, even Goll, who is a Roman Catholic Professor at 
Prague, and has carefully studied' the original documents in 
the Herrnhut Archives, although he presses his criticisms to 
extremes, and finds, as he says, many obscurities and contra- 
dictions in the sources, and draws conclusions with which we 
do not agree, is nevertheless obliged to confess that Michael 
Bradacius was consecrated a Bishop by Bishop Stephen of the 


Waldenses.^ But if our argument be correct, the validity of 
the Waldeusian episcopate follows, whatever its origin. 

That obscurity prevails, not only with regard to the insti- 
tution of the ministry of the Brethren but also in connection 
witli other points in their early history, is undeniable. Such 
obscurity, however, can easily be explained. 

In the first period of the Church, many occurrences, from 
prudential motives, were intentionally concealed. The letters 
to Rokycana, for example, do not mention the episcopal con- 
secration received from the Waldeuses. For, as Reichel well 
says, " it would have been gross ingratitude if the Brethren, 
by forthwith publishing the source of their episcopacy, had 
drawn the attention of their enemies to the Waldenses. How 
much cause they had for such caution, is shown by the perse- 
cution of the Waldenses which broke out when it became 
known what they had done for the Brethren."^^ The His- 

^^ Goll's work, " Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Boh- 
mischen Briider," is very valuable, in spite of its hypercritical tendencies ; 
and the Appendix, with its translations of original documents from the 
L. F., is invaluable. Not a few of his deductions, however, to use his 
own words, "must be accepted with caution." For example, he praises 
some of Jaffet's historical works, says that he used sources now lost to 
us, that he gave tone to the historical literature of the seventeenth 
century, and yet, when it suits him, coolly rejects Jaffet's statements. 
Again, in one place, he says that Jaffet constructed, without authority, 
lists of the early Bishops, and yet, in another, that Bishop Cerny, the 
first Archivist of the Unitas Fratrum, wrote a work which is now lost, 
but which Jaffet used, on "The Succession of the Bishops from 1467 
to 1559." The views of Lechler, in his " Wiclif u. die Vorgeschichte der 
Ref.," II. p. 507, antagonistical to the validity of the episcopate of the 
Unitas Fratrum, as also those of Zeschwitz, in " Herzog's Encyklopsedie," 
are sufficiently refuted by what has been said above. Moreover, neither of 
these writers, although we do not otherwise question the distinction of 
Lechler as a historian, had access to the original sources, and could not 
have understood them even if they had been open. Their views are based 
on works which we have noticed in this chapter and in other connections. 
Compare the author's "Moravian Episcopate,'' London, 1877. 

^^ Zusatze, p. 89. Jaffet, Schwerdt Goliath's, p. 11, etc., in Keichel's 
Zusiitze, pp. 81 and 82, speaks of this caution and prudence of the early 
Brethren, and says the knowledge of several important occurrences was 
intentionally conveyed to posterity by tradition only. 


toria Persecutionum adds: "There was a time when, con- 
strained by existing circumstances, the Brethren, very prop- 
erly, were silent with regard to the ordination received from 
the Waldenses."^^ As soon as that time had passed by, they 
made known their claim. 

The records of the Church were subjected to unusual 
accidents. The earliest archives, kept at Senftenberg, were 
destroyed at the end of the fifteenth century f the second 
collection of documents mostly perished, in 1546, in a con- 
flagration at Leitomischl; and the great mass of their 
publications, issued at a later time, fell a prey to the fury of 
the Anti-reformation. If these records and works were still 
in existence, light would be thrown upon points that will 
ever remain obscure. And yet, taking into consideration 
both the disasters which befell the records, and the persistent 
efforts that were made to blot them from existence, it is sur- 
prising that, at this late date, so much is known of the origin, 
episcopate and earliest history of the Brethren. 

The claim of the Unitas Fratrum to a valid episcopacy is 
important as a historic and not as an essential question. It is 
not based upon the idea that episcopal ordination is alone 
legitimate. The Church still occupies the catholic standpoint 
of the fathers, upholding fellowship with evangelical Chris- 
tians of every name ; the prayer which was fervently uttered, 
four and a quarter centuries ago, amidst the mountains of 
Reichenau and in the hamlet of Lhota, is still repeated: 
"Unite all the children of God in one spirit."^ 

Taking up again the thread of our History, we find that, 
after the return of Michael Bradacius and his two com- 
panions, another Synod was convened at Lhota, to which body 
they rendered a full report of their consecration. ^^ This 
report occasioned general satisfaction and deep joy, and, by 
direction of the Synod, Michael proceeded, first of all, in 

^2 Cap. II. 6. 

« Palacky, IX. p. 192, Note 143. 
^* Litany of the Moravian Church- 
'■'^ Reichel's Geschichte, p. 2l. 


virtue of his new episcopal office, to re-ordain Matthias, 
Thomas and Elias to the priesthood. Thereupon it was 
resolved to appoint by lot one of these three priests to the 
episcopacy. The lot designated Matthias of Kunwald, who 
was consecrated by Michael and his two associate Bishops.^® 

In order to assist the Bishops in the government of the 
Church, the Synod furthermore instituted an Executive 
Council, to which were elected the following members : 
Thomas, Elias, Gregory, John Chelcicky, Lawrence Kras- 
onicky, Prokop, Luke, John Taborsky, John Klenowsky and 

And now an idea was broached — whether at this Synod or 
at a subsequent convocation can not be determined — which 
took by surprise the three Bishops who had received conse- 
cration at the hands of the AYaldensians. These three 
Bishops, the Brethren said, had been appointed merely in 
order to transfer the episcopacy from the Waldenses to the 
Unitas Fratrum, not in order to stand at its head : the head 
of the Church must be Matthias, who was its Bishop in a 
different sense from what they were : moreover, two of their 
number had come originally from the Roman Catholic 
Church, and no element of this kind ought to be found in 
the government of the Unity, whose very existence was a 
solemn protest against Rome. 

Michael Bradacius at once yielded to the wishes of his 
brethren and resigned the position of presiding Bishop in 
favor of Matthias ; the second Bishop, who had been origin- 
ally a Waldensian priest, died about this time ; but the third, 
whose priesthood, like Michael's, was of Romish origin, 
indignantly protested, and when he could not gain his point. 

^® M. Bradacius in Koranda's Letter previously quoted, Palacky, IX. p. 
192; Book of the Masters, Goll, Appendix, p. 105; Jaffet's Schwerdt 
Goliath, p. 11, etc., in Reichel's Zusiitze, p. 80; Gindely I. p. 37, etc. 

" Jaffet's Goliath's Schwerdt, p. 11, etc., in Keichel's Zusatze, pp. 82 
and 83 ; Gindely, I. p. 38. It is uncertain whether all these men were 
elected at this Synod ; some of them may have been appointed at a later 
time ; but the above ten members constituted the first Council. 


left the Church in great anger. Such a manifestation of the 
spirit of Rome made so unfavorable an impression upon 
Michael, that he resigned his episcopacy altogether, declaring 
that he was unworthy of this office and would again be a mere 
priest. At the same time he pronounced his Romish priest- 
hood to be corrupt, and had himself re-ordained by Bishop 
Matthias.^ Although he acted conscientiously in this matter, 
yet his course was strange, inconsistent and improper. 

•■'^ Ob die Trennung von Gott sei, L. F., V. p. 23, etc., in Reichel's Zusiitee, 
p. 51; Koranda's Letter, previously quoted; Luke's Erneuerung d. h. 
Kirche, MS., University Prague, GoU, Appendix, pp. 109 and 110. The 
fact that one of Michael's associates was dead and that the other had left 
the Church, constitutes the reason that he speaks, in the sources elsewhere 
quoted, only of himself as consecrated by the Waldenses to the episcopacy. 



The /Second Persecution of the Brethren. 1468-1471. 

Bishop Matthias and his Council. — Union with the Waldenses proposed. — 
Prevented by the Utraquists. — Treachery of one of the Bishops. — 
Persecution of Waldenses. — Bishop Stephen's Martyrdom. — Rokycana 
inaugurates a Persecution of the Brethren. — Edict of the Diet. — The 
seven Letters of the Brethren to Rokycana.— Their First Confession 
of Faith. — Summary of their Doctrines. — Other Letters of the Brethren^ 
— Their Sufferings during the Persecution. — Zeal and Activity of the 
Council. — War with Hungary prevents a general Persecution. — Last 
Letter to Rokycana. — His Death. — Death of King George. 

Bishop Matthias and his Council, whose seat was at 
Lhota, began their work with hope and zeal. There had been 
committed to him, in some respects, absolute power; but it 
was overshadowed by the superior education and intellectual 
strength of several of his associates. Gregory continued to be 
the leading spirit. Next to him stood Lawrence Krasonicky, 
who faithfully strove to keep the Church in the paths of 
simplicity marked out by its founders. He was a Bachelor 
of Arts, a learned man and the author of numerous works. 
Other prominent members of the Council were Prokop, whose 
distinguished labors will be set forth in the sequel; John 
Taborsky, erudite, of sound judgment, free of speech, "famous 
in his time ;" and John Klenowsky, a finished scholar and 
noted for his sagacity. Bishop Borek, of Olmiitz, used to say, 
that he, Ctibor Towacowsky — the Governor of Moravia — and 
Klenowsky, could together rule the whole world. But more 
honorable is the testimony of his brethren. He was true in 
all his ways ; faithful and untiring in his work. Loving the 


Church with his whole heart he reliuquished considerable 
estates in order to devote himself to its interests, spent the 
rest of his fortune mostly for its benefit, and grew to be a 
venerable father in its service/ 

One of the first projects inaugurated by the Council had in 
view a union with the Waldenses. The overture, however, 
was conditional. In point of doctrine and in their efforts to 
lead Christian lives they were a shining light, but its bright- 
ness was, to some extent, marred by inconsistency. They did 
not confess their faith boldly before men; they fraternized 
with the Utraquists at the mass ; their ministers manifested 
a tendency to accumulate wealth. To these things the deputies 
sent by the Council were instructed to draw their attention in 
brotherly kindness and love. The Waldenses received this 
reproof in the same spirit, acknowledged that they had erred, 
and promised to return to the way of their fathers. A joint 
convention was agreed on, at which the terms of the union 
should be settled. The joy of the Brethren, when informed 
of the success of these negotiations, proved to be premature. 
Contrary to the stipulations into which the Waldenses had 
entered, they consulted their Utraquist friends, who persuaded 
them to relinquish the project as useless and dangerous.^ 

And yet there came upon them the very peril which they 
sought to avoid. " Like another Doeg," the faithless Bishop 
who had deserted the Unitas Fratrum sought out Rokycana 
and betrayed the proceedings at Lhota as well as the act of 
the Waldensian Bishops. Rokycana burned with anger. 
Casting to the winds his friendship, he inaugurated a merciless 

' Letter of Luke of Prague to the Brethren at Tumau, written after the 
death of Klenowsky, which took place at Leitomischl, on the Friday before 
St. Martin's Day (November 11th), 1498. L. F., V. p. 329, Reichel's 
Zusazte, pp. 192 and 193 ; also Todtenbuch, p. 3. Taborsky died at the 
same place, on the second Wednesday after Easter, 1495, and was buried in 
the church. Todtenbuch, p. 2. Krasonicky died at the same place, 
January 25, 1532. Todtenbuch, p. 12. His writings, seventeen in number, 
are mostly lost; GoU, Appendix, p. 138, gives his Treatise on the Lord's 
Supper against Cahera, the MS. being in the City Library of Gorlitz. 

^ Blahoslaw's Summa, Goll, Appendix, pp. 118 and 119. 


persecution. The Waldenses were dispersed. Some wan- 
dered homeless through the country ; the majority fled to the 
Mark Brandenburg ; Bishop Stephen, while secretly officiating 
among the Germans, was arrested, taken to Vienna, and 
executed at the stake (1469).^ 

No less violent was Rokycana's indignation against the 
Brethren. He could not forgive them for the bold step which 
they had taken, although it was the result of his own instruc- 
tions. It militated against his interests and those of the 
National Church. However unwilling he may have been to 
take part in the first persecution, now he was foremost in 
stirring up the King, the clergy and the people. At his 
instigation, Podiebrad brought the secession of the Brethren to 
the notice of the Diet of Beneschau (1468), and this body 
decreed that they should be arrested and punished. Nothing 
short of an absolute recantation was to save them from such a 

Under these circumstances they appealed to their persecutor. 
The letters which they sent him, written mostly by Gregory, 
manifested a deep religious feeling, honesty of conviction, 
strong faith in God and fearlessness in confessing the truth. 

At the same time glimpses were occasionally given of the 
hope, still entertained by the Brethren, that Rokycana might, 
in the end, break the worldly bonds by which he was held 
and come out openly on the side of the Uuitas Fratrum. 

The first epistle, dated May the second, 1468, reminded him 
of what he had himself taught its founders ; of the advice 
which he had given them to consult Peter Chelcicky; of 
his own memorable words, " I know very well that you are 
right, but I can not join you without disgrace." Why then 
should he now malign and persecute them ? It closed as 
follows : " We have separated from you for no trivial 
reasons, but because we could not possibly find any spiritual 
food in your communion, where faith and love are perishing. 
Hence we have turned away from you to the Gospel." 

' Jaffet's Goliath's Schwerdt, Reichel's Ziisatze. p 93. 
* Cauaerarius, p. 114; Comenii Hist, et R. D., ^ 64, 


Rokycana told the messenger who brought this letter, and 
who was instructed to give him an oral report of recent 
occurrences, that only a divine revelation could justify the 
founding of an independent Church. " If you have received 
such a revelation," he added, "why do you not make it 
known? Should it prove to be true, we also will accept it,"^ 

This remark induced the Brethren to send him a full 
account of their secession, of the way in which they had, 
through the lot, ascertained the will of God, and of the 
doctrines which they held. They had previously received, in 
reply to a brief letter of inquiry, his written assurance that 
he would not make use of such information to their disad- 

The exposition of their doctrines as given to Rokycana, 
constituted the first formal Confession issued by the 

The Bible is their norm of faith and rule of practice ; they 
follow the example of the primitive Church ; they accept the 
Apostles' Creed. Living faith gives power to resist sin. By 
appropriating the merits of Christ a man receives, through 
Him, the forgiveness of sins and the efficacy of His resurrec- 
tion, so that he loves Him, abides in Him and becomes a new 
creature born of the seed of the Word of God. Outward 
righteousness and good works, performed with a carnal mind, 
bear no fruit unto salvation, for the spirit of adoption is 
wanting. There are seven sacraments, but their efficacy is not 

5 The first letter to Rokycana is found in L. F., I, p. 1, etc.; Plitt, chapter 
27 ; Gindely, I. pp. 39 and 40. 

^ The letter of inquiry is marked in the L. F. as the second of the series ; 
the account of their secession and doctrines is contained in the third and 
fourth (L. F., I. Reichel's Zusatze, p. 96-109), both delivered on the Friday 
after St. James' Day (July 25),* 1468. The third is of an explanatory 
character ; the fourth embraces first a history of the Synods of Reichenau 
and Lhota and then a Confession of Faith. In giving the history of the 
Synod at Lhota the fact that the episcopacy had been secured from the 
Waldenses is omitted, for the reasons assigned in the last chapter. 

' The Unitas Fratrum issued, from time to time, a number of Confessions 
(thirty-four according to Gindely). For our list of them see Appendix. 


objective ; it depends upon the faith of the recipient and the 
religious character of the officiating priest. Judicial oaths 
and military service are inadmissible. The civil power has 
no right to interfere in religious matters. Converts from the 
Roman Catholic Church must be rebaptized. 

There follows a detailed account of the seven sacraments. 
As regards the Lord's Supper, the position of the Synod of 
1459 is maintained, with the following additional comment : 
"It has often been asked, in how far this sacrament' is the 
body of Christ, We reply, that for the sake of our conscience, 
we dare not discuss, or try to understand this point. For 
neither our Lord Jesus Christ, nor His Apostles, have told us 
how this thing is. We simply believe what He says, and 
receive the sacrament for the purpose for which it was 
instituted by Him," 

A letter which the Brethren addressed to the King (1468), 
contained substantially the same Confession. They wrote also 
to the Masters of the University.^ 

But all these communications availed nothing. The King 
remained hostile. Rokycana's answer to their appeals was 
publicly given, in the form of epistles to the clergy and 
people, warning them against the Brethren, against their 
hypocrisy and dark ways.^ 

Thereupon, in 1469, they sent him their sixth letter con- 
taining a refutation of his charges and, in the next year, 
followed it up with a public reply .^"^ 

The confidence which the Brethren express in the justness 
of their cause, can not but excite admiration ; and their words 

8 L. F., 11. Reichel's Ziisiitze, p. 112. Goll, Appendix, p. 94-96. 

» In 1465 Hilarius Litomiriensis wrote his " Tractatus contra perfidiam 
aliquor. Boli." It was published in 1485, and probably constitutes the 
oldest printed work extant against the Unitas Fratrum. A copy of it is 
contained in the Malin Library of Moravian Literature, at Bethlehem, and 
is a beautiful specimen of the Incunabula. Catalogue, p. 35, No. 137. 

1" L. F., II., pp. 62-67, Reichel's Zusatze, p. 113, etc. For the fifth letter 
see p. 119 of this History, Note 18. Goll, pp. 15-21, does not follow the 
numbering of the letters as given in the L. F. and, in some cases, attaches 
different dates from those found in Reichel's Zusatze. 


often have a ring which is as clear as it is bold. Thus the 
Masters of the University are entreated, since they well know 
the corruptness of the Romish Church, to break ofi' all con- 
nection with it and openly confess the truth ; the King is 
informed that the Brethren are ready to prove, before a 
General Council, that it is right to abjure obedience to this 
Church, and that the rule of the Popes is an abomination 
before God." 

Repeated requests were made by the Unity for a public 
hearing, but the only notice taken of them was a brief 
examination, in 1470, of Martin, one of its imprisoned 

Meanwhile the edict of the Diet began to bear bitter fruits. 
More than one city expelled every inhabitant who was known 
to be a member of the Unity. At Koniggratz numerous 
arrests took place, the prisoners being conveyed to Prague and 
there incarcerated; at Skuc, Baron Kostka had several 
Brethren tortured on the rack and cast into a gloomy dungeon. 
Michael Bradacius was seized, by order of the King, and 
confined in the Castle of Brux; Matthias Dolansky ex- 
perienced the same treatment at Prague. In Moravia, at 
Kremsir, Jacob Hulava was burned alive in the presence of 
his family. The numerous chapels which the Brethren had 
built were all closed. They were forced to meet for worship 
on the mountains and in the recesses of the forests. In winter 
they walked, in single file, to the appointed places, through 
deep snow, the last man dragging after him a rake or the 
branch of a tree to obliterate their footprints. 

But they remained true to God and to their faith in God. 
He was near to them as they called upon Him amidst His 
everlasting hills, and when they sang His praises with the 
storm-wind for an accompaniment. There was no thought of 
yielding to their foes. 

This was owing, in no small degree, to the courage, activity 
and endurance displayed by Bishop Matthias, Gregory and 

" Palacky, VIII. p. 499. 


the whole Council. Having transferred their seat from Lhota 
to Lenesic, near Laun, they went out in every direction, at 
great risk, to comfort the afflicted and the oppressed, or sent 
them, by trusty messengers, letters full of encouragement and 
hope. Nor did they forget the temporal necessities of the 
persecuted flock. Collections were instituted among its 
wealthier members and large amounts contributed. A godly 
woman, one Catharine, is mentioned by name, as having been 
particularly zealous in works of mercy .^^ Had it not been 
for the devastating war which Matthias Corvinus, King of 
Hungary, in the name of the Emperor, of the Pope and of the 
Catholic religion, w^as carrying on with Podiebrad, the perse- 
cution might have become general. In such an event the 
Unitas Fratrum, in spite of its heroic faith, might have been 
overwhelmed. Hence the Brethren of a later day, referring 
to this dark time of trouble, wrote : " With David Ave may 
confess, ' If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, 
now may Israel say; if it had not been the Lord who was 
on our side, when men rose up against us ; then they had 
swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against 

In 1471 the Council sent to Rokycana its last letter, ex- 
horting him to change his course and solemnly re-iterating 
w^hat had been said in the first, that he had risen up against 
the lowly and simple of heart who were but carrying out his 
own instructions. " Reflect, O Teacher," were the closing 
words of this document, '' and die not with such sins upon 
your soul ! "^* 

Rokycana still remained unmoved. But his power was 
drawing to an end. On the twenty-second of February, of 
the same year, this ambitious leader of the National Church, 
which he had ruled for half a century, was laid low in 

'^ The above facts are taken from L. F., I. II. and V., Jaffet's Ursprung 
d. B. U. and Lasitius, all quoted by Gindely. 
1^ Conf. of 1538, Hist. Introd., De Origine, in Lydius, II. p. 139. 
1* L. F., I. p. 34, etc., Reichel's Zusatze, p. 132. 


death.'^ A month later, on the twenty-fifth of March, King 
George Podiebrad followed him to the grave. Then the 
persecution ceased. 

15 The statement of the Hist. Persecutionum that Rokycana died wrestling 
with despair (Cap. XXI., 1), is unreliable, although a much older record, a 
letter of Sigismund, Dean of Bunzlau, says the same thing ; not, however, 
in connection with the persecutions of the Brethren. But this letter is so 
hostile in tone, calling Rokycana a man "damnatse memorise," and a 
'• heresiarch," that it is unworthy of credit. Palacky's Beitriige zur Gesch. 
Boll mens im Zeitalter Podiebrad's, pp. 664 and 665. 


Increase and Prosperity of the Church. 1471-1490. 

State of Bohemia. — Uladislaus elected King. — Increase of the Church. — Its 
Friends among the Nobility. — Letters to the Cities. — Queen Joanna's 
Animosity. — Edict of the Diet and a Colloquy. — Death of Gregory. — 
Publication of the University against the Brethren. — Lezek the false 
Witness.— Diet and Colloquy of 1478.— The Waldenses of the Mark 
Brandenburg and their Union with the Unitas Fratrum. — Pacification 
established by the Diet of Kuttenberg. — The Brethren define their 
Position. — The Peasantry reduced to Serfdom and the Influence of 
this Measure on the Church. — The Brethren banished from Moravia. 
— Their Emigration to Moldavia and Keturn. 

George Podiebrad wa.s a great man and a hero. He 
saved Bohemia from anarchy. He ruled it with a fatherly- 
hand. He was the first European monarch who emancipated 
a kingdom from the arrogant supremacy of papal Rome. And 
yet he left the country which he loved so well, devastated by 
war, stricken with poverty, and shorn of its goodly provinces. 
Silesia, Lusatia and one-half of Moravia were in the hands 
of Matthias Corvinus, who, not satisfied with these conquests, 
had usurped even his rival's title and caused himself to be 
proclaimed King of Bohemia. Under such circumstances 
Podiebrad's successor, Uladislaus, Prince of Poland — elected 
May the twenty-seventh, 1471 — a lad of fifteen years, good- 
natured but weak, easily imposed on and indolent, was not the 
sovereign to restore the bloom of prosperity, especially as 
Matthias, his unsuccessful competitor for the crown, smarting 
with disappointment, implacably continued the war. 


But the Brethren had reason to rejoice over the election of 
Uladislaus. It opened the way for a rapid increase of their 
Church. He set its imprisoned ministers and members free ; 
public services were again begun in all its chapels ; and large 
accessions took place, principally among the peasantry and the 
trades-people. Moreover, the exemplary diligence of the 
Brethren, the good order which prevailed among them, the 
humility which they displayed, and their consistent determina- 
tion not to take part in the religious disputes that were going 
on throughout the country, w^on the favor and gained the 
protection of several powerful nobles. Among these Ctibor 
and John Towacowsky von Ciraburg, two brothers and the 
chief advisers of the young King, Kostka von Postupic and 
William von Pernstein were prominent. Jungbunzlau, 
which belonged to John Towacowsky, became a principal 
center of the Unity. Other noteworthy seats were at Brandeis 
on the Adler, Brandeis on the Elbe, and Leitomischl, in 
Bohemia, and at Prerau, Leipnik, Tobitschau and Prossnitz, 
in Moravia.^ 

Encouraged by such prosperity and realizing the important 
part which the cities and towns of Bohemia would play in its 
future development, the Executive Council made an attempt 
to gain their good-will also. Letters were addressed to the 
local authorities, setting forth the reasons why the Brethren 
had separated from the National Church and giving a brief 
account of their ecclesiastical system. The town-council of 
Hohenmauth sent a friendly answer and asked for an expo- 
sition of their views on the Lord's Supper.^ 

Bitter animosity, on the contrary, filled the heart of Queen 
Joanna, George Podiebrad's widow. She induced the Diet 
of Beneschau, which she opened, May the twenty-seventh, 
1473, with a long address having for its object the recon- 
ciliation of the Utraquists and the Catholics, to adopt an 
alarming resolution. Members of the Unity were everywhere 

1 Palacky, IX. pp. 49 and 50, 188 and 189. 

^ L. F., I. p. 85; Boh. Hist. Frat., I. pp. 60 and 61, quoted by Gindely, 
I. p. 49. 


to be cited before the civil tribunals and forced to recant. If 
Joanna, as is said, took this step with the knowledge and 
consent of young Uladislaus,^ he was too good-natured to 
decline the request which the Brethren immediately presented, 
that they might be allowed to defend their cause at a Colloquy. 
It took place at Prague (1473), but brought about no under- 
standing. Michael Bradacius and Jerome, the representatives 
of the Unity, refused to recant and to accept any instructions 
on the part of the Utraquist Masters ; the Masters issued a 
letter warning the people against the heresy of the Brethren 
and holding them up to ridicule and contempt. Meanwhile 
the edict of Beneschau remained a dead letter.^ 

On the thirteenth of September, of the same year, the 
eventful career of Gregory the Patriarch came to an end. 
He died in an unostentatious house which he had built near 
the Castle, at Brandeis on the Adler. This town is situated 
in a plain inclosed, on all sides, by hills. The height to the 
east, known as the Klopot Mountain, is wooded and has a 
romantic ravine, through which runs a little stream, fresh and 
limpid, fringed with tufts of forget-me-nots. In this ravine 
Gregory is said to have been buried.^ It is a fit resting-place 
for the founder of the Unitas Fratrum, and in its sanctuary 
of nature where the soul instinctively rises heavenward, in 
the pureness of its flowing water, in the abundance of its 
humble flowers, sets forth a beautiful emblem of his life. He 
might easily have constituted himself the Bishop of the Unity, 
bat he left this honor to another, and labored, day and night, 
as its principal writer, its most zealous evangelist, its leading 
representative, without an ambitious thought or a self-inter- 
ested motive.^ At the same time his views remained legal. 

3 Comenii Hist., § 65. 

* Gindely, I. pp. 50 and 51. 

* Todtenbuch, p. 2, which says that Gregory was buried in an apiary 
(Bienenhaus). What kind of an apiary this may have been is hard to say. 

^ Eight works of Gregory, all in Bohemian, are known to exist, besides 
the Letters to Rokycana. There were a number of other writings from his 
pen, but these have been lost. Gindely, I. p. 498, Note 56. 


He never fully entered the lofty temple of evangelical liberty, 
and died with a solemn warning on his lips against permitting 
the government of the Church to fall into the hands of 
learned men. 

When the Masters of the University perceived that neither 
the edict of the Diet nor their own letter was hindering the 
spread of the Unitas Fratrum, they issued, in 1475, another 
writing which aspersed the moral character of its followers. 
This new exhibition of animosity received no little support 
through a scandalous plot concocted, in the following year, at 
Jungbunzlau. In that town lived a certain John Leschka, or 
Lezek, a brewer's apprentice, who, at one time, had been in 
the employ of a member of the Brethren's Church, but had 
himselt never belonged to its communion. He was a worth- 
less fellow, a thief, ready for anything that would bring him 
money. This man became a willing tool in the hands of the 
Utraquist priest, who bribed him to bear false witness against 
the Brethren. In presence of a large congregation — including 
Baron Towacowsky and his wife — assembled in the parish 
church, he publicly confessed the iniquities which he pretended 
to have committed while connected with the Unity and un- 
covered the enormities which he ascribed to its adherents. 
They blasphemed ; they were guilty of sacrilege, robbery and 
murder ; they engaged in witchcraft and the most outrageous 
licentiousness. His conscience, he said, would give him no 
peace until he had made these things known. He begged the 
people to pray for him, that he might be forgiven for the part 
which he had taken in the wickedness of the Picards. From 
Jungbunzlau he was hurried to Koniggratz. There he re- 
acted his part with ever-growing demonstrations of horror and 
penitence. A report of his confession, signed and sealed by 
a number of witnesses, was scattered broadcast through 

Against such shameful charges the Brethren not only pub- 
lished protests but also cited Lezek before a magistrate. 
When the trial came on, he acknowledged that he had been 


bribed, that his confession was false, that he had never been 
a member of the Unity/ 

This occurrence produced, on the one hand, warmer sym- 
pathy with the Brethren and even an increase of their 
membership, but on the other, greater enmity and renewed 
persecutions. Their friends scorned to believe the falsehoods 
of Lezek ; their enemies accepted them with avidity. 

On the tenth of August, 1478, a Utraquist Diet met at 
Prague and re-organized the Consistory of the National 
Church.^ The character and growth of the Unitas Fratrum 
also constituted a subject for grave discussion. Through the 
influence of its friends no harsh measures were adopted, but 
another Colloquy was ordered, with the understanding that 
the Brethren were to retain any views which they could, from 
the Holy Scriptures, prove to be binding, but to lay aside, on 
pain of banishment, any errors of which they might be found 

In the following year (1479), a correspondence was opened 
wdth the Waldenses of the Mark Brandenburg, through Peter 
one of their number, who visited Bohemia. Not Ioup; after 
they were subjected to severe persecutions. The Executive 
Council sent Thomas of Landskron and other deputies in 
order to advise with them amidst such distressing circum- 
stances. This mission led to the departure from the Mark 
of several hundred of them, who immigrated to Moravia and 

' A full accouut of Lezek's proceedings is found in L. F., VI. p. 121, etc., 
Reichel's Zusiitze, pp. 181-187, where twenty-two charges are set forth 
which he brouglit against the Brethren. Gindely asserts that Lezek him- 
self originated the plot, that the priest of Jungbunzlau was duped, but acted 
in good faitli. The L. F. distinctly says, that the priest bribed Lezek to play 
his part. See also Jaffet's Ursprung, p. 63, etc.; Hist. Persecutionum, 
Cap. XXL 

^ This Consistory consisted of twelve members, eight clergymen and four 
laymen. It was put under the protection of the Utraquist states. 

^ Palacky, IX. pp. 190 and 191. Of this Colloquy, which continued for 
several days and brought about vehement disputations, as also of the Ten 
Articles published by the Masters of the University and the Consistory, we 
have given an account on pp. 143, 144 and 147. 


joined the Brethren's Church. They settled at Fulneck and 
in its vicinity.^" 

Ever since the accession of Uladislaiis to the throne the 
breach between the Utraquists and Catholics had been 
widening. Their respective pulpits, in particular, resounded 
with the most vehement polemics. In 1483 bloody tumults 
broke out at Prague and terrible excesses were committed. 
At the same time disputes, with regard to their several rights, 
were going on between the barons on the one side, and the 
knights and cities on the other. The best minds of all parties 
earnestly desired a pacification. With such an end in view 
a General Diet was convened, in 1485, at Kuttenberg. The 
labors of this body were crowned with success. Acts were 
passed permitting every man to seek salvation in that church 
to which his conscience might lead him ; granting religious 
liberty on all domains both to the nobles and their serfs ; and 
adjusting the difficulties between the barons and knights, after 
the latter had been induced to forsake the cause of the cities. 

The Brethren were not included in this pacification, and 
yet, for a number of years, they enjoyed its benefits. It is 
true that they were cited before a commission to give an 
account of their faith, and that a resolution was adopted 
exhorting them to abjure their errors if they would escape 
banishment. But both these measures proved harmless. No 
steps were taken to carry them out.'^ 

In consequence, no doubt, of the transactions of this Diet, a 
Synod met, in the following year, and carefully defined the 
relation of the Unitas Fratrum to other churches. The fol- 
lowing points were adopted : 

For pious priests teaching the truth, wherever they may be 
found, the Brethren are to thank God, but they are not to 
leave their own communion in order to follow such priests or 

^° Jaffet's Ursprung, Keichel's Zusiitze, p. 92, and his Stimme des 
Wilchters, Goll, Appendix, p. 122 ; Hist. Persecut. XX. 5. An interesting 
letter from the Waldenses to the Brethren is found in the Bohemian Hist. 
Fratrum and is quoted in full by Goll, Appendix, pp. 121-123, Note 18. 

" Palacky, IX. p. 263, 272-274 ; Cerwenka, II. p. 64. 


receive the sacraments at their hands ; if a body of Christians 
should be met with upholding the Word of God in its purity, 
or if He should raise up evangelical teachers and reformers, 
the members of the Unity are not indiscriminately to join 
such Christians or to go after such reformers, but the 
Executive Council is to inquire into the expediency of making 
common cause with them ; no one church, however numerous, 
constitutes the universal Church embracing the sum total of 
believers, but wherever the true faith prevails as set forth in 
the Scriptures, there is manifested a part of the holy catholic 

In the year 1487, by a formal resolution of the National 
Court, the peasantry of Bohemia lost the last trace of their 
liberty and Avere reduced to a state of complete serfdom. 
Absolute power, including the right of capital punishment, 
was now exercised by the nobles on their domains. They 
practically became petty sovereigns. At the same time they 
extended their prerogatives in other directions. The regular 
members of the Diet were barons and knights; representatives 
of the cities secured a seat and vote only when questions 
affecting their interests were under discussion. In the 
National Court [Landesgericht) sat nobles exclusively ; the 
National Registry [Landtafel) was maintained solely for their 
benefit ; even the rights of the crown were curtailed in their 
favor. In this way the legislative, the judicial and, to a great 
extent, the executive power passed into the hands of the 
aristocracy. While the peasantry passively submitted to this 
yoke, the cities, throughout more than a quarter of a century, 
maintained a bitter contest for their municipal rights. 

Moravia constituted a crownland of Bohemia, but had a 
government of its own, with an independent diet and inde- 
pendent states. On the domains the same system existed as 

'^ Lasitius, III. 38, as developed by Plitt, Chapt. 32 ; Comenius Hist. 
I 67 ; Croeger, I. pp. 101 and 102. Why both Gindely and Cerwenka pass 
over this important Synod in silence, is hard to understand. Lasitius 
evidently quotes its official enactments. 


in Bohemia, and their owners asserted an authority which was 
even more unrestricted than that of the Bohemian nobles.'^ 

Both the serfdom of the peasants and the power of the 
nobility exercised a lasting influence upon the Unitas Fratrum. 

The former served to increase its membership. It is true 
that one of its fundamental principles was obedience to the 
constituted authorities, as ordained of God ; but it nevertheless 
recognized the dignity of man in every station and said to all 
who entered its communion, whether they were nobles or 
peasants, rich or poor, learned or unlearned, "One is your 
Master, even Christ ; and all ye are brethren." Hence, as 
Palacky well remarks, the spirit of Slavism, which was 
essentially democratic, found its last refuge in the Unitas 

On the other hand, the absolute power exercised by the 
nobles on their estates, enabled such as were friends of the 
Brethren, or members of the Brethren's Church, to protect 
them in times of persecution. If this had not been the case, 
the Unity would have come to an end long before its over- 
throw in the Anti-reformation. 

Wenzel Koranda and the Utraquist Consistory were 
alarmed by the steady increase of the Brethren, but their 
efforts to hinder it proved fruitless. They did not succeed in 
even bringing about another Colloquy. 

In Moravia the enemies of the Unity were more successful. 
At the peace of Ofen (1478), the claim of Matthias Corvinus 
to this country had been formally acknowledged, and now, 
instigated by Roman Catholic bishops, he banished all such 
Brethren as were domiciliated within its bounds. This meas- 
ly Palacky, IX. p. 292, etc. ; Schlesinger, pp. 390-401 ; Chlumecky's 
Zerotin, Chap. I. The laws securing to the nobility their prerogatives 
were published, in 1500, and are known as the " Uladislaus Code" {die 
Wladislawische Landesordnung). As regards the other provinces of Bo 
hernia we may add, that the constitution of Lusatia was similar to that of 
Moravia, while in Silesia there existed sixteen dukedoms, with independent 
privileges, but united through a General Diet and National Court. Some 
of these dukedoms stood immediately under the Bohemian King, others 
remained in the hands of native princes who were his vassals. 

" Palacky, IX. p. 305. 


lire was meant to terrify them. He did not doubt that they 
would abjure their faith rather than leave their homes. But 
he little understood the character of that faith and the spirit 
which it produced. Several hundred of them, with Nicholas 
of Schlan at their head,^^ forsaking houses and lands and all 
they had, unhesitatingly emigrated and took their way 
through Hungary and Siebenbiirgen to Moldavia (1488). The 
Hospidar Stephen gave them a friendly welcome. But they 
could not accustom themselves to the barbarism of the country; 
and its jiriests, perhaps its nobles also, began to oppress them. 
In order to strengthen their faith, the Council sent them, by 
the hands of Elias of Chrenovic, a letter full of fraternal 
sympathy and godly admonitions.'*' 

Meantime yielding to the expostulations ot Ciraburg and 
Pernstein, who pointed out the serious loss which. Moravia 
would sustain if its best inhabitants were expelled, Matthias 
modified his edict of banishment. It was to be enforced only 
in cases in which a year's notice to emigrate had been given. 
Such notices were never issued ; for the King died in 1490. 
His successor on the Hungarian throne was Uladislaus to 
whom, in consequence, Moravia, with Lusatia and Silesia, 
reverted. These changes induced the exiles in Moldavia to 
return to their homes.'" 

'* Nicholas was a priest and member of the Executive Council, versed in 
proverbs, acquainted with everything relating to the rise of the Unity and 
fond, in his old age, of relating to the young the tribulations of early times. 
He died at Leitomischl, September the twenty-seventh, 1542. Todtenbuch, 
p. 17. 

'® This letter is found in full in L. F., V. p. 365, etc., Reichel's Zusiitze, 
pp. 188-191, see Croeger, I. p. 98. 

1' Palacky, IX. pp. 307 and 308; Blahoslaw's Summa, Goll, Appendix, 
p. 123, etc.; Hist. Persecut., Cap. XX. In the last century the idea gained 
ground among the Moravians that a remnant of the Bohemian Brethren 
had remained in Moldavia and eventually settled among the Caucasian 
Mountains, where they kept up their religion and national customs. This 
idea was based on several printed sources (compare Cranz, pp. 32 and 33), 
on the MS. diary of the Bohemian settlement at Rixdorf, near Berlin, and 
especially on the reports of travelers and merchants who visited the Mora- 
vian settlement of Sarepta, in Asiatic Russia. In 1768 an exploring tour 
was undertaken by Kutschera and Becher, from Sarepta, to find this rem- 
nant, but proved unsuccessful; in 1781 a second attempt was made by 
Grabsch and Gruhl, which was also fruitless. Briider-Bote, 1877, pp. 
197-208; Glitsch's Geschichte von Sarepta, pp. 100-107 and 208-226. 



Dissensions and a Schism. A. D. 1490-1496. 

Gregory's extreme Views. — Reaction after his Death— Two Parties. — 
Writings on both Sides.— Luke of Prague.— The Council Divided. — 
Writings of Prokop. — Compromise at the Synod of 1490 —Jacob and 
Amos inveigh against the Compromise. — Bishop Matthias and his 
arbitrary Course. — Exploratory Tours to the East in search of an 
Apostolic Church.— Prokop and Luke laboring to restore Harmony. — 
Luke's Writings.— Synod of 1495.— Bishop Matthias acknowledges the 
Errors of his Course.— Victory of the Liberal Party.— Gregory's 
Writings no longer authoritative.— Amos and Jacob cause a Schism. 
— Sect of the Amosites. 

Extreme views always lead to evil. However conscien- 
tiously entertained they are, in the very nature of the case, 
one-sided, and prevent those large conceptions and catholic 
tendencies out of w^hich alone grows real strength. 

Peter Chelcicky will ever be honored for originating the 
ideas which eventually led to the organization of the Unitas 
Fratrura. But the contracted principles which he implanted 
in the minds of its founders, were of such a character as to 
either make of the Brethren a short lived and bigoted sect, or 
plunge them into dissensions as soon as a more liberal Chris- 
tianity would begin to assert itself. 

Such principles had been incorporated with the very being 
of Gregory in particular. They related both to doctrine and 
discipline. He gave undue prominence to the efficacy of 
works; he introduced a system of the most rigorous kind. 
No member of the Church was allowed to testify in court, to 
take an oath, to fill a civil office, to keep an inn or carry on 
a mercantile business involving the sale of anything except 


the bare necessaries of life ; and no nobleman could join the 
Unity without laying aside the prerogatives of his rank and 
resigning any position of trust which he might hold. 

As long as Gregory lived these principles remained unques- 
tioned and were strictly upheld, but after his death a reaction 
slowly set in.^ Prokop of Neuhaus was the first to express 
doubts with regard to the doctrinal points. The discipline 
was put to a severe test. About 1479, two barons and several 
knights applied for admission to the Unity. It was the first 
application of the kind, and the adherents of Gregory, alarmed 
by manifestations of a more liberal tendency, demanded that 
the conditions which the case involved should either be 
literally carried out, or the overture of the nobles rejected. 
The former course was pursued. Some of the applicants 
submitted, the rest withdrew. 

This occurrence, together with growing discussions through- 
out the Church on doctrine and discipline, led to the formation 
of two parties, the one advocating the system of Gregory in 
all its rigor, the other proposing a modification of some of its 
principles. To the first belonged the illiterate leaders and 
members, the second comprised the well educated and the 
learned. Each faction seized the pen in order to urge its 
views. Among the writings which appeared may be men- 
tioned as especially noteworthy, Gregor of Wotic's treatise on 
" The civil Power," conceived from an ultra rigorous point of 
view, and the answer to it, being an explanation of the words 
of the Apostle, " If we say that we have no sin, we deceive 
ourselves and the truth is not in us " (1 John 1 : 8). 

About the time that this controversy grew to be serious, an 
ardent young Utraquist, indignant with the course which the 
King pursued in expelling from his capital several priests 
whose zeal had become offensive, left that city and joined the 
Unity. His name was Luke of Prague. He was a Bachelor 

' Sources for the account of the controversy and schism as given in this 
chapter are: Jaffet's Goliath's Schwerdt, and the documents of L. F., IV. 
which trtat almost exclusively of this subject, cited in Reichel's Zusatze, 
pp. 132-181, compared with Gindely, I. pp. 62-76. 


of its University and a learned man, familiar with the classics, 
patristic literature, and the scholastic writings of the Middle 
Ages. Of untiring activity, endowed with 9, rare executive 
talent, devoted, from conviction, to the Brethren's Church 
and serving it with enthusiasm, he was, for many years, the 
most prominent rigure in its history, and shaped its course with 
a firm hand. The controversy excited his deepest interest. 
In spite of his youth he began to exercise, supported by 
Prokop and Lawrence Krasonicky, a wide influence on the 
side of the liberal party. 

Prokop brought the points in dispute before the Executive 
Council. In this body a very great difference of opinion 
appeared, some advocating, faith almost to the exclusion of 
works, others works almost to the exclusion of faith. Such 
discord among the leaders reacted unfavorably upon the piety 
of the members. In order to correct this evil, Prokop, in a 
treatise on " The Good Will " and a " Commentary on the 
Sermon on the Mount," endeavored to set forth a middle 
course, and induced the Synod, that met at Brandeis on the 
Adler, in 1490, to take up the entire subject out of which 
the controversy had grown. The result was a compromise. 
Gregory's views should not be relinquished, but they should 
be modified. 

In point of doctrine it was established that both grace and 
the human will, both faith and works, are necessary to salva- 
tion. As regarded the discipline the following rules were 
adopted for the guidance of the Executive Council : 

Men of rank may join the Unity without laying aside their 
prerogatives or resigning their offices, but the danger to which 
their position subjects them shall be carefully pointed out ; in 
case of absolute necessity members may testify under oath in 
court; under certain restrictions they may keep inns and 
engage in mercantile pursuits which are not confined to the 
necessaries of life ; if a case is clearly just and requires such a 
step, the aid of the civil tribunals may be invoked. 

But this compromise did not put an end to the controversy. 
Two members of the Synod who had been most violent in 


defending Gregory's system, Jacob of Wodnan and Amos of 
Stekna, disregarding the acts of the majority, began to stir up 
the parishes in their vicinity against the compromise, asserting 
that it was of the devil, who had taken possession of the 
Unity, and speaking and writing, in other respects also, with 
great bitterness. The controversy broke out afresh and 
assumed a most unbrotherly and acrimonious character. 

In such a juncture Bishop Matthias, who was a disciple of 
Gregory's school, imagined that prompt measures, even though 
they might be arbitrary, could alone save the Church. He 
convoked another Synod which was numerously attended by 
his own party; caused the compromise of Brandeis to be 
annulled ; ejected, by an episcopal mandate, the liberal mem- 
bers from the Executive Council; filled their places with 
extremists, and had a resolution adopted directing the prin- 
ciples of Gregory to be carried out in all their strictness. 
The expelled members of the Council submitted, without a 
word, to the dictatorial act of their Bishop, and the party which 
they represented quietly accepted the decision of the Synod. 

But an arbitrary exercise of power does not change men's 
convictions; hence the course which Matthias had pursued 
could not restore harmony to the Church. This was keenly 
realized by both sides. A feeling of uneasiness and depression 
prevailed. It would almost seem as if doubts began to rise, 
at least in some minds, whether the Brethren had acted wisely 
in separating from the National Church ; it is certain that a 
general longing manifested itself for fellowship with believers 
outside of their own communion. Accordingly the project 
was revived of trying to find, somewhere on earth, a body of 
Christians free from the contaminations of the papacy and 
uncorrupted by the sins of the age. At the same time the 
idea was probably entertained, that such Christians, if dis- 
covered, might advise the Brethren as to the best way of 
settling their disputes.^ 

^ Both Gindely, I. p. 67 and Cerwenka, II. pp. 68 and 69, assert that the 
above reason was the only one for the exploratory tours. This view of the 
case appears to us to be an utter misconception. 


Four men, Luke of Prague, Mares Kokovec, a knight, 
Martin Kabatnik, a citizen of Leitomischl, and Caspar, 
from the Mark Brandenburg, originally a Waldensian, were 
appointed by a Synod to explore the East in search of an 
apostolic church. Bohuslav Kostka von Postupic, the first 
baron who became a member of the Unity, furnished the 
money and cared for passports as well as letters of introduc- 
tion. The party set out in March, of the year 1491, 
traveling through Moravia and Silesia to Cracow, thence to 
Lemberg, and thence down the Southern Danube, through 
Wallachia, to Constantinople. There they separated. Luke 
visited Turkey in Asia and Greece; Mares, Russia; Caspar, 
Turkey in Europe ; Kabatnik, in company of a Jew, Antioch, 
Damascus and Jerusalem. From Jerusalem Kabatnik pro- 
ceeded alone to Cairo and then returned to the former city. 
Having met again at Constantinople the travelers took 
their homeward way to Bohemia, where they arrived after an 
absence of a year. Their report was discouraging. They had not 
found an apostolic church, but false doctrines, corrupt morals, 
open licentiousness prevailing among Christians of every name.^ 
As these explorers of the East, where they had vainly 
searched for a pure type of Christianity, came back to their 
native land, Christopher Columbus was preparing to leave his 
adopted country on that bold voyage to the West which con- 
stituted an epoch in the world's history and gave a continent 
to Christ's religion for its freest, most aggressive and successful 
developments. To the aborigines of this continent, of whose 
existence the returning fathers had no conception, their spir- 
itual seed was ordained to bring the gospel and show forth its 
glorious power in a way that has never been surpassed in any 
quarter of the earth. 

3 Blahoslaw's Summa, Goll, Appendix, p. 123; Comenii Hist., ^66; 
Camerarius, p. 119, etc. Plitt, Reichel and Croeger put these journeys in 
1481, which is undoubtedly an error. After his return Kabatnik dictated 
an account of his tour to a friend, which narrative was published and is 
still extant. He was a.stonished at the vastness of the Nile, and imagined 
that its source must be the Garden of Eden. Gindely, I. p. 68. 


The Brethren continued to be cast clown. That inner 
liarmonv which binds hearts tog-ether was wanting;. A blight 
had fallen upon the joyous life of the Church. Both Prokop 
and Luke labored to bring about a change; at first from 
divergent points of view, but after a while in full accord. 
The latter composed an "Allegory" in which he compared 
the Unity to a ship, and wrote treatises on " Judicial Oaths," 
on "Admission to Church-fellowship," and " Civil and Eccle- 
siastical Courts of Justice." These works were laid before 
the Council ; while ways and means of restoring peace to the 
Church were anxiously discussed in every parish. The 
result was a gradual change in the vieAvs of many of the 

]\Ieantime Bishop JNIatthias had become a prey to poignant 
self-reproach. In 1495 he convened a Synod at Reichenau 
and acknowledged, in presence of the entire body, that he had 
grievously erred, at the same time resigning his seat in the 
Executive Council and declaring himself unworthy of admin- 
istering the episcopate. His adherents likewise retired from 
the Council. 

An investigation of his course was at once begun. It 
appeared that he had acted from a sense of duty, however 
mistaken, and that his motives had been sincere. Hence his 
resignation was not accepted and he was allowed to continue 
in the discharge of his episcoj^al functions ; but the j)residency 
of the Council, as also the position of Ecclesiastical Judge, 
was taken from him and conferred upon Prokop of Neuhaus. 
The places made vacant by the retirement of his adherents 
were filled with those liberal men whom he had ejected and 
with others of like mind, among them Luke of Prague. 
Lawrence Krasonicky was assigned to the Bishop as his 
special adviser, and the work of superintending the Unity 
was divided among the other members. In order to remove 
all irritating memorials of the controversy, the new Council 
met, in the evening of the day on which these changes were 
carried out, and rescinded the acts of the Synod of Brandeis. 
A carefully worded report was drawn up. It spared the 


feelings of the defeated party, and aimed at the complete 
pacification of the Church. 

Before adjourning, the Synod formally declared the writings 
ot Gregory to be no longer authoritative. " We content our- 
selves," were the closing words of this declaration, "with 
those sacred books which have been accepted, from of old, by 
all Christians, and are found in the Bible."* 

The satisfaction which the proceedings of this Synod 
awakened among the majority of the Brethren, found no 
response in the hearts of Amos and Jacob. They refused to 
be conciliated. Hastening to their homes in the Circuit of 
Prachin, they roused all its parishes to an open revolt. 
Bishop Matthias and Luke of Prague, who came to restore 
order, could eifect nothing. Their authority was defied. 
The disaifected organized, and as there were no priests among 
them, elected ministers of their own and had them ordained 
by laymen. 

These schismatics received the name of Amosites. They 
constituted a small minority of the membership, but they 
claimed to be the true Unity and formally excommunicated 
all such Brethren as held to the acts of the Synod of 

An effort was made to put an end to this schism. On 
Whit-Monday, of 1496, Bishop Matthias, Prokop, Luke and 
two other members of the Council, met Amos and eleven of 
his followers at Chlumec ; but this conference only served to 
widen the breach. The Amosites began to attack the Church 
in publications of the most rancorous character, and grew to 
be, more and more, a bigoted, contentious and fanatical sect. 
After an existence of about forty-six years they died out. 

* Dekrete d. Briider Synoden, quoted by Cerwenka, II. p. 72. 





A. D. 1497-1528. 


Increase of the Church in Spite of the Persecutions inaugu- 
rated by Uladislaus. A. D. 1497-1506. 

The Work of the Church .carried on according to new Principles. — Its 
rapid Growth and Development. — Luke of Prague and Thomas visit 
Italy and France. — Their Intercourse with the Waldenses. — Conse- 
cration of new Bishops. — Death of Bishop Matthias. — Election of 
Luke and Ambrose to the Episcopacy. — Luke's leading Position. — The 
Pope and the Unitas Fratrum. — Mission of Doctor Henry Institoris. — 
Colloquy at Olmiitz. — Death of Michael Bradacius. — Coalition against 
the Brethren.— Accusation of the Amosites.— The King persecutes the 
Church. — The Utraquists and Catholics.— Diet of St. Jerome.— Activity 
of the Executive Council. — Colloquy appointed at Prague. — Its 
Failure. — Martyrdom at Bor. — Confessions of Faith. — End of the 

In some essential particulars the Brethren had broken with 
the past. A new system began ; a new and promising future 
opened. The question whether they were to' constitute a 
short-lived sect or a historic Church was decided. Illiterate 
men, however godly, and narrow-minded views, however ven- 
erable their source, were no longer to hamper their progress.^ 

* The Brethren of a later day expressed very decided opinions with 
regard to the influence of unlearned leaders and took a position wholly 
diflferent from that of Gregory. This is evident trom the annotations 


The Brethren shook off the yoke of legality and assumed 
that position of biblical Protestantism to which the Reformers 
of Germany subsequently attained. While therefore the con- 
troversy, as long as it lasted, was unfortunate, in the end it 
bore good fruits. 

These showed themselves in the rapid growth of the Church, 
both outwardly and inwardly. It spread into nearly every 
part of Bohemia and Moravia ; at the same time, its constitu- 
tion was developed, its discipline regulated and its ritual 
amplified. There gradually rose a spiritual building which 
was firmly founded and symmetrical in its proportions. 

In order to gain information which might be useful in 
completing it, Luke of Prague and Thomas of Landskron 
were sent, in 1497, to Italy and France. At Rome they 
were appalled by the wickedness which they everywhere 
beheld and to which Alexander the Sixth, one of the most 
notorious of the popes, gave tone ; at Florence, standing in 
the great square, amidst the fickle multitude that was wont to 
do him honor, they witnessed the cruel execution of Savonarola 
(May the twenty-third, 1498), whose reformatory efforts, what- 
ever may be said of his fanaticism, were noble as their own.^ 
They saw Roman Catholicism in its native splendor also. 
But they found nothing that attracted them ; only new proofs 
of the correctness of the protest with which their own Church 
had cut itself loose from anti-Scriptural dogmas and idolatrous 

Longing for manifestations of the pure Gospel and for 
fellowship with God's true people, Luke and Thomas turned 
their steps to the Waldenses of North Italy. These gave 

appended, in 1567, to a letter of Luke {vide Note 7) in the L. F., which 
annotations say, that the Church was almost ruined tlirough its illiterate 
leaders. " But God had mercy on His people and saved them from de- 
struction. Through whom, do you ask ? Through learned and pious men. 
Therefore we must not be afraid of scholars and of their enlightened knowl- 
edge, but of those who are wise in their own conceits, and yet in their 
ignorance blindly trample on the true, the good and the useful." Reichel's 
Zusiitze, pp. 99 and 200. 
'^ Comenii Hist., § 68. 


them a cordial welcome. Not less warm was their reception 
among the Waklenses of France. Their hearts were refreshed, 
and they spent many days in fraternal intercourse with these 
fellow Christians, interchanging doctrinal views and consulting 
on the things of the kingdom of God. At the same time they 
did not fail to reprove them for that want of courage in con- 
fessing the truth for which they had rebuked their brethren 
in Bohemia. 

As an acknowledgment of this visit the Waldenses sent a 
letter to the Executive Council of the Unity and also wrote 
to King Uladislaus and to the Utraquist Consistory, defending 
the Brethren against the accusations of their enemies. There 
followed between the two churches a further correspondence 
Avhich led to an intimate literary intercourse.^ 

After Luke's return, the tirst measure which the Synod 
adopted in the way of a further development of the Church, 
related to the episcopate. For thirty-two years Matthias had 
been the sole Bishop. Now it was deemed important to intrust 
this office to more than one man. Hence Matthias was 
directed to consecrate to the episcopacy Thomas of Prelouc and 
Elias of Chrenovic. This consecration took place in 1499.^ 
The Council thus consisted of three Bishops, an Ecclesiastical 
Judge and nine other members, thirteen in all. 

In the very next year (1500), however, while on his way to 
the Synod of Prerau, Bishop Matthias was taken fatally ill at 
Leipnik. Several members of the Council hastened to his 
bedside. To one of them he dictated his last will and testa- 

* Luke and Thomas brought to Bohemia a fourth letter from the Walden- 
ses, but to whom it was addressed is not known. An instance of the literary 
intercourse which took place is the famous Waldensian work " Ayczo es la 
causa del departiment de la gleysa Romana." This is nothing else than a 
translation of the work of the Brethren found in L. F., III., " Von den 
Ursachen der Trennung." Schaff's Cyclopaedia, I. p. 308. Authorities for 
the visit to the Waldenses are : Blahoslaw's Summa, GoU, p. 123 ; Lasitius, 
III. p. 40, etc., quoted by Plitt, who following Camerarius, pp. 120 and 121, 
incorrectly puts this visit in 1489; Comenii Hist., § 68; Regenvolscius, I. 
pp. 36 and 37 ; Zezchwitz Katechismen, p. 164, etc. 

* Dekrete d. Unitiit, p. 36, quoted by Cerwenka, II. p. 75; Jaffet's Goliath's 
Schwerdt, I. p. 15, in Reichel's Zusatze, p. 192. 


ment, in whicli document he accused himself of many faults ; 
warned his brethren against similar acts of weakness; and 
exhorted them to avoid schisms and to keep ^^ ' unity of the 
Spirit in the bonds of peace. He died, in the fifty-eighth 
year of his age, on the Thursday prior to the day of St. Paul's 
Conversion (January twenty-fifth), and was buried at Prerau 
in a newly built chapel. His remains were the first interred 
within its consecrated walls. Although uneducated and not 
gifted with executive talents, he possessed a sound judgment, 
led a life of exemplary piety from childhood, and found ac- 
ceptance with God and man.^ 

In consequence of his decease the Synod met again, before 
the close of the year, at Reichenau, and determined that, in 
future, four Bishops should stand at the head of the Church. 
Accordingly Luke of Prague and Ambrose of Skuc were 
chosen, and consecrated by Bishops Thomas and Elias (1500).® 
Thomas ranked first, as the presiding Bishop, next to him 
stood Elias, then Luke and, last of all, Ambrose. 

But Luke was the leading spirit and shaped the course of 
the Church not only in spiritual things, but also in external 
appointments. He gave to its worship more form and dignity. 
He introduced silver and gilt communion vessels and beauti- 
fully embroidered corporals. He developed the liturgical part 
of its religious services. He maintained that, while it rejected 
the evils of Romanism and Utraquism, it need not, on that 
account, set aside usages which were hallowed by age and 
which were proper and edifying. Many priests, Sautor and 
Gall us in particular, and not a few of the laity, pronounced 
his course to be dangerous and his measures contrary to the 
spirit of the Unity. But he was sustained by the Council 
and the Synod, and his views prevailed. That they helped to 
spread the Church soon became evident. To Gall us he wrote 
a friendly but firm letter, admonishing him to obey the regula- 
tions of the Synod, whatever might be his private opinions.^ 

^ This is the testimony given him in the Todtenbnch, p. 3. 
« Dekrete d. Unitat, p. 42, etc., quoted by Cerwenka, II. p. 86 ; Gindely, 
I p. 91. 

' Leiier in L. F., IX. p. 101, etc., Reichel's Zusiitze. p. 196, etc. 


The continued prosperity of the Unitas Fratrum was odious 
to its enemies. Up to this time, whenever it had been per- 
secuted, the Utraquists alone had been active ; but now the 
Catholics too began to give unwelcome signs of animosity. 
Pope Alexander himself took the initiative. In February, 
of 1 500, he commissioned Doctor Henry Institoris, a Domini- 
can friar and the Inquisitor of Germany, to undertake the 
conversion of the Brethren. If necessary, he was to invoke 
the aid of the secular arm ; in any case, their publications, 
especially Peter Chelcicky's " Picture of Antichrist," were to 
be burned. Doctor Henry began his mission by offering the 
Church a Colloquy. This offer was accepted, and Bishop 
Thomas and Lawrence Krasonicky appeared at Olmiitz as 
the representatives of the Unity. But the discussions led to 
no result. Hence the Inquisitor began to travel through 
Moravia, preaching and writing against the Picards and their 
pernicious ways. These labors too were unsuccessful.^ 

On the day after Easter, in 1501, ]\Iichael Bradacius finished 
his earthly course. His name will ever be illustrious. He 
was one of the most prominent and faithful characters in 
the earliest history of the Brethren, manifesting a rare single- 
ness of purpose and transparent sincerity of heart. Had he, 
in 1467, declined to yield to the wishes of his brethren and 
taken sides with the protesting Bishop, the consequences would 
have been disastrous. Hence he well merits the record which 
we find of him : " He was a great man and performed great 
works. He was faithful to God, denied himself and patiently 
bore much enmity."^ 

The attempt made by the papal see to destroy the Unitas 
Fratrum was followed by a far more formidable assault. 

^ A work against the Brethren which he published in 1501 is still extant, 
"Institoris Sancte Romane ecc. fidei defensionis," etc., 1501, Olomucz, xx 
die Aprilis. Malin Library, No, 40. 

" Todtenbuch, p. 4. Gindely, I, p. 91, asserts that, at one time, Michael 
was saspended from the ministry on account of drunkenness ; but in citing 
his authority for this assertion, namely, (Note 6, p. 499,) "Michael," he is 
so obscure as to be unintelligible. It is certain that the Todtenbuch, which 
spares no one deserving of censure, says not a word to corroborate Gindely. 


Three distinguished and influential Catholics, Boluislav 
Hassenstein von Lobkowitz, whose fame as a scholar and 
poet was widely spread through Europe, John, Bishop of 
Grosswardein, the Chancellor of Hungary,^" and Doctor 
Augustine Kasebrot, a learned Canon of Olraiitz, began 
conjointly to importune Uladislaus to suppress the Brethren 
and thus purge away that shameful heresy by which the 
kingdom had been so long disgraced (1502). They found an 
ardent supporter in his private secretary, John Slechta von 
Wsehrd, and their plot was furthered, on the one hand, by the 
negotiations, which began at the time, to bring back the Utra- 
quists to the fellowship of Rome, and, on the other, by an 
accusation which Baron von Beckowic, in the name of the 
Amosites, formally laid before the King (1503), that the 
Brethren had resolved to take up arms in defence of their 
Church. This charge, although it was basely false, excited 
him to such a degree that he exclaimed: "Do they mean to 
play Zizka? Well, well, well, we will know how to stop 
that! "11 

On the fifth of July, 1503, he accordingly sent from Ofen 
to the Administrator of the Utraquist Consistory, to the 
Catholic Chapter at Prague, to the magistrates of that city 
and to Albert von Leskowec, who was set over the royal 
towns, an edict forbidding the religious services of the Unity, 
ordering its priests to be arrested and commanding its lay 
members, on pain of severe punishment, to join either the 
Catholic or the Utraquist Church. This edict was to be 
enforced in the capital, on all royal domains and in all royal 
cities. It could not be made general without the consent of 
the Diet. The Administrator of the Utraquist Consistory 
and his clergy were, furthermore, directed to preach against 

^° This is the same Bishop whom the Todtenbuch calls Borek and desig- 
nates as Bishop of Olraiitz, because, for about fifteen years, he administered 
that diocese also. In the last period of his life he joined the Franciscans, 
without entering one of their convents, and received the name of Barfiisser. 
He and Lawrence Krasonicky were schoolmates. See p. 155 of this History. 

'^ Jaffet's Entstehung d. B. U., p. 67, in Reichel's Zusatze, pp. 195 and 


the Picards who "were worse than the Turks, because, 
entangled in the toils of the devil, they believed neither in 
God nor in the Lord's Supper." '^ 

There was no hesitation manifested bj those who received 
the Kinar's commands. Before the Brethren discerned its 
gathering clouds, the storm burst upon them. The pulpits of 
Prague rang with denunciations of their Church ; in the 
towns under his jurisdiction Leskowec imprisoned its mem- 
bers ; at Kuttenberg they were barbarously treated ; two 
barons, Nicholas von Lichtenberg and Henry von Neuhaus, 
by voluntarily inaugurating persecutions on their estates, filled 
the heart of their monarch with such satisfaction that he sent 
one of them a letter of thanks. " Many Brethren became 
martyrs of the truth ; many perished, of hunger and cold, in 
deep and unwholesome dungeons." ^^ 

Meantime the negotiations with regard to a union of the 
Utraquists and Catholics were going on at Pilsen. On the 
occasion of the Diet of St. Jerome (September the thirtieth, 
1503), such negotiations were renewed at Prague. They 
failed in consequence of the deep-rooted prejudices of the 
Utraquists. The two parties held separate meetings. At 
both the question was discussed whether the royal edict 
should be accepted and made general throughout the king- 
dom. Schellenberg and Pernstein, because they were known 
to favor the Brethren whose parishes clustered thickly on 
their domains, had not been asked to attend the council of 
their Catholic peers.'^ When the Utraquist States heard of 
this they invited these two nobles to their conference. The 
invitation was accepted, and both the barons spoke in defence 
of the Unity. Baron Kostka, too, manfully advocated its 
cause. After stormy debates it was agreed that the Brethren 
should not be condemned unheard, but that a Colloquy with 

12 L. F., VI. p. 1, etc , quoted by Gindely, I. p. 106. 

1* L. F., VI. p. 8, etc., in Reichel's Zustitze, p. 201. 

'* Schellenberg had recently married Catharine von Krajek, the widow 
of a zealous member of the Church and herself probably a member. She 
had inherited her husband's large estates and held them in her own right. 


some of their principal men, at which the errors of their 
Church were to be pointed out to them, should take place on 
the first of January, 1 504. A commission was appointed to 
superintend this Colloquy. 

Amidst the troubles which were anew trying the I'aith of 
the Unity, its Executive Council did not lose heart. Special 
prayers for God's aid were ordained ; Wednesdays and Fri- 
days were set apart as fast-days ; pastoral letters frequently 
appeared exhorting the members to remain steadfast ; and a 
resolution was adopted requiring of every one, on pain of 
excommunication, an open acknowledgment of his member- 
ship.^^ To the King was sent a new Confession of Faith 
(1503). But he accepted it uugraciously, expressed his dis- 
pleasure with the lenient course which the Utraquist States 
had pursued, and sent, by Nicholas Trcka, further instructions 
to Prague. 

On the thirtieth of December eight representatives of the 
Unity, Bishop Luke, Krasonicky, Jacob of Turnau, John 
Kasala, Wenzel, Viktorin, Philip and Kapra, reached that 
city.'^ It was commonly supposed that the approaching 
Colloquy would decide the fate of the Church. Its foes 
looked forward to the occasion with triumphant anticipations; 
its friends with deep anxiety. Schellenberg, Pernstein, and 
Kostka each sent a retainer to advise with and protect the 
deputies ; Kostka wrote to Krasonicky and exhorted him to 
stand fast even if it should cost him his life f two members 
of the Unity, who happened to be at Prague, joined their 
brethren and insisted on sharing their fate. And yet it was 
not martyrdom or even imprisonment that awaited them, but 
a ridiculous farce. Owing to the death of the Eector of the 
University, who was to have conducted the proceedings, to 
the threatening attitude of the populace which crowded the 

>^ Dekrete d. U., I. p. 204, quoted by Gindely, I. p. 111. 

'^ L. F., VI. p. 8, etc., contains a very full account of all that transpired 
at Prague on this occasion. Reichel's Zusiitze, pp. 201-206. 

" Letter given in part in Hist. Persecut., Cap. XXIII, 2. Comenius says 
it was addressed to Philip. 


streets of the city denouncing the heretics, to differences of 
opinion among the members of the commission, to the fear 
which they entertained that Trcka was charged with an order 
for the arrest of the deputies, and to other causes, the Colloquy 
did not take place. Instead of having an opportunity to con- 
fess their faith before the entire commission and the assembled 
Masters, Luke and his companions were led, through by-ways 
and alleys, to a private house, where they found the lay com- 
missioners and the city magistrates, who dismissed them with 
the assurance that they had fulfilled their obligations by 
merely appearing at Prague and that they were now free to 
return. When the next morning dawned the delegation was 
far on its homeward way. This failure of the Colloquy was 
generally regarded as a triumph for the Brethren. 

A correspondence, partly bitter in its tone, followed between 
Luke and the Utraquist Consistory. He declined another 
Colloquy ; the Consistory rejected his proposal to hold a 
private conference with the INIasters. 

Meantime persecutions continued to rage on the domains 
and in the cities belonging to the King, as also, occasionally, 
on other estates. Baron Schwamberg's name, in particular, is 
stained with infamy. In his village of Aujezd, near Taus, 
lived John and Nicholas Nadrzibka, two brothers, John Her- 
bek, Bartholomew Hranowitz, John Simonowitz, and Matthias 
Prokop, all humble members of the Unity. They were 
arrested and brought to trial. The village priest asked them 
Avhether they would obey him as the shepherd of their souls. 
" Christ is the Shepherd of our souls," w^as their answer. 
They were condemned to the stake. Astonished at the forti- 
tude with which they received this sentence, Schwamberg 
inquired the reason. "It is Christ," they said; "He is our 
hope. Given of God as a sacrifice for the world He abides 
the refuge of all those who put their trust in Him." On the 
way to their execution, which was to take place at Bor, the 
chief magistrate of this town told Nicholas Nadrzibka, with 
whom he was well acquainted, to ask for time, and even if it 
should be a whole year, to consider the demands of the priest, 


suggesting that in this way he might save his life. Nicholas 
stood still for a moment, as though he were pondering the 
suggestion, then exclaimed, " The respite is too long ; while 
considering I might lose my brethren," and calmly followed 
them to death. They suffered on the Monday preceding the 
Day of All Saints (November the first, 1504).^^ 

In view of the closing of many of the chapels, a Synod 
ordained that, wherever public worship was impossible, 
religious services should be held in private houses. The 
details of these services were carefully regulated. General 
gatherings, in the depths of the forests, also took place, on 
which occasions the Lord's Supper was administered. At the 
same time the Council continued to exert itself on behalf of 
the oppressed parishes. Letters were sent both to the Cath- 
olic and Utraquist States, circumstantially setting forth the 
reasons of the secession of the Brethren from the established 
churches, and another Confession of Faith, a supplement to 
that of 1503, was presented to the King (1504). 

Whether these documents effected their purpose is not 
evident; but, in 1505, the persecution gradually came to an 
end and peace again gladdened the hearts of the Brethren. 
In the following year the Queen, their most implacable foe, 
who had never ceased to incite Uladislaus against them, died 
in giving birth to a sou. Her persistent animosity had not 
availed. The Unity, which she meant to destroy, came forth 
from the persecution purified and strengthened. 

'8 Boh. Hist. Frat., I. p. 132; Hist. Persecut., XXIV. 7 ; Todtenbuch, 
pp. 4 and 5. Strange to say, Gindely asserts (I. p. 119) that "in the his- 
tory of the Brethren this was the last execution on account of their faith !" 



The Edict of St. James and the General Persecution which it 
brought about. A. D. 1507-1516. 

New Machinations. — Kiisebrot's Letters. — Chancellor Kolowrat and 
another Edict against the Brethren. — The King's Letter to Martha von 
Bozkowic. — New Confessions. — Efibrts to bring about a general Perse- 
cution. — The Edict of St. James adopted by the Bohemian Diet. — Posi- 
tion of the Moravian Diet. — Terrible Death of the Bishop of Gross, 
wardein. — Persecution in Bohemia. — Lewis crowned King. — Diets at 
Prague and Kuttenberg. — Edict renewed. — The Martyr Poliwka. — 
Wolinsky's Sufferings. — Noted Persecutors of the Brethren die sud- 
denly. — Continued Persecution in Bohemia. — The Unity in Moravia 
enjoys Peace. — Secret Visit of Bishop Luke to Bohemia. — Seized and 
imprisoned. — Death of Uladislaus. — End of the Persecution. — Death of 
Bishop Elias and of Prokop. — Election of two Assistant Bishops. 

The machinations of the men who had persuaded Uladis- 
laus to begin a persecution of the Church were not yet at an 
end. In 1507 they incited him to new measures of severity. 
Kiisebrot had published, in the previous year, a letter against 
the Brethren ; now he issued another of the same character. 
Both were presented to the King and both denounced them in 
inhuman terms. They were, said the writer, not worthy even 
of death at the stake ; fire was too pure an element for them 
to perish in ; they ought to be torn to pieces by wild beasts 
and have dogs to lick up their blood.^ 

Albert von Kolowrat, the chancellor of the kingdom, 
proved to be a powerful confederate in this new assault upon 
the Unity. His position had become one of great influence ; 
and taking advantage of the King's residence at Ofen, in 
Hungary, he demeaned himself as though he were regent of 

^ MS. Letter of Kiisebrot, quoted by Gindely, I. p. 130. 


Bohemia. It was he that published, with the consent of 
Uladislaus, another edict against the Brethren. It cited their 
bishops to an examination at Prague, on the Day of St. John 
(December the twenty-seventh). It proclaimed that their 
Church was to be suppressed throughout the realm. It threat- 
ened such nobles as atibrded them protection.^ 

This edict offended William von Bernstein and other barons. 
The former wrote to the King, reminding him of their terri- 
torial rights and the serious consequences which would ensue 
if these were infringed upon.^ The Baroness Martha von 
Bozkowic, an ardent member of the Church, also sent him a 
letter in its defence. She inclosed a communication from the 
Council asking permission to present a new Confession of 
Faith. The answer of Uladislaus, addressed to the Baroness, 
was as follows: 

" My dear well-born one ! 

You write to us of the Picard rascals, as though our purpose 
to destroy them, which we have announced to all the States of 
our kingdom, were improper and unduly severe. 

Know that what we do, we do more out of mercy than severity. 
For while we intend; as is proper and required both by divine 
and human law, to burn and destroy these miserable and mis- 
taken heretics, we, at the same time, have compassion on them in 
that we show them a way of escape by permittiug them to join 
either the Catholics or the Utraquists. 

It is our wnll that what we have published shall strictly be 
carried out. If this is not done, be assured that we will not any 
longer suffer the presence of such heretical rascals, but will chase 
them out of our kingdom without mercy. 

Of this inform your brethren who have written to us."* 

In consequence of this communication, in which were in- 
closed Kasebrot's abusive letters, Luke and his colleagues did 
not present their Confession, but had it printed at Nuremberg. 
They also published Kasebrot's productions, appending criti- 
cisms of their own which were equivalent to a new and 
detailed exposition of their faith (1507). A Latin version of 
this latter work, omitting the letters, appeared in the following 

2 Gindely, I. p. 126 ; Palacky, X. p. 137, etc. 

=* Palacky, X. pp. 137 and 138. 

* L. F, VI, p. 30, quoted by Gindely, I. pp. 127 and 128. 


year (1508). To tlie hearing appointed at Prague, they sent 
several common members of the Church, who were dismissed 
as unfit for a theological examination. 

The Council did this in self-defence, convinced that any 
representatives of its own body Avould have been arrested. 
But the step was denounced as an insult to the majesty of the 
King. Urgent protestations were made to him not only by 
those confederates who had, for the past five years, been per- 
sistently plotting against the Brethren, but also by the Bishop 
of Olmiitz, by the Masters of the University and the Utraquist 
Consistory. All these authorities were unanimous in saying 
that the time had come for crushing the Picards in a body. 
The measures previously adopted had proved insufficient be- 
cause they had been local in their character. A general 
persecution, throughout the whole kingdom and the Moravian 
margraviate, must be inaugurated. Under such a stroke the 
Unity would succumb at last. 

There is an extremely improbable tradition recorded by the 
later Brethren.^ They say, that Uladislaus, ere consenting to 
this merciless step, passed through so severe a mental conflict 
that he fell upon his knees and besought God to hold him 
innocent of the blood which was to be shed. 

On the Day of St. James (July the twenty-fifth), 1508, a 

royal edict was laid before the Diet at Prague and adopted 

both by the Catholic and Utraquist States. Its chief points 

were the following: 

1. The religious services of the Unity, whether public or pri- 
vate, are forbidden ; 2. The sale of its publications is to cease 
and they are to be destroyed ; 3. Its priests are no longer to 
administer the sacraments and solemnize marriages ; 4. Its priests 
are, furthermore, to be cited for recantation before the ecclesias- 
tical tribunals ; if they refuse, they are to be punished by the 
civil courts ; 5. All barons, knights and magistrates of Prague 
as also of other cities and towns are commanded to carry out 
this act, on pain of an official warning from the chief burgrave 
of the kingdom, and if this does not avail, of trial by the national 
court ; 6. Any one harboring a Picard and refusing to deliver 
him to his manor-lord is to be fined ; 7. The members of the 

* Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XXIV. 1 and 2. 


Unity are to be instructed in the true faith by Catholic and 
Utraquist priests, into whose hands the Picard' parishes and 
their revenues are, without exception, to be given.® 

This edict, known as the Edict of St. James, was published 
on the tenth of August. Prior to its adoption Bishop John 
of Grosswardein and Baron von Rosenberg were sent to 
Briinn, where the Moravian Diet was assembled, in order to 
induce this body to enact a statute against the Unity. But 
their efforts failed, mainly through the influence of Baron von 
Zerotin, one of the most powerful nobles of the margraviate 
and a warm friend of the Brethren.^ No sooner, however, 
had tlie Bohemian Diet accepted the Edict of St. James, than 
Bishop John hastened to Olmiitz, where another meeting of 
the Moravian States was to take place. He came flushed with 
triumph, commissioned and determined to persuade them to 
follow the example of their Bohemian peers. But w^hen only 
a quarter of an hour's drive from the city, while in the act 
of alighting at the monastery of Hradish, he fell on a sharp 
nail which projected from his carriage and which pierced the 
lower part of his abdomen, so that his bowels were torn out 
and he miserably perished:^ No further attempt was made to 
influence the Moravian Diet. 

In Bohemia the Edict of St. James was rigidly enforced. 
Persecution no longer remained optional wath the nobles ; it 
was a registered law of the kingdom. The chapels of the 
Brethren were closed ; religious services ceased altogether or 
were held, at night, in forests and among mountains; the 
priests were forced to conceal themselves. It is true that the 
domains of members of the Church afforded retreats which 
proved comparatively secure. But even there painful caution 
became necessary, and the joyous liberty of other days was at 

6 Gindely, I. pp. 132-135. 

' Whether he was, at this time, a member of the Church is not quite cer- 
tain ; his descendants, however, belonged to it and were among its warmest 
upholders and most generous benefactors. 

8 Boh. Hist. Fr. I. 264, quoted by Gindely, I. p. 137; Hist. Persecu- 
tionum, Cap. XXV. 3. 


an end. Several Moravian nobles, too, were induced to 
oppress the Brethren, although not with the same severity as 
in Bohemia. 

In early Spring of 1509 Uladislaus came to Prague, where 
he caused his son Lewis, who was not yet three years old, to 
be crowned King of Bohemia (March the eleventh). The 
royal family spent an entire year in the capital, so that 
Uladislaus had an opportunity of attending the Diet which 
met in November. From reports laid before this -body it 
appeared that the Edict of St. James had not been universally 
observed. A resolution to enforce it Avith the utmost strict- 
ness did not prevail ; on the contrary the Diet determined to 
repeal it temporarily, until another Colloquy had been held. 
With this end in view the Bishops of the Church were 
summoned to appear at Prague, on the twenty-seventh of 
December. But they declined to obey the summons, and 
Luke wrote a sharp letter to the Administrator of the Con- 
sistory, pointing out the gross injustice of expecting the 
Brethren to submit to doctrinal instructions on the part of the 
Utraquists. Would the Utraquists, he asked, be willing to 
submit to such instructions on the part of the Catholics ? On 
the appointed day appeared instead of the Bishops, eleven com- 
mon members of the Church, peasants and mechanics. Luke 
wrote, that they had been sent by their manor-lords, not by the 
Executive Council. They were dismissed without a hearing. 

In February of the following year (1510), the Diet, which 
met at Kuttenberg, renewed the Edict of St. James. The 
persecution broke out afresh. Luke's retreat, hitherto safe,, 
at Jungbunzlau, became insecure ; but he ceased not to labor 
for his afflicted people. Fleeing from place to place, he held 
religious services in secret and sent consolatory letters to 
parishes which he could not visit in person. The other 
members of the Council displayed the same activity. 

The sufferings which this persecution brought about are 
illustrated by tAvo cases in particular. 

Soon after it had begun Andrew Poliwka, a citizen of 
Kuttenberg, which town, true to its antecedents, raged Avith 


great fury against the Brethren, sought safety at Leitomischl. 
His wife, who was a Utraquist, refused to accompany him, 
and subsequently, on the occasion of a visit which he paid her, 
betrayed him to the priests. He was arrested and worried 
until he consented to acknowledge their authority and remain 
at Kuttenberg. But his conscience was ill at ease. One day, 
while attending his wife's church, where a new priest was to 
be installed, the sight of the congregation adoring the host 
roused him to such a pitch that he could no longer restrain 
his indignation. In a loud voice he exclaimed, addressing 
the officiating priest : " Silence, blasphemer, I will speak !" 
Then turning to the people he said : " Dear friends, what 
are you doing ? What are you adoring ? An idol made of 
bread ! O adore the living God in heaven ! He is blessed 
forevermore !" The priest ordered Poliwka to be seized. 
But a strange awe had fallen upon the congregation, and for 
a time no one stirred. At last several of the rudest laid their 
hands upon him, dashed his head against a pillar and dragged 
him bleeding to prison. The next day his trial took place. 
He persistently reiterated what he had said in the church. 
Upon being asked by whom he had been instigated to act in 
so scandalous a manner, he replied : " Who instigated Abrara 
to forsake his idolatry and adore the living God ?" The 
question being repeated more urgently, he said: "Who 
induced Daniel to flee from idols?" These answers were 
deemed insufficient, and he was stretched on the rack. But 
the rack did not shake his fortitude, and the stake, to which 
he was condemned, had no terrors. He approached it praying 
silently ; the magistrates, at the instigation of the priests, 
having forbidden him to address the people. In the midst 
of the flames, as they began to lick his face and encircle his 
head, he uttered aloud one fervent petition : " Jesus, Thou 
Son of the living God, have mercy upon me, miserable 
sinner !" " Behold," cried the priests exultingly, " now that 
he is dying he invokes Jesus, in whom he would not believe, 
and whose sacraments he refused to reverence !"^ 

^ Boh. Hist. Fratrum, I. p. 300, quoted by Gindely ; Hist. Persecution um, 
Cap. XXVI. 


Two years later an act of frightful cruelty was perpetrated 
at Strakonic, the seat of Baron John von Rosenberg, Grand- 
prior of the knights of Malta. This nobleman had a 
dependent, George Wolinsky by name. He was a member 
of the Unity and a man of unusual intelligence, whom the 
Baron determined to convert and therefore ordered to join 
eitlier the Catholics or the Utraquists. Wolinsky manifesting 
no inclination to obey, the prior of Strakonic was summoned. 
This prior was a just man, and said to Rosenberg : " No one 
must be tortured to accept the true faith ; reasonable argu- 
ments alone are allowable. Innocent blood cries to heaven, 
'Lord, Lord, when wilt thou avenge me?'" But several 
noblemen, who happened to be present, advised the Baron 
not to give heed to such sentiments. All that the prior could 
gain was a week's time granted Wolinsky for consideration. 
By the advice of friends he Avent to Krumau, and appealed 
to Peter von Rosenberg, one of the most powerful barons of 
the realm. On the sixth of July, he returned to Strakonic. 
The respite was at an end ; but he remained unmolested until 
the seventeenth. On that day Rosenberg's cruel purpose was 
unfolded. Wolinsky, having declared that he would not 
deny his faith, was thrust into the deepest dungeon of the 
castle and left to perish of hunger. A piece of bread and a 
slice of meat, which he had secreted, were taken from him ; 
across the two doors of his prison were fastened heavy bars of 
iron ; nothing was left within except a heap of straw on which 
to die. The next day the prior came to one of the doors, 
called to Wolinsky and said : " Dear brother, what are you 
doing to yourself? You will perish of cold and hunger. 
Think of your children.; think of your wife who has so 
recently been confined. The Baron means to put her into 
the cell above yours, that she may bewail your fate. There- 
fore have mercy on her, or she will die ! Yea, have mercy on 
yourself!" But Wolinsky remained firm. On the following 
morning (July the nineteenth), Rosenberg drove to Horazdowic, 
where he had an appointment with certain nobles. Among 
them was Peter von Rosenberg who pleaded with him in 


Wolinsky's behalf. On a sudden the Baron's conscience 
awoke. Ordering his carriage he hastened back to Strakonic, 
where he arrived on the twenty-first, and immediately caused 
the dungeon to be opened. Within its gloomy walls his 
prisoner had been famishing for five days. He was carried 
out in the last extremity of weakness, bereft of speech, gasp- 
ing for breath. At this sight the Baron burst into tears, 
exclaiming : " That he is still living rejoices me more than 
if I had received twenty Schock .'^*' I will be kind to him !" 
Restoratives were administered and he was conveyed to 
Rosenberg's own apartments in the castle, where he gradu- 
ally regained his strength. " Now that you are well again," 
said the Baron, " I command you to abjure the Picards and 
join the Church." Wolinsky's answer was as firm as ever. 
He solemnly asseverated that nothing could induce him to 
deny his faith. Rosenberg said no more, but set him at 

In contrast with such afflictions endured by members of the 
Unity, there occurred a series of casualties among its enemies 
which were so remarkable that they excited general attention, 
and were looked upon, within its communion, as judgments 
of God. The death of the Queen and the miserable end of 
the Bishop of Grosswardein, which have been mentioned in 
another connection, stand first on the list. Next is recorded 
the fate of Chancellor von Kolowrat. On his return from 
the Diet of Kuttenberg he stopped at the house of Baron 
Colditz, and informed him, with malignant joy, of the renewal 
of the Edict of St. James. Colditz turned to his servant, 
Simon, a member of the Unity who was standing by, and 
asked him what he thought of such intelligence. " Not every 
one concerned has consented to the edict," was his answer. 
Kolowrat inquired of him what he meant. Pointing upward 
Simon said : " There is one in heaven who will bring your 

'°A Schock Groslien contained sixty Groschen, or about nine dollars and 
twenty cents; hence twenty Schock were equivalent to about one hundred 
and eighty-four dollars. 

» Gindely, I. pp. 146-148. 


enactments to nought, if they are not in accordance with His 
holy purpose." " You miserable knave," exclaimed the 
Chancellor, " your turn will come in good time !" Leaving 
the castle in great anger he hastened to Graupen, one of his 
towns. But scarcely had he reached it when there apj)eared 
on his foot a malignant carbuncle of which he died, in spite 
of the eiforts of the most skilful physicians. A still more 
sudden stop was put to Doctor Kasebrot's persecutions. 
While at dinner he fell dead from his chair, Henry von 
Neuhaus who, as we have shown, was one of the first to 
oppress the Brethren, drove, one morning, in a sleigh to the 
chase. . The sleigh upset, he fell on his hunting knife and 
was killed. Puta von Swihow, another bitter enemy of the 
Church, frightened by a storm which swept over his castle, 
retreated to its cellar for safety. He was found dead. 

In view of such occurrences it is not surprising that the 
saying went abroad, " Is any one weary of life, let him lay 
his hand upon the Picards." '^ 

But the persecution did not, on that account, cease. It 
continued, with more or less severity, throughout Bohemia. 
In Moravia, on the contrary, the churches had peace, and the 
Executive Council, which had transferred its seat to that 
country, carried on its work unhindered. This diiference in 
the experiences of the two sections of the Unity was unfor- 
tunate. For nearly four years most of the Bohemian parishes 
had been without pastors. Not a few of the members began 
to despond. They compared the sufferings which they were 
bearing with the prosperity of their Moravian brethren. A 
spirit manifested itself not in accord with that steadfastness, 
patience and endurance which had rendered the Unitas 
Fratrum illustrious in the midst of its former trials. 

This state of affairs induced Bishop Luke to undertake a 
secret visit to Bohemia. At Janowic, however, he fell into 
the hands of Peter Suda, a notorious robber-knight, "the 
prince and master of all thieves" (1515). The unfortunate 

'^ The above casualties are all narrated in the Hist. Persecutionum, 
Cap. XXV. 


Bishop was loaded with chains, cast into a dungeon and 
repeatedly threatened with torture and the stake. To add to 
his sufferings came a severe attack of illness. Through 
the intervention of Baron Krajek, who applied to the 
National Court for his release on the plea that Luke was one 
of his dependents, he was at last set free, after giving bail 
for his appearance, within six months, at Prague, where his 
trial was to take place. 

In the following year (1516), on the thirteenth of March, 
Uladislaus died. The legacy which he left the Unitas 
Fratrum was a solemn charge to its enemies to destroy it 
utterly. This charge was set forth in his last testamerit and 
given " for the sake of his soul's salvation and of the true 
faith." But it was not carried out. His son and successor 
being only ten years old the government fell into the hands 
of prominent nobles. Disturbances broke out ; bloody feuds 
were frequent between robber-knights and powerful cities; 
the disputes of the Utraquists with the Catholics grew un- 
ceasino; and bitter. Under such circumstances the Edict of 
St. James became a dead letter. The Unity revived. Its 
fugitive priests returned to their parishes ; the chapels were 
opened and public services held as of old. 

Two prominent members of the Executive Council, Bishop 
Elias, and Prokop, the Ecclesiastical Judge, had finished 
their course prior to the breaking out of the persecution. 
The former died on the twenty-third of March, 1503, at 
Prossnitz; the latter, on the thirteenth of September, 1507, 
at Brandeis on the Adler.^^ In consequence, no doubt, of 
the tribulations which came upon the Church soon after the 
decease of Elias, the election of his successor was postponed ; 
and now that peace was restored the Synod determined, 
instead of choosing a new bishop, to appoint two assistant 
bishops. They were to have power, when commissioned by 
a bishop, to ordain ministers and to assist at consecrations to 

1^ Todtenbuch, pp. 4 and 6. This necrology says that Elias was faithful 
in his work, very friendly in his ways and found favor with God and man. 


the episcopacy ; in the Council they were to rank next after 
the bishops. To this new office Wenzel Wroutecky and 
Daniel Hranicky were elected (1516).^^ They received con- 
secration at the hands of Bishops Thomas, Luke and 

" JafFet's Goliath's Schwerdt, p. 15 ; Beichel's Zusatze, pp. 230, etc.; 
Gindely, I. p. 186. 



Doctrine and Life of the Unitas Fratrum at the Beginning of 
Luther's Reformation. A. D. 1517. 

General Principles.— Three Categories of Faith.— The Trinity.— The 
Church.— Seven Sacraments. — The Communion of Saints. — The Re- 
mission of Sin.— The Virgin Mary and the Saints, — Purgatory. — 
Remarks on the Doctrinal System of the Brethren. — Their Religious 

We have reached the year which saw the beginning of 
Luther's Reformation and which constitutes the boundary 
line between the Middle Ages and modern history. A brief 
survey of the doctrine and life, of the ministry, of the consti- 
tution and ritual and discipline, of the growth and enterprises 
of the Unitas Fratrum will therefore be in place. Such a 
survey will show how bright was its light shining amidst the 
darkness of Romanism, and establish its position as a church 
of Reformers before the Reformation. 

The Confessions presented to Uladislaus, the Apology of 
1503 found in a Lissa Folio, the answer to Kasebrot's 
attacks and the Statutes of the Unity, give a full account 
both of its doctrine and life in this period.^ 

From these sources we derive, in the first place, some 
general principles. 

1 The Confessions are : 1. Oratio excusatoria atque satisfactiva Fratrum 
Waldensium Regi Wladislao ad Ungariam missa, 1503 ; Lydius, Part II. 
pp. 1-21; Freheri Rerum Boh., p. 238, etc.; Brown's Fasciculus, II. pp. 
162-169. Lydius has confounded the titles of the Confessions of 1503 and 
1504; and Freherus and Brown have followed him. Dr. H. Plitt, in his 
" Lehrwise," doubts this ; but the evidence in favor of the interchange is 
clear and strong : comp. Czerwenka, II. 93, Note. In this and the other 


The Brethren have seceded from the Roman Catholic 
Church because of its doctrinal errors and idolatrous worship, 
and have founded the Unity. This Unity is of God, for it 
stands on faith in the Trinity and is built upon the foundation 
of the prophets, of Jesus Christ and of His apostles, Christ 
being its only Redeemer. In it have been instituted, according 
to the teachings of the New Testament and the example of the 
primitive church, an independent ministry, an order of public 
worship and a system of discipline. Its members strive to lay 
aside sin, to lead pure and holy lives, to exhort one another 
daily. And in as much as they see the confusion prevailing 
throughout the church generally and perceive that no dis- 
tinction is made between what is necessary and what is less 
so, they maintain that in Christianity some things are " essen- 
tial " (essentialia), some things " auxiliary " {mmisterialia), 
and somethings "accidental" {accidentilia). Essential things 
relate to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, com- 
prising, on God's part, the grace of God the Father, the 
merit of Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost; and on 
man's part, faith, love and hope. Auxiliary things are those 
by which the essential are made known, conferred and appro- 
priated ; hence the word of God, the power of the keys and 
the sacraments. Accidental things refer to the time, place 
and mode of exercising the auxiliary, and therefore constitute 
the ceremonies and external rites of religion. 

Turning from such general principles to the individual 
doctrines of the Brethren, we find that they accept the 

Confession the Brethren adopt the name of Waldenses simply for con- 
venience' sake, in order that the King may at once know what body of 
Christians is addressing him, Waldenses being the name which the 
Brethren generally bore. 2. Confessio Fidei Fratrum Waldensium regi 
Wladislao at Hungariam missa, 1504, Lydius, II. pp. 21-34; Freherus, 
p. 245, etc.; Brown, II. pp. 162-189. 3. Confession of 1507, in Bohemian, 
Metropolitan Lib. at Prague. 4. Excusatio Fratrum Waldensium contra 
binas litteras Doctoris Augustini datas ad Regem. Lydius, II. pp. 34-91 ; 
Freherus, p. 249, etc.; Brown. II. pp. 162-189. 5. Apology of 1503, MS., 
L. F., III. The Statutes of the Unity are found in the " Dekreten " and have 
been used by us in so far as they are reproduced in German by Czerwenka. 


Apostles', the Nicean and the Athanasian Creeds, and in the 
Confession of 1503, introduce their own articles with the 
following words : " Living faith is the viniversal foundation 
of human salvation ; it is imparted by the gift of the Holy 
Spirit and through the merit of Christ's grace."^ But such 
faith, they further say, is to be understood and defined in a 
threefold manner. In so far as it relates to the truth of 
God's being, it is to "believe concerning God" {credere de 
Deo); in so far as it involves the truth of His revelation 
through His word, it is to " Ijelieve God " (credere Deo); and 
in so far as it implies the intent of this revelation — man's 
appropriating to himself that which God bestows and conse- 
crating his heart and life to Him and His service — it is to 
" believe in God " (credere in Deum)? In this three-fold 
sense the Brethren confess their faith in the Trinity. 

I. The Trinity. — The dispenser of salvation is the Almighty 
God, one in His being but triune in His person, the Father, the 
Son and the Holy Ghost. 

The Father. — The Brethren believe concerning God the Father 
{de Deo Patre): that He begot His only Son from all eternity, 
gave Him for the redemption of the world, and works salvation 
through His merits, according to the purpose of His own 
election ; they believe God the Father (Deo Patri), in that they 
accept His testimony of Christ delivered from heaven, " This is 
my beloved Son, hear ye Him ;" and they believe in God the 
Father {in Deum Patrem), in that they love and obey Him with 
all their heart. 

The Son. — Concerning Christ (de Christo) they believe : that 
He is the true God, in being, power and wisdom equal with the 
Father and the Holy Ghost, proceeding by an eternal generation 
from the Father ; that by Him the worlds were made ; that in 
Him is eternal life ; that in order to bring salvation to the 
human race He became man ; that He ascended to heaven and 
sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for those who 
are hereafter to share His glory ; that He will return and put 
all things under His feet. They believe Christ (Christo) in as 

2 Lydius, II. p. 3. 

* Such a distinction of the categories of faith was made by Augustine, 
Beda and Peter Lombard, adopted by Hus, and derived from him by the 
Brethren. Luther approved of this distinction. See " Vom anbeten des 
Sacraments," 1522, fol. 15. 


much as they acknowledge all His commandments to be true. 
They believe in Christ (In Christum) when they recognize in 
Him their God and Saviour, accept His woi'ds with full con- 
fidence, love Him with a perfect love and are united with His 
faithful members in faith and love. 

The Holy Ghost. — They believe concerning the Holy Ghost 
(de Spiritu Sancto): that He is the true God with the Father 
and the Only Begotten Word and proceeds from both ; that in 
as much as He vivifies, renews and changes men through faith, 
they attain to a share in Christ's meritorious grace — in other 
words, they attain to justification, truth, strength and salvation 
to the uttermost ;* that the Holy Ghost keeps the Church upon 
the foundation of faith in Christ; that through the Holy Ghost 
the Scriptures are inspired, the members of the Church united, 
the gifts necessary for its government and for obtaining eternal 
life in glory dispensed. They believe the Holy Ghost (Spiritui 
Sancto) when fully assenting to the divine Scriptures; and they 
believe in Him (hi iSpiritum Sanctum), in as far as with full 
knowledge and faith unfeigned they love Him, and together 
with the members upon whom He has breathed, keep all His 
revelations unto eternal glory. 

With regard to other cardinal points of doctrine the 
Brethren teach as follows : 

n. The Holy Catholic Church. — The Holy Catholic 
Church is the entire body of the elect (iiumerus omnium 
e/ectorum), from the beginning to the end of the world, whom 
God in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, elects, justifies, and calls 
to the glory of salvation, out of which body there is no salvation. 
In its visible form, however, the Church is a mixed body and 
comprises wicked men also. The Brethren do not claim to be 
the only true Church, but strive to be members of the only true 
Church. They have chosen the narrow, sad and despised way 
which Christ the Redeemer took, and on which the Church, His 
Bride, condemned and rejected by the world, follows in His 

III. The Sacraments. — The seven sacraments, together with 
the preaching of the Gospel, are means of grace. 

1. Baptism. — Those who have attained, in mature years, to 
faith and been renewed in heart, are to be baptized in the name 
of the Triune God, the external "washing of water" being a sign 
of the internal cleansing through faith and of a union with the 

* " Cujus munere fidei vivificantis, renovantis et reforraantis ad Christi 
participationem meritoriae gratiae, justificationis, veritatis, fortudinis, 
perfectaeque salutis, unusqiaisque pervenit." Lydius, II. p. 6. 


Church.^ Baptism is to be administered to children also, in 
order that, guided by their sponsors, they may be incited and 
accustomed to a life of faith {ad vitam fidei invitandos esse, 
assuescendosque) . 

2. Confirmation. — Children are to be brought to the bishop or 
to a jiriest, who catechizes them with regard to the truths of 
religion and, when they have promised to lead righteous lives, 
confirms them with prayer and the laying on of hands. 

3. The Lord's Supper. — In the Lord's Supper the body of 
Christ is present in the bread, and the blood of Christ in the 
wine. Such presence is sacramental or mysterious. The words 
with which Christ instituted this sacrament must be accepted in 
simplicity and faith, and all explanations of them avoided, except 
with regard to the doctrine of transubstantiation and the belief 
that bread and wine constitute mere symbols. The Scriptures 
teach neither the one nor the other view ; and, furthermore, 
give no authority whatever for the adoration of the host. The 
sacrament is to be enjoyed, not adored. 

4. Ordination to the Priesthood. — The priesthood was instituted 
by Christ himself, the chief Bishop and High Priest of the 
Church. He is its Head, not the Pope ; therefore the priesthood 
does not proceed from the Pope, and his authority must not be 
acknowledged. Three things are necessary in order to render 
ordination a sacrament : a holy life, fasting and prayer, and the 
laying on of hands. 

5. Marriage. — Marriage is a union, formed in Christ, between 
a man and a woman, and at the same time a type of Christ's 
union with a believing soul and with the whole Church, 

6. Penance. — When confession is made with a humble and 
contrite heart, in true faith and sincerity of mind, and when the 
priest, in Christ's stead and by authority of the Chui'ch, repre- 
sents to the penitent the magnitude of his guilt, and the penitent 
humbly subjects himself to the power of the keys, —then penance 
is a sacrament. But if these conditions are not fulfilled, penance 
is an empty work devoid of Christ's grace. 

7. Extreme Unction. — In this sacrament, which is based upon 
the teaching of St. James (V: 14 and 15), the unction is a sign 
of the forgiveness of sins ; yet the assurance that they are 
forgiven does not depend upon the pouring of the oil but wholly 
upon the faith of the sick. 

* The rebaptism of such as joined the Brethren's Church was still prac- 
ticed, although voices, within its communion, were raised against this 


IV. The Communion of Saints. — All those members of the 
Church who, in living faith, make use of God's gifts of grace and 
of the means of grace which He has instituted, laboring together 
for the general good — constitute the communion of saints. Only 
the elect can have part in true faith, in divine grace and in 
Christ's righteousness; the impenitent and wicked, even though 
they receive the word and the sacraments, do not belong to the 
communion of the saints. Such as do belong to it, however far 
they may be led astray, are not lost but eventually reclaimed. 

V. The Remission of Sin. — Whoever truly repents and be- 
lieves, receives the remission of sin ; and by partaking, in living 
faith, of the Lord's Supper, is assured of such forgiveness. 

VI. — The Virgin Mary. — To praise God that the Incarnate 
Son was born of the Virgin Mary ; to call her blessed and to 
celebrate the days sacred to her — is right. But to worship her, 
or to pray to her, or to bend the knee before her, or to expect 
help from her — is not right. Christians must follow her example, 
in so far particularly as, at Cana, she said of her Son : " What- 
soever He saith unto you, do it." 

VII. The Saints. — The saints are those who, in life, received 
the grace of God through the merits of Christ, and the gift of 
the Holy Ghost. In their footsteps men must walk ; but they 
must not pray to them or adore them. 

VIII. Purgatory. — The Bible knows nothing of a place 
where, after death, men are purged from sin and prepared for 
heaven. After death comes the judgment. When treating of 
the other world the Scriptures speak only of hell and of 
Abraham's bosom. 

From this survey of the doctrinal system of the Brethren 
it appears, that they occupied a biblical standpoint and upheld 
an evangelical faith. The only remnant of Romanism was 
their teaching seven sacraments ; but instead of explaining 
these in a Romish way — that a mere outward participation in 
them is of avail — they made their efficacy to depend wholly 
upon the faith of the recipient. 

Gindely maintains that their view with regard to justifi- 
cation was in full accord with that of the Roman Catholic 
Church.^ This is a grave error. The faith by which a man 
is justified they 'did not understand in a Romish sense, 
although they taught that it must work by love ; and what is 

Gindely, I. p. 122, and Dogm. Ansichten, pp. 361-370. 


more, the doctrinal reasons which they assigned for separating 
from the Catholics cannot be reconciled with Gindely's 

It may rather be said that the essential features of the 
system of the Reformers were practically contained in that of 
the Brethren before the Reformation. The difference between 
the two was this: the Reformers gained, from a scientific 
point of view, a deeper insight into theology than the 
Brethren, and hence defined dogmatical tenets more clearly 
and systematically. But from the standpoint of practical 
religion, the question " What must I do to be saved ?" — 
would have received the same answer from a minister of the 
Brethren's Church as from a minister in the time of the 
Reformation. Yet the former would have set forth, more earn- 
estly than the latter, holy living as a result and sign of saving 
faith, and in doing this, would have had the Bible on his side.^ 

In the period of which we are treating the Brethren were 
distinguished by their high standard of spirituality. The 
walk and conversation of all classes were made to conform, as 
far as possible, to rules laid down by the Synod and the 
Executive Council.^ 

The ministers set the example. Their labors were earnest, 
their prayers unceasing, their lives holy. Such sins as dis- 
graced the Catholic and Utraquist priesthood, rarely occurred. 
The nobility, whatever their prerogatives in the eye of the 

' The Brethren say, as recorded in the " Dekreten," that the R. C. 
Church reverses the plan of salvation; sets aside the merits of Christ; 
changes the work of the Holy Ghost into a work of man; and teaches 
sinners to earn forgiveness through meritorious acts. 

^ The tendency of German Moravian writers, such as John Plitt, Bishop 
Croeger, and especially Dr. Herman Plitt, is to make prominent the weak 
points of the theology ot the U. F. prior to the Eeformation, and to ascribe 
undue weight to its influence in subsequently shaping that theology. While 
no one can deny that the Reformation did exercise an influence, to a certain 
extent, upon the doctrinal system of the Brethren, its original biblical 
character and evangelical features ought rather to be urged, both of which 
are astonishing when we consider the age to which they belonged. John 
Plitt accuses the Brethren of a tendency to worship the Virgin Mary ! 

^ Czerwenka, II. pp. 115-122, according to the " Dekreten." 


civil law, were not recognized as a privileged order by the 
statutes of the Unity. Not only were these alike binding 
upon them and upon the humblest member, but there existed 
also special rules for their conduct as manor-lords and office- 
bearers under the government. In the same way were pre- 
scribed, according to the Scriptures, the duties of dependents 
and serfs and servants. The laborer in the field, the artisan 
in his shop, and the tradesman with his wares, were not 
forgotten. Their concerns were carefully regulated with a 
view to industry, to honesty and to the glory of God. 
Certain occupations were deemed dishonorable and hence 
were forbidden. To this class belonged the manufacture of 
dice, the theatrical profession, painting, music, astrology, 
witchcraft, usury, alchemy, pandering and prostitution. 

Piety adorned especially the homes of the Brethren. 
Parental discipline was strict; the children were instructed 
in religion ; the spiritual welfare of the servants was pro- 
moted ; around the family altar gathered, every morning and 
evening, the entire household. Extravagance and immodesty 
in dress, immoderate feasting and unbecoming pastimes were 
forbidden. From public amusements, especially the annual 
village-fairs, the Brethren stood aloof. They were noted, too, 
for their temperance in the use of intoxicating drinks, the 
retailing of which was discouraged in every possible way. 
Not less remarkable was the manner in which they hallowed 
the Lord's day, desecrated as it was by the people in general. 
The poor and sick were cared for with all tenderness and love. 
Whenever a member of the Church undertook a journey, he 
notified his priest, or one of the elders, in order that he might 
be included in the prayers of the congregation and publicly 
committed into the keeping of God. 

Such was the religious life of the Unity. While, to a 
certain extent, that puritanical element still appears which 
was originated by Peter Chelcicky — the picture is attractive. 
The Brethren were true to their profession, reached a type of 
Christianity unprecedented in their age, and showed them- 
selves to be a royal priesthood and a peculiar people. 



The Ministry, Constitution, Ritual and Discipline of the Unitas 

Fratrum at the Beginning of Luther's Reformation. 

A. D. 1517. 

Bishops. — Priests. — Deacons. — Their Ordination. — Acolytes. — Synods. — 
The Executive Council. — Its President. — The Judge. — Parishes, and 
their Lay Officers. —Official Visits. — Installations. — Public Worship 
and the Administration of the Sacraments. — Marriages and Funerals. 
— Festival Days. — Fast and Prayer Days. — The Discipline, 

The ministry of the Unitas Fratrum embraced the three 
orders of bishops, priests or presbyters, and deacons.^ Candi- 
dates for the ministry were called acolytes and filled a distinct 
office in the Church. 

Bishops were elected by the priests, who held a secret 
meeting for this purpose, after having spent a day in fasting 
and prayer. In case they could not all assemble, such only 
were convened as resided. in the district where the Executive 

^Sources for this chapter are: Dekrete d. B. U., as reproduced in 
German by Czerwenka, II. pp. 76-84 ; Gindely, I. pp. 79-88 ; Apologia 
verae doctrinse, etc., 1532-1538 ; Quinta Pars, Lydius, I. Second Part, p. 
332, etc.; Ratio Disciplinse Ordinisque Ecclesiastici in Unitate Frat. Boh., 
drawn up in 1616, together with the notes of Comenius (Halle ed. of 1702); 
and Seifferth's Ch. Constitution of the Boh. Brethren. London, 1866. 
The ministry and discipline were the same in 1517 as in 1616, and in the 
century that intervened but few changes were made in the constitution and 
ritual ; hence the Ratio Discipline constitutes an important authority for 
our review. The changes were mostly unessential and are noted in the 


Couucil had its seat. The election was by ballot and each 
ticket contained three names. The tickets were given to the 
presiding Bishop, who was not permitted to examine them 
until the third day, when they were opened and counted in 
the presence of the Executive Council. In order to a choice 
a unanimous vote was necessary. If the result was not 
unanimous, a second ballot, restricted to those who had 
received the highest number of votes, was ordered; in case 
they scattered even now, the presiding Bishop, after con- 
sulting with the Council, decided which of the candidates 
should receive the appointment. This mode of election was 
gradually changed in so far, that bishops were publicly 
chosen at a General Synod and by a majority of votes ; but 
the tickets were still opened and counted in private by the 
Council. Priests only could be elevated to the episcopacy. 

The consecration of bishops was conducted with the utmost 
solemnity — in early times, in secret, at a later period, in 
public — and generally the day after the result of the election 
had been determined. The priests, or in subsequent times 
the entire Synod, having assembled and engaged in religious 
exercises, the presiding Bishop announced that God had heard 
the prayers of His servants ; that a new bishop had been 
chosen ; and that it was the duty of the brother thus elected, 
when his name would be made known, to obey the divine 
call without hesitation and present himself before God and 
the Church. Thereupon another bishop published the name. 
This was the first intimation which the priest, who had been 
chosen, received of his election. His feelings may be imagined 
when he came forward and was asked by the presiding Bishop, 
in presence of the entire assembly, whether he believed that he 
had been called of God and whether he was willing to offer 
the service of his life to God and the Church ? If he 
answered in the affirmative, the duties of the episcopal office 
were read to him from the apostolic canon ; after which he 
took the solemn oath prescribed for bishops, promising to 
discharge his episcopal obligations and functions faithfully, 
sincerely and constantly. Thereu]3on the whole assembly fell 


on their knees and the presiding Bishop prayed that God 
would ratify in heaven what had been done on earth, that He 
would endow His servant with the gifts necessary for the 
office he was to fill, and grant to him the spirit of wisdom 
and power. The act of consecration immediately followed, 
the presiding Bishop invoking the name of God and repeating 
the prescribed formula, while all the bishops present took 
part in the imposition of hands. Meanwhile the congregation, 
still kneeling, engaged in silent intercessions and, when the 
consecration had taken place, united in the Veni Creator 
Spiritus. At the conclusion of this hymn the bishops 
embraced their new colleague and welcomed him to their 
ranks as a brother, while the other ministers pledged to him 
their right hands in token of obedience. The service was 
closed with the celebration of the Holy Communion. 

The official title commonly given to a bishop was " Senior." 
This, says the Ratio DiscipUnce, was owing to the fact that 
the former name " had become odious through the anti- 
Christian abuse of it ;" nevertheless it very frequently occurs 
in the writings of the Brethren. 

The special duties of the bishops were : the ordination and 
the superintendence of the ministers; official visits to the 
churches; watching over the doctrine and discipline; over- 
seeing the publication offices of the Unity ; and providing for 
the training of youths of good parts for the service of the 
Church. Districts, or dioceses, were assigned to the bishops 
at an early time, and when the Unitas Fratrum had increased 
to three Provinces, the episcopacy was represented in each 

When deacons were to be advanced to the priesthood, they 
were subjected to a very careful examination, first by members 
of the Council and then by a bishop. The latter examination 
was particularly strict. It was " a trial of the conscience" of 
the deacon : whether he proposed to follow Christ from pure 
love or for a livelihood ? whether he sought the flock or the 
fleece? whether he was ready to impart to his hearers not 
the Gospel of God only, but his own soul also? (1 Thess. 


2 : 8.)- The testimonials furnished by the elders of the 
parishes in which the candidates had served as deacons, were 
scrutinized by the priests assembled at a Synod, on which 
occasion the ordination took place. Their assent to these 
testimonials, or their dissent from them, was sent to the 
bishops in writing. 

Priests were usually ordained in the ember weeks, on a 
Sunday ; in the early period of the Church, with closed doors, 
but in a later period publicly. The candidates were pre- 
sented to the Bishop by two members of the Council, with 
these words : 

"Venerable brother in Christ, the Bishop, we bear witness 
before God and this Church, that these men are of worthy 
parentage and education, and that their lives have hitherto been 
honest and unblamable ; also, that having been examined by us, 
they have been found to be sound in doctrine and faith, and of 
a sincere intention to serve Christ and the Church. We therefore 
request, in the name of the congregations they are to serve, that 
you would confer on them the pastoral office, by the power com- 
mitted to you by Christ and the Church, and that you would 
confirm them in the same." 

The Bishop replied : 

"This testimony of yours, given in the presence of the Church 
of Christ, is admitted ; and your petition shall be granted in the 
name of God." ^ 

Thereupon a series of questions was put to the candidates ; 

having answered these they took the prescribed oath of fidelity 

to God and the Church. Then the Bishop addressed them 

and said : 

"Beloved brethren, that you may entertain a firm hope of 
divine assistance, listen to Christ, the eternal High Priest inter- 
ceding for you; who, when about to sanctify himself as a victim 
for the sins of the world, most fervently commended to His 
Father all His followers who should proclaim redemption." 

^ " This last trial of the conscience," says Comenius, " was sometimes 
so affectingly conducted, that instances are not wanting of persons having 
shrunk from the office through alarm of conscience, or their age, or inex- 
perience ; feeling more disposed to work out their own salvation than to 
be engaged in caring for that of others." Seifferth's Ch. Con., p. 188. 

^ Comenius, in Seiiferth's Ch. Con. pp. 188 and 189. 


Another bishop now read, from the seventeenth chapter of 
St. John, the high priestly prayer of Christ. " It was seldom 
heard without tears," says Comenius. The act of ordination 
followed, with prayer and the imposition of hands, the Bishop 
repeating the prescribed formula and the congregation kneeling 
and, as at episcopal consecrations, singing the Veni Creator 
Spiritus. Finally the Bishop delivered a charge to the newly 
ordained priests, at the close of which, during the singing of 
the one hundred and thirty-third psalm, they pledged to him 
and his colleagues their right hands in token of obedience, 
and to the other ministers in token of fellowship. The 
service was generally concluded with the celebration of the 
Holy Communion. 

At the head of each parish stood a priest. It was his duty 
to preach and administer the sacraments, to solemnize mar- 
riages, to instruct the old and young in the truths of religion 
according to the catechism and the Confessions of the 
Brethren, and to devote himself to pastoral work. Theo- 
retically he was permitted to marry, but practically obstacles 
were thrown in his way. Permission must, in each case, be 
given by the Executive Council, and a married priest was 
debarred from the discharge of certain ministerial functions. 
In later times, however, such restrictions were removed. A 
priest was supported, in part, by the voluntary gifts of his 
parish, and, in part, by the work of his own hands.* 

The priests were assisted by deacons. These instructed 
the young in the truths of religion, preached, baptized, and 
distributed the elements at the Lord's Supper. They were 
not allowed to administer this latter sacrament, and could 
baptize only by direction of a priest. Deacons were advanced 

* Dr. Kiisebrot, in his attack upon the Unity, ridiculed this custom. In 
their reply the Brethren said: "Let him consider the beginning of the 
primitive Church, whether there were many of the noble, powerful, wise or 
rich, in these offices. We are not ashamed of our priests because they 
labor with their own hands; for both apostolic teaching and example so 
lead us, and indeed we would rather see this, than that, giving way to 
indolence, they should frequent taverns, and follow vanity and vice." 
Seifferth's Ch. Con. p. 188. 


to their office from the ranks of the acolytes, and their ordina- 
tion was conducted in a way similar to that of the priests. 

Acolytes were youths living .with the priests and preparing 
for service in the Church. They engaged in the prescribed 
studies ; read the Scriptures at private worship and sometimes 
delivered a brief exhortation; taught the catechism to the 
children in the schools; attended the priests on their 
journeys ; opened, closed and lighted the chapels, and rang 
the bell for public service. Acolytes were formally inducted 
into their office at Synods. Their duties were read to them ; 
they promised faithfulness and obedience ; and pledged their 
right hands to a bishop in token of both. 

We turn to the constitution of the Unitas Fratrum. 

Its highest authority was the General Synod which, in the 
period under review, met once a year ; in later times, every 
three or four years. To it came the bishops, the members of 
the Executive Council, the priests, the deacons, the acolytes 
and the patrons of the churches, so that there were often 
several hundred persons gathered. But only the bishops, the 
members of the Council and those priests who had charge of 
parishes, took part in the deliberations and were entitled to a 

On the day before the opening of the Synod a preliminary 
meeting of the Executive Council was held. At this meeting 
an opportunity was given for a fraternal interchange of views 
with regard to the personal relations of the members. After 
a searching charge by the presiding Bishop to the whole 
Council, he and his episcopal colleagues conferred together in 
one apartment and the remaining members in another. 
Faults were freely confessed and forgiven, differences ad- 
justed and offences removed. Then the entire body again 
assembled, their mutual trust and love renewed, and agreed 
on an order of business. 

In the evening of the following day the Synod was opened, 
in the chapel, by the presiding Bishop, who gave thanks unto 
God and welcomed the brethren. The next morning a 
synodical sermon was preached, and then legislation began. 


But it was not carried on by the Synod in one body. There 
were, what might be called, two Houses ; the upper consisting 
of the bishops and Council, the lower of the priests. In the 
former the presiding Bishop occupied the chair; the latter 
chose its president. The two Houses interchanged their 
propositions and nothing of moment was transacted without 
the consent of both. Meanwhile, under the supervision of 
the bishops, the deacons and acolytes held meetings of their 
own at which theological studies were carried on and exami- 
nations instituted. The bishops also consulted with the 
patrons in relation to the business which these might wish 
to bring forward. Religious services took place every 
morning, afternoon and evening; and daily sermons were 
preached. On such occasions the entire Synod assembled. 
It was closed with a charge to the ministers by one of the 
bishops, to which a priest replied in the name of the former^ 
thanking the bishops for their paternal care. Then followed 
the celebration of the Holy Communion. The Acts of the 
Synod were registered and each bishop received a copy. 

Particular Synods — Particulares Synodi — as they were 
called, met frequently. These consisted of a smaller number 
of bishops and priests, and transacted business that was local 
in its character. The Acts of such Synods were communi- 
cated to all the bishops. 

The executive authority was vested in the Council. This 
consisted of the bishops and generally of ten other members, 
among whom, in the earliest period of the Unity, were lay- 
men.^ At a later time priests only were chosen ; and 
eventually an election to the Council involved a consecration 
as assistant bishop. Thus the body became exclusively 
episcopal. The tenure of office was for life and new mem- 
bers, after taking an oath of fidelity, were inducted by the 
presiding Bishop. Vacancies were filled by the Council 
itself, but its choice was restricted to such priests as the 

^ In the long period in which Matthias was the only bishop, the Council 
embraced thirteen members. 


churches nominated. In course of time this rule was 
abrogated and the General Synod filled vacancies. The 
members of the Council resided in different parishes and its 
chief seat was occasionally changed. It was the province of 
this body to appoint priests to the various churches ; to pro- 
vide for official visits ; to elect the Ecclesiastical Judge ; and 
in every particular to care for the welfare of the Unity. In 
this way an associate form of government was produced. No 
bishop could act independently. In all matters of moment 
he was bound to consult not only his episcopal colleagues but 
also the other members of the Council. At the same time, 
however, the bishops ranked according to the priority of their 
consecration, and the President of the Council exercised great 
influence. He was the presiding Bishop of the whole Unity, 
convened the Executive Council and the General Synod, and 
took the lead at both. 

At the meetings of these bodies he afforded every member 
an opportunity to speak on every question, beginning with 
the youngest and ending with the oldest. When all present 
had expressed their opinions, he rehearsed and weighed them, 
showed whether they could be reconciled, and in what manner 
a common conclusion could be reached. If this was impos- 
sible, he pointed out the different results to which the views 
of the members had led and the reasons for each result, and 
then presented the question for renewed discussion, always 
striving to bring about unanimity if possible. 

An office of great authority was that of the Ecclesiastical 
Judge. Although not inhering in the episcopacy, it seems 
to have been filled by the presiding Bishop, except toward 
the end of the episcopate of Matthias, in 1495, when it was 
given to Prokop, in whose hands it remained for twelve 
years. This was owing, however, as we have shown in 
another connection, to the arbitrary course which Matthias 
pursued. The Judge settled all disputes in the Church, that 
were referred to him, making known his decision publicly ; 
in the event of his finding it impossible to adjust a case, he 
laid it before the Council. From this body an appeal could 


be taken to the General Synod ; but such an appeal was 
final. In course of time the office of Ecclesiastical Judge 

The various churches of the Unity were all governed by 
the same rules and developed according to one system. 
Inquiring more closely into the character of both, we find 
many points of interest, which become attractive and memor- 
able when we call to mind the age to which they belonged. 

The membership of a Brethren's church was classified ; 
embracing Beginners {Incipientes), Proficients (Proficientes), 
and the Perfect {Perfecti), or those "going on unto per- 
fection."^ Beginners were such as were "learning the first 
elements of religion" — children and converts from "the 
idolaters;" Proficients, such as "having become well ac- 
quainted with those elements, exercised themselves, more and 
more, in the knowledge of the will of God and in its practical 
observance ; " and the Perfect, " such as had made eminent 
attainments in the knowledge of divine things and had 
become so established in faith, love and hope, as to be able to 
enlighten others."^ Hence this last class generally furnished 
a church with its lay-officers. 

Of these there were three boards : the elders, the almoners, 
and the sediles. They were elected by the people. The elders, 
or overseers, watched over the membership with pious care 
and, in every other way, assisted the priest in his pastoral 
work. Associated with them was a body of female elders — 
widows and single women — whose duty it was to oversee and 
labor among their own sex. Their ministrations to the sick 
and their other works of charity were distinguished. The 
almoners provided for the poor of the parish and had charge 
of the money contributed toward their support. Individual 
gifts were frequently received ; at Christmas and on the Day 
of John the Baptist (June the twenty-fourth), collections 

^ "Sive ad perfectionem tendentes." 1 Cor. 2:6; Heb. 5 : 13 and 14. 

' Seifferth's Ch. Con. pp. 104 and 105. This classification is set forth in 
full in the third part of the Conf. of 1532-1538 (Lydius, Part II, p. 177, 
etc) ; it undoubtedly existed in 1517. 


were, every year, instituted. The rediles formed the trustees 
of a church. They managed its financial affairs; looked 
after the parsonage and chapel and school-house; and 
rendered an annual account to the parish, whose contribu- 
tions were paid quarterly. 

The centre of every parish was the Zbor, or the parsonage.^ 
It was a large edifice in which lived not only the priest, but 
also the deacons who assisted him, the acolytes under his 
charge, and usually the female elders of his church. Not 
unfrequently, too, superannuated ministers found a home 
there and traveling brethren a lodging-place. The entire 
household was governed by strict rules. There were fixed 
hours for rising, for private devotions, for family- worship, 
for study and manual labor and for retiring to rest. Idleness 
was unknown ; from morning to night the parsonage teemed 
with activity and life. Nor did the parishioners fail to 
frequent its apartments. They came to engage servants, to 
seek counsel, to lodge complaints and to settle disputes. So 
constant were these visits that the enemies of the Brethren 
reviled them for "running into the House" about every 
trifle. The chapel, for public worship, was either under the 
same roof with the parson age, or constituted a separate edifice. 
In early times the parsonage included the parochial school 
likewise; at a later period school-houses were constructed. 
Noblemen belonging to the Unity, or the parishes themselves, 
erected all these buildings ; the town and village churches 
remained in the hands of the Utraquists and Catholics. 

Every parish was visited, once a year, by the bishop set 
over the diocese to which it belonged. He was generally 
accompanied by several members of the Council and by some 
of the neighboring priests. In case he was prevented from 
appearing in person, a member of the Council took his place. 
Such visits were very thorough, involving a close inspection 

* The Zbo7- or sbor (a church) was also called Dum (the house); hence 
the phrase do sboru jeti, that is, " to go into the house," gradually came to 
mean "to attend divine service." Herrnhut, 1875, No. 6, Feb. 6, upon 
which authority is based the description which follows. 


of the parish in every particular. The pastor was examined 
in relation to its state and his own work and life ; the deacons 
and acolytes were questioned with regard to the manner in 
which they discharged their duties; the elders were inter- 
rogated both as to the obligations which they had assumed 
and as to the degree of faithfulness manifested by the pastor ; 
the female elders were asked to give a report of what they had 
accomplished ; and finally, in conjunction with the elders and 
sediles, the buildings and other property belonging to the 
parish were inspected. The bishop, moreover, preached, 
took occasion to instruct and admonish the different classes of 
the membership, and always administered the Holy Com- 
munion. If a new pastor had been appointed, he installed 
him with great solemnity ; if new elders had been elected, 
he formally inducted them into their office; and if a new 
chapel had been built, he dedicated it to the worship of God. 
The Day of the Lord was kept holy throughout the parish. 
In summer five public services were held; in winter four. 
The first and 'second took place in the forenoon. At both, 
after singing and prayer, sermons were preached. Prior to 
the sixteenth century the text was restricted to the Gospel or 
Epistle appointed for the day, and the most of the prayers 
were intoned by the priest; subsequent to that period liberty 
was given to select a text — although the old order was com- 
monly observed — and the intoning fell into disuse. In 
prayer both priest and congregation kneeled. At noon, after 
an early repast, the children, in the j^resence of their parents 
and sponsors, were instructed by the deacons in the catechism. 
This was the service which took place in summer only. At 
"the time of vespers" a third sermon was delivered, gen- 
erally on the Epistle for the day ; and at sunset followed a 
service of song and prayer. When this had been concluded 
the congregation, expressing, each to the other, good wishes 
for the night — " May you rest in peace and in God ! " — 
returned to their homes, joyful and glad of heart.^ 

^ According to the Ratio Disciplinae, p. 31, it became customary, in 
course of time, to select the text of the first forenoon sermon from the 


Divine service was held in the course of the week also. 
Moreover, as opportunity offered, not only the three classes of 
Beginners and Proficients and the Perfect, but likewise the 
married members, the single men, and the single women, met 
separately and were addressed by the pastor on topics suitable 
to their respective circumstances. In the season of Lent on 
Wednesday and Friday evenings, the so-called Salva took 
place,^^ at which meetings the mystery of redemption was 
" diligently inculcated, especially upon the young." 

Children were baptized a few days after their birth. The 
service was impressive. First of all, the parents and sponsors 
were taught their respective duties from the Scriptures ; then, 
in answer to questions put by the officiating minister, the 
parents authorized the sponsors to take part in the religious 
training of the child, and the sponsors accepted this responsi- 
bility, both parties pledging their right hands in token of 
their mutual promise. All kneeling, a fervent prayer by 
the minister followed. He besought God to grant to the 
child, through the Holy Ghost, the new birth in Christ Jesus 
and a part in the covenant of His Church ; parents and 
sponsors reverently responding Amen! Thereupon the 
minister baptized the child with pure water, in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. A brief 
exhortation closed the service. 

The baptismal covenant was renewed in the rite of con- 
firmation which, as a rule, took place on the occasion of an 
episcopal visit, but was not necessarily administered by a 
bishop. The young people having come forward, were ques- 
tioned in relation to the sincerity of their purpose and their 
faith in Christ. They renounced the world, the flesh and 
the devil; professed their faith by reciting, in concert, the 
Apostles' Creed; and kneeling, repeated after the officiating 
minister a prayer for pardon and grace to lead holy lives. 

Prophets ; of the second, from the Gospels ; of the sermon at vespers from 
the Epistles, and to combine with the evening song the reading of the 
entire Bible in order, as also brief comments on the portions read. 

^^ The name Salvn was derived from the hymn Salva nos Jesu, rtx cceli, 
'• Save us, .Jesus, heavenly King." 


He then imparted absolution, and confirmed them with the 
imposition of hands and an invocation to God. 

No service was conducted with greater solemnity than that 
of the Holy Communion. We will, in imagination, visit a 
parish at such a season. 

The day for the celebration of this sacrament is, we find, 
appointed two or three weeks previously, and with the 
appointment the priest combines earnest exhortations, ad- 
dressed to the communicants, to "prove their ownselves." 
At a subsequent time he delivers a special discourse on the 
meaning of the Lord's Supper and on the duty of further 
preparing for it in the most prayerful way and with the most 
searching self-examination. Then confession takes place, 
either in public or in private, followed by a solemn charge 
on the part of the priest to repent and do the first works. He 
imparts absolution with the imposition of hands.^^ Entering 
the chapel on the appointed day, we find it filled with 
reverent worshipers. A hymn is sung, prayer offered and a 
sermon preached; after which, while another hymn swells 
through the sanctuary, the priest and his assisting deacons 
approach the communion table which is covered with a white 
linen cloth and on which stand the sacred vessels — the flagon, 
the chalice and the paten with common bread. '^ Turning to 
the communicants the priest exhorts them to call upon God 
for the pardon of their sins. All fall on their knees ; the 
priest leads in a fervent prayer, closing with the Lord's 
Prayer, and the people respond Amen! Still kneeling they 
sing a short hymn. Then all rise and the priest, having 
admonished them to believe implicitly that their prayers 
have been heard and that their sins have been forgiven, 

** In a later period of the Church the communicants, according to the 
Ratio Disciplinre, called at the parsonage, either by families, or masters 
with their servants, and were carefully examined by the priest with regard 
to their spiritual state. Such as proved unworthy were forbidden to partici- 
pate in the Lord's Supper, unless they promised a thorough amendment. 

^^ In accordance with a resolution of the General Synod, adopted in 
1534, wafers were thereafter substituted and lighted candles were permitted 
on the communion table. 


pronounces a general absolution. And now he consecrates 
the elements with the words of institution — prior to the 
sixteenth century these words were always chanted — and 
invites the congregation to draAV near to the table of the 
Lord. First the priest and the deacons partake ; then the 
people come forward with all reverence and in regular order. 
The manor-lords, in their capacity of magistrates, take the 
lead ; next the elders approach ; then the men, and last the 
women — in each case according to age — and receive, kneeling, 
both the bread and the cup from the hands of the officiating 
ministers.^^ Meanwhile hymns, treating of the sufferings and 
death of Christ, are sung in sweet harmony. When all the 
communicants have partaken, the priest offers a prayer of 
thanksgiving, to which he adds intercessions for the Church 
universal, for rulers and lords of domains, for friend and foe, 
for the fallen and the penitent and the sick, for all states and 
conditions of men. In conclusion, without making the sign 
of the cross, he pronounces the benediction, all the people 
saying Amen ! Before leaving God's house they engage in 
silent prayer. 

Neither at the Holy Communion nor on any other occasion 
were priestly vestments used. 

The marriage ceremony was performed in the chapel and 
accompanied with the reading of the Scriptures and a dis- 
course. At funerals an address was delivered and, on the 
way to the grave, the school children, led by the minister, 
sang hymns. The festivals of the Christian Church, as also 
the days of the Apostles and of some of the martyrs, were 
duly celebrated. Four times in the year, Wednesday and 
Friday were observed as days of solemn supplication to God, 
both in public and in private. All work ceased ; the people 
assembled in their chapels ; discourses were delivered ; con- 
fession of sin was made and fervent prayer offered. Prayer 

" In the fifteenth century the Brethren received the elements standing, 
as a protest against the adoration of the host ; but this practice gave such 
offence and caused such fierce perseciitions, that they were obliged to 
relinquish it. R. D., pp. 37 and 38. 


was continued, in the closet and the family circle, as far as 
possible, throughout the whole day. On such occasions the 
Brethren fasted, as also at the approach of danger from 
persecutions, war or pestilence, and whenever ordinations t(j 
the ministry were about to take place. 

The discipline exercised within the Unitas Fratrum, con- 
stituted one of its brightest jewels. Carefully regulated 
according to the Scriptures, this discipline embraced three 
degrees. The first consisted of private admonition and 
reproof; the second of public reproof and exposure ; the third 
of excommunication and entire exclusion from the Church. 

If a brother saw his brother sin, it was his duty and 
privilege, in all kindness, to point out the offense. In case 
the reproof remained without effect, the offender was cited 
before the elders, or the pastor, and admonished by them. 
Did he acknowledge his fault, he was dismissed in peace ; did 
he continue refractory, he was suspended from the Holy 
Communion until he had given evidence of true repentance. 
In serious cases a condition was fixed. If his offence had 
remained unknown to the church, he was required to ask 
pardon of the elders privately ; but if it had been made 
public, he was obliged publicly to seek forgiveness of the 
assembled congregation. In the event of his remaining con- 
tumacious, or of a gross transgression, he was formally and 
publicly excommunicated, the people setting, as it were, their 
seals to the sentence, in that they exclaimed Amen ! Amen ! 

To such discipline, in its three degrees, all the members of 
the Unity were subject, " from the child," says the Ratio 
DueipLince, " to the old man, from the serf to the lord, from 
the acolyte to the bishop." It was enforced "neither in a 
hypocritical, nor in a violent and tyrannical manner, but as 
the Apostle has advised, in the spirit of meekness, with deep 
compassion, in the name and by the authority of Christ, to 
edification and not to destruction." " 

" R. D., pp. 53 and 55. Seifferth's Ch. Con., p. 172. The review given 
in the above chapter shows in how many points of constitution, of worship 
and of discipline the Unitas Fratrum of the present day resembles the Unity 
which existed at the time of the Reformation. 



The Growth and Enterprises of the Unitas Fratrum at the 
Beginning of Luther's Reformation. A. D. 1517. 

The principal Churches of the Brethren in Bohemia. — The Establishments 
of Carmel and the !Mount of Olives at Jungbunzlau and Leitomischl. 
— The principal Churches in Moravia. — The number of Members. — 
Noble Families, belonging to the Unity. — Its Schools. — Its Publication 
Offices. — The first Catechism. — The lirst Hymnal. — Other Publications. 

The Uuitas Fratrum was no longer a small body of obscure 
believers, but a flourishing, influential and numerous church. 
While accurate statistics are wanting, an approximately correct 
idea of its growth may be given. 

In Bohemia it had three principal centres.^ The first may 
be called the Reichenau-Kunwald, or the Jungbunzlau- 
Leitomischl centre. It stretched from the eastern end of 
Bohemia westward to Jungbunzlau and Brandeis on the 
Elbe, and from Vilimow and Kuttenberg in the South to 
Turnau and Braunau in the North. Within these limits 
there was scarcely a town of any importance in which the 
Brethren had not established themselves, so that the number 
of churches reached about one hundred and fifty. The most 
noteworthy were those at Skuc, Richenburg, Landskron, 
Brandeis on the Adler, Hohenmaut, Chrudin and Chotzen, 
in the circuit of Pardubitz ; Senftenberg, Kunwald, Reich- 
enau, Pottenstein, Kosteletz, K5niggratz, Neustadt on the 
Mettau, Krcin and Jaromir, in the circuit of Koniggratz; 
Jungbunzlau, Bidschow, Nimburg, Brandeis on the Elbe, 
Turnau, and Weisswasser, in the circuit of Jicin. 

^ The chief authority for this chapter is Gindely, I. pp. 92-94, 96, 108, 
109, 121, 122, 12-4 and 12G, who assigns the centres given above. 


The second centime may be named the Stekna centre, in the 
southwestern part of Bohemia. It was connected with the 
first by churches scattered in the line of Vilimow, Beneschau, 
Wotitz, Tabor and Frauenberg, near Budweis, and its most 
important seats were those at Stekna, Wodnan, Wolin, 
Klosterle, Strakoniz, Mirovic, Klattau, Schliisselberg, Taus, 
Aujezd and Haid. 

The third centre may be designated the Saaz-Lenesic centre, 
in the western section of the country. This centre flourished 
in the early period of the Unity ; in later times it suffered 
greatly from persecutions. Its prominent churches were at 
Saaz, Lenesic, Ploscha, Laun, Bilin, Briix and Teplitz. 

The chief seat of the Brethren remained, for the most part, 
within the first centre. Originally it was at Kunwald, then 
at Reichenau, later at Brandeis on the Adler, and in the time 
of Bishop Luke, at Jungbunzlau. In this town stood a large 
edifice — once a Franciscan convent — which was renovated and 
given to the Unity by Baron Krajek. It contained a chapel, 
a school and the residence of the principal members of the 
Council. This structure was called " Mount Carmel." A 
similar establishment at Leitomischl was known as " Mount 
of Olives." Jungbunzlau, Pardubitz and Leitomischl con- 
stituted the three domains on which the Brethren were most 
thickly settled. 

jNIoravia comprised two centres, of which the one may be 
named Prerau-Prossnitz and the other Eibenschiitz. In the 
first the leading churches were at Prerau, which always 
remained the chief Moravian seat of the Brethren, Prossnitz, 
Wischau, Eywanowitz, Tobitschau, Chropin, Kajetan, Krem- 
sier, Straznic, Ungarisch-Brod, Walachisch-Meseritsch, Weiss- 
kirchen, Neutitschein, Kunewalde and Fulneck; in the 
second, at Eibenschiitz, Kauitz, Mahrisch-Kromau, Bitesch, 
Trebitsch and Datschitz. 

According to the Historia Persecutionum the number of 
chapels and therefore of parishes, in 1500, both in Bohemia 
and Moravia, was about two hundred.^ But this is too low 

^ Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XX. 8. 


an estimate. The researches of Gindely have shown that 
there were between three hundred and four hundred cliurches 
in Bohemia alone, and that the number of members amounted 
to between seventy-seven thousand and one hundred thousand. 
At the same time, there were, according to one account, about 
seventy thousand, according to another, about one hundred 
thousand members in Moravia. Hence, taking the low^est 
estimates, it appears that at the beginning of the Reformation 
the Brethren had, in Bohemia and Moravia, more than four 
hundred churches and a membership of at least one hundred 
and fifty thousand, and probably of two hundred thousand 

Some of the prominent noble families connected with the 
Unity were tiiose of Kostka, Pernstein, Krajek, Waldstein, 
Sternberg, Zcrotin, Bozkowic and Kaunitz. Particularly 
zealous on its behalf were sevei'al women of ancient lines: 
Joanna von Krajek, Crescencia Zmrzlik, Anna von Ostrowic 
and her daughter, Martha von Bozkowic, as also a daughter 
of Baron von Schellenberg, ^\'ho was a Catholic and one of 
the most powerful supporters of the Catholic church. Gindely 
says: "The Brethren hung together like an unbroken chain, 
from the royal palace to the humblest cottage."* 

The enterprises of the Unity were its schools and publica- 
tion offices. Of the former there existed, in addition to the 
parochial schools found in every parish, several higher ones, 
especially at Jungbuuzlau and Leitomischl, attended by young 
people not connected with the Unity, among whom Avere not 

^ From a conversation between George Volinsky and Baron Rosenberg 
(Gindely I. p. 94, Vide p.'195 of this History), it appears that in 1513, the 
Brethren had about eleven thousand full grown men in Bohemia. Reckon- 
ing the men as the one-seventh of tlie whole, number, this must have 
amounted to seventy-seven thousand. From Dr. Henry Institoris Sancte 
Romane ecc. fidei defensionis, (Vide p. 183 of this History,) we gather that 
there were said to be, in 1500, about one hundred thousand Brethren in 
Moravia; but Gindely claims tliat the number in Bohemia was larger 
than in Moravia. Consequently our estimate in the text is not too high, 
but perhaps too low. 

* Gindely, I. p. 126. 


a few young nobles. We know nothing with regard to the 
course of study or the system of education in this early period. 

In 1517 the Unity had two publication offices. The one 
was at Jungbunzlau, estal)lished in 1500; the other at Leito- 
mischl, established in 1507. In 1519 a third was opened at 
Weisswasser.^ The superintendent of the office at Jung- 
bunzlau was Nicholas Claudianus, a distinguished physician 
and learned man." All the three offices were supplied with 
printing presses of their own, and sent forth numerous works. 

In 1505 appeared the first Catechism of the Brethren 
entitled Detinske otazky — " Questions to the children " — 
written by Bishop Luke, and the first Hymnal, edited by the 
same author, containing paraphrases and translations of old 
Latin hymns together with many original compositions. 
Both these works are lost. Other publications were the 
Confessions of Faith, mentioned in previous chapters; 
numerous polemical writings by Luke and Krasonicky; 
Luke's answer to an attack, by Catholic priests, upon the 
Catechism ; his Treatise on the Incarnation, his Commentaries 
on the Psalms, on the Gospels and Epistles of the Ecclesias- 
tical Year, on the Third, Fourth and Sixth chapters of St. 
John's Gospel, and on the Eleventh chapter of St. Paul's first 
Epistle to the Corinthians ; several monographs against re- 
baptism, written by his brother, John, a distinguished physi- 
cian ; and a map of Bohemia drawn by Claudianus and issued 
under his supervision.'' 

These are only a few instances of the literary activity of the 
Brethren. Between the years 1500 and 1510, sixty works 
appeared in Bohemia, of which not less than fifty were 

* At this time there were only two other presses in Bohemia, the one at 
Pilsen (1468) in the hands of the Catholics, the otlier at Prague (1488), in 
the hands of the Utraquists. 

* He was one of the deputies sent by the Church to Erasmus of 
Eotterdam, and under his supervision the Apohigy of 1507 was printed at 
Nuremberg. He died in 1526. Goll, p. 124, Note 23. 

^ This map was printed at Nuremberg, as were also several of tlie Con- 
fessions of Faith. 


published by tlie Brethren. The press was a power in their 
hands. They used it conscientiously to the spread of the 
true faith and the glory of God. 

The Bohemian version of the Bible, translated from the 
Vulgate and published at Venice, in 1506, was not, as has 
been generally supposed by Moravian writers, a work of the 
Brethren. It originated in the Utraquist Church.* 

^ This has been clearly shown by William G. Malin in his Treatise on the 
Bohemian Bible, published in liis Catalogue, p. 135, etc., and also in the 
Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, I. p. 143, etc. 



Intercourse of the Brethren with Erasmus and L/uther ; and 
other Events to the Death of Luke. A. D. 1517-1528. 

Death of Bishop Tliomas. — Skoda elected to the Episcopacy. — Pacification 
of St. Wenzel. — Erasmus of Eotterdam and the Brethren. — His letter 
and Introduction to the New Testament. — Bohemia and Germany 
from the Point of View of their Reformations. — Lutheran Movement 
in Bohemia. — Luke and Luther. — Deputation to Luther. — Luke's and 
Luther's Controversial Writings. — Second Mission to Luther. — Its 
Object and Failure. — Estrangement between the Leader of the Ee- 
formation and the Head of the LTnity. — Luke and the Zwinglian 
System. — Strifes in the National Church. — Gallus Cahera. — Utraquist 
Reaction. — The Brethren appeal to the King. — Battle of Mohacs and 
Death of the King. — Luke and the Amosites, the Habrowanites and 
the Anabaptists. — Death of Bishop Luke. 

At the beginning of the memorable year which constituted 
the dawn of a new era in the world's history, there lingered 
among the Brethren their aged Bishop Thomas, the last of the 
founders of their Church and the only representative of its 
primitive ways and pristine simplicity. But the approaching 
revival of the pure Gospel was not to gladden his heart. He 
died at Prerau, on the twenty-third of February, 1517. 
Humble, forbearing, ready to yield for the sake of peace, he 
allowed Luke to follow a course which he could not always 
approve, and beheld, without a murmur, his position as pre- 
siding Bishop overshadowed through the commanding influ- 
ence of his colleague. "Lord," he was sometimes heard to 
pray, " if I am standing in the way of Thy work, take me 
hence ! " ^ Although not as learned a man as Luke, he was 

' Todtenbuch, pp. 6 and 7, wliich incorrectly assigns the year 1518 as the 
date of his death. Comp. the Boh. Hist. Frat., cited by Gindely, I. p. 166. 


well educatecl and displayed considerable literary ability.^ At 
Prerau there was a burial-place which the Barons of Slavkov 
subsequently purchased and shared with the Brethren. On 
that ground Thomas was interred ; and in course of time 
many other bishops were there laid to rest. 

Martin Skoda was now elected to the episcopacy and con- 
secrated by Bishops Luke and Ambrose, and the Assistant 
Bishops Daniel and Wenzel (1517). Luke became the pre- 
siding Bishop. He assigned the second place to Skoda, thus 
interfering with the rights of Ambrose.^ 

Meanwhile the disturbances, caused by the death of Uladis- 
laus, were brought to an end through the so-called Pacification 
of St. Wenzel (September the twenty-eighth, 1517). The 
states acknowledged the Emperor Maximilian and King 
Sigismund of Poland, whom the late monarch had appointed, 
as the guardians of young Lewis, and chose six directors to 
administer the government. 

This adjustment of national affairs did not affect the con- 
dition of the Brethren. They continued to enjoy tranquillity. 
In order to establish their position still more fully, the 
Council determined to enlist the aid of Erasmus of Rotterdam 
— that illustrious, liberal-minded and yet faint-hearted scholar 
who, after having done more than any other man to bring on 
the Reformation, trembled when it came and abandoned it 
at the threatening beck of Rome. He had several corre- 
spondents in Bohemia. Among them was John Slechta von 
Wsehrd, whose bitter animosity to the Brethren has been 
mentioned in another connection. In one of his letters this 
man gave Erasmus an account of the religious parties in 
Bohemia and spoke in a disparaging tone of the Unity. The 
aus^ver of Erasmus was strongly in its favor. He wrote : 

^ The Third L. F., p. 202, etc., contains one of his treatises (Eeichel's 
Znsiitze, pp. 232-244), addressed, in the form of a letter, to the K. C. Baron 
Albert von Sternberg and showing that the U. F. was a work of God. It is 
a treatise of great merit. 

^ Jaffet's Sword of Goliath, I. p. 16, in Keicliel's Znsiitze, p. 245 ; Gindely, 
I. p. 186. 


" That the Brethren elect their own teachers is not contrary to 
the custom of the Ancient Church, for in this manner St. 
Nicholas and St. Ambrose were elected. That they choose men 
who have not received a thorough education and who are 
unlearned, is excusable, because the piety of their lives may well 
be considered as a substitute for learning. That they call them- 
selves brethren and sisters, I can not recognize as wrong, but 
wish to God that this mode of address might become common 
among all Christians. That they have less faith in the teachers 
of the Church than in the Holy Scriptures, is right. That 
Christ and His Apostles, when they consecrated the elements, 
wore their ordinary dress, is extremely probable ; although I 
deem it improper to despise what the Fathers, for good reasons, 
have introduced. If, as you say, they take such great delight in 
the Lord's Prayer, we must not forget that this Prayer con- 
stitutes a part of our own mass ; and in regard to ecclesiastical 
feasts, their view seems to me to be not very different from that 
of Jerome's age, whereas in our day such feasts have enormously 
multiplied and, more than anything else, afford the common 
people occasions for vice of every kind, forcing them to be idle 
and preventing them from earning the daily bread which they 
and their families need." * 

In reliance upon this letter the Executive Council, in 1519, 
sent Nicholas Claudianus and Lawrence Wotic to Erasmus, 
at Antwerp. The two deputies presented the Latin Confes- 
sion of 1508, begging him to examine this document and if 
he approved of it, to furnish a favorable testimony for pub- 
lication. In due time they received his cautious answer. 
He had found, he said, no errors in the Confession, but a 
public testimonial would be dangerous to himself and useless 
to the Brethren. This was the reply which the deputies 
brought back to Bohemia, where the disappointed heads of 
the Church comforted themselves with Christ's words : " But 
I receive not testimony from man." ^ 

And yet Erasmus was so impressed with the character of 
the Unity that, in the introduction to the second edition of 
his Greek Testament, which appeared in the same year, he 

* Comenii Hist. Fr. § 72, p. 22; Plitt, Sect. 36; Regenvolscius, Cap. XI. 
pp. 54 and 55. 
5 John 5 : 34. 


referred to the Brethren, without mentiouing them by name, 
m the following appreciatory terms :" 

" I call that man a true theologian who teaches not artificially 
and through forced deductions of reason, but with fervency of 
spirit, by his actions, his eyes, his whole life, that earthly things 
are nothing ; that the Christian must not depend upon the world's 
protection, but must trust wholly in God , that he is not to requite 
evil with evil, but to bless them who curse him, to do good to 
them who despitefully use him, to love with his whole heart and 
to aid all the godly as members of one body, at the same time 
bearing patiently with the wicked who will not be converted ; 
that those who are deprived of their possessions and driven from 
their hearths and homes, those who mourn and are persecuted, 
may be called blessed ; that in their case death is but the 
transition to immortality. Whoever, constrained by the spirit of 
Christ, preaches, urges, enforces, invites and encourages to such 
doctrines, is, I say, a true theologian, even though he be only a 
digger of the soil or a weaver of linen ; and whoever, through 
his walk and conversation, testifies to the truth of such doctrines, 
is a great doctor." ' 

But this commendation, while gratifying in spite of its 
veiled form, did not induce the Brethren to make new over- 
tures to Erasmus. Their attention was absorbed by his 
greater and more heroic cotemporary at Wittenberg. 

The religious development of Bohemia, after the close of 
the Hussite wars, attracted comparatively little notice in 

® This introduction was entitled : Eatio sen Methodus comnendio per- 
veniendi ad veram Theologiam; and was also published separately in 1522. 
Herzog's Encyklop., IV. p. 115. 

' "Is denique luagnus est doctor." Comenii Hist Fr., ? 71, p. 21. The 
visit to Erasmus is described by Blahoslaw in his Summa (Goll, pp. 124 
and 125), Lasitius, III. pp. 87-89, cited by Plitt, Camerarius, pp. 125 and 
126, Kegenvolscius, Cap. VIII. p. 37. Coraenius and Regenvolscius assign 
tlie year 1511 as the time of the visit, which date is adopted by Gindely 
and Czerwenka. We have followed Goll, p. 1 24, Note 22, who shows from 
the date of Slechta's letter to Erasmus, October the tenth, 1519, based 
upon Erasmi Ep. Opus. Bar., 1538, that the visit could not have been paid 
until that year. Plitt, Section 35, knows of the date of this letter, but says 
that it had nothing to do witli the sending of the deputies, and that the 
great fame of Erasmus and the wish to secure a testimonial were the sole 
cause of this mission. In as much, however, as Blahoslaw brings it into 
connection with Slechta's letter we have followed Goll, although we are not 
prepared to say that his jjosition is not assailable. 


Germany. It was a development which that country could 
not understand. Not only did the difference in language and 
that mutual antipathy which was deeply grounded in the 
Teutonic and Slavonian races stand in the way, but the Ger- 
mans were not ripe for a change, and continued patiently 
to bear the Romish yoke.^ It was only at times that preachers 
of the Hussite faith, like Hans Boheim and Frederick Reiser, 
appeared among them; and in but a few countries — Suabia, 
Bavaria and Franconia — were converts found." Even the 
Church of the Brethren, although it was the goodliest and 
most fruitful tree which grew out of the Bohemian Reforma- 
tion, neither won admiration nor took root on German soil. 

Luther's Reformation, on the contrary, awakened immediate 
and general interest in B(j]iemia and Moravia. The members 
of the Unity recognized in his doctrines that which they 
had been maintainino; for more than half a centurv ; the 
Utraquists looked upon him as a champion of their cause, 
in so far as he attacked the papacy with which they had 
broken, while not a few of the more enlightened among them 
lon<j;ed for better thin2;s than their Church could furnish, and 
were horrified by the immorality of tlieir priests, which was 
growing to be a national scandal ; the German settlers, whose 
number was large, could not but give heed to a work which 
so powerfully affected their mother-country 

Thus it came to pass that, in 1519, a Lutheran movement 
began at Prague, inspired, in part, by the startling sermons 
of Matthias the Hermit, who suddenly apjicared in its streets, 
preaching against the degeneracy of the times; renewed 
through those denunciations of the Utraquist Church which 
fell from the lips of the subsequently notorious Thomas 
Miinzer, when he came to the capital in 1521 ; and greatly 

^ In Germany anl other countries, "Bohemian" and "Hussite" were 
terms of reproach. Henry t'le Eiglith and Dr. E;^k used tliem in their 
controversies with Luther. 

"Reiser sufiered martyrdom at Strasburg in 1458 (Ftcfe p. 149 of this 
History). His interesting biography may be found in Boehm's V. Reiser's 
Ref. des K. Sigmuml, Chap. IV, pp. 78-93 


stren2:thened by letters from Luther himself (1522), addressed 
to the Utraquist states and to Count Schlick who had intro- 
duced a radical reform at Elbogen, exhorting both to remain 
true to the Gospel and not to forget the innocent blood of 
Hus and Jerome. 

Bishop Luke watched these developments with an eagle 
eye. At first his heart yearned toward the German Reformer ; 
but when young Bohemians, who had studied at Wittenberg, 
brought back wild notions of evangelical liberty and began to 
denounce the Brethren as a "degenerate monastical sect," 
whose discipline was contrary to the Gospel,"^ he experienced 
a revulsion of feeling and looked upon Luther's work with 
suspicion and alarm. In this frame of mind he wTote, in 
1520, a violent treatise arainst o-enuflectious at the sacrament, 
and in 1521 another, hotly defending rebaptism. 

In the same year Luther appeared before the Diet of 
Worms as the hero of his age, manfully declining to retract 
what, by the Holy Spirit, he knew to be eternally true. 
His abduction to the Wartburg followed. In early spring 
of 1522 he left this castle, passed through the gloomy forest 
by which it was surrounded and which had witnessed his 
silent reveries and heard his ejaculatory prayers, and boldly 
made his way back to Wittenberg. When the news of his 
return reached Luke, he was moved to open direct communi- 
cation with the intrepid Reformer. Whether his wonderful 
courage, which showed how supremely confident he was in the 
justness of his cause, had dissipated the Bishop's scruples, or 
w^iether he was constrained by other motives, is not clear. 
In any case his proposition met with favor on the part of the 
Council. Two deputies, John Horn and Michael Weiss, were 
sent to Wittenberg, where they arrived in May." Thus, for 
the first time, representatives of the Reformers before the 
Reformation met its illustrious leader. He gave them a 
cordial welcome, and they congratulated him, in the name of 

10 Gindely, I. p. 187. 

" Blahoslaw's Summa, Goll, p. 125 ; Comenii Hist. Fr., | 74, p. 22 ; 
Regenvolscius, Cap. XI. p. 55. 


their Church, on having recognized the light of truth, and 
expressed the hope that it would spread and illumine the 
earth. ^^ A conversation followed on the faith of the Brethren 
as taught in their new catechism, which had recently appeared 
in Bohemian and German. Luther begged the deputies to 
have the doctrine of the Lord's Supper set forth more 
explicitly and in a separate treatise. In this connection they 
delivered a letter from Paul Speratus, containing certain ques- 
tions in relation to the same subject. These questions had 
been drawn up by Benedict Optatus, after reading the Con- 
fessions and catechism of the Unity, and sent to Speratus, 
who referred them to Luther, Optatus and Speratus were 
tAvo of his most enthusiastic admirers. They had come to 
Moravia in 1522, and were zealously spreading his tenets. 

In June of the same year Luther sent an answer to the 
questions which had been laid before him. This answer was 
published, so that Luke made use of it when writing the 
treatise for which the Reformer had asked. It bore the title 
of "Faith Victorious" and was composed in Bohemian; but 
a Latin translation was forwarded to Wittenberg. In the 
beginning of the next year (1523) Luther transmitted his 
reply, together with a copy of Melancthon's Loci Communes. 
Luther's work was written in German, entitled Vom Anbeten 
des Sacraments des heyligen leychnams Christi, and addressed 
to Meynen liehen herzen und freunden den Brildern genant 
Valdenses in Behmen und MehrenP 

While it set forth, with much candor, the points in which 
the Brethren seemed to him to err, its tone was kind and con- 
ciliatory. But it roused Luke, who seized his pen and wrote 

^^ Qui ipsi gratularentur lumen agnitse veritatis, et apprecarentur, ut ea 
sese ipsius opera, in orbem terraruni quern latissime effunderet. Regen- 
volscius, p. 55. 

^* " Concerning the Adoration of the sacred body of Christ, To my dear 
hearts and friends, the Brethren, called Waldenses, in Bohemia and Mo- 
ravia." Printed at Wittenberg, anno 1523. It is a quarto pamphlet of 32 
pages. In July of the same year the Brethren published, under a title of 
their own, a Bohemian translation at Leitomischl. 


a rejoinder (June, 1523), defending the seven sacraments and 
the doctrine of the Lord's Supper as taught by the Brethren, 
and adding his views on celibacy and justification. In regard 
to the last point these views were extreme. He spoke of a 
righteousness existing in the believer, through the grace of 
God and for the sake of Christ, which righteousness belonged, 
in a certain sense, to the believer and rendered a daily appro- 
priation of the merits of the Saviour unnecessary. This was 
clearly a polemical position for which the Unity was not 
responsible. He was driven to it by the fear that evangelical 
liberty would degenerate into licentiousness. Luther remained 
silent ; but Luke continued to write until he had produced 
three more works which were all polemical in their character. 
The first treated of Repentance ; the second of Marriage ; the 
third of Love. 

That he was actuated by pure motives and not by the desire 
of controversy becomes clear from the second mission to 
Wittenberg (1524).^^ Horn and Weiss were again the 
deputies. They received instructions to confer with Luther 
not only on the Lord's Supper, but also on the constitution 
and especially the discipline of the Unitas Fratrum. Luke 
and his colleagues remembered those enactments of the Synod 
of 1486 which spoke of reformers whom God might raise up, 
and imagined that, through the agency of the new movement, 
that development might perhaps be made general which had 
been going on for sixty-seven years within their own com- 
munion. In other words, they hoped to impress the disci- 
plinary character of the Church of the Brethren upon the 
churches that would grow out of the German Reformation.^^ 
But they were disappointed. The second visit to Luther 
instead of producing such a result, brought about an estrange- 
ment between him and Luke. For eight years the Unitas 

'* Regenvolscius, p. 56 ; Comenii Hist. Fr., § 75. 

'^ Tliis is the view ot John Plitt (Section 39), based upon intimations 
found in the writings of the Brethren. It is undoubtedly correct. Gindely 
is unable to appreciate the Brethren in their relations to the Reformers ; 
whenever he writes on this subject his words are flat and his views pointless. 


Fratrum stood aloof from the Reformation. One cause of 
this rupture was the dissatisfaction which the two deputies 
expressed with the free way of living at Wittenberg, especially 
aniono; the students i^" but there must have existed other causes 
also which have not been put on record. In his Tischreden 
Luther subsequently took occasion to censure the discipline of 
the Brethren with great severity. 

Luke's opposition to the Zwinglian system was still more 
decided. He met with it in 1525. Three of its ardent fol- 
lowers, who had belonged to a monastic order at Breslau — 
Michael Weiss, John the Monk and John Cizek — applied 
for admission to the Unity, without letting their real views 
become known. As they could preach in the German 
lano-uao-e, and German preachers were needed, the Council 
gladly accepted their services. Weiss was appointed to the 
parish at Landskron; but no sooner had he established an 
influence than he began to spread Zwinglian principles and, 
as he said, to reform the Unity. He was warmly supported 
by John the Monk and Cizek, and the peace of not a few 
churches was marred. Luke warned the promoters of this 
discord to forbear ; and the Council, at a special convocation, 
reaffirmed, with great solemnity, the doctrine of the Lord's 
Supper as taught by the Brethren. But while Weiss died 
and John the Monk disappeared, Cizek remained contuma- 
cious. Hence he was excommunicated.''' 

Meantime the National Church had been gradually divided 
into a conservative party, which leaned toward Rome, and a 
liberal faction, which identified itself with the Lutheran 
movement. This latter wing, however, was composed of 
discordant elements, and the preaching of its priests presented 
an incongruous mixture of opinions. In 1523 Gallus Cahera 
became prominent. He Avas a graduate of the University of 
Prague who, after quarreling with his parish at Leitmeritz, 

'6 Lasitius, V. 39, cited by Plitt. 

" Gindely I. pp. 191, 192. The above Michael Weiss must not be 
confounded with the hymnologist and deputy to Wittenberg, who bore the 
same name. 


had spent several months at Wittenberg, blinding the eyes of 
Luther and winning his friendship under insincere pretences. 
Ambitious, fickle and false-hearted, he now appeared at Prague, 
presented a letter from the Reformer, and thrust himself 
forward as his champion. Through the most persistent 
intrigues he succeeded in gaining the administratorshii) of the 
Utraquist Consistory. He labored iu the interests of the 
Reformation ; Martin Luther's nam© was continuallv on his 
lips; he caused articles of faith to be adopted that were 
almost wholly evangelical in their character (1524). But 
when a reaction set in he instantly became its ardent 
supporter, turned his back upon the Reformation, abandoned 
Luther, banished from Prague all priests of evangelical views 
and helped to restore Utraquism in its most conservative 
form. To this reaction the Diet set its seal by recommending 
a union of the Utraquists and Roman Catholics and adopting 
measures against the Brethren (January, 1525). 

As soon as this became known, the Executive Council drew 
up a letter to the King, praying for his protection and boldly 
declaring, that "no disgrace, no sufferings, not the loss of 
their freedom, not the sacrifice of their lives or of their 
possessions would induce the Brethren to deny the truth." ^* 
This letter was sent to Ofen but, at the instigation of Arch- 
bishop Salkan and Cardinal Campeggio, withheld from the 
King (1525). These prelates were afraid that such a docu- 
ment might interfere with the negotiations which were about 
to begin between the Utraquists and the Catholics. It soon 
appeared, however, that the suspicions of the former were as 
great, and the demands of the latter as intolerant, as on all 
former occasions of the kind. No union was effected . On 
the contrary the King tried to curb the reactionary zeal 
of Cahera, but without success. At Prague and throughout 
the kingdom religious disturbances increased, until they were 

'^ This letter was written in Bohemian. The original is lost, bnt a 
German translation exists. It ought not to be counted as one of the Con- 
fessions of the Brethren. It was, as the German translation says, a Sende 
Brief. Malin Library, No. 882. 


hushed, for a time, by a suddeu and fearful shock. On the 
twenty-ninth of August, 1526, Solynian the Magniticent, with 
his fierce host of three hundred thousand Turks, totally 
defeated I^ewis, at Mohacs, in Hungary. While fleeing from 
the field of carnage the young King fell from his horse and 
was killed. 

The last years of Bishop Luke's life were troubled by 
sectarian animosities. His ancient enemies, the Amosites, 
bestirred themselves. At their head stood John Kalenec. 
This man wrote with intense bitterness against the Brethren 
and against Luke personally (1525). Luke replied and the 
controversy Avas prolonged until 1527, when, owing to the 
cruel persecutions of Cahera, the Amosites disappeared from 
Prague, which was their chief seat. 

But now the Habrowanites, or the Lultschian Brethren, a 
fanatical sect organized, in 1527, on his estate in Moravia, by 
Baron John Dubcansky von Habrowan, with the assistance 
of Matthias the Hermit and Wenzel of Lultsch, began to 
pester the Unity. Dubcansky made overtures to Luke and 
proposed a conference. These overtures were declined. 
Although Dubcansky became very indignant, he did not 
relinquish his project, but was silenced merely for a time.^^ 

In Moravia there were many Anabaptists. Might not 
these enter into a fraternal fellowship with the Unity ? So 
thought some of their friends among the nobility who urged 
the holding of a conference. Luke and the Council yielded 
to such persuasions. Three conferences took place, but 
resulted in bitter denunciations of the Brethren, not in a 
brotherly union with them. They were, said the Ana- 
baptists, gross idolaters.'^'^ Such a result was inevitable. 
There could be no affinity between the Unitas Fratrum and 
a fanatical sect. 

And yet these negotiations were not absolutely fruitless; 
for they opened the eyes of Luke to the impropriety of 

*' L. F., IV. contains the correspondence. Reichel's Zusiitze, pp. 240-248. 
20 L. F., V. cited by Gindely I. pp. 124, 125. 


rebaptism. In a letter to a friend he said, that he no longer 
considered it essential and that it would be well to abolish 
this practice in course of time. 

And now the career of this illustrious Bishop was drawing 
to a close. For many years he had been afflicted with stone. 
This disease became aggravated as he grew older and brought 
on his end. He died on Friday, the eleventh of December, 
1528, at Jungbunzlau, aged seventy years, and was buried 
the next day in Mount Carmel. He left an elaborate will 
addressed to the ministers of the Church.^^ In this document 
he commends his soul to God, asks his brethren to forgive his 
faults, suggests in what way the government of the Church 
shall be carried on, leaves his writings in its hands, gives 
some account of its property, recommends the poor to its 
special care, and solemnly declares that he dies with unchang- 
ing loyalty to the Unity of the Brethren. 

Luke was a great man, " mighty in word and deed." ^^ 
He gave to the Unitas Fratrum a new and better form. 
Gregory was its founder, Luke its renovator. Without him 
it would have gradually petrified and become incapable of 
inward development or of outward growth. 

His literary activity never flagged, resulting in the pro- 
duction of eighty-five works.^ They are written, however, 
in a style that is obscure, inelegant and perverted with a 
multitude of Latinisms and Germanisms. As a historian he 
is not only without authority but he also not unfrequently, by 
reason of his strong polemical bias, misleads his readers. 

Luke's colleague. Bishop Ambrose, died eight years earlier, 
in 1 520, at Jungbunzlau, and was buried in Mount Carmel. 

" Todtenbuch, pp. 8-11. 

22 Todtenbuch, p. 8. 

23 Gindely in Bohm. Muscal-Zeitschr., 1861, p. 278. 



VELOPMENT. A. D. 1529-1580. 


Further Intercourse, between the Unitas Fratrum and Luther; 
new Confessions of Faith. A. D. 1529-1539. 

Finding and Burial of the Body of Lewis. — Ferdinand the First elected 
King of Bohemia and Hungary. — His Polity. — Tlie Unitas Fratrum 
undisturbed. — Election of Bishops. — Ciklowsky, Bily and Horn. — 
Synod of 1532. — John Augusta and his bold Course. — Election of 
Bishops. — Augusta, Baworinsky and Veit. — The Unitas Fratrum 
assumes a new Position. — A Confession of Faith presented to the 
Elector of Brandenburg.— Published by Luther at Wittenberg with a 
Preface of his own. — Rebaptism relinquished. — Persecution in royal 
Cities. — The Presentation of a Confession of Faith to Ferdinand the 
First. — He promises the Brethren Peace. — The Elector of Saxony and 
their Confession. — Missions to Luther and Negotiations with regard to 
the Publication of their Confession and of their Apology. 

For more than six weeks the body of the unfortunate 
young king lay buried in a rude grave, dug by unknown 
hands, on the bank of the Danube, near the spot where he 
had perished. Thither came Ub'ich Zettritz and other nobles, 
sent by the Queen to search for the corpse, found this grave, 
disinterred the remains, and conveyed them to Stuhlweissen- 
burg, in Hungary, where amidst solemn chants and imposing 
ceremonies, they were deposited in the royal vault. Lewis 
was the last of the Jagellons. In consequence of his death, 
Bohemia fell to the House of Hapsburg. On the twenty- 


third of October, 1526, one of its representatives, the Austrian 
Archduke Ferdinand, a brother of the Emperor Charles the 
Fifth, was chosen king by the Diet. After having promised 
to maintain the constitution, to uphold the Compactata, and 
to respect the prerogatives of the nobility, and after having 
given a written declaration that he had no inherited claim to 
the kingdom, but was its sovereign merely by election, his 
coronation took place at Prague, on the twenty-fourth ot 
February, 1527/ Soon after he was chosen king of Hun- 
gary, and in 1531, Roman king. 

The policy which Ferdinand set on foot exerted a lasting 
influence upon the Unitas Fratrum. This policy may be 
designated as Spanish-Austrian in its character. He had 
been educated in Spain and was a bigoted Romanist. While 
his religious convictions were sincere and he meant to be just, 
his mind was warped by its one-sided training, he gave no 
heed to the solemn calls of his age and failed to comprehend 
that the world had been turned into a new current which no 
human hand could arrest. To restore, at all hazards, the 
Roman Catholic Church to its former supremacy throughout 
Bohemia and Moravia ; and to re-establish the royal authority 
which had been overshadowed by the power of the nobles; — 
such was his purpose. But he was too prudent to let it be- 
come i^rematurely known ; nor had the time arrived for 
carrying it into execution. Hungary and the Turks absorbed 
his attention. John Zapolya, the Prince of Transylvania, had 
set up a rival claim to the Hungarian crown and had invoked 
the aid of Solyman, w^hose hordes anew invaded the country, 
advanced into Austria and besieged Vienna. Under such 
circumstances Ferdinand did not interfere in the relig-ious 
affairs of Bohemia and Moravia, except that he began severe 
measures against the Anabaptists.^ 

^ Queen Maria, the childless widow of Lewis, was Ferdinand's sister, and 
Anna, the sister of Lewis, was Ferdinand's wife. 

^ The Anabaptists owed their origin to Thomas IMiinzer and were a body 

of mystical fanatics, distorting the principles of the Reformation. They 

aimed to establish a union of all the spiritually minded, a government 

sustained by immediate revelations of God, and a church having all things 



The Unitas Fratrum pursued its way unhindered. Bishop 
Martin Skoda, having succeeded Luke as President of the 
Council, convoked a synod at Brandeis on the Adler. It 
met in September, 1529, and elected Wenzel Bily, Andrew 
Ciklowsky and John Roh to the episcopacy. They were 
consecrated by Skoda and the Assistant Bishops Wenzel and 
Daniel.^ Two of them, however, exercised the functions 
of their office but a short time. Ciklowsky — eloquent, 
faithful to God and of a heroic mind, but stern, passionate, 
and peculiar in his ways — died a few weeks after his conse- 
cration ; Bily fell into sin and was deposed.* John Roh, on 
the contrary — who was also known as Horn, or Cornu — took 
part for eighteen years in the government of the Church, 
ruling faithfully and well. He was a native of Taus and 
had been ordained to the priesthood in 1518. Although not 
a learned man, he spoke several modern languages with 
fluency. Of keen understanding and liberal in his views, he 
realized the importance of the events which the Reformation 
was brinffino; about; and having;; been associated with both 
the deputations to Luther, he had learned to honor him as its 
heroic leader. But as long as Skoda stood at the head of the 
Unity, Horn made no attempt to change the exclusive policy 
which prevailed and which had been introduced by Luke. 

And yet this policy Avas hastening to an end. In 1532, on 
the fourteenth of April, there met, at Brandeis on the Adler, 
a synod which led the Unitas Fratrum to a position of 
prominence and influence such as it had aever before occupied. 
At this meeting Bishop Skoda, being advanced in years, 
resigned his presidency in favor of Horn, and announced 
that new bishops were to be chosen and other vacancies in 

in common. They were particularly numerous in Moravia, where they had 
about sixty congregations. Some of the nobles were their friends and they 
had accessions even from the higher ranks of the Eoman Catholic clergy. 

3 Jaffet's Sword of Goliath, I., p. 17, in R's Z. p. 250. 

* Todtenbuch, pp. 11 and 12. Ciklowsky died October twenty-eighth, 
1529, and was buried at .Jungbunzlau, by the side of Luke, whose devoted 
disciple he had been. Bily repented and was re-admitted to church-fellow- 
ship, but not allowed to exercise episcopal functions. He died in 1533. 


the Council to be filled. Such elections were about to begin, 
when a young priest, John Augusta by name, rose and 
addressed the synod. He said that he spoke in the name of 
a number of his fellow priests ; that he and they were 
unanimously of the opinion that the Executive Council had 
become torpid and was an inactive body; that it did not 
show itself equal to the requirements of the age; and that 
there must be infused into it a new and vigorous element. 
Augusta did still more. With an imperturbable self-posses- 
sion, which struck the older members of the synod dumb, he 
offered himself and four of his friends — Martin Michalek, 
Michael Weiss, Mach Sionsky and John of Tein — as can- 
didates for the Council.^ They were elected. But a still 
greater triumph awaited the bold speaker. He and two of 
his associates, Benedict Baworinsky and Veit, who fully 
shared his progressive views, were chosen bishops and conse- 
crated by Skoda, Horn, Wenzel and Daniel. Skoda died 
soon after. He was a man of simple ways and distinguished 
piety.'' Bishop Horn being in sympathy with the position of 
his new colleagues, the Unity now assumed a far more con- 
spicuous attitude. From this time forth its history constitutes 
an important part of Bohemian history in general.^ 

The man who took the initiative in bringing about this 
change, John Augusta, was the son of a hatter, and born at 
Prague, in the year 1500. Originally a member of the 
Utraquist Church, he was offended by the immoral lives of 
its priests, sought fellowshiji with the Nikolaites, who failed 
to satisfy his longings, and at last found peace among the 
Brethren. In 1524 he joined the church at Juugbunzlau, 
and soon began to prepare for the ministry. Not having 

5 Boh. Hist. Fr., I. p. 897, cited by Gindely. 

® Gindely, without assi.2:ning any authority, says that Skoda died before the 
meeting of this Synod. Czerwenka follows him. But the presence of Skoda 
at the Synod is evident from .Jaffet, Sword of Goliath, I. p. 18, R's Z. p. 251. 

' The synod of 1532 adopted a resolution with regard to the writings of 
Luke, similar to that in relation to the writings of Gregory. Luke's 
doctrinal position was to be of authority only in so far as it fully agreed 
with the Bible. The Unity acknowledged no other standard. 


enjoyed a classical education, he now took up the study of 
Latin, which language he mastered. In 1529 he was 
ordained a deacon, and in 1531 advanced to the priesthood.^ 

Augusta must be classed among those men who are born 
to rule. His energy was boundless, his will indomitable. 
The persistence with which he pursued his aims degenerated, 
at times, into obstinacy ; and the ambition which inflamed 
him, too often kept his steps away from the paths of humility 
and disqualified him for learning of his Divine Master 
meekness and lowliness of heart. And yet he was a great 
man and his works were illustrious. Endowed with natural 
gifts of an extraordinary character, he became Bohemia's most 
distinguished preacher, earned the title of " the Bohemian 
Luther," stood high among many eminent nobles as a trusted 
counsellor and friend, corresponded with the leading Re- 
formers of Germany and Switzerland, and labored for the 
Unity with burning zeal and fiery enthusiasm. His career 
was a drama setting forth heroic incidents, tragic scenes, a 
lamentable fall. No other bishop of the Brethren was like 
him in his glory and in his shame. 

His colleague Baworinsky, the scion of a noble house, 
possessed rare gifts both as a speaker and writer;^ his col- 
league Veit — the brother of Martin INIichalek — had studied 
at the University of Prague, attained the degree of a Bachelor 
and was eminent for his scholarship. 

Soon after the adjournment of the synod a new Confession 
of Faith was drawn up, probably by Horn and Augusta, and 
printed at Jungbunzlau (1532). This was done at the 
instance of Baron Conrad von Krajek, in order that the 
document might be presented to the Margrave George of 
Brandenburg, a supporter of the Reformation, who had 
expressed a desire to become acquainted with the doctrines of 
the Brethren. The Confession was written in Bohemian. 
Michael Weiss produced a faulty German translation, which, 

8 Todtenbuch, pp. 49-51. 

^ On the authority of Blahoslaw, which is, however, not substantiated by 
a reference, Gindely, I. p. 221, calls Baworinsky an idiot ! What we have 
said in the text is based upon the record given in the Todtenbuch, p. 13. 


moreover, contained interpolations of his own. This version, 
through the overhasty zeal of several Swiss who were visiting 
Jungbunzlau, was printed at Zurich, before the Bishops could 
prevent its publication (1532).^" In consequence they had a 
correct German translation made (1533), and sent it to Luther 
by the hands of Martin Michalek and another deputy. In 
the name of the entire Council these messengers begged 
Luther to have the document printed at Wittenberg, and to 
write a preface of his own. He consented ; and the work 
appeared in due time.^^ In this way the connection between 
the Unitas Fratrum and the Reformer of Wittenberg was 
renewed. It would seem that neither party alluded to the 
estrangement which had taken place in the time of Bishop Luke. 

In his preface Luther says, that he has published the Con- 
fession, because he desires to promote the unity of faith among 
all Christians ; and because although the Brethren express 
themselves in a way which he would not adopt, the document 
shows how diligently they have studied the Scriptures, how 
near to this divine standard they have remained, and how 
groundless it is to call them heretics. 

A copy of the Confession, as printed at Wittenberg, was 
presented to the Margrave of Brandenburg. 

Both the Zurich and Wittenberg editions spread over 
Germany, exciting general interest. At the same time the 
discrepancies between them were apparent. Hence Wolfgang 
Musculus and other Lutheran divines of Augsburg wrote to 
Bishop Horn to know which was the authorized translation. 
In the course of the correspondence which followed, they 
suggested the issuing of a Latin version. 

'" " Rechenschaffl des Glaubens, der Dienst vnd Cerimonien der briider 
in Behmen vnd Mehren. Getruckt zu Zurich bey Christofflel Froschouer." 
A duodecimo of XLVI fols. Malin Library, No. 808. 

11 " Rechenschaffl des glaubens : der dienst vnd Ceremonien, der Briider 
in Beheman vnd Mehrern, welche von etlichen Pickarten, vnd von etlichen 
Waldenser genant werden. Sampt einer nutzlichen Vorrliede Doct. Mart. 
Luth. Gedruckt zu Wittenberg durch Hans Luffl. MDXXXIII. A 
quarto of 98 pages, which are not numbered. Malin Library, No. 345. 
Luther's Preface is reprinted in Gindely's Quellen, pp. 32-35. 


Before this suggestion could be carried out, an important 
change in the practice of the Church was made. Voices had 
occasionally been raised within the Unity itself against the 
rebaptism of Roman Catholics. In particular had this usage 
been condemned by John Cerny, a distinguished physician 
and the brother of Luke. But yet it had been continued 
from year to year. Now however that time had arrived, of 
which Luke himself had spoken prior to his death, when the 
question of abolishing the practice could no longer be avoided. 
Not only were more liberal views with regard to baptism 
spreading among the Brethren, but the Diet had also adopted 
a sev^ere edict against rebaptism as administered by the Ana- 
baptists. This edict might be made to apply to the Unity 
likewise, although its usage had nothing in common with 
theirs. Under these circumstances Bishop Horn issued a 
circular letter asking each church to decide the question pre- 
liminarily for itself. Thereupon a synod was held at Jung- 
bunzlau (1534). By an almost unanimous vote this body 
abolished rebaptism and acknowledged the validity of baptism 
as administered in the Roman Catholic Church. ^^ Only one 
minister, a certain Valenta, of Holeschau, in Moravia, resisted 
this enactment and alienated four parishes. No sooner, how- 
ever, was he dead, than they all rejoined the Unity.^^ 

Meantime important developments in connection with the 
Reformation had taken place in Germany. The Protest of 
Spires had come to pass (1529), the Conference of Marburg 
had been held (1529), and the Confession of Augsburg pre- 
sented (1530). This last event suggested a similar step to 
the Brethren. There were grave reasons for it. In 1535 
Ferdinand began to manifest, in some of the royal cities, an 
alarming hostility. Members of the Unity were ordered to 
appear for trial at Prague ; John the Hermit, a priest of 
extraordinary piety and influence, was cast into prison ; and 

'2 Dekrete d. u., p. 147, cited by Czerwenka, II. p. 207. 

1^ Valenta choked to death, in 1534 or 1535, at the dinner table of Baron 
von Holeschau, whom he had induced to leave the Church. Todtenbuch, 
p. 13. 


two young Barons von Janowic, on whose domains he labored 
and who had refused to give him up, shared the same fate.'* 

Although this persecution was, as yet, but a little flame, it 
might, at any time, burst into a formidable and pitiless con- 
flagration. Hence the Bishops and Executive Council resolved 
upon a deputation to the King, which should present to him, 
in the name of the ministers and nobles of the Church, a new 
Confession of Faith. Such a Confession was drawn up, in 
Latin, by Horn and Augusta. It embraced, first, an intro- 
duction setting forth the origin of the Unitas Fratrum, the 
development of its faith as shown in its various confessions, 
the abrogation of rebaptism, and the relation of the Brethren 
to the Anabaptists ; second, a manly preface by the nobles ; 
and third, twenty doctrinal articles. This document having 
been signed by twelve barons and thirty-three knights, William 
Krinecky, as the representative of the former, and Henry 
Domausky, on the part of the latter, were appointed to under- 
take its presentation.'^ Accompanied by Bishop Augusta, 
Baron Krajek and two other nobles, these envoys proceeded 
to Vienna in the autumn of 1535. On the eleventh of No- 
vember Ferdinand admitted Krajek to a preliminary audience, 
at which no one else, except the Vice Chancellor of Bohemia, 
was present. After thanking the King for granting him an 
interview, the Baron introduced the case of John the Hermit 
and the Janowics; begged that these prisoners might be 
liberated; avowed himself a member of the Unity; and inti- 
mated that it would relinquish its faith only if this faith 
were shown, from the Holy Scriptures, to be false. At first 
the King replied in a calm tone. Presently however he rose, 
advanced a few steps to a table, and turning upon Krajek 
exclaimed in a loud voice : " We would like to know how you 

" They were the sons of that Peter Suda who had arrested and maltreated 
Bishop Luke but afterward became a friend of the Brethren, in whose schools 
these young men were educated. Suda was still living, but had made over 
his domains to his sons. 

'* Gindely says, I. p. 234, that all the nobles belonging to the Unity signed 
the Confession, but he must mean those in Bohemia only, for the list of 
signatures which he gives lacks well-known Moravian names. 


came to accept this (Picard) faith. The devil must have 
persuaded you." " Not the devil, gracious liege," answered 
the Baron, "but Christ the Lord through the Bible. If 
Christ was a Picard, I am one too." At this reply Ferdinand 
crrew livid with rage. " What business have you to meddle 
with such things?" he demanded in his harshest manner. 
" You are neither pope, nor emperor, nor king ! Nevertheless, 
believe what you will ; we do not prevent you. For all we 
care, you may go to hell !" Krajek remained silent. " Be- 
lieve what you please," the King continued in the same 
violent manner, " we do not hinder you ; but we will hinder 
your meetings, at which you carry on your hocus-pocus. 
This we will not permit, and even if it should cost us our 
neck. And now we desire no further disputation with you." 
Krajek protested his loyalty, and Ferdinand, somewhat molli- 
fied, dismissed him more graciously. 

Undismayed by this outburst of anger, which did not 
promise them a favorable reception, Krinecky and Domausky 
appeared before the King, three days later (November the 
fourteenth), and formally presented the Confession. Baron 
Krinecky was the spokesman. He said, that the ministers 
and nobles of the Unity delivered this document in order that 
his Majesty might decide for himself, whether it was, or was 
not, right to call the Brethren Picards and whether the abusive 
language used by the Utraquist priests in their pulpits — that 
it was less sinful to kill a Picard than a dog — would tend to 
the peace and unity of the kingdom. The answer of the 
King was affable. All signs of his recent auger had disap- 
peared. He received the Confession and promised to examine 
it carefully. On the twenty-first of November the two 
deputies had a second audience, at which he said that he had 
been prevented by other engagements from reading the docu- 
ment; but that he ^vas willing to grant the Brethren peace, if 
they would remain his loyal subjects. It is evident that the 
step taken by the Unity left at least a passing impression upon 
his mind. He did not relinquish the purpose which he was 
nurturing in secret, but he gave up all thoughts of an imme- 
diate persecution. 


The Elector John Frederick of Saxony, who followed the 
great example of his father in supporting the Reformation, 
happened to be on a visit to Vienna. He had written to 
Kostka, a Bohemian noble belonging to the Unity, and asked 
for an account of the faith of the people called Picards, who 
were said to live on this Baron's estates. Kostka hastened to 
Vienna and supplied him with a copy of the Confession 
delivered to Ferdinand. It was translated into German, fpr 
the Elector's use, by Spalatin and John Agricola, who were 
in his suite. Bishop Augusta assisted them. In this way 
these two Lutheran divines became thoroughly acquainted 
with the belief of the Brethren. It elicited their unqualified 
admiration. " We would not have thought it possible that 
such an exposition of doctrine could be found in Bohemia," 
they said. And when the Elector had read the Confession, he 
averred that the Brethren were true Christians and upheld 
the true faith. 

Meanwhile in the beginning of 1535, another mission to 
Luther had been undertaken.^^ Its object Avas to inquire into 
the doctrines, the faith and particularly the life prevailing at 
Wittenberg; as also to ascertain whether the Lutherans, as 
was commonly said in Bohemia, were opposing the Brethren 
on the score of their discipline. The Bishops had cogent 
reasons for desiring to obtain such information. Evil reports 
of the morals of Wittenberg and of its university in particular, 
were spreading in Bohemia ; and several young members of 
the Unity, on their return from that school, had shown them- 
selves to be unfit for service among the Brethren, one of them 
even becoming a pervert to Romanism. 

The deputies, at whose head stood Martin Michalek, having 

'^ A full account of this and other missions to the Reformers is found in 
a Bohemian Quarto MS., written, in part, by Nicholas of Schlan, (See p. 
171, Note 15, of this History) and preserved in the Herrnhut Archives. 
Gindely in his Quellen, pp. 16-45, has publislied a German translation of the 
larger part of this invaluable record. Upon it is also based, to a great 
extent, the account, as given above, of the presentation of the Confession to 
Ferdinand. Comp. further Gindely's Geschichte d. B. B., I. pp. 234-238. 


presented two letters from Bishop Baworinsky, the one 
addressed to Luther, the other to Melanchthon, spent four 
Aveeks at Wittenberg in fraternal intercourse with the Reform- 
ers. Justification by faith, baptism, the Lord's Supper, and 
other theological points were freely discussed. The discipline 
of the Brethren which, in the time of Luke, had called forth 
Luther's strictures, now excited his profound admiration ; and 
he expressed his regret that he could not, as yet, introduce a 
similar system. It had, he said, thus far been his province 
to destroy, rather than to build up. The time for building 
up was, however, at hand.''' The deputies " recognized Ihe 
pious purposes of the Reformers and perceived that the state 
of affairs among the Lutherans was entirely different from 
what had been reported in Boliemia, and that there was far 
more of good than of evil among them, especially in point of 
doctrine. They convinced themselves, too, that the Reformers 
were not only not opposed to the Unity, but also willing to 
stand by it, as brethren in the Lord, treading the same way 
of salvation which, for years, had been trodden in Bohemia 
and Moravia." '^ The parting with Luther was cordial. " Tell 
the Brethren," he said, " that they shall hold fast that which 
God has given them and not relinquish their constitution and 
discipline." *' On account of our discipline," replied one of 
the deputies, " many oppose and revile us as a new monkish 
sect." Luther rejoined : " Let the Brethren take no heed of 
such revilements. The world will behave foolishly. We 
here are not exempt from its abuse. If you, in Bohemia, 
were to live as we do, that would be said of you- Avhich is said 
of us — that we are a wild set, eating and drinking without 
fearing the Lord. If we were to live as you do, that would 
be reported of us which is reported of you. The world is 

^' " Ich musste aus vielen Griinden zerstoren, ich konnte nicht umhin (wo 
der Papst machtig war und man viel Werth auf solches legte) die Monchs- 
kappe eine solche zu schimpfen; doch mochte icli nun wohl gern eine 
Ordnung einfiiliren. Denn ich will die Kirche nicht zerstoren, sondern 
aufbauen." Gindely's Quellen, p. 17. 

^® Nicholas of Schlan's Record, Quellen, p. 18. 


satisfied with nothing. It mnst always seek occasion to find 
fault. Tell the Brethren to pay no heed to the world, but to 
maintain their constitution and discipline." 

On their return to Bohemia the deputies delivered answers 
from Luther and Melanchthon to Bishop Baworinsky's letters, 
and reported the friendly feeling which prevailed at Witten- 

The satisfaction which this intelligence caused was enhanced 
by the news brought from Vienna. No better time could be 
found — so thought the Bishops and the whole Council — for 
giving to the world, again under the auspices of Luther, the 
Confession presented to Ferdinand and thus making known 
the decided step which the Unity had taken. 

With this end in view Bishop Augusta himself, accompanied 
by Erasmus Sommerfeld von Tunic and George Israel, pro- 
ceeded to Wittenberg (June, 1536). The overture to Luther 
met with a friendly response. He said that he had received, 
through Spalatin and Agricola, a favorable report of the 
Confession, and proposed that it should now be submitted to a 
conference of Wittenberg divines for further examination. 
This suggestion was eminently reasonable, as Luther had been 
asked to write a preface and consequently wished to be assured 
that the work contained nothing to which he could not sub- 
scribe. The conference took place at his house. There were 
present, besides himself, Justus Jonas, John Bugenhagen, 
Philip Melanchthon, Caspar Cruciger and a bishop — so says 
the record — whose name the deputies did not know. The 
Confession was discussed and met with unanimous approval, 
excepting the articles on the celibacy of the clergy and the 
time of grace. As regarded the former point Augusta ex- 
plained that it referred to a voluntary celibacy ; the latter he 
promised to refer to his fellow bishops. The deputation spent 
several weeks at Wittenberg. On taking leave, when the 
impracticability of a union between the Brethren and the 
Lutherans was alluded to, Luther said : " It must be so; do you 
be the Bohemian, we will be the German Reformers ; do you 
labor for Christ according to your circumstances, we will labor 


according to ours." ^^ A letter to the Bishops which he gave 
Augusta, suggested that they should either change the article 
on the time of grace, or word it with greater perspicuity, so 
that he could write his preface accordingly. They adopted 
this suggestion, defining the time of grace as one which con- 
tinues as long as life, but adding that signs of true repentance 
very rarely appear on a bed of death. Luther had declared 
hmiself satisfied with the article on celibacy ; nevertheless 
they gave a clearer definition of the views and practice of the 
Church with regard to this subject likewise.^'^ Thereupon 
Augusta, again accompanied by Sommerfeld and Israel, re- 
turned to Wittenberg not only with this corrected Confession 
but also with the Latin version — which had meanwhile been 
completed — of the Apology presented to the Margrave of 
Brandenburg. Both these works Luther promised to publish. 
Three-quarters of a year passed by, however, and they did 
not appear. Toward the end of 1537 the Bishops dispatched 
a messenger with a letter to Luther inquiring the reason of the 
delay. He could not — so he wrote in reply — find a printer 
willing to take the risk connected with such a publication; 
the times were so hard that publishers feared to incur heavy 
losses; so many worthless books appeared that good books 
were supplanted ; his onerous duties and frequent ill health 
must serve as an excuse for his not having written sooner. 
At the same time he sent back both the Confessions. The 
Bishops and the whole Council were bitterly disappointed. 
It is true that they might have issued the works from one of 
their own printing offices ; but in this way they would not 
have reached the purpose which they had in view. They 
meant, by the publication of these two Confessions under the 
auspices of the great Reformer, to give to the Unitas Fratrum 
that position among the Protestant churches of Europe to 

'* Lasitius incorrectly, as Nicholas of Schlan's record proves, reports this 
saying in connection with Augusta's last visit to Luther. Comenius, Plitt, 
Croeger and even Gindely follow Lasitius. 

2» Art. 19, ^^ 4 and 5, and Art. 20, §^ 4 and 5 were changed. N. of Schlan's 


which it was entitled, both in view of its history and of its 
faith. This project had been devised in the fear and to the 
glory of the Lord. To Him, therefore, they committed it, 
in earnest and frequent prayer, asking Him to let it succeed, 
if in harmony with His will, but to frustrate it, if not ac- 
cording to His mind. And now Augusta and his two 
companions visited Wittenberg a third time, and informed 
Luther that the Council was willing to assume a part of the 
cost of publication. As soon as he heard this, he cheerfully 
offered to do his utmost to secure a publisher. The next day, 
at his house, a contract was concluded with George Rhaw. 
Luther's wife was present and took an active interest in 
securing favorable terms for the Brethren. 

The Confession and the Apology appeared in one volume 
(1538).^^ To the former Luther wrote a preface in which he 
spoke, in very appreciatory terms, of the faith and life of the 
Brethren, commending them to his own followers and to all 
who served God in spirit and in truth. For the Apology 
Agricola prepared a brief introduction.^^ These publications, 
as the Bishops had anticipated, greatly increased the interest 
with which the Unity was regarded among Protestants. 

^' The Title of the Confession is the following: "Confessio Fidel ac 
Keligionis, Baronvm ac Nobilivm Regni Bohoemiae Serenissimo ac Inuic- 
tissimo Romanorum, Bohemiae etc Regi, Viennae Austriae, sub anno Domini 
1535 oblata. VVitebergae in Officina Georgii Rhaw." Quarto, 34 fols. 
A picture of Hus and, as a motto, St. Paul's words in Acts 24 : 14, adorn 
the title-page. Malin Lib., No. 198. This Confession is contained in 
Niemeyer Conf., jjp. 771-818; in Lydius, Tom. II. Part 2, 1-94; and in 
Kfficher's Glaubensbekentnisse, pp. 98-160, but in the last named work, 
without the introduction. A German version of Luther's Preface to this 
Confession is given in Comenii Kirchen-Historie, Schwabach, 1739, pp. 
456-461. The title of the Apology is the following : "Apologia Verae 
Doctrinae eorvm qui vvlgo Appellantvr VValdenses vel Picardi. Retinue- 
rant enim Joannis Hussitae doctrinam, cum scripturis Sanctis consen- 
cientem. Oblata D. Georgio Marchioni Brandenburgensi. Impressum 
Viteberge per Georgium Rhaw." 118 fols. Title and last page adorned 
with pictures of Hus. Mottoes, Psalm 69 : 8, and Jno. 15 : 25. Malin Lib., 
No. 198. This Apology is contained in Lydius, Tom. I. Part 2, pp. 92-367. 

""■ Oeconomia locorvm praecipvorvm qui in hoc libro continentvr. Lydius 
says, in a marginal note, p. 93, that this introduction was written by John 
Eisleben, that is, Agricola. 


The Confession is based upon and closely follows the doc- 
trinal part of the Apology. In its Latin form the latter can, 
however, scarcely be called a translation from the German 
version of 1533; it is, in fact, a new work comprising five 
parts. The first treats of the origin of the Unity ; the second, 
of its doctrines; the third, of its membership and of its rules 
and discipline ; the fourth, of its ministry, of the word and 
the sacraments; and the fifth, of its constitution, worship and 

Both the Apology and the Confession show a marked 
advance in the knowledge of doctrinal truth. Rebaptism is 
no longer taught ; the seven sacraments have disappeared • 
and justification by faith is more clearly defined and more 
earnestly insisted on.^^ As regards the Lord's Supper there 
are references to former Confessions and to other documents, 
to show that the Brethren still teach, as they have ever taught, 
that the words with which Christ instituted this sacrament 
must be accepted in simple faith and all explanations of them 

Baworinsky having died in 1535 and Veit in 1536, the 
synod of 1537, which met at Prossnitz in Moravia, elected 
Martin Michalek and Mach Sionsky to the episcopacy. They 
were consecrated by Horn, Augusta, Wenzel and Daniel.^* 

2^ In the Conf. of 1535 we find the following : " Men are freely justified 
by faith in Christ, and receive salvation and the remission of their sins, 
without any human works or merit." " By faith alone men are justified in 
the sight of God, without any exertions, merits or works of their own." 
The Conf. of 1532 is the first wliicli omits the seven sacraments. 

2* Jaffet's Swonl of doliath, p. 18. E's Z., p. 252. 



The Unitas Fratrum and the tStrasburr/ Reformers. LaM 
Mission to Luther. A. D. 1539-1546. 

The Brethren and the Habrowanites. — Visit of two Waldenses. — Cerwenka 
and the Strasburg Divines. — Letter from Bucer. — Letter from Calvin- 
— The last Visit to Luther and the Discipline. — Death of Krajek. — 
Letter from Luther. — End of the Amosites. — The Decline of Utra- 
quism. — Its continued but fruitless opposition to the Brethren. 

While their fellowship with the Reformers of Germany- 
strengthened the hearts of the Brethren, they reaped nothing 
but ill-will and abuse from their intercourse with the 
Habrowanites. Bishop Luke had rejected the overtures of 
this sect; now that he was dead, they were persistently 
renewed until the Council agreed to a conference with 
Dubcansky. It was held in 1531, and four years later a 
second meeting took place. But both occasions again showed 
that the Unity had nothing in common with fanaticism. 
Dubcansky 's subsequent imprisonment cooled his ardor. 
After he had been set free he ceased to teach his vagaries, 
and his followers united with the Anabaptists.^ 

The Waldenses of France, whom Luke had visited, had 
not forgotten the Unity. In 1540 two of their number, 
Daniel and John, both learned men, came to Bohemia and 
spent half a year among the Brethren. It proved to be a 
pleasant fellowship, to which the Lord's Supper set its seal. 

' L. F., IV. p. 199, etc., contains a full report of those conferences. 
R's Z. pp. 252-268. 


The visitors rejoiced to find that the report, which had 
reached France, of a spiritual decline in the Unity, was 
unfounded ; and bewailed the disputes that had broken out 
among their own people.^ 

Soon after these Waldenses had bidden farewell to the 
Brethren, Matthias Cerwenka, a teacher at Leitomischl and 
an acolyte who enjoyed Bishop Augusta's particular favor, 
was sent to Strasburg. Two other members of the Church 
were his traveling companions.^ He was instructed to make 
himself acquainted with the doctrines, the life and the customs 
of the Reformers of that city, and to report to the Council. 

Having reached Strasburg in June he, first of all, visited 
Martin Bucer and gave him a copy of the Confession and 
Apology published at Wittenberg, as also a letter from 
Augusta. In this letter Augusta asked Bucer for an opinion 
with regard to the doctrinal system of the Brethren and 
complimented him on his writings, especially his Com- 
mentaries, which, he said, were so full of the Holy Ghost 
that the bishops intended to translate them into Bohemian, 

Bucer received Cerwenka with the utmost cordiality and 
entertained him for six weeks at his own house. In the 
course of his stay he became acquainted with a number of 
distinguished men, and particularly mentions a dinner-party 
given by " a Doctor," at which he met Capito, Caspar Hedio, 
Joachim Camerarius, who, at a later time, wrote a history 
of the Brethren, John Sturm, John Calvin, who had been 

2 Lasitius, V. p. 76, quoted by Plitt; Comenii Hist., § 78; Camerarius, 
pp. 128, 129. 

3 Cerwenka, who often signed his name in its Greek form, Erythraeus, 
subsequently rose to be a distinguislied bishop. Born at Celakowic, 
February the twenty-first, 1521, he joined the Brethren at Jungbunzhiu in 
1533, became a teacher at Leitomischl in 1540, a deacon in 1544 and a 
priest in 1549. Todtenbuch, pp. 42 and 43. Cerwenka himself wrote a 
very interesting account of his visit to Strasburg. It forms a part of the 
Quarto Boh. MS. found in the Herrnhut Archives and treating of the 
correspondence of the Brethren with the Reformers. (See Chapt. XXVI., 
Note 16, of this History.) Gindely's Quellen, p. 35, etc. On this source, 
as also on Comenii Hist, and Reichel's Geschichte, our narrative is based. 


expelled from Geneva in 1538, Claiulius, Professor of Greek 
at the Academy, three Doctors of law and several other 
celebrities. His subsequent intercourse with these men was 
pleasant and encouraging. They gave unmistakable tokens 
of their good will and of the fraternal love with which 
they regarded the Unity. "Not a little astonished were 
they," writes Cerwenka, " at our past history and present 

With Bucer he had a formal conversation, in the presence 
of other divines, on the Apology of the Brethren. Concern- 
ing the discipline, as portrayed in this publication, Bucer 
expressed himself in terms of unqualified praise. " Your 
churches," he said, " have received a great gift from God — 
the bond of love and unity, of good order and fellowship. 
Where these things are wanting, Christ is driven out and 
can neither be taught nor preached. Many have cast off the 
yoke of Antichrist, but refuse to take upon themselves the 
yoke of Christ. May God our Lord guide us, for we are 
still far from the truth !" Again he remarked : " Where 
order and discipline prevail in the Church, there the divine 
throne has been set up." The constitution, worship and 
usages of the Brethren elicited his commendation in no less 
a degree. He declared that the Unity had reached the 
apostolic ideal more nearly than any other Church, adding with 
tears, as he turned to his associates : " Truly this is more of a 
heavenly than of an earthly system !" And when Cerwenka 
begged him to write words of encouragement to the Brethren, 
he replied : " What shall I write to men who carry on the 
work of the Lord in such a way ; or how shall I instruct 
those whom God has himself instructed ?" 

Cerwenka had frequent conversations about the Unity with 
Calvin also. From him he learned the antecedents of the 
two Waldenses, who had recently visited Bohemia. They 
were well-known to Calvin. He said that he had himself 
been associated with the Waldenses, but had withdrawn from 
them on account of their disputes and incorrect views in 
regard to justification by faith. 


When, at last, the time arrived for parting from his friends 
at Strasburg, Cerwenka strongly felt what the Apostle ex- 
perienced when his friends came from Rome to meet him : 
" He thanked God and took courage." 

Bucer, Capito and Calvin each wrote to Augusta, Bucer's 
communication was as follows : 

" Your letter and the books which you sent have occasioned 
me much joy. Both show that God has given us one mind. 
This difference only exists between us and you, that we must sow 
on the thorny acre of the papacy, which ground has, as yet, not 
brought forth a Scriptural discipline. Hence there spring up 
so many anabaptistical and other weeds. God preserve to you 
that which He has given you, and encourage us through your 
example ! You alone, in all the world, combine a wholesome 
discipline with a pure faith. I have read your Confession and 
rejoiced greatly over that light of truth and good order which 
shines among you. When w^e compare our Church with yours, 
we must be ashamed. What I have heard from your brother 
Matthias, that the principal ministers among you are unmarried, 
in order that they may the more faithfully serve the Lord and 
attend to the duties of their office, appears to me to be proper. 
But I beseech you, let no one esteem celibacy so highly as to 
assume it contrary to his own inclinations, and let it not be 
forced upon any one. Great injury came to the Church in the 
times of the apostles and martyrs, because celibacy was over- 
estimated, a thing which Cyprian and others bewail. I thank 
God that such things are not reported of you. Therefore we will 
enter into fellowship with you. Let it be a fellowship not only 
of faith and purpose, but also of mutual comfort and admonition. 
In this way it will be renewed and strengthened from time to 

Calvin wrote : 

" I congratulate your Churches with all my heart that the 
Lord, in addition to pure doctrine, has given them so many other 
excellent gifts. It is a thing not lightly to be esteemed, that they 
have shepherds who know how to guide and direct them, and that 
they maintain such good morals, order and discipline. These 
constitute the best and only means to uphold the bond of 
obedience. We have, long since, recognized the value of such a 
system, but cannot, in any way, attain to it. Indeed I would 
despair, if I did not know that the building up of the Church is 
the Lord's work, which He will carry out through His own 
power, even if all human means, on our part, should fail." 

Calvin, like Bucer, admonished Augusta not to over- 


estimate celibacy. In his judgmeut, this was done in the 

These letters were ansAvered in the following year (1541), 
while Bucer and Calvin were attending the Conference of 

The favorable result of the mission to Strasburg induced 
Bishop Augusta to pay another visit to Wittenberg (1542).^ 
Luther received him and his two companions, George Israel 
and Joachim Prostiborsky, with his wonted kindness. The 
subject which they presented to his notice was again the dis- 
cipline. Augusta urged this very strongly, telling Luther 
that the Utraquists of Bohemia were willing to accept his 
doctrines, but not willing to give up their ungodly lives; 
that this state of affairs was injuring the Unity ; that he had 
himself extolled its system, and that the Strasburg divines 
had now done the same. Did he approve of that misuse of 
the Gospel which grew out of a lack of discipline ? In rejjly, 
Luther again recognized its importance, but said that he could 
not have broken the power of the papacy except by breaking 
its yoke of superstition and restraint. The question of intro- 
ducing a discipline would receive his earnest attention, but not 
immediately, as the public mind was disturbed by the 
expectation which the Pope had raised, that a General 
Council would soon be convened. Augusta rejoined, that if 
the Reformation devoted all its attention to a development of 
theology and neglected practical religion, evil would certainly 

* A year later Calvin returned to Geneva and there carried out what he 
so greatly admired among the Brethren. The above two letters are con- 
tained in full in the Boh. MS., but have not been reproduced by Gindely 
in his Quellen, except in the way of a brief summary. Nor are they 
complete as given in the text. We have translated them from Reichel's 
Geschichte, pp. 47 and 48, and Comenii Hist., ^§79 and 80. Comenius says 
that Calvin's letter is found in his i^ublished correspondence, probably the 
collection edited by Beza, in 1576. 

^ Gindely's Quellen, pp. 43-45. 

® The only account extant of this visit is found in Lasitius, V. p. 99, etc., 
whom Comenius follows. Hist. ^ 81. See also Gindely's Quellen, pp. 31, 32. 


Aud thus they parted — the great Reformer of Wittenberg 
and the earnest representatives of the Uuitas Fratrura — not 
in anger, but in love. It was the last mission of tlie Brethren 
to Luther, and their last words were prophetic. Evil did 
ensue. Hardly had he closed his eyes, when the most acri- 
monious disputes broke out among his followers and a dead 
orthodoxy began to chill the life of the Church. With 
unfaltering integrity, convinced that they had been appointed 
of God to be the bearers and promoters of a discipline 
befitting His Church, had the Brethren striven to avert so 
lamentable an end. "Would to God," says Comenius, "that 
they had been false prophets when foretelling, from the very 
beginning of the Reformation, the results which have now 
come to pass I'"" 

In the spring of the same year in which this last mission to 
Luther was undertaken, the Unity lost its noblest member 
and most influential patron. Like a prince in Israel there 
died, at Jungbunzlau, in the seventy-first year of his age 
Baron Conrad von Krajek (May the tenth, 1542). He was a 
hero of faith, fearless in his confession of Christ, great in 
God. On his deathbed he delivered a glorious testimony.^ 

' The testimony of a distinguished Lutheran writer, Salig, in his 
celebrated History of the Augsburg Confession, may here find a place. 
''Neither a scriptural discipline," he says, "than which nothing can be 
more important, nor the real object of the whole Reformation, was attained. 
Both died with Luther's death. For the Smalcald War began and the 
theologians cared little for a godly discipline and life, but fell into the 
most violent quarrels. In the universities were taught words, distinctions 
and formulas, and such things were made to constitute the kernel of pure 
Lutheranism. To lead young people to true godliness was not thought of 
.... Men that were great at universities, in stickling for words, remained 
the smallest children in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the 

practice of the heavenly rules of life In order that the discipline of 

the Bohemian Brethren — which, as could not be denied, Lutlier had praised 
— might not be accepted, and other Christians thus by them be put to shame, 
suspicion was cast upon their doctrine and some of them were accused of 
fanaticism." Salig's Hist. d. Augsburg. Conf, II Theil, 6 Buch, pp 
550, 551. 

* Todtenbuch, pp. 14-17. Krajek's funeral was attended by a large part 
of the Bohemian nobility. John Cerny preached the sermon. 


Several mouths later Luther sent the followhig fraternal 
letter to Bishop Augusta. 

•" To the Venerable Brother in Christ, John Augusta, Minister of the 
Divine Word among the Brethren at Leitomischl, my very dear 
Friend. Grace and Peace ! 

One of your brethren, Lawrence of Leitomischl, has asked me 
to write to you, and told me of your sentiments toward me, that 
you and your brethren have a true and sincere regard for me and 
that you remember me in your prayers. For this I thank you 
all and beseech you to pray for me in future also. For I am 
persuaded that the time of my poor life on earth will not continue 
much longer. That God may take my soul hence in peace and 
that I may have a happy end — this is my wish. Amen. 

Fui'ther I admonish you in the Lord, that even as you began, 
so you may continue with us to the end, in the fellowship of the 
Spirit and of doctrine. Help us to fight, with the word and with 
prayer, against the gates of hell, which continually oppose the 
Church of God and its Head, Christ the Lord. And although it 
may, at times, seem as if the power of Satan were unequally 
great, nevertheless Christ's strength will be made perfect in our 
weakness, His wisdom will be magnified in our ignorance, and 
His goodness will be glorified in our iniquity and sins, according 
to His own wonderful ways which are past finding out. May 
this Lord strengthen, protect, keep and stablish us and you, so 
that we may together grow into the same image, to the glory of 
His mercy, which is perpetually to be praised! Amen. 

Given Thursday after St. Francis (October the fifth), 1542. 

Reverently greet all the brethren in the Lord. 

Martin Luther."^ 

This was the last communication which Luther sent to the 
Brethren ; but to the end of his days his flivorable opinion of 
them remained unchanged. It may be summed up in the 
words which he used in one of his lectures : " Since the time 
of the apostles no Church has as nearly resembled the apostolic 
churches as the Bohemian Brethren." ^^ 

About the year 1542 the Amosites, after having once more, 
through John Kalenec, poured out their bitterest venom upon 

^ This letter is found in Boh., in the MS. of Nicholas of Schlan. It was 
written in Latin, in wiiich form Gindely, Quellen, pp. 28, 29, gives it, 
taking it from De Wette's ed. of Luther's Letters. 

'" Comenius (juotes these words, Hist. I 82, on the authority of Lasitius. 
Comp. his Lasitii Ecc. Discip. p. 157. 


the Unity and Augusta in particular, disappeared from history 
and were lost among the Anabaptists and other fanatical 

While the Unitas Fratrum continued to develop a healthful 
activity and to spread a beneficial influence, Utraquism was 
undergoing a process of disintegration. The Compactata were 
[)ractically forgotten, except by a small body of conservatives. 
Lutheran views prevailed. And yet Lutheranism was not 
established. The National Church of Bohemia was neither 
Protestant nor Catholic, neither evangelical nor papistic, 
neither identified with the Reformation nor obedient to Rome- 
It had no stable character and no fixed position. Its 
spiritual state was bad; the morals of its priests were 

Nor had this Church ceased from its hostility to the 
Brethren. John Mistopol, the new Administrator of the 
Consistory, hated them with a bitter hatred. Of the same 
mind was Wenzel Mitmanek, the incumbent of the Thein 
parish, and a renegade from the Unity. Not only did its 
prosperity constitute an offence in the eyes of these men and 
of their associates, but they also smarted under the stinging 
lash with which Augusta and Michalek, in their writings, 
corrected the glaring inconsistencies and the scandalous evils 
of Utraquism. On every possible occasion charges were 
brought against the Brethren. In particular was a public 
ordination of priests at Jungbunzlau (1540), to which 
solemnity many people streamed together, decried as a 
political gathering. Utraquist nobles manifested their ani- 
mosity at the Diet. The King was twice induced to order 
the arrest of Bishop Augusta. And yet all these machina- 
tions proved unsuccessful. Through the efforts of the nobles 
of the Unity, Augusta was not arrested, and the state of 
feeling at the Diet was pacified. Ferdinand himself when he 
designed beginning his long projected persecution, met with 

" L. F., IV. p. 215, etc. K's Z. p. 268, etc., where is found an account of 
their final attack upon the Brethren. 


the most strenuous resistance on the part of some of his own 
councilors (1543). With a hypocrisy that did honor to his 
training, he publicly said, on leaving Prague, that he had 
never meant to suppress the Unity, or any other religious 
body, but merely to lop oif a few excrescences. The very 
next year, the Bohemian capital saw, for the first time, a 
ciiurch of the Brethren established within its walls (1544). 
Of this cliurch John Czerny was constituted the pastor. Thus 
the days of the Unity were bright for a time longer. Then 
came the darkness and terror of a great storm. 



The Smalcald War and a General Persecution of the Unitas 
Fratrum. A. D. 1546-1548. 

The Smalcald War. — A League organized in Bohemia. — Death of Bishops 
Horn and Michalek. — Ferdinand punishes the Members of the League. 
— The Brethren accused of being its Instigators. — Edict of St. James 
renewed. — Persecutions begin. — The cruel Zeal of the Utraquists. — 
Czerny's Views of their Course. — Sufferings of the Brethren on con- 
fiscated Estates. — Sixteen Heads of Families in a foul Vault. — Arrest, 
Imprisonment and Torture of Bishop Augusta. — Other imprisoned 
Ministers. — Developments in Germany. 

A FEW months after Martin Luther had closed his eyes in 
death (February the eighteenth, 1546), the first conflict of 
arms evoked by the Reformation, broke out. In this war, 
which is known as the Smalcald War, Bohemia became 
entangled. Although a large part of its people sympathized 
with the German Protestants, Ferdinand determined to aid 
his brother Charles the Fifth, and the Diet granted, for a 
limited period, troops against the Turks and "against any 
other enemy that might attack the kingdom" (July, 1546). 
The time of enlistment expired in November. But the King 
immediately asked for a new levy. This demand roused 
general opposition. A League was formed having in view 
religious liberty, the rights of the aristocracy and a decrease 
of the royal power (February, 1547). At its head stood a 
Committee of Safety, whose efforts to raise an army were, 
however, not crowned with success. Scarcely two thousand 





men took the field ; and before this insignificant contingent 
could join the Elector of Saxony, the battle of Miihlberg left 
him a prisoner in the hands of the Emperor and crushed the 
hopes of the Bohemian confederates (April the twenty-fourth, 

Bishop Horn was spared the news of this disaster. He 
died, at Jungbunzlau, on the Friday preceding the second 
Sunday in Lent. His brethren mourned for him with deep 
sorrow. He was a man of rare ability and sound judgment, 
and belonged to the excellent of the eartli.^ His colleague, 
Bishop Martin Michalek, preceded him to the rest which 
remains to the people of God. He died on the twenty-fourth 
of January, of the same year, at Prossnitz in Moravia, aged 
sixty-three years.^ 

Ferdinand having returned to Bohemia, convened the Diet? 
on the third of June, at Leitmeritz. He bore himself with 
such unexj)ected graciousness, that a majority of the nobles and 
cities connected with the League submitted unconditionally, 
trusting in his promise of forbearance. But they were soon 
undeceived. Measures of the greatest severity were adopted. 
Four nobles — one of them, Wenzel von Petipesky, a member 
of the Brethren's Church — w^ere executed. The rest were 
condemned to remain, for life, in certain towns and castles, 
and their estates, in part, w^ere confiscated. Some of the 
most prominent patrons of the Unity — Krajek, Kostka, 
Krinecky^ and others — suffered in this way; and Leitomischl, 

^ Todtenhuch, p. 19, which says that a more complete history of him and 
of other pious men, than can be given on earth, will be written in the life 
eternal. He was buried on the second Sunday in Lent, John Czerny 
preaching the funeral sermon. As far as we know, Horn is the first Bishop 
whose portrait has come down to our day. The original is a life size oil 
painting, by Wallerat, formerly the property of the late Bishop Anders, of 
Berthelsdorf, Saxony, now, we presume, in the Herrnhut Archives. 

^ Todtenbuch, pp. 18 and 19, which work calls him a great man, sagacious 
and eloquent. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1531. 

' Baron Krinecky, who had presented the Confession to Ferdinand, in 
1535, not only lost all his possessions, but was also condemned to death. He 
fled to East Prussia where he lived in great poverty. 


Turnau, Richenburg, Brandeis on the Elbe/ all chief seats of 
the Brethren, fell into the relentless hands of the King. 
Upon Prague and other cities were imposed heavy fines. 

It was amidst such circumstances that the Utraquists dis- 
played the worst traits of their double-dealing character, and 
that Mistopol, in particular, adopted a dastardly course. No 
party had been more active in furthering the League than he 
and his immediate followers ; and yet, with one accord, they 
imitated his cowardly example and screened themselves 
behind the Brethren. These — so rang the cry throughout 
Bohemia and Moravia — were the chief instigators of the 
League ! Augusta was the arch-conspirator ! He had had 
secret consultations with the Elector of Saxony; he had 
visited the Duke of Liegnitz with treasonable intent ; he had 
planned the dethronement of Ferdinand ! These accusations 
were false. While Augusta did not oppose the League, he 
took no active part in it, and foretold its disastrous issue f 
and while a number of the nobles of the Unity manifested 
great zeal in furthering the movement, they were not more 
guilty than their Utraquist confederates. 

But however unfounded such charges were — in view of 
Ferdinand's purpose they could not have been more oppor- 
tune. He caught them up with eager joy. The occasion for 
Avhich he had so long and patiently waited, was come. Death 
to the Unitas Fratrum ! 

On Sunday, the eighteenth of September, as he stepped 
from the door of the cathedral where he had attended mass, 
representatives of the Roman Catholics and Utraquists pre- 
sented themselves, and with a vehement show of sincerity, 
besought him to defend his faithful subjects against the 
machinations of the Picards. He promised to fulfill the 

* At Brandeis Krajek had built a large church for the Brethren. It was 
designed by an architect from Milan, is still standing, and known as the 
Dechantei- Kirche . 

5 Gindely, I. p. 307. Either in 1546 or 1547 Augusta did visit the Duke 
of Liegnitz ; for what purpose' is not known — certainly not with treasonable 


petition of these suppliants who, without doubt, had engaged 
in this demonstration by his own orders, Nor did he fail to 
keep his word. On the eighth of October, by royal mandate, 
he renewed the Edict of St. James. 

Thus was inaugurated, throughout Bohemia, the fourth 
general persecution of the Brethren. In Moravia they could 
not well be molested, because its nobles and cities had stood 
aloof from the League. Ferdinand, however, solaced him- 
self with the hope that if the Brethren were rooted out of 
the former country they would languish and die in the latter. 
But he imagined a vain thing. The Unitas Fratrum was not 
suppressed. It grew in numbers and influence. Indeed, in 
one sense, persecution stretched out a suicidal hand ; for it 
opened a way for the extension of the Brethren to Prussia 
and Poland. Nevertheless it was, at the same time, a cruel 
hand and besomed the Bohemian part of the Church with 
pitiless fury. 

The afflictions of the Brethren began with the closing of 
their chapels and the interdiction of their religious worship in 
every form. Such a course was pursued even on the domains 
of their own members. Baron Kostka, imbittered by the 
confiscation of Leitomischl, carried out the royal edict with 
great severity.^ The installation of Catholic or Utraquist 
priests followed, on all the estates seized by the King. These 
priests immediately began to pervert the Brethren. Not a 
few succumbed to the fear of torture and death. The parish 
at Brandeis on the Elbe, it is said, went over, almost in a 
body, to the Utraquists.^ And now began the arrest of the 
priests. A number were seized. The bishops and members 
of the Council, confronted on every side by the rack and 

® Augusta wrote him a severe letter, denouncing his course. L. F., VII. 
p. 1 20, cited by Gindely. 

' Tliis seems to have been owinw to the well meant but mistaken counsel 
of John Czerny, who advised the members of the parish, if there was no 
way of escape, to attend worship in the Utraquist church. Augusta, on 
the contrary, earnestly exhorted them to avoid this church. L. F., VII. 
p. 64, cited by Gindely. 


stake, were forced to conceal themselves ; and when one place 
of refuge became insecure, sought another. Nevertheless 
they did what they could to strengthen their brethren, 
addressing pastoral letters to the Unity, writing to the single 
parishes, and secretly visiting the oppressed. Augusta, who 
had succeeded Horn as President of the Council, was particu- 
larly active. His energetic character expanded in proportion 
to the perils by which he was surrounded. In the name of 
the entire Church he sent a letter to the King, who had gone 
to attend the imperial Diet at Augsburg, beseeching him to 
spare the Unity, which was innocent and had not conspired 
against him.* In the beginning of 1548 a reply was received 
from the Chancellor's office, sternly pointing the Brethren to 
the royal mandate as setting forth Ferdinand's unalterable 
determination. John George, the messenger who had been 
employed in this correspondence, was arrested on his return 
from Augsburg, imprisoned at Prague, narrowly escaped the 
rack, and was at last set at liberty on condition of his emigrat- 
ino-. Moreover a second royal edict against the Brethren 
appeared, commanding the first to be strictly enforced and 
ordering the arrest and imprisonment, at Prague, of every 
minister of the Unity. Ferdinand, prior to his departure, 
had given the same instructions to his son, the Archduke 
Ferdinand, whom he had constituted Regent of Bohemia. 

In carrying out the cruel purposes of the King, Mistopol 
proved himself to be a zealous abettor. He directed 
his deans to care for the strict observance of the royal 
mandate. He caused lists of the members of the Unity to be 
prepared, so that, in the case of every one of them, it might 
be known whether he had or had not recanted. He produced 
a lengthy formula of recantation which every pervert was 
forced to accept with a solemn oath. The priests at Brandeis 
on the Elbe and Leitomischl vied with him in all the arts of 
persecution. Other Utraquist ministers were not slow to 
follow their example. 

8 Letter in L. F., VII. This same Folio, as cited by Gindely, is the 
authority for the most of the facts which follow in this chapter. 


For such conduct there was not the shadow of an excuse. 

It was revolting. Mistopol and a large part of the priests 

under him belonged to that wing of Utraquisni which 

entertained many of the tenets of Protestantism. Lutherans 

at heart, they became time-servers and renegades who, by 

their craven zeal for tyranny, escaped the sufferings which 

they ought to have shared with the Unity. What an 

impression such a course made upon the Brethren, let John 

Czerny, who passed through all the troubles of that period, 

tell. He writes : 

" The shameless Utraquist priests, especially those at Brandeis 
and Leitomischl, were the worst of persecutors. Although, in 
their own lives, wanton scoundrels, adulterers, drunkards and 
unparalleled liars, they became the most ardent sycophants of the 
King in undertaking the conversion of the Picards. Neither the 
royal town-captains nor the Roman Catholic priests were guilty 
of such tyranny, such revilements, such lies, such tormenting, 
such menaces, such imprecations, as these bare-faced Utraquists, 
dead to shame and disregarding all divine and human lavvs."'^ 

The calm and moderate tone which generally pervades 
Czerny's writings, renders this severe arraignment over- 

The domains confiscated by the King suffered more than 
any others. He appointed a commission to carry out his edict, 
choosing four barons whose hearts were steeled against mercy. 
They proceeded in a barbarous manner. Unjust and un- 
truthful accusations were eagerly entertained. Informers 
received high praise. Private revenge for real or fancied 
wrongs could, with a word, gain the most cruel satisfaction. 

The first to suffer was the village judge of Semanin, 
charged with having used images of Christ and the Virgin 
as fuel for a fire at which he broiled fish. He was cast into a 
foul cellar at Leitomischl, where he languished for half a year 
until he became, physically and mentally, a wreck. In this 
state he promised to recant, but died as soon as he was taken 
out of the cellar. From the same town a certain Gabriel, 
accused of being a messenger of the Bishops, was hurried to 

« Gindely I. pp. 312 and 313. 


Prague and cruelly imprisoned for months. Many others 
were cast into loathsome dungeons, or stretched upon the rack 
in order to extort confessions of treason. A large number 
perished. Not a few, with shattered constitutions, eked out 
a miserable existence. The slightest approach to the forms of 
worship common among the Brethren, was punished in a 
frio-htful manner. 

An instance occurred at Leitomischl, where Schoneich, 
whom nature intended for a creature of tyranny, had been 
appointed town-captain. At the funeral of a member of the 
Unity, while his remains were borne to the grave, the young 
people began, as of old, to sing hymns. For this trivial 
offence sixteen heads of families were arrested, conveyed to 
Prague and confined in the White Tower. Every attempt to 
induce them to deny their fiiith having failed, they Avere 
thrust into a vault which formed the receptacle for the closet- 
drains of the tower. The stench was fearful and the air thick 
with disgusting exhalations. In this state, which beggars 
description, they languished for several months. At last six 
of them, broken down by sickness, promised to recant. The 
rest endured with unshaken heroism until a certain Doctor 
Erhard, a favorite of the King, took pity on them and 
secured their release. They joined their families which had 
meanwhile emigrated to Prussia. 

There was no one whom Ferdinand more eagerly longed to 
get into his power than Bishop Augusta.^" Although the 
Council had published a document in his defence, the 
animosity against him, both among Catholics and Utraquists, 

^° Sources for the account of the arrest, imprisonment and sufferings of 
Augusta are : History of his Life, by J. Blahoslaw, in Bohemian, which 
work remained in manuscript until 1837, when Sumawsky published it in 
an incomplete form ; the Seventh Lissa Folio (both these sources as cited 
by Gindely); Bucholtz's Geschichte der Regierung Ferdinand I., Wien, 
1831, etc.; Hormayr's Taschenbuch fiir die Vaterlandische Geschichte, for 
the year 1820; Bechstein's Deutsches Mus. fiir Gesch., 1862; Pelzel's 
Abbildungen Bohm. Gelehrteu, 2tr Tlieil, Prag, 1775, with Augusta's 


did not abate, and the King looked upon him as a personal 
enemy. That a liberal reward would be paid for his arrest, 
was well known. 

Schoneich's mercenary and cruel nature was excited to the 
utmost. He prowled about like a tiger watching for its prey. 
But in spite of all his efforts Augusta could not be found. 
He was concealed in the vicinity of Leitomischl and frequently 
changed his hiding-place. Jacob Bilek, a deacon, carried his 
letters to the churches and made his apj)ointments with their 
elders for secret meetings at night. 

When Schoneich saw himself foiled, he concocted a plot 
which deserves to be called aatanic. Going to the house of 
one whom he knew to be an elder of the church at Leito- 
mischl, he told him that he was troubled in his conscience 
and needed the advice of a faithful minister, and asked 
whether Augusta could not be persuaded to grant him an 
interview. Through Bilek this request was made known to 
the Bishop, who replied, that if Sch5neich would pledge 
himself not to arrest him, he would consent to a meeting. 
Such a pledge was given, and Augusta designated a clearing 
in the midst of a forest, about two and a half miles from 
Leitomischl, as the place of the interview." 

Near this clearing, early in the morning of the appointed 
day — April the twenty-fifth, 1548 — the perfidious captain 
posted three of his hirelings. They were ordered to arrest 
Augusta as soon as he would appear. Concealing themselves 
behind trees they waited for his coming. Presently a man 
emerged from the forest and looked around. Schoneich's 
creatures rushed from their lurking-place and seized him 

" Gindely I. p. 319, followed by Cerwenka, represents Schoneich as 
saying, "that he had something very important to communicate to 
Augusta." This representation not only destroys the point of the narrative 
but is also rendered improbable by Gindely himself, who says that Augusta 
had no confidence in the sincerity of Schoneich's message. The only 
consideration which could overcome such distrust on the Bishop's part, 
was the thought that ho would perhaps be able to minister to a troubled 
soul. In union with Keichel and Croeger, we follow Plitt (Sect. 48), whose 
authority is Lasitius. 


with eager hands. But he proved to be Jacob Bilek and not 
Augusta. With all haste, and dragging Bilek along, they 
hid themselves again. After a while another man, dressed 
like a peasant and carrying an axe, came out of the forest. 
This was Augusta. So completely, however, had he succeeded 
in disguising himself that the hirelings were baffled. Twice 
they arrested and twice they set him free. But as he was 
about going his way, their suspicions were again aroused. 
Seizing him a third time they began to search his person, and 
found a handkerchief such as — so they asserted — peasants 
never used. Thereupon Augusta made himself known. " Sir, 
is this your faith ?" — he indignantly said to Schoneich when 
this miscreant appeared. 

The prisoners were first conveyed to Leitomischl, and then 
taken, in a covered wagon, to Prague, where they arrived on 
the twenty-eighth of April. A member of the Church, 
William by name, secretly followed them on horseback all 
the way to the capital, in order to ascertain the place of their 
imprisonment. Bilek was confined in a dungeon of the royal 
castle and Augusta in the White Tower.^^ As to Schoneich, 
he was munificently rewarded. 

'^ The oldest royal castle at Prague, known as the St. Wenzel Castle, 
dated back to the time of Ottokar the Great in the twelfth century. It 
was enlarged and strengthened by Wenzel the First. This castle has long 
since passed away. In 1333, near by its site, Charles the Fourth erected 
tlie Hradschin, to which Uladislaus added a second and magnificent palace- 
In 1541 a terrible fire destroyed a large part of the Hradschin. It was 
rebuilt by Ferdinand the First. Originally the entire pile of buildings 
had twenty-two massive towers, which have, howev^er, all crumbled to dust 
except three, the Black Tower, the White Tower and the Daliborka. The 
first is four-cornered, the other two are round. They stand on the North 
side of the Hradschin and overlook the Hirschgraben. In the Middle Ages 
they contained all the appliances of its inhuman mode of administering 
justice, including subterranean vaults into whicli, through an opening large 
enough to admit a himian body, criminals were let down by means of ropes 
and a wheel, to a depth of fifteen fathoms, to die of hunger. These vaults 
are still to be seen, and even at tlie present day contain masses of human 
bones. Schottky's Prag. II. pp. 86, etc., and 134 ; Illustrirte Chronik von 
Bohmen, Prag., 1854, II. p. 230, etc. 


The news of the arrest of the Unity's chief bishop caused 
a sensation throughout Bohemia. His friends mourned and 
called upon God ; his enemies, it has been well said, rejoiced 
with the joy of the Philistines when Samson fell into their 
power. That the Brethren would submit, now that they were 
deprived of the man whose commanding influence had sus- 
tained their courage, was the common belief. But such 
expectations were triumphantly disappointed. The Church 
of the Brethren was built upon Jesus Chrisj:, not upon 

On the day of the arrival of the two prisoners at Prague, 
the royal chamber of justice subjected Bilek to an examina- 
tion : of Augusta no notice was taken for an entire week. It 
was on the tenth of May that his sufferings began. He was 
put in chains, in a way thac rendered walking almost impos- 
sible, and thrust into one of the lowest cellars of the tower. 
The next day (May the eleventh), the Governor of the Castle, 
accompanied by two nobles, appeared, ordered his irons to be 
taken off, and addressed a series of questions to him with 
regard to the Unity and especially his supposed treasonable 
transactions at Wittenberg and Liegnitz. His answers were 
pronounced unsatisfactory and he was delivered to the execu- 
tioner for torture. Stretched upon a ladder, his hips were 
smeared with boiling pitch, which was set on fire and torn 
off with iron tongs. From this horrible torment he was 
relieved only in order to be forced into excruciating stocks ; 
and when taken out of these, he was hung up on a large hook 
thrust through his flesh ; and when this agony was over, he 
was laid on the floor and his abdomen loaded with heavy 
stones. Not until he was half-dead did the Governor order 
the executioner to cease from his fiendish work. And yet, 
even now, the afflicted Bishop's sufferings were not at an end. 
The next morning (May the twelfth), after only a few hours' 
respite, he was mercilessly tortured a second time. 

In the midst of all these physical torments Augusta 
remained strong of heart. He refused to deny his faith ; he 
refused to confess treasonable proceedings of which he was 


innocent ; he refused to say anything that would bring new 
danger to the Church. When his agonies were at their 
height, he was asked what his brethren were doing. " They 
are seeking refuge, with one accord, in impassioned prayer to 
God !" — was his illustrious answer.^^ 

Meantime, for three days, Bilek had been lying in chains 
still more cruelly fastened than in Augusta's case. On the 
thirteenth of May — the holy day of the Lord — they were 
taken off and he was made to pass through the same frightful 
ordeal as his Bishop. These tortures were resumed the next 
morning, until he swooned and life was nearly extinct. In 
the evening, while lying in utter weakness and misery, the 
Governor came and informed him that, as soon as his strength 
revived, he would be tortured again, and tortured ten times? 
unless he confessed everything. 

It was a confession of Augusta's supposed treason that was 
to be extorted from Bilek. With this end in view a long 
series of written questions, covering several sheets of paper, 
had been put to him while he was stretched upon the ladder. 
Ferdinand either obstinately believed, or pertinaciously pre- 
tended to believe, that Augusta had been the soul of a 
conspiracy against his throne — to which the Elector of 
Saxony was to be elevated — and in this way tried to justify 
his inhuman course. It is reported that, at a later time, he 
even sent him a message saying, that it was not on account of 
his faith that he was made to suffer.^^ But the policy, 
which the King had been steadily pursuing, his violent 
bigotry, and the fact that Augusta and Bilek were offered 
their freedom on condition of forsaking the Unity,^^ all 
prove this assurance to have been grossly untrue. In 
any case, Ferdinand covered himself with shame. For when 
the cruel proceedings in the White Tower were reported to 
him by his son and the Chancellor, and the latter remarked 

13 Blahoslaw's Narrative, L. F., VIII. p. 43, E's Z. p. 359. 
1* Bucholtz, VI. p. 438. Ferdinand himself had given orders that 
Augusta should be tortured. 

1^ Plitt, Sec. 48, on the authority of Lasitius. 


that the use of the torture could scarcely be kept a secret, he 
replied — in a letter written from Augsburg, on the twenty- 
seventh of May — that he was well satisfied with what had 
been done, that he would bear the responsibility, and that 
Augusta should be tortured again in order to ascertain the 
object of his journeys to Wittenberg. In this letter he in- 
closed a slip of paper on which he recommended one of the 
following three modes of torment as more efficacious than 
those which had been employed : 

First, for five or six days and nights in succession, let Augusta 
be forcibly prevented from sleeping. 

Second, strap him to a board, or a shutter, with no support for 
his head ; rub vinegar into his nostrils ; fasten, with half a nut- 
shell, a large beetle on his navel ; keep him in this state for a day 
or for two days and two nights. 

Third, season his food as highly as possible, but give him 
nothing whatever to quench his thirst. 

Let Bilek be treated in the same way."^ 

Love to the brethren, because it is the greatest of the 
Christian graces, deems no sacrifice too grievous and shrinks 
from no danger. In spite of the imminent perils by which 
William was surrounded, he remained at Prague and gained 
access to Augusta. The forlorn Bishop rejoiced as though an 
angel had visited him. But as William passed through the 
Tower on his way back, he was suddenly confronted by 
Schoneich, who recognized him and had him cast into a 
dungeon. Two days later Wenzel Wejwoda, one of 
Augusta's servants, arrived. His sister was the prison cook. 
By her aid he, too, made his way to the Bishop and ministered 
to his wants, supplying him, in particular, with writing 
materials so that he could communicate with the Council. 
But before long, Wenzel also was detected and imprisoned. 
For three months he lay in a dungeon, until the unceasing 
intercessions of his mother secured him a pardon. William, 
after an incarceration of ten weeks, was set free at the claim 
of his lord, Baron Pernstein. 

i« Hormayr's Taschenbucli for 1833, cited by Gindely, I. pp. 325 and 326, 

and Cerwenka, pp. 281 and 282. 


None of the modes of torture recommended by Ferdinand 
were put into execution ; for, when his letter arrived, Augusta 
and Bilek were no longer at Prague. 

About twenty-five miles to the west of this city lies 
Piirglitz, one of the oldest and grandest castles known to 
Bohemian chroniclers. Crowning a huge conical rock, from 
Avhose base radiate three valleys, it lifts its hoary towers 
proudly to the sky. Hills, covered with dense forests, are 
round about it on every side. They stand like giants 
guarding the stronghold of a king.^^ Through one of the 
valleys, and the wildest and most romantic of them all, rush 
the dark waters of the Beraun, along whose course has been 
built a railroad to Rakonitz. Here and there ancient iron- 
works belch forth their flames and smoke; while sunny 
meadows and fields of golden grain form a brilliant hem to 
the dark green mantle of the forests. 

Toward this castle Augusta and Bilek, guarded by twenty 
men at arras, set out in the night of the twenty-fifth to the 
twenty-sixth of May. AVeak, covered with painful wounds — 
for which nothing whatever had been done — the two prisoners 
lay, each in a separate wagon, unable to comfort one another, 
alone with their thoughts and their God. At last Piirglitz 
was reached. Slowly the wagons, with the horsemen close 
about them, moved up the steep and winding road that led to 
the outer gate. Here they crossed the draw-bridge to the 
main entrance, ornamented with the royal coat of arms, and 
came into a large triangular court-yard. Passing along its 
northern side and turning into a very ancient and narrow 
gate-way, with a curiously constructed guard-house on the 
left, they reached a second and smaller yard, known as the 
king's courtyard. At one end rose a round keep, overtopping 
all the other towers and connected by a gallery with the royal 
dwellings ;^^ at the other end was seen a balcony from which 

" Tradition says, that in the Hussite War, when Zizka came with his 
army in order to make himself master of Piirglitz, he could not find the 
castle, so completely was it surrounded by hills and so dense were tlieir forests. 

'^ These dwellings no longer exist. 


the sentence of prisoners was read to them before they were 

In this courtyard the wagons hahed. On all sides were 
dungeons. Two massive doors, on the left, were opened ; 
through one of these Augusta was led into a vaulted cellar, 
through the other, Bilek passed into a second cellar similarly 
constructed. It was a long farewell which they were forced 
to bid to the world without. For sixteen years the Bishop, 
and for thirteen years his Deacon, lay immured within these 
gloomy walls. ^^ 

While, in some respects, their situation was less painful than 
at Prague, there were other experiences which proved to be 
hard and distressing. They were left in almost total darkness. 
Exceedingly narrow though the cellar windows were, they had 
been blocked up with double shutters. The only light the 
prisoners had, came through an opening four inches square. 
While taking their meals, which were served twice a day, they 
were allowed a taper ; but it was removed as soon as they had 
finished eating. Nor were they permitted to communicate 
with each other. Neither of them set foot outside of his cellar. 
Nor were visitors admitted. They saw no one, except the 

^^ Augusta passed through a square oaken door, Bilek through an arched 
one. Both these doors are still to be seen. The first led into a cellar 
adjoining that in which the Bishop was confined ; the second straight into 
Bilek's prison. Augusta's cellar had no outer door. The interior of the 
cellars, which were not subterranean, but on a level with the ground, has 
been entirely changed. They are used by the inhabitants of the castle, who 
occupy the buildings surrounding the large courtyard. One of these build- 
ings is a brewery ; another, a tax-office ; a third, the seat of the imperial 
district-court; in the rest live stewards and servants. The Castle of 
Piirglitz, to which belong wide domains, whose forests abound in deer and 
other game, is now the property of the Prince of Fiirstenberg. In the 
Middle Ages it was a royal domain and a favorite hunting place of the 
Bohemian Kings. In the dungeons of the Castle many distinguished pris- 
oners were at various times confined, among them Duke Henry, the brother 
of Frederick the Third, both of whom were captured in the battle of 
Ampfing, in 1322. At the north end of the first courtyard stands a large 
tower, called Huderka, into whose subterranean vaults criminals were let 
down and allowed to starve to death. Nitsche's Burg Piirglitz, Wien, 1876. 
In 1879 we visited the Castle and, guided by a warder, explored it thoroughly. 


keeper when he brought their food, and the guards when they 
cleaned the prisons. Day and night were alike — silence and 
solitude and gloom.^ The wounds which had been inflicted 
through the torture, were not looked after until they grew so 
offensive that the services of a surgeon became absolutely 

Of the other ministers who fell into Ferdinand's power, the 
experiences of three are on record. 

George Israel was the priest of the parish at Turnau.^^ 
Cited to Prague on pain of a fine of one thousand ducats, his 
people begged him to disregard the summons and offered to 
pay the money. " No !" was his answer, " I have been pur- 
chased, once for all, with the blood of Christ and will not 
consent to be ransomed with the gold and silver of my people. 
Keep what you have, for you will need it on your flight ; 
and pray for me, that I may be stedfast in suffering for Jesus." 
With unwavering fortitude he bade farewell to his brethren, 
presented himself at Prague, confessed his faith, and was 
imprisoned in the White Tower, in the same dungeon which 
Augusta had occupied (May the thirtieth). The treatment 
which he received was, however, not rigorous ; and so loosely 
was he guarded that escape became possible. But he was too 
conscientious to embrace, on the strength of his own judgment, 
the opportunities which offered. He sent a letter to Bishop 
Mach Sionsky, asking his advice. The Bishop assured him 
that it would be right to flee from his prison, if he could. Ac- 
cordingly (July the twenty-eighth), disguised as a scrivener, 
a quill behind his ear, paper and ink-horn in his hand, he 

^^ Twenty men, probably those who had brought Augusta and Bilek to 
Piirglitz, were detailed to guard them. Germans had been purposely chosen, 
of whom only three could speak Bohemian. Over these men was set a 
captain who reported to John Zdarsky von Zdar, the Governor of the Castle. 

^' G. Israel, whose name has several times been mentioned in connection 
with the missions to Luther, was born in Bohmishbrod, in 1508. He was the 
son of a smith, but well educated. His father reluctantly consented to his 
entering the ministry of the Brethren's Church. He was ordained priest 
in 1540, and subsequently became one of the most influential leaders of the 
Unity and its father in Poland. 


passed, in broad day, out of the tower and through the midst 
of the guards, leaving behind a letter to the Governor of the 
Castle and a copy of one of the Confessions of the Brethren. 
He proceeded to Prussia. 

Another minister confined at Prague was Paul Bossak, a 
Deacon. He, too, was loosely guarded. Often and earnestly 
he prayed that God might deliver him. Dreaming, one night, 
that in a certain cellar — it was the one in which Augusta had 
been tortured — there was an opening in the wall, he made 
his way to the place and found his dream fulfilled. Through 
this opening he reached the ground and escaped to Prussia. 

John Rokita, one of Augusta's acolytes, was set free at the 
intercession of certain young men. Catholics, who had formerly 
been his fellow-students. They spoke so highly of his extra- 
ordinary gifts as a linguist that he received the offer of a 
secretaryship in the Chancellor's office. But he refused this 
position and followed his brethren into exile.^^ 

A large part of the ministers who escaped imprisonment, 
fled to Moravia ; some ventured to remain in Bohemia, where 
they hid themselves, but at night, in secret places, preached 
and administered the sacraments. 

While such events were transpiring in Bohemia, the 
Augsburg Interim and, at a later time, the Leipzig Interim, 
which were to unite the Protestants and the Catholics until 
the Council of Trent could be reopened,^^ brought about the 
utmost dissatisfaction in Germany, and led, in some of its 
states, to persecutions on the part of the Emperor. At the 
same time these Interims widened the breach between the 
Philippists, or liberal Lutherans, and those who upheld the 
Lutheran system in all its details and with an iron bigotry. 
Nothing more disgraceful occurred, on the Protestant side of 
the Reformation, than the disputes between these two factions. 

"Authorities for tlie above incidents: Regenvolscius, pp. 197-199; 
Lasitius, VI. 17, cited by Plitt. 

'^^ The Council of Trent was opened on the thirteenth of December, 1545, 
and protracted for eijjfhteen years, until 1563 ; during which period it was 
in session only twenty-five times. 



The Unitas Fratrum established in Prussia and Poland. 
A. D. 1548-1553. 

The Brethren on the confiscated Estates banished. — Their memorable Jour- 
ney to Poland. — Religious State of that Country. — The Exiles at Posen. 
— Expelled by royal Mandate. — Sionsky and Israel sent by the Synod 
of Zerawicto lead the Exiles to East Prussia. — Account of this Country. 
— Negotiations with Duke Albert. — Stay at Thorn. — The first Polish 
Brethren's Church. — Arrival in East Prussia. — Hard Terms. — The 
Prussian Parishes. — A Church at Posen. — George Israel Missionary in 
Poland. — His escape at Thorn. — Prosperity and Persecutions. — Israel 
and Count Ostrorog. — Ostrorog's Domain the Polish Centre of the 

The measures of the King against the Unity were not yet 
exhausted. By his command the Regent, on the fifth and 
twelfth of May, 1548, issued two decrees banishing the 
Brethren of Leitomischl, Bidsow, Chluraetz, Turnau and 
Brandeis on the Elbe. But six weeks were granted them in 
which to prepare for their emigration ; the earnest plea of the 
parish at Leitomischl for a longer respite, met with a stern 

If these Brethren had denied their faith and united with 
the Utraquist or Catholic Church, they w^ould have been saved 
from exile. That they would take such a step, Ferdinand 
confidently expected. But he knew not the power of that 
spirit which suffers the loss of all things for Christ's sake. In 

* Authorities for the i:ccount of the emigration to Prussia are L. F. VII., 
cited by Gindely, and numerous original documents given in his Quellen, 
Partll. pp. 72-124. 


spite of the enormous sacrifices they were obliged to make in 
selling their property or leaving it unsold and confiscated, 
they were ready to depart when the appointed time came. 

They traveled in three bodies. The first, which numbered 
about five hundred souls and was provided with sixty wagons, 
proceeded by way of Frankenstein, Glatz and Breslau, to Posen, 
arriving on the twenty -fifth of June. This body comprised 
the Brethren from Leitomischl, Bidsow, Chlumetz and Solnic, 
and was led by four priests, Matthias Aquila, Urban Hermon, 
John Korytan and Matthias Paterkulus.^ At a later time 
they were joined by the second body, which consisted of the 
Brethren from Turnau and a part of those from Brandeis, 
numbering three hundred souls and fifty wagons. Under the 
leadership of Barons Biberstein and Krajek, this body crossed 
the Riesengebirge and passed through Lower Silesia. The 
third body, composed of the remaining Brethren from Brandeis, 
followed the same route. 

It was a memorable journey which these exiles undertook. 
The only adequate description of it is the saying of one of 
their own number : " We were borne on eagles' wings."^ 
Driven out of their country as obstinate heretics, stigmatized 
by the edicts of their King, their name a by- word and reproach 
among their neighbors, they nevertheless met with kindness 
and hospitality and honor wherever they came. Their de- 
parture was not the hurried flight of cowering fugitives ; it 

^ The domains from which the Brethren were driven, belonged, with the 
exception of Solnic, to the number of those which Ferdinand had confis- 
cated. Solnic was the property of Baron Pernstein and therefore not 
affected by the decree of banishment. This nobleman, however, of his 
own accord, ordered those of its inhabitants who belonged to the Unity to 
leave his estate. Hence they joined the exiles. The four priests named 
above are not mentioned in the Todtenbuch. 

* Croeger, I. p. 255, who says there is extant an original account of the 
journey, written by one of the exiles but, as usual, does not adduce the title 
of the document. It is undoubtedly contained in L. F. VII. p. 186, etc., 
which authority Gindeh'; I. p. 331, adduces. This account descrilies the 
journey of the first body of exiles ; but the other bodies met with the same 
kind treatment. 


was the solemn inarch of an army of the Lord. Many of 
their own faith, from parishes not affected by the decree of 
banishment, as well as many Catholics and Utraquists, came 
to protect them while passing through forests and defiles where 
robber-bands were wont to lurk. The captain of Potteustein, 
which domain belonged to Baron Perustein, a bitter foe of the 
Unity, sent an additional guard of horsemen and foot soldiers. 
Several hundred men accompanied them across the Silesian 
Mountains, as far as Frankenstein. Tolls and duty were 
remitted ; provisions, in great abundance, were gratuitously 
supplied ; the very roads were improved that their wagons 
might pass in safety. In Silesia other protectors offered 
themselves. At Glatz the burgomaster and the council enter- 
tained the exiles ; the city-captain, with sixteen knights, gave 
them an honorable escort through the town and beyond its 
walls ; one hundred and fifty armed men formed their guard 
to Breslau. The last part of their journey — from Breslau to 
Posen — was distinguished by similar tokens of kindness and 

In Poland the Unitas Fratrum found a second home. 

To this country the seed of Christianity had been brought, 
in the ninth century, from Moravia, by Greek-Slavonian 
missionaries. The harvest came in the next century, when 
Christianity was universally accepted. Its development 
involved a repetition of the experiences made by Bohemia 
and Moravia. Amidst that antagonism between the Slavonian 
and the German races which continually reappears in history, 
the Greek liturgy and a national Church struggled against the 
Latin ritual and the Romish Hierarchy. In this case, too, 
Rome gained the victory. But a deep-seated prejudice 
against her pretensions and clergy continued to exist in the 
minds of the peo]:)le and especially of the nobility.* The life 
of the Church did not flow with a smooth current. From 

* The law establislied by the first Christian Duke, that the tenth sheaf of 
every kind of grain must be given for tlie support of the bishops and their 
clergy, was the original cause of this prejudice. Lukaszewicz, p. 1. 


time to time it was violently agitated. The Flagellants caused 
a wild commotion ; the Fratricelli and Beghards, with their 
united strength, denounced the Pope as Antichrist and the 
Romish Church as the Church of Satan ; Milicz, having a 
higher aim in view, spread the Gospel with holy zeal. No 
one, however, prior to the sixteenth century, moved Poland 
more profoundly than John Hus. He had a multitude of 
adherents in that country. His coadjutoi', Jerome of Prague, 
organized and taught in the University of Cracow (1410). 
Queen Hedwig favored the new doctrines and caused the 
Bible to be translated into the vernacular. The execution of 
Hus created almost as great a storm as in his own country. 
Hussite preachers came swarming into Poland and labored, 
openly or in secret, with indefatigable perseverance. The 
Romish bishops and their clergy, aided by the iron arm of 
the Inquisition, were no less active in suppressing such 
movements; nevertheless, when the Reformation began, a 
large part of Poland was ripe for its sweeping innovations. 
Lutheranism set the Poles free from the bonds of the Romish 
Church, but did not gain them, in large numbers, as its 
adherents. It was a German system and encountered the 
national prejudices of the people. Calvinism met with more 
favor and won many more followers. Both confessions 
established churches at an early day. 

Three months prior to the coming of the Brethren, Sigis- 
mund the Second Augustus, the last scion of the house of 
Jagello, had ascended the throne. At heart he was not disin- 
clined to Protestantism. His kingdom consisted of four 
provinces : Great Poland, Little Poland, Lithuania and Polish 
Prussia.^ The royal seat was at Cracow, in Little Poland. 

Posen received the Brethren with open arms. They were 
exiles, persecuted and afflicted, without a country or a home. 
They were the true followers of Hus, whose work had never 
been forgotten by the Poles. They belonged to a nation with 

* Polish Prussia, or West Prussia, was ceded to Poland by the Teutonic 
Knights in 1466. 


which Poland had always been united in a close bond of 
friendship." Such considerations incited the people of Posen 
to words of welcome and works of love. 

Posen was the capital of Great Poland and the seat of Count 
Andrew Gorka, its Governor. He was an open advocate of 
the Reformation, and allowed the Brethren to take up their 
abode in the suburbs of the city and on several of his own 
estates. Other noblemen followed his example. Public 
worship was instituted according to the forms of the Unity. 
The priests preached the Gospel with boldness and fervency 
of heart. Many Poles accepted the truth as it is in Christ 

Such a blooming of the heretical plant which had been 
rooted out of Bohemia was odious in the sight of Benedict 
Jzbinski, the Bishop of Posen. He appealed to Sigismund 
Augustus and secured a royal decree, ordering the Brethren 
to leave Great Poland (August the fourth, 1548). 

While they were preparing to resume their journey, Bishop 
Mach Sionsky and George Israel arrived (August the six- 
teenth) and put themselves at their head. The Synod, which 
had recently met at Zerawic, in Moravia, had sent these two 
men to lead them to East Prussia.'' 

This country was forcibly converted to Christianity by the 
Teutonic Knights (1283). They established an ecclesiastical 
state which flourished until 1525, when it was changed into a 
civil dukedom, with their Grand Master, Albert, as its duke, 
under the suzerainty of the King of Poland. Albert intro- 
duced the Reformation and strove to further its interests. But 
the Lutheran clergy exercised an undue influence over him, 
and the University of Konigsberg, which he founded for the 
promotion of evangelical truth (1544), became a notorious 
centre of theological controversies. 

® Turnovius (of whom more hereafter,) says in his Defence of the Con- 
sensus Sendomiriensis : " From of old the Poles looked upon the Bohemians 
as their brethren." Lukaszewicz, p. 8, note 4, whose work is a principal 
authority for the history of the Brethren in Poland. 

' Dektete d. B. U., p. 165, etc., cited by Czerwenka. 


In the dominions of this prince the banished Brethren 
hoped to find a retreat. Their fellow-exile, Baron Krinecky, 
advocated their cause f but Mitmanek, who had been driven 
from Bohemia in 1543, spread such malignant calumnies 
with regard to their faith, that Albert grew suspicious and 
the negotiations were broken off. 

At a later time, however, in reply to a written petition, he 
promised to receive them.^ 

On the twenty-fourth of August they left Posen and 
proceeded to Thorn.^'^ Here they spent several months, 
preaching Christ and winning souls, until, at the instigation 
of the Catholic clergy, the royal decree which had ordered 
them to leave Great Poland, was made to include Polish 
Prussia also. 

Again were these Brethren forced to depart. But their 
testimony did not pass away. A church was organized at 
Thorn and supplied with a resident priest." This was the 
first Brethren's church in Poland. In speaking of it Lasitius 
says : " I owe King Ferdinand many thanks, that, without 
intending to do so, he sent such evangelical men to my native 
country .^^ 

Christmas was close at hand when the immigrants reached 
Konigsberg, the capital of East Prussia. They came into a 
Lutheran camp which flaunted the standard of bigotry. 
Although the Duke, in his reply to their j)etition, had in- 
formed them that they would be expected to submit to his 
clergy, they did not anticipate conditions as severe as those 
which were actually imposed. In the first place, a confer- 
ence was appointed, at which nine of their priests were sub- 

* Baron Krinecky was living in East Prussia in such distress that tlie 
Duke, at one time, sent him one hundred florins. He died in that country, 
and his widow, with her children, returned to Bohemia. See documents in 
Quellen, pp. 90, 106, 121, etc. 

^ Quellen, pp. 85-89, gives the petition and the Duke's answer, dated 
July the sixth, 1548. 

'° Thorn was the principal city of Polish Prussia. 

^^ Lukaszewicz, p. 24. 

12 Lasitius, VI. p. 25, cited by Plitt. 


jected, by a commission of Lutheran divines, to a searching 
examination with regard to the doctrine and ritual of the 
Brethren (December twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth) ;^^ in 
the next place, when this commission had reported favorably, 
Paul Speratus, the Superintendent of the East Prussian 
Church, who bore the title of Bishop of Pomesania, presented 
twenty articles setting forth the terms on which they would 
be received. These terms were hard, illiberal and uncharita- 
ble. They practically put an end to the independent existence 
of the Brethren. They rendered their situation, in so far as 
the free exercise of their own faith was concerned, not much 
better than it had been in Bohemia. At a time when the 
Reformation was still struggling to reach firm ground and 
when its adherents, of every name, ought to have assisted and 
upheld each other, Protestants gave their fellow Protestants a 
reception in which not a single trait of catholicity or large- 
heartedness appeared. But what could the banished Brethren 
do except submit?^* At Whitsuntide, 1549, in the presence 
of a number of Lutheran ministers, Speratus formally ac- 
knowledged them, by the authority of the Duke, as a part of 
the evangelical Church of East Prussia. 

They took up their abode at Marienwerder and Garnsee, 
which parishes were in charge of George Israel, at Soldau, 
where Aquila was stationed, at Neidenburg, Bolstein, Baldow 
and Gilgenburg, in which town Bishop Sionsky had his seat. 
The whole number of Brethren who gradually settled in East 
Prussia was about fifteen hundred.^^ 

'^ A report of this conference, which took place at Konigsberg, is given 
in Quellen, pp. 92-97. 

'* The twenty articles are given in full in Quellen, pp. 97-106, and taken 
from Lasitius. As a specimen we present the following: The Brethren 
must accept the Augsburg Confession ; their bishops are not to ordain their 
priests, these must be ordained by the Lutheran bishop ; the priests of the 
Brethren stand under the Lutheran parish ministers; the Brethren are 
forbidden, with a few unimportant exceptions, to retain any usages or cere- 
monies of their own ; they must support their own priests ; they must help 
to support the Lutheran ministers, etc. 

'^ Quellen, p. 72. Comenii Hist., | 86, gives the number at nine hundreil. 
In course of time Bishop Sionsky won the favor of the Duke and was 


In the course of the first year of their abode in that 
country, Bishop Sionsky was taken ill and went to Posen to 
consult its physicians, who occupied the foremost rank of their 
profession. He was entertained by Andrew Lipczynski. At 
the house of this nobleman he began religious meetings. 
They were held in secret and generally at midnight. God 
blessed the Word as it was expounded and taught by the 
Bishop. Lipczynski, his wife, and a number of other hearers, 
were converted to the true faith, and admitted into the Unity 
of the Brethren. Thus was established their first church in 
Great Poland. In the following year the work was continued 
by Israel, Aquila and Cerwenka, who stopped at Posen on 
their way from Prussia to Moravia. The number of converts 
increased; and in 1551 they applied to Bishop Sionsky for a 

No one was better qualified for this position than George 
Israel. He spoke the Polish language. He possessed that 
energy of character without which evangelistic labors in a 
new field cannot be a success. His faith never faltered and 
his courage could not be shaken. Accordingly he was 
appointed missionary to Poland, retaining, however, his 
parishes in Prussia. 

It was spring when he set out for his new field of labor. 
He traveled on horseback. The roads were bad and the 
streams swollen. Reaching Thorn on the fourth Sunday in 
Lent, he rested for the day. Thorn is situated on the 
Vistula, which was covered with ice, and, in anticipation of a 
flood, the floating bridge had been removed. On Monday 
morning Israel walked to the river in order to see whether 
the ice was strong enough to allow him to cross on horseback. 
He found and followed a track leading to an island and 
beyond to the farther bank. Convinced that he might 

highly esteemed by Speratus. Anton Bodenstein, the Lutheran Minister 
at Kwizina, became an enthusiastic admirer of the Brethren, especially on 
account of their discipline, and wrote a letter to John Brenz, the Suabian 
Reformer, in which he gave full flow to his feelings. Comenii Hist. § 85, 
taken from.Lasitius. 


venture the passage, he turned back. As he was going from 
the island toward the city, suddenly, with a loud crash the 
ice gave way, breaking into a mass of fragments, on one of 
which he was swept down the river. Death seemed inevit- 
able. But in that awful moment his trust in God put on its 
strength. Invoking His holy name and raising the one 
hundred and forty-eighth Psalm, he sprang from one ice- 
block to another, singing as he pursued his perilous way — 
" Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps : 
fire and hail ; snow and vapor ; stormy wind fulfilling His 
word" — until he reached the shore in safety. There a great 
multitude had gathered to see the marvellous spectacle. 
They received Israel with a shout — " To us ! Hither to us !" 
— and escorted him to Thorn. For years afterward his 
escape was spoken of as one of the most wonderful events in 
the history of the city.^^ 

When the waters had subsided, he continued his journey 
and reached Posen in safety. The work which he began bore 
immediate fruits. In the course of the Passion Week, Luke 
Jankowski and his wife, who was a sister of the powerful 
Counts Ostrorog, the Countess Catharine Ostrorog — another 
sister of these magnates — and several others, were admitted 
to the fellowship of the Church. Israel accompanied by 
John Korytan, paid a second visit which was crowned with 
similar success. 

But now a time of trial began. The Protestant Governor 
of Great Poland, Count Gorka, died and his Catholic suc- 
cessor, Janus Koscielecki, in conjunction with Bishop 
Jzbinski persecuted the Brethren; so that they were con- 
strained to hold their religious meetings in secret and with 
the utmost caution. Israel was in constant danger. It is 
said that Jzbinski, stumbling at no means to rid his diocese 
of the presence of so fearless a preacher, put forty assassins 
on his track. By continually assuming new disguises, and 
appearing sometimes in the garb of an officer and again in 

^^ Eegenvolscius, pp. 101, 102. 


the dress of a coachman or a cook, he escaped their hands and 
carried on his missionary work/'^ The death of the Bishop 
brought no relief. His successor, Andrew Czarnkowski, 
continued to pursue the Brethren, several of whom were 
arrested. Israel was summoned before the Governor, who, 
however, merely advised him to leave the city, which advice 
he did not follow ; but Paul, one of Israel's converts, was 
taken to the Bishop's country-seat and condemned as a heretic. 

Occurrences like these excited the magnates. Their 
inherited jealousy of the power of the clergy was roused. 
They delivered the prisoners who were confined at Posen. 
A body of nearly one hundred nobles rode to Czarnkowski's 
country-seat and carried ofP Paul in triumph. In consequence 
of this bold course the persecution waned and the Brethren 
began to lift up their heads. 

Meanwhile George Israel had been released from his 
Prussian parishes and devoted himself, with the assistance of 
other priests, to his work in Poland. He lived at Posen, in 
a house rented for him by Jankowski, where he preached 
every day, until an outbreak of the plague drove him from 
the city. Relying upon the good offices of Catharine Ostrorog, 
he established himself in the outskirts, on one of her brother 
Jacob's estates. 

The ancestral seat of this magnate was Ostrorog, where 
lived Felix Cruciger,^® his chaplain, and Francis Stancarus, 
an Italian Professor. ^^ These two men were jealous of 

" Regenvolscius, p. 218. 

^^ Cruciger had been a Eoman Catholic priest in a village near Cracow. 
Having embraced the evangelical faith he first joined the Lutherans but 
subsequently the Eeformed, whose Superintendent he became in Little 

'^ Stancarus came to Poland from Mantua, where he had imbibed the 
principles of the Eeformation, and filled the position of Professor of 
Hebrew at Cracow. He subsequently taught at Konigsberg and Frank- 
furt-on-the-Main, but returned to Poland at a later time. He is famous on 
accoimt of his controversies with Osiander. His own views became 
heterodox. He excluded from the atonement the Lord's divine nature. 
His system was eventually absorbed by Socinianism. 


Israel's influence and feared that the Count, who had with- 
drawn from the Catholic Church but not yet united with a 
Protestant body, might be induced to join the Brethren. 
Hence they suggested to him, that inasmuch as Israel had 
been exposed to the plague, he should not be permitted to 
visit Ostrorog. The Count gave his steward an order to 
this effect. But in spite of it, Israel appeared at the castle 
and was courteously received. He invited Ostrorog and 
Cruciger to witness, at Posen, the celebration of the Lord's 
Supper, according to the ritual of the Unity. The Count 
was impressed but still wavered. Soon after, his wife 
requested the priests of the Brethren to hold a religious 
meeting in the castle at Ostrorog. While this service was in 
progress several Catholic nobles called on the Count ; and 
when they heard of it, ridiculed it as a conventicle. One of 
them said, that if his wife were to introduce heretics into his 
castle, he would beat her into subjection. Such remarks 
excited Ostrorog and he persuaded himself that his authority 
had been grossly insulted. Seizing a whip and exclaiming, 
" I will drag my wife out of this conventicle and bring her 
here !" — he hurried off and burst into the meeting. But 
when he beheld the devout and solemn assembly, and saw 
that Cerwenka, who was preaching, manifested no alarm but 
■calmly continued his discourse, giving it a turn that reproved 
the Count's unseemly anger, he was overcome by a sudden 
fear, stood humbled and remained speechless. In that 
moment Israel rose and pointing to a vacant seat, said, " Sir, 
sit down there !" The Count obeyed and by the time 
Cerwenka had finished his sermon, believed in Christ, rejoiced 
in God, and was fully persuaded in his own mind to join 
the Unity .^^ Cruciger and Stancarus left Ostrorog; Israel 
took up his abode in its parsonage; its parish church, the 
churches on all the other domains of the Count, and large 
buildings at Posen, were given to the Brethren. Ostrorog 
became their Polish centre and its noble proprietor their most 

*° Kegenvolscius, pp. 107, 108. 


faithful patron. In a short time additional parishes were 
established at Kozminek, under Albert Serpentinus, who was 
followed by John Rokita, at Marszevia, under Peter Scalnicus, 
at Lobsenia, under George Philippensis, and at Barcin, under 
John Rybinius.21 Moreover the example of so powerful and 
well-known a magnate as Ostrorog, induced a number of 
other noble families to join the Unity. It greatly prospered 
in Poland ; its churches walked in the fear of the Lord, and 
in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. 

*^ Lochner, p. 95. 



The Brethren and the Reformed in Poland. A. D. 1554-1557. 

The Unitas Fratrum a Centre of Union for the Polish Protestants. — 
Negotiations with the Reformed. — An unsuccessful Persecution. — 
Union Synod of Kozminek. — Articles of Agreement between the 
Brethren and the Reformed. — Lismanin and the Swiss Reformers. — 
The Union of the Reformed with the Brethren does not prosper. — John 
von Laski. — Vergerius. — Further negotiations with the Reformed. 

The Protestants of Poland were attracted by the Unitas 
Fratrum. Its Confession of Faith found favor among their 
clergy and nobility ; its discipline excited general admiration ; 
it had a well-ordered constitution, a simple but sufficient 
ritual, and presented, in all other respects, a completed 
organization. The other evangelical churches, and particu- 
larly the Reformed, recognizing their lack of unity and want 
of a proper system, began to look around for a rallying-point.^ 
In the beginning of 1555 the idea was broached that the 
Brethren's Church might, perhaps, afford such a centre. 

This idea gained ground in Little Poland, in consequence 
of a visit which George Israel and Count Ostrorog paid to 
Cracow. They met with Jerome Philipowski, an influential 
magnate and adherent of the Reformed faith. He was so 
charmed with their account of the Unitas Fratrum, that he 
induced Cruciger to invite its Executive Council to send 
delegates to a Reformed Synod, which was soon to meet at 

^ Authorities for this chapter are Lukaszewicz, and especially L. F.. X. 
which contains George Israel's narrative of the negotiations of the Re- 
formed with the Brethren. R's Z., pp. 282-303. Gindely, I. p. 392, etc. 
Lukaszewicz' s narrative is incomplete and sometimes incorrect. 


Chrecice. This Synod, Cruciger added, would consider the 
question of a union of the Reformed with the Brethren. 

The Council would not have been true to its antecedents if 
it had not cordially accepted such an overture. From of old 
the Church of the Brethren had sought to promote unity 
among God's children. Accordingly Israel and John Rokita 
were appointed delegates to the proposed Synod. It took 
place on the fourteenth of March, 1555.^ Israel gave a short 
account of the origin, progress and sufferings of the Brethren, 
and explained the fundamental principles of their system. 
It was agreed to hold another meeting at Goluchow, on the 
twenty-fifth of March. On this occasion Israel met ten 
representatives of the Calvinistic faith, who discussed, article 
by article, the Confession of the Brethren. A fraternal spirit 
prevailed ; but it became evident that the Reformed were 
not yet of one mind with regard to the proposed union. A 
report of the proceedings was sent to the Council, together 
with an invitation to appoint delegates to a Union Synod at 

Meantime the Bishop of Posen induced the King to issue 
an order to the Governor of Great Poland, closing the 
churches and forbidding the religious assemblies of the 
Protestants (1555). This order was carried out in the royal 
cities, but remained a dead letter on the domains of the 
nobles. Before long it was disregarded in the royal cities 
also. Moreover the Diet of Petrikau (1555) resolved to 
convene a national council in order to settle the religious 
affairs of the country, and the King consented to ask im- 
portant concessions of the Pope : such as the mass in the 
vernacular, the Lord's Supper under both kinds, and the 

2 Lukaszewicz says the Synod met on the twenty-fourth of May. The 
date we have given is taken from the L. F. Rokita, who has been several 
times mentioned, was ordained to the priesthood in 1555, at Prossnitz, and 
subsequently elected to the Council. He is famous on account of his 
interview with the Eussian Czar, of which more hereafter. His abilities 
as a linguist have been mentioned. He died on the tw.enty-fifth of 
January, 1591. Todtenbuch, p. 85. 


marriage of priests. Thus the persecution by which the 
Bishop meant to suppress Protestantism proved abortive, and 
the synod at Kozminek could be held in peace. 

It was the first Union Synod of the Polish Protestants, and 
convened on the Day of St. Bartholomew, the twenty-fourth 
of August, 1555. There were in attendance, on the part of 
the Reformed, Felix Cruciger and Andrew Prazraowski, the 
two Superintendents — the latter of Kujavia^ — together with 
seven other clerical and lay deputies : on the part of the 
Bohemian Brethren, Jacob Ostrorog, John Krotowski, John 
Tomicki, Adalbert Marschewski and Peter Grudzinski — 
Polish nobles and lay deputies ; John Czerny, from Moravia, 
George Israel, of Ostrorog, Matthias Rybinius, of Kaminiec, 
Adalbert Serpen tin us, of Kozminek, all from Poland, and 
John George, from East Prussia^ — clerical deputies : on the 
part of the Lutherans of East Prussia, John Funk, the court- 
preacher of Duke Albert, Jerome Malecki and William 
Krinecky, the exiled Bohemian Baron who was, however, a 
member of the Brethren's Church. A large number of the 
magnates of Great Poland were present as spectators. 

The Synod was opened at eleven o'clock by John Czerny, 
who delivered the following brief address : 

" Having gathered here with great, important and very 
necessary objects in view, it is proper that we should turn to the 
Lord our God, seek refuge with Him, and call upon His most 
holy name ; so that He may enlighten us with His holy Spirit 
and prepare our hearts to obey His holy will."^ 

^ Kujavia was originally an independent principality on the Vistula, but 
in course of time incorporated with Poland. It contained the cities of 
Jnowraclaw, Brzesc and Dobrzyn. 

* John George, or Jirek, born at Swidnitz (Schweidnitz), was a Bachelor 
of Arts, taught in the Brethren's school at Leitomischl, was their mes- 
senger to the King in 1547, (Vide p. 268 of this History), and emigrated 
to Prussia, where he was ordained to the priesthood. In 1557 lie was 
elected to the Council and became a sort of superintendent of the Prussian 
chiirches, in which capacity he Avas subjected to much enmity on the part 
of the flatterers of the Duke. He died March the first, 1562. He was a 
pious and upright man and a diligent scholar. Todtenbuch, pp. 34, 35. 

* Lukaszewicz, p. 31. 


Thereupon all rose and sang, with great enthusiasm, the 
Polish hymn : Diichu S. przyjdz k'nam (Come, Holy Spirit, 
visit us). This hymn was followed by an address from 
Cruciger, who showed the necessity of uniting against the 
'* Romish Antichrist," and admonished the Synod to exercise 
moderation and to strive for peace. The Confession of the 
Brethren formed the basis of the discussions, which were pro- 
tracted for several days. At first the most conflicting views 
appeared, and heated disputes took place; finally, however, 
the Synod came to the unanimous conclusion that this Con- 
fession might be adopted by all the Protestants of Poland. 
Thereupon the Brethren and the Reformed of Little Poland 
mutually agreed upon the following six articles : 

1. The Reformed of Little Poland accept the Confession of the 
Brethren ; acknowledge their doctrines as pure ; and pledge 
themselves to remain faithful to this Confession. 

2. The Reformed promise to introduce into their churches the 
liturgy of the Brethren, who, on their part, agree to give them 
their liturgical forms and to send some of their ministers to 
explain and establish the same. 

3. The Reformed promise to undertake nothing in the afiairs 
of their church, without consulting the Brethren. 

4. The Reformed are, however, to retain their own superin- 
tendents, who will be independent of the bishops of the Brethren. 

5. Some of the usages of their church will also be retained by 
the Reformed. 

6. But they will renounce the tithes which they have been 
drawing according to Roman Catholic custom.® 

A similar agreement, excepting the introduction of the 
liturgy, was entered into between the Brethren and Praz- 
mowski, as the representative of the Calvinists of Kujavia. 
On Sunday, the first of September, a common celebration of 
the Lord's Supper set a seal to the union which was thus 
established. The next day the Synod adjourned. No 
influence seems to have been exercised upon its transactions 
by the Lutheran representatives, and they stood aloof from 
the union. 

At that time there lived in Switzerland a man who had 
helped to establish Protestantism in Poland. His name was 

® Lukaszewicz, pp. 32, 33. 


Francis Lismanin. By birth a Greek, from Corfu, he became 
a Franciscan monk and, in course of time, the confessor of 
Queen Bona, the mother of Sigismund Augustus. Having 
imbibed evangelical views he established an association which 
secretly studied the writings of the Reformers. Upon the 
King he exercised a great influence and, twice a week, gave 
him private instruction in the doctrinal system of Calvin. In 
1553 Sigismund sent him on a journey through Europe, 
ostensibly in order to buy books for the royal library, but in 
reality with the view to examine into the state of Protest- 
antism. He went, first of all, to Moravia, where he spent a 
long time at Prerau, among the Brethren, with whose system 
he made himself familiar; then he proceeded to Italy, 
Switzerland and France. From France he returned to 
Switzerland and formed the acquaintance of Calvin, Beza, 
Musculus and other Reformers. The result was, that he 
openly renounced Catholicism, joined the Protestants and 
married. This step offended King Sigismund, who forbade 
him to return to Poland. 

Soon after the Synod of Kozmiuek, Cruciger reported to 
Lismanin the union which had been established with the 
Brethren, and begged him to ask the Swiss Reformers for 
their opinion. This opinion proved to be, in the highest 
degree, favorable. Calvin said: "Let the union continually 
grow closer." Musculus wrote: "I joyfully praise the 
counsel of God, that He has transplanted the Brethren from 
Bohemia to Poland in order to assist you in acquiring and 
spreading the knowledge of the Truth." A number of other 
letters were received all pervaded by the same spirit. 

And yet the union so auspiciously inaugurated and warmly 
commended, did not prosper. At the very next Synod, held 
at Pinczow, in 1556, the Reformed began to find fault with 
the Confession of the Brethren and to manifest a singular 
indecision ; although they still said that they desired the 
introduction of the liturgy. 

In order to bring this about the Executive Council sent 
Israel and Rokita to Little Poland. At Krticic they had a 


meeting with Cruciger and other Reformed ministers. Israel 
told them, in plain terms, that they must declare, without 
further equivocation, whether they intended to abide by the 
agreement of Kozminek. Their answers were so confused 
and unsatisfactory that this conference led to no results. A 
second meeting, held after Israel's return from a short visit 
to Cracow, was equally fruitless. This was owing to the 
arrival of John von Laski at the neighboring Castle of 

John von Laski, born at Warsaw in 1499, the scion of an 
ancient Polish family, was a distinguished Reformer and an 
illustrious servant of God. Educated for the Roman Catholic 
priesthood, in part at foreign universities, where he made the 
acquaintance of Erasmus and of Protestant divines, he 
attempted to reform Poland without cutting himself loose 
from the established Church. After eleven years of fruitless 
labors, he relinquished this effort, espoused Protestantism, 
went to Belgium, where he married, and, in 1540, settled in 
East Friesland. In that country he became the founder of 
the Reformed Church. Nine years later he organized, in 
England, a flourishing church of refugees from France and 
the Netherlands. This enterprise came to an end in 1553, in 
consequence of the persecutions of Bloody Mary. With a 
part of his flock he now wandered through Denmark, Fries- 
land and Germany, driven from place to place by Roman 
Catholics and bigoted Lutherans, until 1556, when, in 
response to pressing invitations, he returned to his native 

The arrival of their distinguished countryman had pro- 
duced such excitement among the ministers gathered at 
Krticic, that they seemed unable to speak of anything else. 
Israel, who was preparing to depart, reluctantly yielded to 
their persuasions and accompanied them to Rabstein. Laski 
gave him a cordial reception, but soon began to find fault 
with the Confession of the Brethren. Without enterintj 
upon this subject Israel bade him farewell and went to 
Cracow, where he spent Christmas, and had an interview 


with Lismanin, who had secretly returned to Poland (1556)7 
On his further journey he met, at Jaldow, soon after 
Epi])hany, 1557, with another distinguished personage. 

This was Peter Paul Vergerius, at one time the nuncio at 
the imperial court and subsequently Bishop of Capo d'Istria, 
in Dalmatia, where he was born in 1498. He stood high 
and had every prospect of being appointed a cardinal. While 
studying the Protestant system with a view to its complete 
refutation, he became convinced of its truth, resigned his 
episcopal office, gave up all his flattering prospects, and 
professed the evangelical faith. After laboring in Switzer- 
land he accepted a position as councilor of the Duke of 
Wiirtemberg and, in conjunction with Baron von Ungnad, 
established a printing press for the publication of Slavonian 
bibles. At the same time he traveled to various countries in 
order to make himself acquainted with the progress of Prot- 
estantism. To Poland he came in 1556, simultaneously with 
Aloysius Lipomanus, the Bishop of Verona, who was sent by 
Paul the Fourth to subdue Protestantism. This pontiff had 
indignantly refused to grant the concessions asked for by 
Sigismund Augustus. That the presence of Vergerius helped 
to counteract the influence of Lipomanus, is more than likely. 
In any event, the Diet of Warsaw disregarded his vehement 
and dictatorial demand to uproot heresy, and induced 
Sigismund to grant the nobles religious liberty on their 

This triumph for Protestantism had been won when Israel 
met Vergerius. Their interview led to important results. 
Vergerius became one of the most enthusiastic admirers and 
faithful advocates of the Unitas Fratrum. He declared that 
it bore a truly apostolic character. He maintained that its 
Confession embraced a kernel which all Protestants ought to 
accept. He published this document anew at Tubingen, in 

' Lismanin, who began to incline toward Socinianisra, did not remain in 
Poland, but secured a position from Duke Albert of East Prussia. About 
1563, in consequence of domestic troubles caused by the dissolute manners 
of his wife, he became insane and committed suicide. 


the following year (1558), together with testimonials of 
Luther, Melanchton, Bucer and Musculus.^ 

Laski was of a different mind. He asked the Swiss lie- 
formers for a new exposition of their views with regard to 
the Confession of the Brethren, and subjected it to a searching 
criticism of his own. Lismanin, with the same object in 
view, also wrote to Switzerland and expressed himself in an 
unfriendly way. Before any answers were received to these 
communications, the Reformed and the Brethren asain met 
in Synod, at Wladislaw, June the seventeenth, 1557. Both 
Cruciger and Laski, influenced, no doubt, by the Protestant 
nobles, advocated the union of Kozminek, and said that it 
should be carried out at a later Synod. 

To this Synod, which was to meet at Goluchow, Laski, on 
the twenty-fifth of July, invited the Executive Council to 
send accredited delegates. Cruciger and another Reformed 
minister gave a similar invitation.^ Cerwenka replied that 
it would be laid before the approaching General Synod of the 
Unitas Fratrum. 

* It was a republication of the Latin Confession printed at Wittenberg in 
1538. A German translation of the preface written by Vergerius is given 
in Comenii Kirehen Historie, etc., Schwabucli, 1739, p. 453. 

* The three letters are contained in L. F., X. 



The State of the Unity in Bohemia and Moravia during the 
continuance of the Persecution. A. D. 1548-1557. 

The Unity oppressed in Bohemia.— Augusta and Bilek.— In Moravia the 
Brethren enjoy Peace.— Synod of Prerau and Prossnitz. — Augusta's 
Correspondence with the Council.— Assistant Bishops ordained.— Fer- 
dinand and the Union of the Utraquists with the Catholics. — His 
interview with the Moravian Diet. — Death of Bishop Sionsky. — 
Augusta appoints Czerny his Vicar.— Persecution wanes. — Unsuccessful 
attempt to bring about the Liberation of Augusta.— The Council meets 
openly in Bohemia. — Augusta forbids the election of new Bishops. — 
John Blahoslaw.— The Parish of Jungbunzlau.— Death of Wenzel and 
Daniel.— Augusta's Correspondence detected.— Czerny and Cerwenka 
appointed Bishops.— Baron Krajek and the Eegent. -Renewal of tlie 
Persecution.— The Brethren appeal to Maximilian.— Flacius lUyricus 
and the Unity.— Further Experiences of Augusta. 

The condition of the Brethren who remained in Bohemia 
was not ameliorated. Public worship ceased altogether; 
most of the chapels, with the land belonging to them, were 
either confiscated or in the hands of the Utraquists and 
Catholics ; to confess the true faith was still to run the risk 
of imprisonment, of bitter sufferings, perhaps of death. A 
large part of the membership was forced to conform outwardly 
to the usages of the National Church. In many families dis- 
sensions broke out and interfered with the religion even of 
the home. On royal domains and such other estates as were 
not owned by members of the Unity, the number of the 
Brethren decreased about one-half. It was a time of sore 
tribulation and heavy gloom. And yet even now they were 


not left wholly without the means of grace. Pastoral letters 
circulated among them, written by the Executive Council, 
and two priests, Paulin and Wenzel Hussita, braving all 
perils, distinguished themselves by the zeal with which they 
ministered to the parishes in secret. 

Meantime Augusta and Bilek lay in their dark cellars at 
Piirglitz. In the summer of 1549 the weary monotony of 
their imprisonment was fearfully interrupted. Excited afresh 
by the suspicion of intrigues between Augusta and the Elector 
of Saxony and by the information that there were Bohemian 
barons who still protected the Brethren, Ferdinand sent two 
of his confidential councilors to institute a new hearing. On 
Sunday, August the seventh, they visited the Bishop's dungeon 
and questioned him very closely. As a sign of what he might 
expect, they brought the executioner with them. Augusta's 
answers were the same as at Prague. The next day the 
commissioners came again and began a still more searching 
examination, but brought to light nothing that would have 
satisfied the suspicions of the King. On Tuesday, August 
the ninth, they appeared a third time and ordered the appli- 
cation of torture. The Bishop was subjected to it, again 
upon a ladder, his head shorn and his mouth gagged. It was 
the third ordeal of the kind. But again he passed througli 
triumphantly. On the following day Bilek was lashed 
to the ladder; but before the act of torturing began, the 
Governor's wife, by her compassionate pleadings, secured his 

In Moravia the peace of the Unity remained unbroken. 
The Executive Council had taken up its seat at Prerau ; and 
at the same place Bishop Mach Sionsky convened the Synod 
on the twenty-eighth of October, 1549. This body took into 
consideration the state of the Church both in Bohemia and 
East Prussia. Some of the conclusions reached were the 
following : 

^ Bucholtz, VI. p. 440. It was at the Governor's own suggestion that his 
wife interceded for Bilek. 


First, if no priest of the Unity can be secured, children may- 
be baptized by Roman Catholic or Utraquist priests, but the 
parents are not, on that account, to leave the Brethren ; second, 
the poor, who have greatly suffered during the persecution, are 
to be better cared for ; third, in order to satisfy Speratus, who 
has written to the Synod on the subject, several young men are 
to be sent to German universities ; fourth, the reasons for the 
voluntary celibacy of the priests, concerning which he has asked 
for further information, are to be communicated to him ; fifth, 
all official letters and other historical documents are to be care- 
fully collected and preserved.^ 

Sionsky's report of the constraint under which the Brethren 
in East Prussia were suffering, was received in silence. Soon 
after the Synod he began a series of official visits to the 
Moravian and, as far as possible, to the Bohemian parishes 

While thus engaged an important change took place in 
Augusta's situation. The number of his guards had been 
reduced from twenty to six.^ In January, of 1550, one of 
these six, a native of Leitomischl, was bribed to supply him 
with money, lights, books and writing materials. Augusta at 
once opened a correspondence with the Council. Everything 
of importance was reported to him and he gave his opinions 
as freely and authoritatively as though he were presiding at 
the meetings of that body. He wrote frequently to the 
parishes also, A member of the Church took up his 
residence at Piirglitz in order to receive and forward the 
letters ; at a later time he was relieved by a priest, whom the 
Council specially intrusted with this duty. The good will of 
the new Governor, who was set over the Castle in spring, 
rendered the clandestine use of lights and books unnecessary. 
He provided Augusta and Bilek with both. Of the corre- 
spondence, however, he knew nothing. 

After having finished his visits to the churches. Bishop 

* Dekrete d. B. U. p. 167, cited by Czerwenka. The last resolution, which 
was owing to the destruction of the archives at Leitomischl, in 1546, (vide 
p. 152 of this History), led to the collection now known as the Lissa Folios. 
This collection was begun by Czerny and John Blahoslaw, and continued 
by the later bishops. 

* At a later time the number was reduced to three. 


Sionsky, in the spring of 1550, convened the Synod at 
Prossnitz. The future government of the Unity, in view of 
his possible death and of Augusta's continued imprisonment, 
formed the subject of anxious deliberations. To elect new 
bishops and have them consecrated by Sionsky and the two 
assistants, Wenzel and Daniel, would have been the proper 
and natural course. But it was not adopted, no doubt because 
it did not meet with Augusta's approval.* Sionsky, however, 
ordained three new assistant bishops — John Czerny, Matthias 
Strejc and Paul Paulin — gave them authority to oversee the 
churches, assigned them dioceses and set them over the entire 
priesthood.^ At the same time he conferred upon Wenzel 
Wroutecky and Daniel Hranicky, the two oldest assistant 
bishops, power to consecrate bishops.^ 

* There is no record showing that Augusta opposed an election of bishops 
at this time, but as he persistently did so on later occasions, and as his 
opposition seems to be the only possible reason why such an election was 
not undertaken, we must take for granted that he had communicated with 
the Synod on the subject. 

^ JafFet's Sword of Goliath, I. pp. 15, 19, etc., R's Z., p. 278. John Czerny 
was ordained to the priesthood in 1537 and elected to the Council in 1543- 
He was a model of piety, diligence and earnestness, worthy of being always 
remembered. (Todtenbuch, p. 38.) Matthias Strejc or Streyc (Vetter) was 
ordained to the priesthood in 1521 and elected to the Council in 1537 — a 
man of sharp understanding, eloquent, cautious but very timid. He died 
May the thirteenth, 1555, at Krzizanow. — Paul Paulin was ordained to the 
priesthood in 151:0 and became a member of the Council. He was a man 
of great influence which, however, waned toward the end of his life, partly 
on account of protracted ill health. He died, at Prerau, on the twenty- 
ninth of June, 1564. (Todtenbuch, p. 37.) 

^ Dekrete d. B. U., p. 170, cited by Czerwenka. Gindely, I. p. 347, says 
that Sionsky gave Strejc and Czerny — neither he nor Czerwenka mentions 
Paulin — authority to convene the Synod and watch over the discipline, but 
not the power to ordain. And yet he refers to precisely the same authority 
which we have given, viz.: JafFet's Sword of Goliath, where we read: 
Sionsky, " as a prudent man, constituted and set apart episcopal vicars, 
supported in this arrangement by the first two, viz.: Wenzel Wroutecky 
and Daniel Hranicky, and added to them Brother Matthias Strejc, Brother 
Czerny and Brother Paulin. And he imparted to them complete episcopal 
power, to order all things which they might deem necessary in the 
churches, gave them dioceses which they were to administer, and set them 
over the entire priesthood." Gindely himself, moreover, in another 


Meanwhile Ferdinand, after having brought about the 
election of his oldest son, Maximilian, as his successor on the 
Bohemian throne (February the fourteenth, 1549), strenuously 
urged the union of the Utraquists with the Catholics. Aided 
by Mistopol he prepared twelve articles having this end in 
view, although they were wholly Romish in their tendency. 
In December these articles were laid before the Diet; but the 
opposition which they evoked on the part of the Utraquist 
nobles who, in spite of Mistopol's efforts, were joined by one 
of his deans and thirty of his priests, was so violent that the 
King postponed the union to a later period.*^ In order to 
take oif the edge of his disappointment, he sent from Augs- 
burg, to which city he repaired immediately after the Diet, a 
new decree enforcing the continued persecution of the 
Brethren. This decree Baron Pernstein made the occasion 
for oppressing them on his domains, especially at Pardubitz^ 
with still greater severity ; while Bishop Sionsky embraced 
the opportunity to send a letter full of fatherly admonitions 
to stand fast, to exercise patience and to submit to the will of 

In April of the following year (1550), Ferdinand met the 
Moravian Diet at Briinn and tried to induce this body to pass 
a law against the Brethren living in the margraviate. But 
he sustained an ignominious defeat. Wenzel von Ludanic, 
the Governor of Moravia, whose parents belonged to the 
Unity and who had been educated in its sdiools, closed a 
fiery address with these words: 

" Most gracious King, when your Majesty swore the oath by 
which you were constituted Margrave of Moravia, the number of 
those who held to the pure and unadulterated faith was small. 

passage, calls Strejc and Czerny, Vice Seniors, that is, Assistant Bishops- 
While therefore it is evident that they, together with Paulin, were ordained 
to this degree, it is not clear what authority, if any, they received witli 
regard to consecrating bishops. For although Jaffet in another part of his 
Sword of Goliath, II. p. 52, etc., says that they were ordained in order that) 
in case of necessity, they could consecrate bishops, he practically retracts 
this position when speaking of the consecration in 1553. 

' L. F., VIII. p. 2, etc. R's Z. pp. 303-312. 

8 L. F., VIII. p. 2, etc. 


This was owing to a want of knowledge of the true worship of 
God and of the proper use of the sacraments. Now that it has 
pleased Him to dispel the darkness, we thank Him from the 
depths of our hearts that He has brought us to a recognition of 
the Gospel in its purity ; and beseech and conjure your Grace 
not to interfere with this highest good and not to' forbid the 
exercise of our religion. ISTot one of us will move the breadth of 
a hair from our conviction. As regards myself, I will rather lose 
my head than give up my faith. Sooner shall Moravia disappear 
in fire and ashes than permit coercion in matters of religion."^ 

Turning to the members of the Diet Ludauic asked whether 
he had correctly expressed their views. A general " Aye !" 
rang through the chamber. The King, in the hope that a 
personal appeal would avail, called upon all such as were 
willing to obey him, to step to one side. Only five barons 
and two knights responded. When Ludanie saw this, he 
read aloud the oath which Ferdinand had sworn, as Mar- 
grave of Moravia. Full of indignation Ferdinand left the 
Diet and, soon after, as he stood at the window of his palace, 
saw, to his still greater chagrin, almost the entire body pass 
in triumphal procession, escorting the Governor to his home. 

On the sixteenth of April, 1552, Bishop ]Mack Sionsky 
died at Gilgenburg, in East Prussia. He was a great man 
wise, courageous and noble-minded, serving God and the 
Brethren with all his heart.^" His death plunged their 
Church into the utmost perplexity. There were five assistant 
bishops and the following seven other members of the 
Executive Council : George Israel, Matthias Cerwenka, 
Wenzel Cech, George Ujec, Jacob Sidlar, John Husita and 
Wenzel Holy ;" but the President of this body and the only 

3 Gindely, I. p. 353. 

'" Sionsky was a tall man and his appearance stately. He was buried in 
the Polish Bohemian church at Gilgenburg, "behind the little door;" a 
mural tablet, with a Latin epitaph, was set up by two of his friends, George 
Cyklowsky and John Lorenz. Matthias Czerwenka preached the funeral 
sermon. Todtenbuch, pp. 21, 23. 

11 Cech was ordained to the priesthood in 1540 and elected to the Council 
in 1550, a pious and zealous man, possessed of an extraordinary under- 
standing. Died, at Meseritz, March the twentieth, 1560. (Todtenbuch, p. 
30.) Ujec, ordained to the priesthood in 1534, elected to the Council, at 


remaining bishop was still immured within the walls of 
Piirglitz. To whom should the government of the Church 
be intrusted? In order to settle this question the Council 
met on the twelfth of June, in Moravia, but reached no 
satisfactory conclusion. Hence the Synod was convened. 
Either by this body or previously by the Council, Augusta 
was asked for his opinion. He forbade the election of new 
bishops,'^ but appointed John Czerny as his vicar, giving him 
authority to preside at the Council, and in connection with its 
members and especially the other assistant bishops, to govern 
the Church.^^ 

This was the first step in Augusta's downward career. He 
ouo-ht to have allowed the election of a new bishop and to 
have consecrated him in his dungeon. Such a consecration 
would, indeed, have been perilous, but not impossible. He 
was now guarded, comparatively, in a loose way ; and one of 
the men-at-arms being in the pay of the Executive Council, 
would have done whatever this body asked of him. But 
Augusta was determined not to be superseded in his episcopal 
authority. He imagined that his long and terrible sufferings 
entitled him to rule the Unity even from a prison, and he 
seems to have had a strong presentiment of his eventual 

New Year, 1550, a distinguished pastor, who led, for many years, a blame- 
less life. Died, at Dacic, in Moravia, February the twenty-seventh, 1560. 
(Todtenbuch, p. 30.) Sidlar, ordained to the priesthood 1531, elected to the 
Council in 1550, murdered, in 1551, by robbers in a wood near Eibenschiitz- 
Ho was a brother of John Strejc (Vetter), humble, pious, diligent, beloved 
by the people and a favorite of the nobles. (Todtenbuch, p. 23.) Husita, 
ordained to the priesthood in 1543, a learned man, studied under Luther at 
Wittenberg, an eloquent speaker, fond of fun, somewhat proud, very 
boastful and ambitious. Died, October the twenty-seventh, 1552, at 
Eibenschiitz. (Todtenbuch, p. 24.) Holy, ordained to the priesthood, 
175.3, elected to Council, 1550, a man pleasing to God and the Unity, 
faithful, diligent, upright and blameless. Died, August the twenty-ninth, 
1570, at Brandeis on the Adler. (Todtenbuch, p. 44.) 

12 Czerwenka, I. p. 298. Gindely's account of the meeting of the Council 
and Synod, L. F., VIII. being his authority, is confused. The Dekrete d. 
B. U. give no information with regard to these meetings. 

'=* Jafi'et's Sword of Goliath, I. p. 19, etc. E's Z. p. 279. 


liberation. So great was the reverence with Avhich he was 
regarded, that the Synod submitted to his decision. 

In accordance with its enactment a visit to the Prussian 
and Polish churches was undertaken by John Husita and 
Cyklowsky.'^ In the former they re-established the usages 
and customs of the Brethren, which, in many instances, had 
given way to Lutheran novelties, and recalled the young men 
who had been sent to the University of Konigsberg. 

About this time (1551) the persecution waned ^^ and many 
unfaithful members of the Unity, who had turned their backs 
upon it in the hour of danger, asked to be readmitted to its 
fellowship. Augusta was consulted with regard to the 
matter. His decision was, that all such as sincerely repented 
were to be anew received, with the exception of those who, in 
order not to lose their property, had refused to emigrate. 
This decision was accepted and carried out by the Council. 

In addition to his correspondence with this body he wrote, 
while in prison, a number of theological treatises, which are, 
however, not extant, and composed many hymns. Of these 
hymns Bilek made an illuminated copy.^^ 

The Council now determined to bring about, if possible, 
the liberation of Augusta. Various circumstances seemed to 
render such an effort hopeful. The persecution, as has been 
said, had practically ceased ; a decided reaction in favor of the 
Unity was beginning to show itself among the Bohemian 
nobles ; ^'' Ferdinand realized, more and more, that the 
Brethren could not be suppressed ; and in Germany the cause 
of Protestantism gained new strength through the intrigues 

'* Cyklowsky was a young, zealous, fiery deacon, ordained to the priest- 
liood in 1553, and destined for the Executive Council to which, it was 
generally understood, lie would be elected by the Synod of 1557, but while 
on the way to its meeting lie died, at Krzizanowa, Friday before St- 
Bartholomew (August the twenty-fourth). Todtenbuch, p. 28. 

^^ Czerny's Narrative, L. F. VIII., p. 40, etc. R's Z., p. 314, etc. 

'® Bilek's original MS. is preserved in the Imperial Library of Vienna. 
Gindely, I. p. 517, Note 88. 

" L. F. VIII., p. 58, etc., R's Z., contains some remarkable instances of 
this reaction. 


of Maurice of Saxony against the Emperor. So successful 
was the Council in agitating its project, that a large number 
of the members of the Diet was won. At its meeting at 
Prague, in January, 1552, they agreed to petition the King 
for an amnesty on behalf of all who had taken part in the 
League of 1547, and especially for the liberation of Augusta 
and Bilek. John Dubravius, Bishop of Olmiitz, the cele- 
brated historian of Bohemia, consented to be the spokesman 
and addressed Ferdinand in these words : 

"All the states here assembled have appealed not only to me 
but likewise to the other high dignitaries of the kingdom, to the 
end that we should speak to your Grace with regard to the 
liberation of your prisoners. They have been languishing long 
enough and have sufficiently atoned for their faults. In unison 
with all the states we therefore beg that they may be set at 

Although surprised, the King retained his self-possession, 
and merely said that he would take time until the next day to 
consider this request. But it was not until the close of the 
Diet and only after the Bishop had reminded him of his 
promise, that he vouchsafed an answer. It was evasive. 
He must have leisure to consider the question still more 
carefully ; on some future occasion he would make known 
his decision. Thus saying he turned to leave the chamber 
while, loud enough for him to hear. Baron Zatecky 
exclaimed : " Good God, do Thou judge ! Those in Piirglitz 
were tortured; the rest were deprived of their estates; and 
still one knows not whether one shall or shall not pardon 
them !" '' 

The disappointment of the Brethren was very great. They 
had confidently expected the liberation of Augusta. In other 
respects, however, they were encouraged and grew bolder. 
The Emperor's disgraceful flight from Innsbruck before 
Maurice of Saxony, the breaking up in confusion of the 
Council of Trent, and the negotiations for peace which 
followed, could not but react favorably upon the Unity in 

18 L. F. VIII., p. 58, etc. R's Z., p. 317. 

19 Czerny's narrative in L. F. VIII., cited by Gindely. 


Bohemia.-" John Czerny openly took up his residence at 
Jungbunzlau and convened the Council in that town (June 
the twelfth, 1552). At this meeting the appointment of a 
new bishop formed the principal subject of deliberation, and 
a letter to Augusta was agreed on, entreating him to permit an 
election. But again he declined. The Council — so he wrote 
— should patiently await his liberation. And again the 
Council submitted. 

This body now devoted itself to the resuscitation of the 
Church in Bohemia. In such work John Blahoslaw, 
although a young man, took an active part. 

He belonged to a noble family and was born at Prerau, in 
1523, on the first Friday of Lent. Having received a 
thorough education in the schools of the Brethren, at Gold- 
berg under the celebrated Trotzendorf,^^ and at the Univer- 
sities of Wittenberg, Konigsberg and Basel, he was ordained 
a deacon in 1553, and advanced to the priesthood in the same 
year. Distinguished for his faithfulness, diligence and learn- 
ing, he became one of the most noted leaders and eminent 
writers of the Unity. " In the Bohemian literature of the 
sixteenth century," says Gindely, " there is not a single work 
to be found which, for elegance of style, flow of thought and 
purity of diction, can be compared with the writings of 
Blahoslaw." ^^ 

The Church at Jungbunzlau, where he labored under the 
direction of John Czerny, continued to look up. The chapel 

^° These negotiations eventuated in the Treaty of Passau, July the 
thirty-first, 1552, which gave the Protestants of Germany comjslete religious 

^' Trotzendorf, so called from his birthplace, his real name being 
Valentine Friedland, was one of the most celebrated teachers of the 
sixteenth century, distinguished as a linguist and theologian. His jjupils 
represented all parts of Europe. In 1556, while explaining the twenty- 
third Psalm, he suddenly said : " Dear hearers, this instant I am summoned 
to another school," fell over and was dead. 

^^ Gindely, I. p. 366 ; Todtenbuch, pp. 48, 49. Gindely has given a 
history of Blahoslaw's life, with a complete list of his literary works, in the 
Bohemian Musealzeitschrift for 1856. 


was reopened and worship publicly held ; Baron Krajek, who 
was as devoted a member of the Unity as his ilkistrious father 
had been, taking the position that the edicts of the King were 
directed against the Picards and not against the Brethren. 

In autumn, on the Sunday prior to the Day of St. Simon 
and St. Jude (October the twenty-eighth), Wenzel Wroutecky 
died at Prostegow. He reached a great age and spent his life 
in holy works. Not long after, on the thirteenth of January 
of the following year (1553), his colleague, Daniel Hranicky, 
followed him into eternity. He too was an aged sire, distin- 
guished for his piety and the righteousness of his life. He 
was one of the exiles who sought refuge in Moldavia, and 
was well acquainted with Matthias Corvinus. Both these 
Assistant Bishops remembered the founders of the Unity, and 
constituted the last link which united them with a new and 
more progressive generation.^^ 

A few weeks subsequent to the death of Hranicky there 
occurred, at Piirglitz, an event which led to far reaching 
consequences. Through the negligence of a servant who was 
not in the secret, the correspondence which Augusta was 
carrying on, became known to the Governor (February the 
tenth, 1553). The Bishop's dungeon was searched, and many 
letters, together with other papers, were found and seized. 
After the lapse of two months, during which the uncertainty 
of the fate awaiting him became daily more painful, he and 
Bilek were conveyed to Prague and, chained together by the 
feet, confined in the same cell of the White Tower. They 
fully expected to be put to death. But when it appeared that 
Augusta's letters contained exhortations to the Brethren to 
endure, with unwavering patience, whatever might come 
upon them ; that the letters of the Council related exclusively 
to the affairs of the Unity ; and that nothing of a treasonable 
or disloyal character could be discovered ; the two prisoners 
were sent back to Piirglitz. There they were put into closer 
confinement ; otherwise their condition remained unchanged. 

2» Todtenbuch, pp. 24, 25. 


The news of what had occurred, led the Brethren to fear a 
fresh outbreak of the persecution; and fei'vent was their 
gratitude to God on finding their anticipations to be ground- 
less. After the removal of Augusta to Prague, however, it 
was commonly rumored that he had been executed. The 
Executive Council being determined, at all hazards, to eman- 
cipate itself from his rule, made use of this rumor, although 
it could not be substantiated, in order to bring to an issue the 
question of the appointment of new bishops. A day of fasting 
and prayer having been observed, the Synod convened, on the 
fifth of June, 1553, at Prerau. The necessities of the case 
were discussed and, with great unanimity, it was resolved to 
elect new bishops. The choice of the Synod fell upon John 
Czerny and Matthias Cerwenka. But how should they be 
consecrated, Wenzel and Daniel, whom Bishop Sionsky had 
empowered to conduct an episcopal ordination, having died ? 
In this emergency the Synod authorized the Assistant Bishops 
Strejc and Paulin to perform the act of consecration,^* and 
after it had been consummated, all the members of the Council 
laid their hands on Czerny and Cerwenka and blessed them.^ 
That this was neither a regular nor a legitimate consecration, 
is clear. But the Synod deemed the case to be one for which 
there was no law except that of necessity. Nor did the true 
succession remain broken ; it was renewed by Augusta after 
his liberation. 

Krajek grew more and more earnest in re-establishing the 
Unity on his domains. At Jungbunzlau he had a new and 
larger chapel built. It was dedicated on Good Friday, March 
the twenty-third, 1554, in spite of a royal edict which the 
Baron received on the previous day, ordering the absolute 
suppression of the Brethren and the general confiscation of 
their church property.^" In consequence of this mandate 
Krajek sent a memorial to the Regent, in which he protested 

2* Jaffet's Sword of Goliath, I. p. 19, etc. R's. Z., p. 280. 

^^ Dekrete d. B. U., p. 173, etc., cited by Czerwenka. 

^^ This edict was dated March the ninth, 155.4. All nobles who upheld 
the Brethren were threatened with severe punishments. L. F., VIII. p. 
73, etc., cited by Gindely. 


against being called a heretic, and asked his intervention 
with the King on behalf of the Unity. Its other nobles 
transmitted similar communications. Ferdinand, to whom 
they were forwarded, was so confounded by their number and 
tone;, that he forgot his edict. Toward the end of the year, 
however, he issued the strictest orders that it should be 
observed, except — strange to say ! — at Jungbunzlau. The 
persecution broke out afresh and threatened to become as 
severe as it had ever been."'' 

In order to devise ways and means to meet this emergency, 
the Synod was called together on the twenty-fifth of January, 
1555. At the suggestion of Krajek, an appeal to the Arch- 
duke Maximilian, the future King of Bohemia, was resolved on. 

Maximilian was born at Vienna on the thirty-first of July, 
1527. Among his tutors were secret Protestants, through 
whose influence his views on the religious questions of the 
day became more liberal than his father's. He corresponded 
with Melanehthon and Paul Eber, applied to the Duke of 
Wiirtemberg for the writings of the Reformers, appointed 
John Pfauser, a Lutheran, his court-preacher, and another 
Lutheran the tutor of his children. 

It was in view of a tendency so decidedly partial to Prot- 
estantism that the Brethren hoped for his good will and for 
toleration through his aid. John Blahoslaw was sent to 
Vienna as their commissioner. He arrived on the fifteenth 
of March, 1555, and succeeded in interesting Pfauser in the 
object of his mission, who promised to prepare the way for 
further negotiations.^ 

During Blahoslaw's absence, Baron Krajek died, March the 
eighteenth, 1555, at Jungbu nzlau.^ His death was a severe 

*' About two hundred Utraquist priests, who inclined to Lutheranism, 
were driven from Boliemia at this time. Tliey fled to Meissen and the 
Palatinate, where they received consoling letters from Melanehthon. 

28 Blahoslaw wrote a full account of all his visits to Vienna, which narra- 
tive has been preserved in L. F., VIII. and reproduced in Quellen, pp. 

'^^ Ernst Krajek was the son of Conrad Krajek. He was buried in tlie 
new cemetery at Junglmnzlau, John Czerny delivering the funeral discourse. 
At a later time a chapel was built over his grave. Todtenbuch, p. 26. 


blow to the Unity. The youth and inexperience of his four 
sons, who inherited his domains, succumbed to the craft of its 
enemies, so that the new chapel, built by their father, was 

On the eleventh of November, of the same year, the Synod 
met again, at Prossnitz, and resolved to publish a new 
hymnal — the preparation of which was intrusted to Czerny, 
Blahoslaw and Adam Sturm^'^ — and to take in hand another 
mission to Maximilian. Blahoslaw was again appointed 
commissioner and intrusted with the following documents : 
A petition to Maximilian ; a paper giving the reasons why 
the Brethren had separated from the Roman Catholic 
Church ; ^^ the Confession of 1 532 ; copies of the petitions 
sent, in 1547, to Ferdinand and Charles the Fifth. But 
Blahoslaw did not see the Archduke in person ; he gave the 
documents to Pfauser, who promised to deliver them. Nor 
did these visits fulfill the hopes of the Brethren.^^ All that 
they gained was an indefinite promise, made by Maximilian 
through his court-preacher, that he would do for them what 
he could. 

In the course of the year 1556 John Czerny carried on a 
correspondence with the Duke of East Prussia, who desired 
to secure a priest of the Unity as his court-preacher, which 
request was declined;^ and with Flacius Illyricus, the cele- 
brated author of the Catalogus Testium Veritatis and editor 
of the Magdeburg Centuries. It was with regard to this 

^° Sturm was a citizen of Leitomischl at the time when the Brethren 
emigrated to Prussia and accompanied them. There he lost his Avife, and 
afterward went to Moravia, where he entered the priesthood. At the time 
of his death, October the fifth, 1565, he had charge of the parish at Leipnik. 
He was an able hymnologist. t 

»' Quellen, pp. 150-159. 

^^ A third mission, at the instigation of Vergerius, was undertaken in 
1557. It had for its special object the liberation of Bishop Augusta. The 
Duke of Wiirtemberg sent, to this end, a very earnest appeal to Maxi- 
milian, at the request of a number of Polish nobles. Quellen, p. 179 ; 
Croeger, I. p. 298. John Kokita was appointed on this mission, but as he 
fell ill, Blahoslaw took his place. 

^^ Correspondence given in Quellen, pp. 112-121. 


work that he wrote to the Council. He wished to enlist the 
aid of the Brethren in his historical studies. The Brethren 
— he asserted — were not the spiritual seed of Hus, but 
descended from the Waldenses. They should commission 
some one to visit Italy in order to investigate their early 
history. In his answer to this communication Czerny cor- 
rected its mistakes and sent Blahoslaw to Maffdeburf"; so that 
he might give Flacius a complete account of the origin of the 
Unity .^* But Flacius obstinately maintained his position, 
and nothing could induce him to acknowledge that he had 
fallen into a gross error. " He is," wrote Blahoslaw in his 
journal, " a zealous and learned man ; he means to be 
upright; but his highmindedness, obstinacy, and determina- 
tion never to yield, stand in his way. He might compete 
with Osiander in pride, quarrelsomeness and inaccessibility to 
argument. While disputing with me, he became so angry 
that his hands trembled." ^^ The result of Blahoslaw's 
mission to Magdeburg was, on the one hand, the first History 
of the Unitas Fratrum,^^ and, on the other, the inveterate 
prejudice against the Brethren which Flacius thereafter 
manifested on all occasions. 

After Augusta and Bilek had been brought back to 
Piirglitz, the former fell ill and remained in this state for 
three months, without a physician, without medicine, without 
a nurse. Bilek's entreaties to be allowed to minister to him 
were refused. That under such circumstances the Bishop 
eventually recovered, was almost a miracle. In the course 
of time the rigor of their imprisonment was relaxed; and 
with the permission of the Governor one of their original 
guards was hired to wait on them. In this way Augusta's 
correspondence with the Council was resumed. But this 

** The letter of Flacius is found in Quellen, p. 273, that of Czerny in 
Quellen, p. 275. 

35 L. F., VIII. pp. 148-154, cited by Gindely. 

3® This is the brief Latin History by Blahoslaw whicli we have repeatedly 
quoted and which is found in L. F., VIII. It was written in 1556 and has 
been published by GoU in his Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte 
der Bohm.-Briider. 


body did not follow aii opeu and upright course. The 
appointment of new bishops was carefully concealed from 
him, and a series of sermons on the Apostles' Creed, 
which he had written in prison as a manual for daily 
worship, was published only in part and in a greatly altered 
form. The Council did not tell him that this work failed to 
meet with its approbation ; and when he heard of the 
mutilated edition and reproved Czerny for taking such an 
unwarranted liberty, a truthful explanation of the case was 
still withheld. Czerny merely begged his pardon and asked 
him to allow the abbreviated manual to be used. 



The Synod of Slezan and the History of the Church in Bohemia 
and Moravia, to Augusta's liberatioii. A. D. 1557-1564. 

The Jesuits in Bohemia. — Centennial Synod at Slezan. — Bishops elected. 
— Three ecclesiastical Provinces constituted. — Fourth Mission to 
Vienna. — Ferdinand proclaimed Emperor of Germany. — Meeting 
of the Executive Council at Jungbunzlau. — Bodenstein applies to be 
admitted to the Ministry of the Brethren. — Augusta's and Bilek's 
Condition ameliorated. — Feud of the Bishop with the Council. — 
Philippine Welser at Piirglitz. — The memorable Easter Festival. — 
Measures to bring about the Liberation of the two Prisoners. — Re- 
moved to the Jesuit College at Prague. — They deny their Faith. — 
Augusta remanded to Purglitz. — Bilek free. — Excluded by the Council. 
— Vergerius desires to join the Unity. — Augusta liberated. — Death of 
the Emperor Ferdinand. 

The concessions which his brother, the Emperor, was 
obliged to grant the Protestants in Germany, roused Ferdinand 
to withstand them the more resolutely in Bohemia. In the 
former country, through the Religious Peace of Augsburg, 
they were put upon the same footing as the Roman Catholics 
(September, 1555); in the latter country, a few months prior 
to the conclusion of this peace, appeared, at the King's own 
invitation, the Jesuits, in the establishment of whose order he 
recognized " the finger of God." They came to begin a new 
crusade against evangelical liberty ; and although they en- 
countered great opposition and were exceedingly unpopular 
even among the Catholics, so that they could, at first, accom- 
plish but little, their patience proved to be inexhaustible and 
in due time had its reward. For when the Anti-reformation 


was inaugurated, they swept Protestantism out of sight and 
laid afresh upon Bohemia and Moravia the yoke of Home in 
all its heaviness.^ 

Antipathy to the Brethren in particular continued to fill 
Ferdinand's heart. Scarcely a year passed by in which he did 
not issue a new edict against them. But these edicts failed 
to revive a general persecution ; while in Moravia the Unity 

Amidst such circumstances there convened at Slezan, on the 
twenty-fourth of August, 1557, the centennial Synod of the 
Unitas Fratrum.^ A century had been numbered since its 
founding at Kunwald. The little seed had grown to be a 
great tree. This tree had been bruised, its trunk scarred, and 
some of its boughs broken ; but it had always revived and 
flourished with new vigor. The larger part of Bohemia and 
Moravia, and many portions of Poland and East Prussia, 
rejoiced in its refreshing shade. Fervent gratitude to God 
pervaded the Synod, and its members failed not to realize the 
obligations which rested upon them to foster the branch of 
His planting, that to it might come, in ever larger numbers, 
sinners seeking rest and peace for their souls. 

All the members of the Executive Council, more than two 
hundred priests, and many deacons, acolytes and nobles, 
attended this Synod .^ First of all a resolution was adopted 

' On the eighteenth of April, 1555, twelve Jesuits, with the famous Peter 
Canisius at their head, arrived in Prague and took possession of the Domini- 
can monastery, near the bridge, in the Altstadt, which edifice Ferdinand 
had given them. Upon its site, and upon the site of various neighboring 
churches and other buildings, a new Jesuit college was erected in 1653 and 
called the Clementinum. It is still standing, and forms a vast pile with a 
splendid library and other apjjointments. 

^ Dekrete d. B. U., p. 183, etc., cited by Czerwenka. Slezan was in Mora- 
via, and several other synods were held tliere; but the name of this town 
was subsequently changed, so that we cannot, at the present day, determine 
where it was situated. 

^ Regenvolscius, p. 61. The following nobles were present: Barons 
Frederick von Zerotin, Frederick von Nachod, Benedict von Bilkow, from 
Moravia and Boliemia, and Counts Jacob Ostrorog, Raphael Lescinski, 
John Tomitzki, Albert Marszewski an<l John Krotoski, from Poland. 


to elect two more bishops and thus re-establish the rule 
according to which four bishops were to stand at the head of 
the Unity. George Israel and John Blahoslaw were chosen 
and ordained by Czerny and Cerwenka.* Wenzel Cech 
having obtained a large number of votes, ranked, in the 
Council, next after the bishops. 

In the second place, the position of the Churches in Poland 
and East Prussia was discussed. They were, as yet, missionary 
Churches. But the Polish had increased in number and in- 
fluence, so that they counted between thirty and forty, which 
were modeled after the Bohemian and Moravian type of the 
Unity .^ Its faith had, moreover, been accepted by a majority 
of the magnates of Great Poland ; and Posen, Lissa, Lobsens, 
Schocken, Ostrorog, Chocz, Barcin, Stawiszyn, Lutomirz, 
together with other towns, were full of its adherents. In 
view of such an expansion of the work a change in its char- 
acter became desirable. With this object in view the Polish 
representatives petitioned the Synod to set the newly ap- 
pointed Bishop, George Israel, over the parishes in their 
country and in East Prussia. This petition was granted ; 
and thus the Polish and Prussian Churches became an integral 
part of the Unitas Fratrum. At the same time Blahoslaw 
was commissioned to superintend the Moravian parishes, and 
Czerny and Cerwenka, the Bohemian. In this way three 
ecclesiastical Provinces — the Bohemian, the Moravian, and 
the Polish-Prussian — 'Cach with one or more bishops of its 
own, were formed within the Unity. It was a measure which 
the Synod did not formally decree, but which resulted from 

* This was again an irregular ordination by which, strictly speaking, 
Israel and Blahoslaw were constituted assistant bishojas, in as much as 
Czerny and Cerwenka, in reality were not bishops, but assistant bishops. 

^ Lukaszewicz, p. 36, says there were thirty parishes in Poland, in 1557 ; 
Vergerius, in his Introduction to his new edition of the Confession of the 
Brethren, says that he found about forty. The number increased, at a later 
time, to seventy-nine (Lukaszewicz's List). Kegenvolscius, pp. 111-113, 
counts up sixty in Great Poland, more than seven in Little Poland, five in 
Silesia, and eight in Prussia. 


its action, and, by common consent, was thereafter recognized 
as a part of the constitution of the Church.'' 

In the third place the mutual relations of the Polish Protest- 
ants were considered. The decisions given by the Synod, in 
answer to questions put by the delegates from Poland with 
regard to this point, tended to foster a union, without impair- 
ing the integrity of the Brethren's Church. 

Finally the vacancies in the Council were filled, so that this 
body again numbered twelve members. 

In September Blahoslaw undertook a fourth mission to 
Vienna.^ He again had frequent interviews with Pfauser, 
who told him that Maximilian, on reading the letter of the 
Duke of Wurtemberg, had said : " I will remember the 
Bohemians and would willingly help these good people, if I 
could accomplish anything with my father. But even if this 
were possible, my opponents in Bohemia, upon whose influence 
depends everything which is to be done for that country, stand 
in the way. Nevertheless if God gives me the government — 
although I well know that these opponents do not desire this 
— the Bohemians shall find a happy change. My hope is in 
God that a change will come to pass." Vague promises like 
this continued to be the only result of all the efforts the 
Brethren made to win Maximilian's support. It was a mis- 
taken policy which they were pursuing. 

On the third of August, 1556, Ferdinand, as Roman King, 
assumed the imperial government which, together with the 
Netherlands, Spain, Naples and the New World, had been 
resigned by his brother, Charles the Fifth, who thus gave the 
most notable instance on record of a disappointed life, of a 
reign blind to its glorious opportunities, and of the frailty of 
human greatness. Nearly two years elapsed, however, before 
Ferdinand was acknowledged by the Electors. They met, 

^ The three Provinces of the ancient Unitas Fratrum correspond to the 
three Provinces of the Renewed Church —the German or Continental, the 
British, and the American — which are synodically acknowledged. " Pro- 
vinces " is the official term by which these parts are known. 

"> Quellen, pp. 182-184. 


after protracted negotiations, at Frankfurt-on-the-Main, in 
1558, and on the twenty-lbnrth of March proclaimed him 
Emperor of Germany. He returned to Prague in November, 
where he was received with grand ceremonies and every 
demonstration of loyalty. 

In the same year the Executive Council of the Unity met 
at Jungbunzlau. Bishop Augusta being unable to fulfill the 
duties of Chief Judge, Czerny and Israel were invested with 
this office. The jurisdiction of the former extended over 
Bohemia and Moravia; that of the latter, over Poland. 
Blahoslaw was constituted Cerwenka's assistant as archivist; 
and various rules were adopted relating to the discipline.^ At a 
subsequent meeting this body had to decide an unexpected 
question. Anton Bodenstein, the distinguished Lutheran 
divine of East Prussia, who has been mentioned in another 
connection, applied for admission to the ministry of the 
Brethren's Church (June the twenty-eighth, 1558). As the 
enthusiasm with which he had lauded their evangelical char- 
acter and holy life, when he first became acquainted with 
them, had subsequently, through the influence of Flacius, 
changed into violent animosity and active opposition, the 
Council suspected his sincerity and declined his overture. 
Unabashed by this rebuff, he made two more attempts to gain 
his object. But the Council remained firm.^ 

Meantime the Archduke Ferdinand had been frequently 
coming to Piirglitz in order to hunt in its forests. His pres- 
ence at the Castle, according to royal usage, brought about an 
amelioration in the condition of the two prisoners. By far 
the greatest benefaction which it conferred upon them, was the 
removal of the shutters from their cellar- windows, so that 
they could see the light of day. 

Through the death of the man by whose aid Augusta had 
carried on his correspondence, it was, about this time, inter- 
rupted for a season. In 1559, however, two noble ladies, 
members of the Unity, visited Piirglitz, brought a number of 

® Dekrete d. B. U., p. 185, etc., cited by Czerwenka. 

' Qnellen, pp. 240-255, contains the entire correspondence. 


letters, and were permitted to have several interviews, at 
meal-times, with both the prisoners. Before leaving these 
ladies engaged another servant to farther the correspondence. 
It was on the occasion of their visit, and either through 
them or through the letters which they brought, that Augusta, 
for the first time, heard of the election and ordination of new 
bishops. Disappointed ambition, wounded pride and intense 
anger inflamed his heart. Without stopping to weigh the 
circumstances of the case, without giving it a moment's re- 
flection, he seized his pen and wrote to the Council, declaring 
the acts of the Synod of 1553 illegal and fulminating an 
anathema against its leaders. This first letter he followed up 
with a number of others, all conceived in the same dictatorial 
spirit and bristling with similar harsh words. 

The Council met at Zerawic in order to consider these com- 
munications ; and resolved to maintain its ground. A reply 
was framed setting forth : that the Unity was to be governed 
not by one bishop, but by four bishops, in accordance with 
the testament of Luke ; that no bishop could undertake any- 
thing without the consent of his colleagues, and that all the 
bishops, as a body, were bound to consult the Council ; that 
these were fundamental principles of the constitution, which 
principles must be maintained, at all hazards.^*^ 

By this reply the Council practically cut itself loose from 
the authority of its President. And this Augusta well under- 
stood. Hence his auger rose to such a pitch that he thought 
of disowning the Brethren and forsaking the Unity. It was 
a desperate idea, born of his passion, and rejected as soon as 
he had grown calm again. Nevertheless the position which 
he now assumed formed the second step in his downward 
career. It is true that he had been deceived, by having, for six 
years, been allowed to believe that he was the only bishop. 
It is true that such a course evinced, on the part of the Coun- 
cil, not only a want of common integrity but also a conscious- 
ness of guilt, and in itself considered was unbrotherly and 

JODekrete d. B. U., p. 202, cited by Czerweuka. 


unmanly. It is true that he had a right to expect more con- 
sideration and reverence at the hands of those over whom he 
was set and to whom he had given an example of endurance 
for the Gospel's sake almost unparalleled in history. But 
none of these things justified his anger, his ambitious prefer- 
ence of himself above the interests of the Church, his unworthy 
fear of being superseded, his painful lack of that dignified 
humility and blameless deportment which are the fairest 
characteristics of a bishop. 

In the following year (1560), the Archduke brought to the 
Castle, Philippine Welser, his beautiful wife, whom he had 
secretly married in 1550 ; and appointed Ladislaus von Stern- 
berg its Governor." The Baroness von Sternberg was to be 
Philippine's companion. For Augusta and Bilek the coming 
of. these ladies, and of the new Governor, proved to be the 
beginning of a better time. Both Sternberg and his wife 
manifested a deep interest in their welfare; visited the Bishop 
and advised him to draw up a petition asking to be set 
free. Sternberg presented this paper to the Archduke, who 
received it graciously and forwarded it to his father. Ferdi- 
nand, since the Diet of 1552, had taken no further notice 
of the request which the Bishop of Olmiitz at that time 
had made, and had persistently declined to entertain any 
other of the same character. Now, however, he wrote to 
his son that Augusta and Bilek should be liberated provided 
they were willing to recant unconditionally and join the 
Catholic Church. He added that no further steps should be 
taken in the case without the sanction of the Jesuits at Prague. 

Six articles, in all probability formulated by these Fathers, 
were accordingly laid before Augusta, who rejected them at 
once. By the advice of Sternberg he however drew up a 

" Philippine Welser was the daughter of a rich patrician of Augsburg 
and celebrated for her beauty and extraordinary talents. The Arch- 
duke's father was greatly displeased with the marriage which, for eiglit 
years, he refused to recognize. In 1558, however, he became reconciled to 
it, and created Philippine, Margravine of Burgau. She died in 1580. The 
marriage proved to be one of uninterrupted happiness. 


paper of his own, setting forth his doctrinal position. This 
paper could be understood in two ways and was pronounced 
insufficient both by the Catholic and Utraquist Consistories. 
The theological discussions which Augusta had with the 
Arch-duke's chaplain John, led to no better results. 

But now, through the Baroness Sternberg, Philippine 
Welser's sympathy was aroused. In April of the year 1561, 
on the day prior to her departure for Prague, where she 
intended to spend the Passion Week and Easter Festival with 
her husband who had preceded her to that city, she came, 
accompanied by her retinue, into Augusta's dungeon and told 
him to ask for a boon which, if within her power, she prom- 
ised to fulfill. In response to this gracious offer the Bishop 
begged that he and Bilek might be permitted to spend the 
approaching Easter festival in fellowship and freedom ; remind- 
ing her that, in the days of Christ, the Koman governor was 
wont, at the Passover Feast, to release a prisoner unto the 
people. Having assured Augusta that his wish should be 
granted, she entered Bilek's dungeon and inquired what favor 
she should secure for him. Great was her astonishment and 
deeply was she moved, when he asked for the very same boon 
and almost in the same words as Augusta. On reaching: 
Prague she informed her husband of what she had done, and 
besought him to comply Avith the request of the prisoners. 
His chaplain, whose sympathy had been enlisted by a Catholic 
noble — a friend of the Brethren — came to her aid. In the 
confessional, on Maundy Thursday, he urged the Regent to 
consent. Against such persuasions the Archduke could not 
hold out. He wrote to Sternberg and directed him to accord 
to the two prisoners, during the three days of the Easter 
Festival, the freedom of the Castle. This letter reached 
Piirglitz on Good Friday. The Baroness Sternberg ran to 
the dungeons to tell the good news. While conversing with 
Bilek, her husband came and communicated the Regent's letter. 
Then he asked Bilek : '' How long is it since you have seen 
Augusta ?" " It is eight years," was the reply, " since we 
have seen each other." On hearing this the Baron told Bilek 


to come into the court-yard, sending, at the same time, for 
Augusta. In great but joyful agitation Bilek obeyed, and sat 
down on one of the chairs which had been brought by order 
of the Governor. " Will you recognize Augusta ?" said he. 
Before Bilek could answer, Augusta appeared. With a gush 
of tears the two men fell into each other's arms. The Baron 
and his wife wept with them. And now, sitting in the 
courtyard, under the open canopy of heaven, which had for 
so long a time been hidden from their eyes, they spent two 
hours in happy converse. Then each returned to his dungeon. 
One of the most spacious and beautiful rooms in the Castle 
was the Knights' Hall, constructed in the Gothic style, with 
eight grand windows and a splendidly decorated ceiling. In 
this apartment, on the next day, Augusta and Bilek, in the 
presence of all the inmates of Piirglitz, gave their parole to 
the Governor. " See, dear son," said the Bishop to his Deacon, 
" now we can rejoice ; now men have faith again in our 
honor !" Easter-Day, together with Monday and Tuesday of 
Easter Week, constituted the brief period of their liberty. 
They bore themselves with dignified propriety, manifested 
the utmost cheerfulness, and thanked God for His mercy. On 
Easter Day, of their own accord, they came to the chapel and 
were present both at the service of the mass and during the 
preaching of the sermon. ^^ Baron Sternberg was completely 
won by their conduct, invited them to dine with him every day, 
and failed not to give the Regent, on his return, a most favor- 
able report of all that had occurred. Indeed the Governor 
openly said, that he believed that God had sent him to Piirglitz 
in order to bring; about Aug-usta's and Bilek's liberation. 

^ 2 The castle-chapel is situated next to the large round keep, and consti- 
tutes one of the most interesting parts of Piirglitz. It is Gothic in style, 
with light, bold arches ; its walls are decorated with carvings in Avood ; 
the door leading into the sacristy is a master-piece of such carving ; and the 
altar, whose exterior is adorned wath pictures, can be opened and displays 
in the interior a magnificent group, carved in wood and representing the 
crowning of the Virgin Mary. At the present day divine worship is gen- 
erally held in the Knights' Hall, the chapel being considered unsafe. 


Hence he urged the Regent to set them free. Philippine 
did the same, with loving words and tender caresses. 

The Archduke interposed no further objections; but, 
believing that his father would never consent unless the 
two prisoners recanted, suggested that they should be sent 
to Prao;ue and receive instruction at the hands of the Jesuits. 
To this proposal Augusta strenuously objected. On receiving 
a promise that no coercion should be used, he at last gave 
way. This was another and a fatal step in the downward 
course of the Bishop. 

On the third of May he and Bilek were taken to Prague 
by William von Hradesin, who hired lodgings for them in a 
private house and put no restraint upon their movements ; but 
so many people came to visit them, and whenever they showed 
themselves in the streets such a sensation ensued, that they 
were removed to the Jesuit College (May the sixth). There 
they spent fifty-one days. They were well treated but not 
allowed to receive their friends.^^ Their religious instruction 
was undertaken by the Rector, Doctor Henry Blissem. He 
met with no success. A report of the discussions — which had 
been carried on with Augusta alone and in the Latin language 
— was sent to the Utraquist Consistory. But this body de- 
clined to express an opinion, and instead, transmitted fifteen 
articles recently agreed upon by the Utraquist states. These 
articles Augusta accepted, and wrote to the Regent for per- 
mission to leave the Jesuit College and confer with the 
Utraquist Consistory. At this request the Regent took oifence 
and replied, in very sharp words : that Augusta, having 
been born among the Utraquists, was well acquainted with 
their doctrines and needed no instruction in them ; that the 
time had now come for him simply to declare which faith, 
the Utraquist or the Catholic, he would in future confess. 
Augusta's unhappy rejoinder was given on the twenty-fourth 

'^ Augusta and Bilek daily came out on the balcony of the College to 
breathe the fresh air. At such times their friends and many other people 
assembled in the street below ; conversation was, however, strictly for- 


of June. He said that he and Bilek would hold to the Utra- 
quist Church. As soon as the Jesuits heard of this they 
refused to have any further dealings with them. On the 
twenty-sixth they were removed to Sternberg's house, and 
informed that Bilek was to remain at Prague but Augusta to 
return to Piirglitz. In vain were Bilek's entreaties to be 
allowed to share the Bishop's fate. The Jesuits had advised 
this separation. On the twenty-seventh, Augusta was carried 
back to his dungeon. 

This was a hard blow for the fallen Bishop. He had taken 
the last step in his downward career. He had denied the 
faith, brought shame upon the Brethren, and given his 
adhesion to that Church whose gross corruptions no hand had 
more unsparingly laid bare than his own. All this he had 
done that he might be free ; but alas, instead of liberty came 
the dreariness, the dismal solitude, the now doubly irksome 
durance of his old prison ! 

While the course which Bishop Augusta pursued was wrong, 
it may be explained, if not extenuated. For thirteen years 
he had been a staunch confessor of the truth. It was not his 
intention to deny it even now. He persuaded himself that 
with it could be reconciled the step which he was taking.^* 
That he quieted his conscience with such quibbles was the 
rock on which he stranded. But even this rock he would 
have avoided, had it not been for his estrangement from the 
Council. Through this unfortunate rupture feelings were 
engendered which, intensified by his pride, his haughty spirit, 
his inordinate desire to rule, carried him away headlong. 

'* This is evident from a passage in the letter sent to by him the Councib 
in 1561 — of which letter more hereafter. "When it was left to your 
choice," says this document, " to join either the Romish or the Utraquist 
Church, you gave your adhesion to the latter, because, as you say in your 
communication to Baron Sternberg, you were born in this Church. 
Further on in your letter you turn about, and add that you cannot forsake 
the Unity. In saying this you shift from side to side in a most remarkable 
manner, and set forth the position of the Utraquist party in a very different 
way from the well-known one, in order to keep a back door open through 
which you can go." Gindely, I. pp. 456, 457. 


Augusta's fall presents an illustration, as sad as it is notable, 
of the words of the Lord : " If thine eye be evil, thy whole 
body shall be full of darkness." ^^ 

Bilek spent a mouth in the White Tower at Prague. On 
the twenty-fifth of July he was examined by several members 
of the Utraquist Consistory, and answered their questions 
satisfactorily. Thereupon — much to his dismay — he was 
required to accept the sacrament of the Lord's Supper at the 
hands of a Utraquist priest, and to sign a bond denying the 
Brethren and promising to adhere to the Utraquist Church.^*' 
On the fourth of August, 1561, after an imprisonment of 
thirteen years, fourteen weeks and two days, he was set at 
liberty. He hurried to Piirglitz, entered the service of 
Sternberg and, in this way, gained opportunities to minister 
to his Bishop, to whom he continued to cling with touching 
faithfulness. He was eventually reinstated in the ministry, 
and died on the first Sunday in Advent, 1581, as the priest of 
the parish at Napagedl.^^ 

In spite of his breach with Czerny and the other Bishops, 
Augusta did not cease to write to them ; and while he was 
staying at the Jesuit College sent them a very severe letter, 
demanding a renewal of their allegiance to him as the head 
of the Unity. On the other hand, these Bishops had been 
fully informed of all that had occurred at Prague, and had 
even received, probably through Augusta himself, a copy of 
the paper in which he declared his adhesion to the Utraquist 
Church. Under such circumstances they convened the Ex- 
ecutive Council at Prerau and laid before this body the facts 
and documents of the case. A resolution was unanimously 
adopted, to send Augusta a final and decisive answer. This 

'5 Matthew 6 : 23. 

^^ The questions put to him by his examiners were such as he could con- 
scientiously answer ; the priest whom he selected to administer the sacra- 
ment belonged to the Lutheran wing of the Utraquists and did not require 
him to recant any of the doctrines of the Unity ; but no excuse can be 
found for his signing the bond. 

" Todtenbuch, p. 69. 


paper has been preserved. ^^ It is dignified but severe ; rejects 
his claims ; denounces his overture to the Utraquists as a base 
act ; declares that, as long as he remains obdurate and mani- 
fests the implacable spirit by which he is animated, he is to 
have no farther part in the government and guidance of the 
Unity ; and appeals to the Lord to judge between him and 
the Council. 

At this same meeting a very different question came up for 
decision. Toward the end of 1560 Vergerius had addressed 
a letter to the Bishops, begging to be received into the 
fellowship of their Church. He reminded them of what he 
had done to further its cause, and asked that the Brethren 
should provide for him during the remainder of his life, as 
also for a servant, two secretaries, a coachman and a pair of 
horses. He said that he would give an equivalent by laboring 
for the Unity still more zealously, and assured them that he 
made this overture not because he was in need, but because 
their discipline, their life, their Church in every other respect 
had captivated his heart. This lettter the Bishops had not 
answered. In March, 1561, he wrote again, to Rokita by 
name, and begged for a speedy reply. And now the Council 
was asked for its opinion. The service which Vergerius had 
rendered was fully acknowledged ; his admission to the 
Unity did not appear desirable, yet could not well be 
avoided. A reply was accordingly framed, informing him 
that the Brethren would receive and care for him ; but asking 
whether he had fully considered the step he proposed to take 
and realized all that it involved. This hint Vergerius under- 
stood, and dropped the negotiations. "After receiving our 
answer," write the Brethren, " he left us in peace." ^^ 

The liberation of Bilek led the Bishops and Council to 
believe that Augusta would soon be set free. They still 
feared his influence ; in any case it was desirable to define his 

18 Dekrete d. B. U., p. 203, etc. Gindely, I. pp. 454-458 gives it in full, 
in a German translation. 

i« L. F., IX. pp. 297-300, cited by Gindely ; Quellen, pp. 255-258, giving 
the letters of Vergerius in full ; Comenii Hist., ^^ 96, 97. 


relation to the Unity. On the thirteenth of April, 1 562, the 
Synod met at Prerau. First of all a statute was framed and 
signed, committing the government of the Church anew to its 
four Bishops, in conjunction with the Council ; and defining 
explicitly the duties both of the former and of the latter. In 
the next place it was determined, that if Augusta and Bilek 
should come among the Brethren, their temporal wants should 
be cared for, but they should not be allowed to perform 
ministerial functions ; in case they demanded a hearing, they 
should be referred to the Council. At the same time, in 
guarded language, an act of exclusion was adopted.^" Such 
was the reception which awaited the fallen Bishop. 

The paper sent by the Council in 1561 had plunged him 
into a pitiful state. That extraordinary energy of character 
which had upheld him amidst former trials, seemed to be 
gone. He murmured hopelessly and ceased not to complain 
that, after all his sufferings, the Unity had cast him off. One 
end, however, he steadily kept in view. He would be free. 
At the intercession of Sternberg, the Regent sent for the 
Utraquist priest who had given Bilek the Communion. 
This priest came to Piirglitz, had an interview with the 
Bishop, and reported to the Consistory that he was willing to 
receive the sacrament. Mistopol, however, raised objections, 
and drew up a formula of recantation. This Augusta refused 
to sign. 

But now Maximilian — who had been crowned King of 
Bohemia on the twentieth of September, 1562, at Prague, by 
Anton Brus, its new Archbishop — interested himself in the 
case, begging his father to set Augusta free. With this end 
in view he was once more removed to Prague (April the 
ninth, 1563) and confined in the White Tower. There 
Mistopol visited him, and promised him liberty if he would 
recant. Augusta declined, saying that he had taught no 

20 « -y^g i^g^yg jjQj. condemned Augusta and Bilek ; their acts have 
excluded them from our communion and deprived them of the priestly 
office in the Unity." Dekrete d. B. U., p. 213, cited by Czerwenka, and in 
full by Gindely, I. pp. 462, 463. 


errors. Other attempts to elicit a formal recantation were 
equally fruitless. The Regent became angry, not only on 
this account but also because Augusta, in accordance with the 
truth, denied having recently written letters, and on the 
twenty-fourth of May, ordered him to be taken back to 
Piirglitz. Again therefore the unfortunate Bishop entered 
his dismal cellar and resumed its weary life. In the 
beginning of the next year (1564), however, once more 
through the intervention of Maximilian, he was, for the third 
time, sent to Prague, where lodgings were provided for him 
at the house of John von Waldstein. Neither the Utraquist 
nor the Catholic clergy took any notice of him ; but his 
friends were instant in appealing both to the Emperor and 
to Maximilian for his release. In spring Ferdinand fell ill. 
Deeming his end at hand, he gave orders to liberate Augusta 
unconditionally, except that he was forbidden to preach. 
The day on which he regained his liberty is not known ; his 
imprisonment lasted a few weeks less than sixteen years. 
Accompanied by Bilek he immediately betook himself to 
Jungbunzlau, where they spent Easter in fellowship with the 

In the following summer, on the twenty-fifth of July, 
1564, the Emperor Ferdinand died. He had failed to reach 
the goal of his long reign. Protestantism was not suppressed ; 
the Unitas Fratrum was not destroyed ; every victory that he 
gained in his life-long conflict with evangelical truth, eventu- 
ally resulted to its advantage. Whether he deserves the 
praise which even many Protestant writers give him, let that 
history tell which these pages have set forth ! 



The Polish BranGh of the Unitas Fratrum ; its Relation to 
the Reformed and I/utherans ; and renewed Corre- 
spondence with the Swiss Divines. 
A. D. 1557-1564. 

A Delegation to Goluchow. — John Lorenz. — Conference at Leipnik. — 
Lismanin sends the Confession of the Brethren to the Swiss Eeformers. 
— Their unfavorable Opinion. — Mission to Switzerland of Rokita and 
Herbert. — Interference of Vergerius and Duke Christopher of Wiirtem- 
berg. — Herbert and the Swiss Theologians. — Synods of Xionz, Posen 
and Buzenin. — Polish Confession of the Brethren. — Colloquy with the 
Antitrinitarians. — Edict against foreign Heretics. — The Polish Con- 
fession presented to the King. 

The invitation which the Executive Council received from 
Laski and his coadjutors, to send representatives to a convo- 
cation of the Reformed at Goluchow, was laid before the 
General Synod of Slezan and accepted. George Israel, John 
Rokita, Gallus Drewinek and John Lorenz were appointed 
delegates (October, 1557).^ 

Of these men John Lorenz deserves special notice. He 
fills one of the most prominent places in the history of the 
Polish branch of the Church. Born at Kijow, in Moravia, 
in 1519, he studied under Trotzendorf at Goldberg, under 

^ Sources for this chapter are : Lukaszewicz, p. 36, etc.; Dekrete d. B. U., 
pp. 188-201, cited by Czerwenka ; and L. F., X. cited by Gindely. Gallus 
Drewinek, or Drzewjnek, was born at Pilgram. He was a Bachelor of the 
University of Prague and originally a Utraquist priest. After having 
joined the Brethren, in 1543, he had charge of various parishes, was elected 
to the Council in 1553, and died at Prostegow, in October, 1563. He was a 
learned, diligent and pious man. Todtenbuch, p. 36. 


Luther and Melanchthon at Wittenberg, and at the University 
of Konigsberg. Having declined a brilliant offer to enter 
the service of the Bishop of Olmiitz as his chancellor, he 
devoted himself to the ministry of the Brethren, was ordained 
a priest in 1555, took charge of the parish of Kozminek, and 
subsequently of that of Tumaszovv, in his native country. 
There he labored until his appointment as Israel's assistant 
at Ostrorog. While yet a student he fell into the hands of 
robbers who would have killed him, if he had not escaped 
throus^h the aid of one of their own number whose heart 
relented ; on another occasion God himself delivered him, in 
a wonderful way, as he was passing through a forest, from 
the jaws of a hungry wolf.^ 

There was not a single Reformed minister at Goluchow 
when the delegates arrived. After some days a tardy mes- 
senger brought a letter informing them that the Synod had 
been postponed on account of the illness of Laski. Justly 
displeased that they had not been notified, before leaving 
home, of this postponement, they proceeded to visit several of 
the churches of Great Poland. At Tomice they met 
Lismanin, with whom they had a protracted doctrinal 

In the following year Laski, after having failed, through 
the interference of the Konigsberg divines, in inducing Duke 
Albert to co-operate with him in preparing, upon the basis 
of the Augustana, a Confession for Poland, turned once more 
to the Brethren, and proposed a conference at any place which 
the Council might designate in Bohemia or Moravia. Always 
ready to promote unity among Christ's followers, the Council, 
in spite of what had occurred at Goluchow, accepted this new 
overture. At Leipnik, in Moravia, on the twentieth of 
October, 1558, the Bishops gave a fraternal welcome to 
distinguished representatives of the Reformed Church, and 
discussed with them private confession, justification, the 
Lord's Supper, fast days and other similar subjects. In no 

2 Fischer, I. p. 246 ; Croeger, II. pp. 17, 18. 


particular did the Bishops recede from their position ; and 
when the Calvinists brought out a Polish version of the 
Unity's Confession of 1535, with fifteen emendations by 
Laski, and urged that this document should be mutually 
accepted and conjointly published, Cerwenka, in the name of 
his colleagues, rejected the proposal. He promised, however, 
to send Laski, who was not present, a paper setting forth, 
more at length than in their Confession, the views of the 
Brethren with regard to the Lord's Supper. On the twenty- 
seventh of October the delegates returned to Poland.^ 

In due time such an exposition was furnished. Lismanin 
forwarded it, together with the Confession of 1535, to Calvin, 
Musculus, Viret and Bullinger, asking these divines for their 
opinion (1560). The letters which they wTote in reply and 
to which Lismanin failed not to give the greatest possible 
publicity, confounded the Brethren like a thunderbolt from a 
clear sky. The Swiss theologians who, in 1 540, had put into 
their hands glowing testimonials, now disapproved of their 
doctrinal standards. Their good name and influence were at 
stake in Poland. Something must be done, and done at once, 
to counteract the bad impression which had been made. 
Accordingly in May, 1560, the Council commissioned John 
Rokita and Peter Herbert to go to Switzerland and ask for 
an explanation of the singular change in the sentiments of its 

The two deputies stopped at Goppingen, in Wiirtemberg^ 
and delivered to Vergerius a letter from the Bishops, asking 
his advice. This was an unfortunate step. Vergerius tried 
to prevent the mission to Switzerland ; introduced the depu- 
ties to Duke Christopher and his guest, Wolfgang the 
Palatine of the Rhine; and persuaded them to present to 

* After the holding of this conference Laski no longer opposed the 
Brethren. He died two years later (1560). 

* Peter Herbert was ordained to the priesthood in 1562, two years after 
this mission to Switzerland. He was a distinguished man, faithful and 
learned. In course of time he was elected to the Council, and died at 
Eibenschiitz, October the first, 1571. Todtenbuch p. 47. 


the former an unauthorized paper appealing to him for aid 
and protection in case the Brethren should be driven from 
their homes.^ In reply the Duke advised the deputies to 
relinquish their mission, but expressed his satisfaction that 
the Brethren held to the true faith. '' Cautious and wise man 
that he was," says Blahoslaw, " he put them off in a way 
characteristic of the Suabian." Rokita yielded and instead 
of going to Switzerland, returned to Bohemia with the Duke's 
letter. The interference of Vergerius and Rokita's unfaith- 
fulness to his commission, excited in a high degree the 
displeasure of the Council.^ 

Meanwhile Herbert proceeded to Switzerland. The first 
divine with whom he had an interview was Bullinger, at 
Zurich, who said that he could not remember having 
expressed sentiments unfavorable to the Brethren, and gave 
Herbert a very fraternal letter addressed to the Council. On 
the twenty-fourth of June Herbert arrived at Bern, where 
he had a protracted conference with Musculus. He told 
him that the Council hoped he would retract the unfavorable 
opinion which he had sent to Bohemia. This Musculus 
declined doing, but cheerfully consented to explain, in 
writing, what he had meant by his criticisms. They related, 
he said, merely to those points in the Confession which 
seemed to him to be defective, without intending to call in 
question the many other excellent points that had, on a former 
occasion, elicited his praise. "As regards myself," he added, 
"I entertain toward you and your Churches those feelings 
which ought to be cherished toward faithful Christians and 
brethren greatly beloved." His concluding words were the 
following : 

" I commend myself to your intercessions. Pray to the Lord, 
that He may, through the power of His Spirit, keep me, in my 
old age, faithful unto the end, and supply what I lack of strength 

5 This paper was composed by Vergerius but signed by Kokita and 

^ Letters and documents relating to the negotiations with Vergerius and 
the Duke, are found in L. F., IX. and reproduced in Quellen, pp. 185-193. 


of body and mind, not permitting me, who am an unprofitable 
servant, to fall away from His grace. Salute your Churches 
most heartily, and admonish them that with prayers to God our 
Father rather than with a war of words, they may contend with 
the adversaries." ' 

On the twenty-eighth of June Herbert reached Geneva, 
delivered to Calvin the letter of the Bishops, and begged hini 
to convene the Reformed theologians of the city. When they 
had assembled, Herbert addressed them, setting forth the 
injury that they had done to the Brethren in Poland. " Is 
it therefore your opinion," said Calvin in reply, " that we have 
been deceived by lies and in consequence have written falsely 
against you and given rise to evil prejudices against your 
Church ?" Herbert rejoined, that this was presenting the case 
from an extreme point of view ; explained, once more, what 
the Brethren complained of; and added that Calvin, if he 
objected to their Confession, ought to have written to them 
and not to their enemies. As reasons for not having done 
this, Calvin assigned the want of letter-carriers and the great 
distance at which he lived from the Brethren. To the 
Reformed of Poland he had written, because they had asked 
him to do so. Of the polemical tone which pervaded the 
Apology of the Brethren and especially of its obscurity, he 
could not approve. Herbert answered : that the polemical 
tone of the Apology, particularly in the article of the Lord's 
Supper, was occasioned by disputes with the Habrowanites, 
whose assertion that this sacrament is a bare sign the Brethren 
rejected, because the words of Christ, when instituting the 
Lord's Supper, ought to be strictly upheld, otherwise they 
would become vain words, and believers would be deluded by 
empty signs and spectacles ; that the religious disputes which 
were agitating Poland could certainly not be laid at the door 
of the Brethren ; that Bohemia was nearer than Poland, and 
that it would have been easier for Calvin to write to the 
former than to the latter country. 

T Letter of Musculus, Quelleh, pp. 206, 207. 


After this conference had come to an end, Yiret and Beza 
both excused themselves for the letters which they had sent 
to Poland, telling Herbert that they had been misled. 

On the following day he was invited to a dinner given 
by the entire body of Reformed theologians. It took place at 
the house of Beza; and at its close Calvin told Herbert 
that they wished to assure him of the love they bore to the 
Brethren and begged him to accept a paper which he had 
written in the name of his colleagues. 

This paper was addressed "To the faithful servants of 
Christ, who proclaim the pure Gospel in Bohemia, our 
beloved fellow- ministers and brethren in the Lord;" and 
after a few introductory remarks, gave expression to the fol- 
lowing fraternal sentiments : 

" We return to you our sincere thanks that you have sent to 
us a brother as a witness to our love and Christian communion, 
and rejoice the more because you have done this out of pure and 
pious hearts. Therefore we beg you not to doubt that we 
earnestly desire to abide in a close fellowship with you. Such 
a fellowship is to us a source of comfort, in view of the distance 
by which we are separated and the enemies that surrouud us. 
Hence, with one accord, we testify, that we have one Father in 
heaven and are one body of which Christ is the Head. That 
such are our sentiments, we are prepared to show by our deeds," 

The letter then proceeds to discuss the points at issue. It 
encourages the Brethren to extend the hand to the Polish 
Reformed, in order that the pure doctrine of the Gospel may 
have free course; it tells them that the article on the Lord's 
Supper, in their Confession, is too brief and obscure, and their 
Apology too polemical ; it denounces those wlio under the 
shadow of the Augustana seek peace and rest, although not 
entertaining its views, and thus escape tribulations, odium 
and crosses; and closes, as it began, with words of friendship 
and of love. This letter was signed by Calvin and all liis 
colleagues, thirteen in number.^ 

« The letter of the Geneva divines is found in fnll in Quellen, pp. 
203-206, which work contains a complete account of Herbert's mission, pp. 
193-207, taken from L. F., IX. 


Thus was renewed the bond of union between the Swiss 
Reformers and the Brethren ; but to suppose that they had 
now come, or ever after came, to a full doctrinal understand- 
ing with one another, would be wide of the mark. 

Some time after Herbert's return to Poland, where his 
recent mission had served to increase the influence of the 
Unitas Fratrum, a Synod was held at Xionz (September, 
1560). The deliberations, which were loud, vehement and 
more like those of a Polish diet than of an ecclesiastical body, 
related almost exclusively to the government of the Reformed 
Church.^ In the interests of union nothing was done ; and 
Rokita and Lorenz, the delegates of the Brethren, had no 
occasion to take an active part in the proceedings. Otherwise, 
however, their relations to the Reformed members were of a 
friendly character and they mutually agreed to propose to the 
Lutherans a conference of the three church es.^^ 

It took place at Posen, on the first of November, of the 
same year, but led to no understanding and did not further 
the cause of union. Influenced by Flacius Illyricus, the 
Lutherans manifested an open antagonism to the Brethren ; 
while the Reformed, on the contrary, continually drew closer 
to them. At a subsequent convocation, held at Buzeniu, on 
the sixth of January, 1561, the compact of Kozminek was 
renewed ; both parties agreed to attend each others synods 
without invitation ; and the Brethren promised to submit to 
the Reformed, before publishing it, the Polish version of their 

^ An executive committee, or consistory, numbering three ministers and 
three nobles, was, on this occasion, appointed to govern the Kcformed 
Church. These nobles received the title of Sentores politici. It was this 
arrangement which led Zinzendorf to introduce in the Kenewed Brethren's 
Church the office of Seniores civiles, who were to assist the Bishops in all 
matters not of a spiritual character and especially to negotiate with civil 
governments. Men of noble birth were generally appointed and received 
a special ordination. This office no longer exists. 

'" Comenius in his Hist., | § 99-102, disapproves of this Synod and 
speaks in very severe terms of the political and carnal wisdom which, in his 
judgment, guided its deliberations. 


Confession, This promise was fulfilled in 1562; in the 
following year the Confession appeared in print." 

The spread of Antitrinitarian views within the Reformed 
Church, gave to its fellowship with the Unitas Fratrum a new 
and urgent importance. Laelius Socinus had planted the 
germ of this heretical system in Poland, in 1551 ; and now 
it had grown to alarming proportions. The Antitrinitarians 
began to constitute an influential party, with Gregory Pauli 
at its head, and many Reformed ministers in its ranks. 
Sarnicki, a zealous Calvinist, pointed out to the Diet the 
growing danger. A Colloquy was agreed on, with the hope 
of winning Pauli back to the true faith. It took place at 
Cracow, but failed to accomplish this end (1563), In his 
opening address George Israel said, that the Protestants of 
Poland would not present so lamentable a spectacle of 
divisions and feuds, if the compact of Kozminek had not 
been so utterly neglected. 

The Roman Catholics, too, were alarmed by the rapid 
increase of Antitrinitarianism, and induced Sigismund 
Augustus to issue an edict banishing all foreign heretics 
(August the seventh, 1564). Its execution was intrusted to 
John Koscielecki, Governor of Great Poland. Being one of 
the most implacable enemies of the Brethren, he enforced it 
against all such among them also as had been born in Bohemia 
and Moravia. But the magnates of the Church came to their 
rescue. A deputation, consisting of Jacob Ostrorog — ^a 
favorite of the King — Raphael Leszeynski, John Krotowski, 
Albert Marszewski, and accompanied by John Lorenz, 
appeared before Sigismund, presented the Polish version of 
the Confession of the Unitas Fratrum, and persuaded him to 
issue a second decree (November the second, 1564), addressed 
specially to Koscielecki, exempting the Brethren from the 

^^ It was a translation of the Confession of 1535, presented to Ferdinand. 
Gindely asserts that the title which sets this forth is incorrect and that it 
was a version of the Confession of 1564, presented to Maximilian. But 
tliis latter document constituted merely a revised edition of the Confession 
of 1535. 


penalty of the first. This measure aiFected Koscielecki in 
such a way that he fell sick and died.'^ A year later the 
governorship of Great Poland, through the resignation of his 
successor, Luke Gorka, passed into the hands of Jacob 
Ostrorog. Under his administration the Brethren prospered, 
and the only mode of attack remaining to the Catholics was 
the pen. In this warfare Benedict Herbst, Prebendary at 
Posen, was their champion ; while James Niemojewski, an 
influential noble of the Reformed faith, entered the lists on 
behalf of the Brethren. 

'^ The hatred which Koscielecki bore to the Brethren was so great that 
when he was on his death-bed he sent, so it is said, for his court-fool and 
ordered him to make sport of their religious ceremonies. Lukaszewicz, p. 47. 



Augusta reconciled to the Council. The Synod of Sendomir 
in Poland. A. D. 1564-1570. 

Meeting of the Bishops at Leipnik. — Reconciliation with Augusta. — Death 
of Vergerius. — Increasing hostility of the Lutherans in Poland. — 
Benedict Morgenstern. — A Lutheran Synod against the Brethren. — 
Joint Synod at Posen. — Twelve reputed Errors. — Decision of the 
Synod of Prerau. — Lorenz at Wittenberg. — Favorable Opinion of the 
Theological Faculty. — Controversies wane. — Synod of Sendomir. — 
Alliance between the Brethren and Reformed and Lutherans. — 
Consensus Sendomiriensis. — Further Union, at Posen, of the Brethren 
and the Lutherans. 

After spending the festival of Easter at Jungbunzlau, 
Bishop Augusta proceeded to Leipnik, in Moravia, where he 
met, on the Day of St. Mark (April the twenty-fifth), 1 564, 
Cerwenka, Czerny and Blahoslaw. The details of this 
conference are not known, but its result was auspicious. A 
complete reconciliation took place between Augusta and his 
colleagues, and he was reinstated in his episcopal seat. At 
the same time the constitutional provision, that not less than 
four bishops should stand at the head of the Church and 
eight or nine priests constitute the other members of the 
Council, was anew ratified.^ 

1 L. F., X. cited by Gindely; Jaffet's Sword of Goliath. This latter 
authority says, I. p. 21, etc. "Im Jahr 1564, kam Br. Job. Augusta aus 
dem Gefangniss und begab sich noch in demselben Jahr zu den Aeltesten 


In the following year (1565) Vergerius died at Tubingen, 
on the fourth of October. The Brethren, and Blahoslaw in 
particular, prized the friendship which he manifested toward 
their Church; among the Swiss Reformers he enjoyed but 
little confidence. His sincerity and the service which he 
rendered Protestantism, can not be doubted ; but he was fond 
of claiming authority and often interfered in matters which 
concerned him not. 

Meanwhile the relations of the evangelical churches in 
Poland remained unchanged, except that the Lutherans grew 
more and more hostile to the Brethren. Of this hostility 
Benedict Morgenstern, an ecclesiastical demagogue, restless, 
bigoted and unscrupulous, was the chief instigator. 

He had charge of the Lutheran parish at Thorn, where, in 
1563, he gave a notable example of his chicanery. Although 
the Brethren had established themselves in that city on their 
first arrival in Poland, he forced upon their minister and his 
assistants, what he called, a Colloquy, and by his vehement 
denunciations and unparalleled impudence, constrained them 
to relinquish their church and withdraw from the town. 
Elated by this victory he published twenty-two doctrinal 

nach Leipnik, am Tage des H. Marcus, berieth sich dort mit alien und 
setzte sich wieder auf jenen ersten Platz. Die Bischofe standen nun fiir 
kurze Zeit folgendermassen : 1. Johann Augusta. 2. Johann Czerny, 
3. Matthias Cerwenka, 4. Georg Israel, 5. Johann Blahoslaw." In the 
same work, II. p. 37, etc., we read : Augusta " versohnte sich dort (Leipnik) 
mit ihnen. Er wurde wieder auf seinen bischoflichen Platz gesetzt, und 
man willigte ein, dass fortan stets die Ordnung beachtet werde, dass vier 
Bischofe in der Fronte sassen, und acht oder neun Personen im Rath." 
Gindely says that Augusta did not again receive the rank of first Bishop 
but only co-ordinate authority with the other Bishops. It is clear that 
he was no longer Chief .Judge (Vide p. 320 of this Hist.), and it is certain 
that he did not exercise the same overweening authority as formerly ; but 
that he continued to be President of the Council, Jaffet's words plainly 
show, and Gindely himself, in his list of Bishops (Quellen, p. 451), assigns 
to him this place even after his liberation from prison. His influence, 
however, undoubtedly waned, the older he grew, and in the last years of his 
life his presidency may have become nominal. 


errors which, he falsely asserted, they had acknowledged at 

the Colloquy.^ 

And now, in 1565, he issued another work reducing these 
errors to sixteen. The cry which he raised was taken up by 
a Lutheran Synod at Gostyn. This body adopted a formal 
resolution declaring, that the Brethren oppressed the Lutherans 
and refused the hand of friendship which these held out. In 
itself considered no charge could be more absurd ; understood 
from the point of view of the Lutherans, however, it had a 
grave meaning. Not all the priests of the Unity were as 
submissive as those at Thorn. The Lutherans came to many 
places where they found the Brethren established, and the 
Brethren would not yield the ground. This was the oppres- 
sion from which the Lutherans suifered ! For the followers 
of the Unity to point to the friendship that Luther had shown 
them, to acknowledge the Augustana and yet to uphold a 
Confession of their own and maintain churches of their 
own, instead of meekly allowing themselves to be engulfed 
in the maw of Lutheranism, was schism ! -^ That under such 
circumstances, heated disputes took place and " the royal 
law" was frequently broken on both sides, may well be 
supposed. There were those who so entirely forgot it, as to 
maintain, that Luther's Preface to the Confession of 1535 
had not been written by him but forged by the Brethren.* 

"^ The Brethren withdrew from Thorn chiefly because the magistrates 
sided with Morgenstern, and when these magistrates invited them to 
re-establish their Church, declined this overture. Morgenstern's headstrong 
course, ere long, alienated his own people. In 1567 he was dismissed from 
Thorn. Both the works which he wrote are preserved, in MS., in the 
Herrnhut Archives. The first is entitled De Valdensium schismate, etc.; 
the second, Errores fraterculorum Bohemicorum, etc. 

3 Tlie mild sarcasm with which Gindely expresses himself on this point 
provokes an appreciative smile. He says: "Es ist sehr schwer, eine 
gerechte Definition des Wortes Druck zu geben, wofern es von religiosen 
Parteien gebraucht wird. Mir leuchtet so viel ein, dass die Lutheraner 
sich iiberall da gedriickt glaubten, wo ihnen die Briider beim ersten 
Erscheinen das Genomene nicht abtraten und sich nicht willig darein 
ergaben, sie als ihre Erben und Kechtsnacliiolger anzusehen." II. p. 78. 

* Quellen, p. 294. 


In order to put an end to such unhappy controversies, 
Erasmus Gliczner, the newly appointed Superintendent of the 
Lutheran Churches in Great Poland, in conjunction with 
prominent nobles of his faith, proposed to the Brethren a 
joint Synod at Posen. It took place on the twenty-eighth of 
January, 1567, and was attended, on the part of the Unity, 
by Israel, Lorenz, and a number of magnates. A more 
friendly feeling prevailed and, as Lukaszewicz says, "many 
obstacles in the way of peace were removed ;" but the 
doctrinal diflPerences were not settled. In the name of his 
associates, Morgenstern set forth twelve points of difference 
between the Confession of the Brethren and the Augustana 
— hence, in the estimation of the Lutherans, twelve errors. 
This paper was subsequently sent to Bishop Israel and he 
was asked to furnish a reply.* 

Instead of at once complying with this request, Israel 
appealed to the Executive Council which laid the case before 
the Synod convened at Prcrau (June the twenty-fourth, 
1567). This body, while rejecting an absorption such as the 
Lutherans aimed at, declared that the Brethren were willing 
to unite with them and with the Reformed in an alliance 
which would leave their own peculiarities, their own ministry, 
discipline and doctrine intact.^ After this resolution had 
been made known, Lorenz published a reply to Morgenstern's 
paper .^ 

While deliberating upon a rejoinder, the Lutherans, by the 
advice of Stephan Bilow, a bitter foe of the Unity, determined 
to have it condemned through the University of Wittenberg. 

* The paper bore the following title : Arnica at fraterna adnotatis naevorum 
et verborum minus recta positorum in Confessione fratrum, quos Valdenses 
vocant, proposita in synodo Poznaniae 28 Januarii, 1567, celebrata, a 
Ministris Confessionis Augustanae iisdem fratribus Valdcnsibus in duodecim 
partes distincta. 

® Dekrete d. B. U., p. 228, cited by Czerwenka. 

' Lorenz's reply was revised by Israel and Eokita. It bore the following 
title : Eesponsio brevis et sincera fratrum, quos Valdenses vocant, ad naevos 
ex Apologia ipsorum excerptos a Ministris, Confessioni Augustanae addictis, 
in Polonia. 


Inasmuch as the Polish Lutherans were violent adherents of 
Flacius Illyricus and the theologians of Wittenberg Philip- 
pists, the success of this scheme could not but be doubtful. 
Its actual failure was, however, owing to another cause. 
Before the Lutherans could send a deputation, Bishop George 
Israel, who was ignorant of their intentions, commissioned 
Lorenz to go to Wittenberg and appeal to the University 
(February the tenth, 1568).^ Lorenz arrived on the sixteenth, 
delivered letters from Israel to prominent theologians, gave 
an account of the controversies in Poland, presented Morgen- 
stern's work and his own reply, and begged the Theological 
Faculty for a decision with regard to the entire case. Such 
a decision was given, in writing, on the twenty-second of 
February. It acknowledged the orthodoxy of the Brethren, 
attributed the attacks of the Polish Lutherans to the poison 
instilled by Flacius, and sided fully with the Unity, except 
on two unimportant points. The document was signed by 
Paul Eber, as Dean of the Faculty, George Major and Paul 

This step of the Polish Brethren led to important results. 
On both sides the magnates began to discountenance contro- 
versies and to urge upon all Protestants the necessity of 
presenting an undivided front both to the Romanists and the 
Antitrinitarians ;^" while the idea gained ground, that an 
inter-denominational Synod of the Lutherans and Reformed 
and Brethren ought to be convened, in order to determine the 
basis for an ecclesiastical alliance. These three Churches were 
not to be organically united, but, in harmony with the enact- 
ment of the Brethren at their Synod of Prerau, to be brought 
into such a relationship that a member of one body would 
practically be a member of all the three bodies. A Synod of 

* Lorenz was accompanied by a young man named John Polycarp. A 
full account of this mission is found in L. F., X. and reproduced in Quellen, 
pp. 294-318. 

® Document in full in Quellen, pp. 311, etc. 

'" The Antitrinitarians had, by this time, secured firm seats at Kakau and 
on the domains of Prince Ragotzi, in Transylvania. 


this kind was agreed on. It was to meet at Sendomir, in 
Little Poland." Preparatory Synods were held by the 
Brethren and Lutherans at Posen, and by the Lutherans and 
Reformed at Wilna. 

As the Diet of Lublin, in 1569, constituted an epoch in 
the civil history of Poland, so the Synod of Sendomir, in 
1570, became an era in its ecclesiastical history.^^ That Diet 
brought about the union of Lithuania with Poland ; this 
Synod effected, what had never before been accomplished 
since the birth of Protestantism, a religious confederation 
among the evangelical churches of the kingdom. On all 
sides the utmost interest was manifested ; from all parts there 
flocked together theologians and ministers and magnates. 
The majority of the representatives belonged to the Reformed 
Church. Prominent among them were Paul Gilovius, Jacob 
Sylvius and Stanislaus Sarnicki, clerical delegates ; and 
Stanislaus Mysskowski, the Palatine of Cracow, Peter 
Zborowski, the Palatine of Sendomir, and Stanislaus Iwan 
Karminski, a councilor of Cracow, lay delegates. The 
Lutheran Church was represented by Erasmus Gliczner, its 
Superintendent in Great Poland, Nicholas Gliczner, his 
brother. Superintendent of the Posen district, and Stanislaus 
Bninski, a magistrate of Posen and the proxy of Luke Gorka, 
its Palatine. On the part of the Unitas Fratrum, commis- 
sioned by its Executive Council, appeared Andrew Praz- 
mowski, Superintendent of the Reformed Churches in 
Kujavia, with whom was associated Simon Theophilus 
Turnovius, a deacon of the Brethren.^^ 

" Sendomir or Sandomir, is now the capital of the Polish circuit or 
government of Eadom, and lies on the left bank of tlie Vistula. Its 
inhabitants number about five thousand. 

'' Sources for the history of this Synod are : Jablonski's Historia Con- 
sensus Sendomiriensis ; Lukaszewicz, Chap. VII. p. 55, etc.; Fischer, I. pp. 
157, etc.; and especially Itinerarium Sendomiriense, being a most interesting 
MS. journal by Turnovius, in classical Polish, rendered into German by 
Fischer and given in his German translation of Lukaszewicz, jjp. 51-81, 
also in his own work, I. jjp. 257-286. 

'^ Prazmowski was therefore not a minister of tlie Brethren, as Croeger 


Turnovius, who became one of the most influential leaders 
of the Polish branch of their Church, taking; his place by the 
side of Israel and Lorenz, was born at Turuau, on the 
fifteenth of September, 1544. In his fourth year, because of 
the fierce persecution raging throughout Bohemia, his parents 
fled with him to Marienwerder, in East Prussia. Not long 
after this flight his father died, and he was adopted by George 
Israel, who put him, in 1555, to the school at Kozminek. 
At a later time he visited the University of Wittenberg. 
When he had completed his studies, in 1568, he came to 
Ostrorog, was ordained a Deacon, and subsequently, although 
only twenty-six years of age, sent to Sendomir as Praz- 
mowski's associate.^* 

In that town, on Sunday, the ninth of April, a solemn 
service was held, Jacob Sylvius preaching a sermon on the 
twentieth chapter of the Gospel according to St. John. In 
the afternoon, "at the nineteenth hour," the Synod was 
opened by the Palatines of Cracow and of Sendomir. The 
former welcomed the members ; the latter set forth the object 
of the convocation. Four presidents were then chosen : two 
laymen, Zborowski and Karminski ; and two ministers, 
Gilovius and Prazmowski. Sokolowski was ajipointed 
secretary. This organization having been completed, the 
Synod adjourned. 

On the next day, Monday, April the tenth, at eleven 
o'clock, after a religious service at which Valentin preached 
on the first chapter of St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians, the 
second session began. First of all, the delegates presented 
the salutations of their constituents. In expressing the good 
wishes of the Brethren, Andrew Prazmowski spoke of them 
"with great reverence;" said that they were a body of 
Christians that, for one hundred and fifty years, since the time 

implies, but a Eeformed minister formally commissioned to represent the 
Unity. Why Israel and other of its leaders were not present is not known ; 
its influence however was, on that account, not lost, since Turnovius, in spite 
of his youth, took a very prominent part in the Synod. 

'* Fischer, II. p. 181. In Poland Turnovius was often called Bogomil. 


of Hus, had defended the Confession of their Faith not only 
with the pen and in books, but also with their own blood ; 
and earnestly commended this Confession to the favorable 
notice of the Synod. In conclusion he delivered two letters 
from the Bishops excusing their unavoidable absence and 
giving utterance to the hope, that the Polish Confession of 
their Church would be accepted as the common doctrinal 

The next step which was taken showed that the men 
assembled at Sendomir were determined, whatever their 
decision with regard to formulated creeds might eventually 
be, to fling out, at the very beginning of their deliberations, 
an unspotted banner of scriptural faith. The members were 
called on to confess their belief in the Holy Trinity, in order 
that, if any Tritheists,^^ or Socinians, or followers of Stancarus 
should prove to be present, they might be excluded from the 
Synod. Such an exclusion was actually carried out in the 
case of several ministers who were found to be tainted with 
these heresies. 

And now was broached that delicate question upon which 
hinged either the success or the failure of the entire under- 
taking. What basis should be given to the projected alliance ? 
Gilovius urged the Helvetic Confession. It had, he said, 
been recently translated into Polish.^^ Let this version, 
together with the Preface specially prepared for it, be 
adopted, published and presented to the king, as the common 
symbol of his Protestant subjects. This proposal called forth 
an animated debate. Nicholas Gliczner avowed his intention 

^^ The name by which the followers of Gregory Pauli were known. 

'« Lukaszewicz, p. 61, says that this was the Confessio Tigurina, but he 
undoubtedly means the Confessio Helvetica posterior, (The Second Helvetic 
Confession), published at Tiguri, that is, Zurich, in 1566, and written by 
Bullinger. There is technically no Confessio Tigurina but a Consensus 
Tigurinus, which relates only to the Lord's Supper and predestination. It 
is not likely that this was translated into Polish, and less likely that it 
should be adopted by the Polish Reformed. The Conf. Hel. posterior is 
found in Niemeyer's Collectio Confessionum, p. 462, etc.; comp. Schaff's 
Creeds of Christendom, I. p. 390, and III. p. 233, etc. 


of standing by the Augustana " until death ;" and took occa- 
sion to inveigh against the Brethren, because they were 
Waldenses, had many Confessions, and in matters of doctrine 
were altogether unstable. Erasmus Gliczner endorsed what 
his brother had said, adding that there existed no Confession 
which the Reformed of Poland could claim. This roused 
Mysskowski, who warmly maintained the contrary and, at the 
the same time, defended the Brethren. Other members also 
spoke in their favor. Luther himself, it was said, had 
approved of their Confession. At last Turnovius, who had 
made several iueifectual attempts to speak, obtained the floor. 
He delivered a long address, showing that the Brethren were 
not Waldenses ; that, in Poland, they acknowledged but one 
Confession ; that this Confession had been presented to the 
King and ably defended against the attacks of the Roman 
Catholics ; and that, for these reasons, it ought to take, in so 
far as the Polish Churches were concerned, the precedence 
over all other creeds.'^ He spoke modestly but with much 
spirit, and his speech won general approbation, except from 
Erasmus and Nicholas Gliczner. These two honest but 
head-strong brothers reiterated their assertions, and began to 
manifest a tendency so directly in opposition to the end for 
which the Synod had been called, that the Presidents became 
alarmed, and — an attempt to bring it to a vote resulting in a 
new and acrimonius discussion — peremptorily ordered an 
adjournment after Zborowski and Karminski had appealed to 
the Lutheran delegates not to cast obstacles in the way of a 

At the opening of the third session, Tuesday, April the 
eleventh, Sylvius preached on the words of the Psalmist 
133: 1: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for 
brethren to dwell together in unity." Neither this theme nor 
the appeals of the previous day seemed to have conciliated 
Erasmus and Nicholas Gliczner. When the Helvetic Con- 
fession was again taken up they refused to vote, which so 

'' The address of Turnovius is found in full in his journal. 


exasperated the other members and betrayed them into such 
sharp words, that the Presidents ordered a recess until the 
afternoon. On reassembling, there took place, as previously 
agreed upon, a public disputation with Alexander Vitrelius, 
a leading Antitrinitarian, who succumbed to the arguments of 
Turnovius in particular.^^ 

The next morning, Wednesday, April the twelfth, Praz- 
mowski having preached the introductory sermon, the fourth 
session began and led to an important measure. At the 
instance of the Palatine of Cracow, the Helvetic Confession 
was taken out of the hands of the Synod and referred to a 
committee for further examination. 

This committee, consisting of the two representatives of the 
Brethren's Church, the three Lutheran delegates, and six Re- 
formed members, among Avhom were Mysskowski, Zborowski, 
Gilovius and Sylvius, met in Zborowski's j)alace. Two 
points were to be decided : first, does the Helvetic Confession 
harmonize with the Holy Scriptures? second, if it does, will 
the Brethren and the Lutherans unite with the Reformed in 
accepting it as the basis of that confederate union which these 
three Churches desire to establish ? Prazmowski and Turno- 
vius were first asked for their opinion. After having con- 
sulted in private, the former, while once more expressing his 
strong convictions that the Confession of the Brethren would 
prove to be a better common ground, declared, in their name, 
that he was nevertheless willing to accept the Helvetic Con- 
fession. Thereupon Turnovius, urged by all present to give 
his views, spoke as follows : 

" Gracious lords and beloved brethren : The Bohemian 
Brethren are moved by grave and weighty reasons in proposing 
that their Confession, which has been presented to the King, 
should be accepted by you all. Some of these reasons have been 
set forth in the letters which they sent you ; still other reasons 
have been made known to me. Nevertheless, inasmuch as the 

^' Trecius and Tenaudus, two divines, had been appointed to speak for the 
Synod ; but their arguments were so weak that Turnovious, who happened 
to sit between them, could not resist prompting them. Instead of resenting 
this, Trecius asked that he be permitted to take part in the disputation. 


Bohemian Brethren, at the same time, earnestly desire that the 
Church of God may be built up and strengthened, and inasmuch 
as they do what they can to bring about this end, — I believe that 
when they will have been informed of your reasons for advocating 
the Helvetic Confession as a common ground on which thus to 
unite the Church and increase its power, they will interpose no 
further objections. As regards myself, having, long ago, read 
this Confession and convinced myself that its doctrines are pure ; 
that they harmonize with our Confession ; that it is drawn up 
according to the same plan as ours, but perhaps in a more com- 
plete and intelligible way ; — I find no fault with it, but accept it 
as correct and as our own." 

These words awakened the liveliest satisfaction among the 
Reformed members of the committee, and moved Myssowski 
even to tears. But Turnovius, in order that he might not 
be misunderstood, hastened to add : " Gracious lords, be 
pleased to take notice, that I have accepted the Helvetic 
Confession as our own upon this condition only, that you 
will not expect the Brethren to relinquish the Confession 
which they already have, but that they will be free to adhere 
to that also, as they have ever done." " God forbid," replied 
Myssowski, " that we should ask the Brethren to reject their 
own Confession!" "Verily," added Zborowski, "we will 
rather strive to imitate them by introducing among ourselves 
a better church -government and discipline." 

Every eye was now fixed upon the Lutherans. What 
would they do? The Palatine of Cracow begged them to 
yield their preferences for the Augustana and thus promote 
the glory of God and further the prosperity of His Church. 
The Palatine of Sendomir delivered a lengthy address 
appealing to them to weigh well the incalculable importance 
of the undertaking in which the Synod was engaged, and 
intimating that Sigismund Augustus would become a Prot- 
estant if a union would be brought about among the 
Protestant churches of his kingdom. " For God's sake," he 
continued, " remember what depends upon the result of our 
deliberations, and incline your hearts to that harmony and 
that love which the Lord has commanded us to follow above 
everything else." He spoke with deep feeling, and broke off 


suddenly, choked with tears. The Palatine of Cracow sobbed 
aloud. All present were profoundly moved. A sudden out- 
pouring of the spirit of love took place. Their hearts flowed 
together and, in a moment, every obstacle vanished. They 
themselves scarcely knew what was transpiring, except that 
God had revealed to them the beauty and glory of a union in 
His Son.^^ When they had grown calmer it was agreed, at 
the instance of the brothers Gliczner, that none of the existino- 
Confessions should be adopted, but that a new Confession 
should be prepared to which the three Protestant churches of 
Poland, without relinquishing their own creeds, should hold 
in common.^'' Meauwhile a Consensus should be drawn up, 
making known that a confederate union had been established 
among them and setting forth the conditions of this alliance. 

In the afternoon the committee reported to the Synod ; the 
report was accepted with joyful unanimity ; and Trecius and 
Tenaudus were appointed to draft the Consensus. A resolu- 
tion which was now adopted, that no heterodox ministers 
should be admitted to the union, unless they recanted, induced 
seven divines to come forward and publicly renounce the heresy 
of Stancarus. Immediately after the adjournment a committee, 
composed of Karminski, Prazmowski, Turnovius, Erasmus 
and Nicholas Gliczner, revised the draft of the Consensus. 

The fifth session, Thursday, April the thirteenth, was 
opened with an address by Jacob Sylvius, congratulating the 
Synod that its work had not been in vain, but that an alliance 
had been formed to the glory of God and the prosperity of 
His Church. Thereupon the Consensus, as adopted by the 
committee, was read. The Lutheran delegates having 

" Turnovius says in his journal, Lukaszewicz, p. 78 : " Weiter weiss ich 
hier nichts zu sagen, denn zuweilen wussten wir selber nicht was vorgehe. 
Mit einem Worte, jene Vereinigung iiberraschte uns, mit wunderbarer 
Schnelligkeit die Hindernisse uns dem Wege raumend." 

^^ This Confession was to be prepared at Warsaw, about Whitsuntide, at 
a meeting of the theologians of all the three churches ; but such a meeting 
never took place, and the proposed Confession did not appear. This was 
probably owing to the fact, that, in time, the Consensus was deemed to be a 
sufficient doctrinal symbol. 


obtained permission to retire and examine this document 
privately, returned it with several emendations touching the 
Lord's Supper. A warm debate instantly sprang up which, 
for a time, threatened to mar the new-born harmony. At 
last, however, it was agreed to adopt, in the definition of the 
Lord's Supper, the words, " the real presence of Christ," and 
to incorporate the entire article of the Confessio Saxonica 
with regard to this sacrament.^^ This vexed question having 
been finally settled, four copies of the Consensus were prepared 
and signed. 

On the next day, Friday, April the fourteenth, the Synod 
met for the last time. The Consensus was read again and 
unanimously adopted ; the members pledging themselves to a 
faithful observance of all its articles. And now were heard, 
on every side, hearty congratulations, earnest prayers, fervent 
thanksgiving and praise. Erasmus Gliczner, remembering 
his recent factiousness, spoke words that had the true ring. 
The fellowship of the Lutherans with the Brethren and the 
Reformed should be close, firm, enduring : the Brethren had 
"always sought the welfare of the Church of God and the 
glory of the Lord :" they and the Lutherans ought to meet, 
ere long, in a special Synod, in order to publicly set a seal 
to the alliance which had been formed. Other divines 
expressed similar sentiments ; the faces of the two Palatines 
were radiant with joy ; this last session grew into a jubilee of 
love and peace. Before the final adjournment was ordered 
the members solemnly pledged each other their right hands ; 
and thus, amidst renewed thanksgiving to God, the Synod of 
Sendomir was brought to a close. 

A few days after Whitsuntide the Synod proposed by 
Gliczner took place at Posen (May the twentieth). There 
were present several magnates and a large number of divines, 
including Bishop Israel, John Lorenz, Turnovius, Erasmus 
and Nicholas Gliczner. Twenty articles, supplementary to 

*^ The Confessio Saxonica was presented, by the Lutherans, to the Council 
of Trent, in 1551. 


the Consensus Sendomirensis, were reported. While this 
report was under discussion, the people gathered in front of 
the hall where the Synod was sitting, anxious to learn the 
issue; and as soon as the articles had been adopted and 
signed, Erasmus Gliczner opened the door and announced 
this result.^^ Then raising, by a common impulse, the 
Ambrosian Te Deum, the members of the Synod stood up, 
the Lutherans advancing to meet the Brethren, the Brethren 
advancing to meet the Lutherans, and both grasping each 
others' hands with fervent love. The people without looked 
on, deeply aifected, and joined in the hymn. 

But a still more memorable and solemn evidence of this 
fellowship w^as given. In the morning of the first Sunday 
after Trinity (May the twenty-eighth), the Brethren moved, 
in procession, from their church, in the suburbs of St. 
Adalbert, to the Lutheran church, in the Gorka palace, on 
Water Street. At the portal they were welcomed by the 
Lutherans, and then the two congregations united in a 
common worship of God ; John Lorenz preaching in Polish, 
and Balthasar Eichner in German, and both wearing the 
gown. In the afternoon the Lutherans formed a procession 
and proceeded from their church to that of the Brethren, 
where a second union service took place, Nicholas Gliczner 
preaching in Polish, and Abraham Abdel in German, both with- 
out the gown. At the close the Te Deum was once more sung. 

The Consensus Sendomiriensis, to which a seal was thus 
publicly set, reads as follows :^^ 

" These articles were very important, inasmuch as they carried the 
alliance into practice, especially at such places where both the Brethren 
and the Lutherans had established themselves; providing rules for the 
mutual relations of the members and ministers, for communing in each 
others' churches, for the exercise of discipline by one Church, without any 
interference on the part of the others, etc. The document containing these 
articles is found in Jablonski's Hist. Send., pp. 195-200, bearing the title : 
Consignatio observationum necessarium ad confirmandum mutuum 
Consensnm, etc. For a German version compare LuKaszewicz, pp. 84-86. 

" The Consensus was originally written in Latin and translated into 
Polish. It was frequently published. In 1586 Erasmus Gliczner. John 


Consensus in the chief Articles of the Christian Religion betiveen 
the Churches of Great and Little Poland, Russia, Lithuania 
and Samogitia, which, in view of the Augsburg Confession, the 
Confession of the Bohemian Brethren and the Helvetic Confes- 
sion, have in some measure appeared to differ from each other. 
Adopted at the Synod of Sendomir, in the year of our Lord 
1570, on the fourteenth of April. 

After long and frequent disputes with the sectarian Tritheists, 
Ebionites and Anabaptists,^* and after having at last been deliv- 
ered, by the grace of God, from such great and lamentable con- 
troversies, the Polish reformed and orthodox churches, which, 
according to the assertions of the enemies of the Truth and of 
the Gospel, seemed not to agree in some points and formulas of 
doctrine, have thought proper, induced by love of peace and 
concord, to convene a Synod and to testify to a complete and 
mutual agreement. We have, therefore, held a friendly and 
Christian conference and have established, with united hearts, 
the following points : 

First, Not only we who have presented our Confession of Faith 
to this Synod,^^ but also the Bohemian Brethren have always 
believed, that the adherents of the Augsburg Confession teach 
nothing but pious and orthodox doctrines with regard to God, 
the Holy Trinity, the incarnation of the vSon of God, justification 
and other fundamental articles of faith. In the same way the 
followers of the Augsburg Confession have honestly testified, 
that they do not find in the Confession of our churches, or in 
that of the Bohemian Brethren, whom some ignorant men call 
Waldenses, any doctrines with regard to God, the Holy Trinity, 
the incarnation of the Son of God, justification and other funda- 
mental articles of faith, at variance with orthodox truth and the 
pure Word of God. We have, therefore, mutually and solemnly 
promised each other, that we will, with united strength and 
according to the dictates of the Divine Word, defend this our 
Consensus, embracing as it does the pure and true Christian faith, 
against Papists, Sectaries and all other enemies of the Gospel and 
of the Truth. 

Lorenz and Paul Gilovius conjointly edited the document; in 1592 
Turnovius issued a new edition with the Polish version appended. The 
original is found in the Appendix to Camerarii Hist. Narratio de Frat. 
Ecc, pp. 9-16 ; Jablonski's Hist. Con. Send. p. 189, etc.; Niemeyer's Conf., 
p. 553, etc.; German translations are given in Fischer's Lukaszewicz, p. 75, 
etc.; Fisher's Kef. in Polen, I. pp. 164, etc.; Croeger, II. p. 45, etc.; and an 
English version appears in Krasinski, I. p. 383, etc. This English version 
is, however, so faulty as to be often almost unintelligible. 

** A name for the Antitrinitarians. 

'^ The Eeformed are meant. 


Next, in so far as the unhappy controversy about the Lord's 
Supper is concerned, we have agreed to hold fast to the meaning, 
of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, as these have been properly 
interpreted by the Church Fathers, and by Irenaeus in particular, 
who says that this mystery consists of two things, the one earthly 
and the other heavenly. We do not assert that the elements 
only, therefore mere empty symbols, are present, but teach that 
these elements, at the same time and in fact, give to the believer 
and impart to him through faith that which they signify. To 
speak more plainly, we have agreed to believe and confess, that 
they do not only signify the substantial presence of Christ, but 
that to those who partake of the Communion the body and blood 
of the Lord are in it represented, distributed and given, inasmuch 
as the symbols come to be the thing itself, and consequently, 
according to the nature of the sacraments, are not mere symbols. 
In order, however, that different modes of expressing this truth 
may not lead to new controversies, we have thought proper to 
accept, besides the article contained in our own Confession, that 
article with regard to the Lord's Supper which is found in the 
Confession of the Saxon Churches as laid, in 1551, before the 
Council of Trent. To this article we mutually consent. Its 
words are the following : 

" Baptism and the Lord's Supper are pledges and testimonials 
of grace, which remind us of the promises and of the entire work 
of redemption, showing that the benefits of the Gospel belong to 
all those who make use of these rites," etc. 

Further : " No one is admitted to the Lord's Supper who has 
not been examined and absolved by his pastor, or his pastor's 
assistant. At such examinations the ignorant are questioned 
with regard to and instructed in Christian faith generally, 
whereupon the forgiveness of sins is announced to them. We 
likewise teach men that the sacraments are rites instituted by 
God, and that, unless used as instituted by Him, they do not in 
themselves constitute sacraments; but that in the use of the 
Communion as instituted by the Lord, Christ is really and 
substantially (vere et substantial iter) present, and Christ's body 
and blood are distributed to the communicants; and further, 
that Christ testifies that He is in them and makes them His 
members and has washed them with His blood." In short all 
the words of this article. 

We have also thought that it would serve to establish this our 
mutual and holy Consensus, if, even as the (Lutheran brethren) 
have pronounced us and our churches and our Confession, com- 
municated at this Synod, as also the Confession of the Bohemian 
Brethren, orthodox, we, on our part, show their (Lutheran) 
churches the same Christian love and pronounce them orthodox. 
We will put an end to and bury in perpetual silence all those 
controversies, strifes and differences by which the progress of the 


Gospel has been hindered, grave offence given to many pious 
souls, and an opportunity to our enemies grievously to malign us 
and oppose our true aud Christian faith. We rather pledge 
ourselves to promote jjeace and public tranquility, to show love 
one to another, and with united hearts, agreeably to our fraternal 
union, to strive to build up the Church. 

At the same time we further pledge ourselves zealously to 
persuade and invite our brethren, to accept and sustain and 
further and strengthen this our Christian aud unanimous Con- 
sensus, especially through the hearing of the Divine Word and 
the use of the sacraments in each other's churches, but in such a 
way that the rules of discipline and the ritual of each church be 
observed. For our present agreement and union leave the ritual 
and ceremonies of each church free. It is not essential what 
ritual is used, if only the doctrine and the foundation of our 
faith and of salvation remain pure and orthodox. This the 
Augsburg and Saxon Confessions teach, and we have said the 
same thing in our Confession, presented at this Synod. We 
therefore promise to assist each other mutually with good advice 
and the works of love, and to do our utmost, as members of one 
body, to preserve and promote the growth of the pious, orthodox, 
reformed (Protestant) Church throughout the whole kingdom as 
also in Lithuania and Samogitia. If these (the churches in 
Lithuania and Samogitia) resolve to convene General Synods, 
they are to inform us, and are not to decline appearing at our 
Synods, if they are invited and their presence seems necessary. 
In order to give to this our Consensus and union the proper 
stability, we believe that it will tend to the maintenance of our 
brotherly fellowship, if we meet somewhere and deduce from our 
several Confessions of Faith a short compendium of doctrine — 
the wickedness of the enemies of the Truth constrains us to this 
— so that, to the comfort of the godly, we may silence men that 
are inimically disposed. This we will do in the name of all the 
reformed (Protestant) churches of Poland, Lithuania and 
Samogitia which are in harmony with our Confession of Faith. 

We have mutually pledged each other the right hand of 
fellowship and solemnly promised to live at peace, to further 
peace more and more, to avoid all occasions for strife. And 
now, finally, we covenant together not to seek our own interests, 
but as becometh true servants of God, to promote the glory of 
our Saviour Jesus Christ alone, and both by precept and by 
works, to spread the truth of the Gospel. 

And in order that all this may be auspiciously kept and 
remain firm and unalterable, we fervently pray God, the Father, 
the author and rich source of all comfort and peace, who has 
snatched us and our churches from the thick darkness of the 
papacy and given them the pure and holy light of His truth, to 
bless the peace, the Consensus and the union which we have 


established, to the glory of His name and the building up of His 
Church. Amen. 

There are appended twenty-two signatures, to which those 
of Bishop George Israel and John Lorenz were added, on the 
occasion of the Synod at Posen ; then follows a passage of 
Scripture, thus : 

Psalm 133. 
"Behold hoiv good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell 
together in unity /" 

This document and the confederate union of which it was 
the pledge, excited universal attention but by no means 
common approval. While the Polish Protestants rejoiced 
and the Brethren of Bohemia shared their joy and the Re- 
formed of Switzerland were satisfied, the German Lutherans 
expressed indignation and the Roman Catholics gave full 
scope to their ridicule.^^ 

It is true that the results of the alliance were not, in all 
respects, those which had been anticipated. The King of 
Poland did not join the Protestants; the power of the 
Catholics was not broken; it rather increased through the 
Jesuits who were called to the rescue and who, in course of 
time, subjected the evangelical party to oppressions so constant 
and severe that they were equivalent to a counter-reformation. 
It is true, too, that political motives, at least on the part of 
the magnates, had much to do with the union ; that it was 
not permanent ; that it saved the Polish nation neither from 
internal nor from external ruin. But in spite of all this, 
the Sendomirian alliance will ever be memorable and excite 
the admiration of Christians in so far as they reach forth 
beyond the narrow bounds of denominational exclusivism and 
pray and labor for " the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of 
peace." It formed a green spot in that desert of the religious 
world which the hot winds of controversy had produced. It 

'® There were exceptions among the Lutherans. Major, in a letter to 
John Lorenz, written on 'the sixth of May, 1571, speaks in the highest 
terms of the Consensus. 


exercised an influence even after the most of its supporters 
had fallen off, and continued to operate indirectly even when 
it had ceased to exists It showed, especially by its Con- 
signatio adopted at Posen, in what way Protestants may retain 
their several creeds and peculiarities, and yet be practically 
united. It was far more than the Evangelical Alliance of 
our day. It constituted, we venture to hope, a presage of 
what is yet to come. 

^"^ " Unsern Theils," says Fischer, " sind wir der Ansicht, diese polnische 
Confession sei ein herrliclies Denkmal des iichten, christlichen heiligen 
Geistes, und wurde sicher reichen Segen gebracht haben, wenn man sie eine 
lebendige Wahrheit hiitte werden lassen." (I. p. 180.) Schaff says : " The 
spirit of union which produced it (the Consensus) passed into the three 
Brandenburg Confessions of the seventeenth century, and revived in the 
Evangelical Union of Prussia." Creeds of Christendom, I. p. 588. 



The Bohemian and Moravian Branch of the Unitas Fratrum 

in the Reign of Maximilian the Second. 

A. D. 1564-1576. 

The political and religious condition of Bohemia and Moravia. — Maxi- 
milian's Course. — Doctor Crato.^Petitions presented to Maximilian. — 
His vacillating Course. — Abrogation of the Compactata. — ^Relation of 
the Unity to the Augustana. — Change in the Executive Council. — 
Edict against the Brethren. — Augusta's Dispute with the Council. — His 
Plan of a Union with the Lutheran Utraquists. — Petition for tlie 
Eecognition of the Augustana. — Crato and the Confession of the 
Brethren. — Bishops appointed. — Death of Blahoslaw and Augusta. — 
A new Confession of Faith. — Discipline urged by the Synod. — The 
Bohemian Confession of 1575. — Death of Maximilian. 

The sceptre as inherited by Maximilian the Second was 
the badge of a more real authority than at the time when it 
was put into the hands of his father. Ferdinand's life-long 
purpose to rescue it from that insignificance into which the 
House of Jagellon had allowed it to shrink, was in part 
successful. The power of the nobles, excej)t in comparatively 
unimportant respects, continued the same; but the cities were 
shorn of their independence and their wealth enriched the 
royal coffers. Moreover the right to convene the Diet now 
belonged exclusively to the King, upon whose good will the 
Lower House depended, and thus became a means in his 
hands to counteract the influence of the Upper.^ Legislation, 

' There were three estates in the Diet — the barons, the knights and the 
cities. The barons and knights formed the Upper House, which held its 
sittings in the Castle ; the representatives of the cities the Lower House, 
which convened in the Council-House of the Altstadt. 


too, was in the main confined to such business as the Govern- 
ment brought forward ; but no act could become a law until 
it had been accepted by a majority of the three estates. At 
joint meetings of the Houses, each estate voted separately. 
The condition of the peasants remained unchanged. They 
groaned helplessly under the increasing burdens of their 
serfdom and the tyranny practiced by their overseers. 

In a religious aspect Bohemia and Moravia reaped no 
benefits from the reign of Ferdinand. He left his own 
church in a state of confusion. Its membership, at the time 
of his death, embraced but one-third of the population. The 
new Archbishop of Prague, who had been appointed through 
his agency, soon found that a hard task had been given him.^ 
He was to rebuild that structure whose walls had, for years, 
been crumbling ; and yet his priests were insubordinate, their 
number was insufficient, they were driven from their parishes 
by unfriendly lords, and wandered through the country idle 
and homeless. Nor could he expect aid from the monasteries. 
These were rapidly declining. Some of them numbered only 
two or three monks. Here and there a convent could be 
found in which lingered but a single recluse. Nor did the 
freedom of the cup, granted by Pius the Fourth, shortly prior 
to Ferdinand's decease, strengthen the hands of the Arch- 
bishop. He was dismayed to see that this concession but 
increased the number of Catholics who became unfaithful to 
their Church.^ The only hopeful sign to which he could 
point was the work of the Jesuits. 

The National Church, embracing another third of the 
population, had not changed its character. It was Utraquist 
in name only. The Compactata had become an antiquarian 

^ Anton Bruss von Miiglitz, appointed January the twelfth, 1562, after 
the archiepiscopal see had been vacant for one hundred and forty years. 

' Ferdinand imagining that the freedom of the cup would help to restore 
the power of the Roman Catholic Church, strenuously urged the Council 
of Trent to make this concession. The Council left the decision to the 
Pope who granted the cup to Bohemia and Moravia and to several other 
dioceses (1564). 


relic. For every genuine Utraquist priest there were twenty 
who, openly or in secret, professed what they called Luther- 
anism. Many of them were married ; no longer celebrated 
mass ; refused to institute religious processions ; and dropped 
other ceremonies. But there existed no common basis of 
doctrine or practice among those who had thus broken with 
the past. They were unfit to administer their holy office. 
They lived as they pleased, taught what they pleased, and 
emancipated themselves from all authority except that of 
their patrons.^ The relations of the Utraquist Consistory to 
the Archbishop increased the prevailing disorder. 

The Anabaptists, in spite of frequent persecutions, were 
prospering. Their industrial pursuits, for which they became 
celebrated, won the good will of powerful families among the 
nobility; and when Maximilian, expressing his surprise that 
they had not been extirpated in his father's time and casting 
his tolerance to the winds, proposed to drive them out of the 
country, the Upper House of the Diet protested against such 
a measure as destructive to the interests of the kingdom. 
Hence they were allowed to remain, but loaded with taxes.* 

The only Church that brought Bohemia and Moravia the 
Gospel in the fullness of its promises, was the Brethren's 
Unity which Ferdinand had persistently endeavored to sup- 

* In L. F., IX. p. 108, cited by Gindely, Blahoslaw gives the following 
account of such priests : " They lay hold of Luther's books and boast of the 
Gospel which they preach, but they are wholly godless men and do all 
possible things for the sake of gain. There is no order among them, they 
lead unworthy lives, and resemble the genuine Lutherans only in this, that 
they take unto themselves wives." In a letter to Hubert Lanquetus, Saxon 
ambassador at the court of Vienna, written in 1570, he expresses himself in 
a similar way, adding that it is hard to find only a small number holding 
the same doctrines, and that criminals sometimes have themselves ordained 
to escape punishment. Letter in Quellen, pp. 292 and 293. 

* This sect, which numbered seventy communities in Moravia, was 
divided into three factions ; the Communists, who kept up a community of 
goods, the Gabrielites, and the Sabbatarians. It is said of the Anabaptists, 
that they were the best farmers, raised the best cattle, had the best vine- 
yards, brewed the best beer, owned the best flour mills, and engaged, on a 
large scale, in almost every kind of trade known in their day. 


press. But it had again outlived in Bohemia every blow 
aimed at its existence; while in Moravia its peace and pros- 
perity had remained unbroken. The complete organization 
of the Brethren, their scriptural discipline, the close fellow- 
ship which existed among them, their simple doctrines, and 
especially their independent government, gave them power 
and a peculiar influence. In no wise was their Church 
connected with the state. Its government was wholly eccle- 
siastical. Nobles took no official part in the direction of its 
affairs, and did not, in the capacity of patrons, appoint priests 
to parishes on their domains, as was the case both among the 
Catholics and Utraquists. Such an absolute separation of 
the church from the. state was unknown even among other 
Protestants. It constituted the first exemplification of that 
polity which has been crowned with the greatest success in 
our own country, producing a religious development almost 

The accession of Maximilian to the throne awakened the 
liveliest interest both among Protestants and Catholics. 
Would he fulfill the hopes which many entertained and come 
out openly on the side of the former ? The Elector Frederick 
the Third of the Palatinate ^vrote to him and urged him to 
take this step ; a codicil in his father's will solemnly warned 
him against it. Maximilian adopted a course of his own. He 
remained a Catholic, but tolerated the Protestants. It was his 
aim to stand above both these religious parties. To rule over 
the consciences of men, he said, was attempting to ascend the 
throne of God.'^ At the same time he soon found that it was 

* How clearly enlightened theologians recognized the prerogative which 
the Unitas Fratrum, in this respect, enjoyed, is evident from a letter 
written, in 1574, by Caspar Olevianus to Bishop Stephan. Quellen, pp. 
398 and 399, taken from L. F., XII. It is a remarkable fact that in its 
Bohemian missionary work the Unitas Fratrum still enjoys this prerogative. 
It has recently been acknowledged by the Austrian Government, but is 
wholly independent ; whereas the two other recognized Protestant 
Churches, the Lutheran and Reformed, stand under a Church Council 
appointed by the Emperor and receive assistance from the state. 

' Schlesinger, p. 453. Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XXXIX. 2. 


easier for a Roman Catholic monarch to be tolerant in theory 
than in practice. He could not disregard the Pope or set 
aside his connection with the Spanish court.® Hence his 
policy vacillated and he exposed himself to the charge of 
gross inconsistencies. Such was especially the case in his 
treatment of the Brethren. During the life-time of his 
father he had made them fair promises ; whether these would 
now be fulfilled, time would show. 

The Brethren were not slow in giving him an opportunity 
to redeem his word. A petition, praying for protection, was 
drawn up, together with a revised German version of the 
Confession of 1535. This latter work was prepared by Peter 
Herbert and corrected by Doctor Crato.^ 

John Crato von Crafftheim, born at Breslau, on the 
twentieth of November, 1519, belonged to the celebrities of 
his age. While a student at the Univ^ersity of Wittenberg 
he lodged in Luther's house and daily sat at his table.^*^ 
Luther esteemed him very highly and tried to induce him to 
study theology ; but he preferred the medical profession for 
which he prepared at Leipzig and Padua. In this profession 
he became so distinguished that he was appointed physician 
to the Emperor Ferdinand and, after his death, continued to 
serve Maximilian in the same capacity. Crato took a deep 
and active interest in the affairs of the Protestant Church. 
For the Brethren he conceived a hio;h regard." 

Barons Wenzel Slusky von Chlum and Joachim Prosti- 
borsky were appointed to present to Maximilian the papers 
which had been prepared. Accompanied by Peter Herbert these 
noblemen proceeded to Vienna and were granted an audience 

^ Maximilian's wife was the sister of Philip the Second, of Spain, and 
Philip's wife, Maximilian's daughter. 

9 L. F., p. 217, and XII. p. 272, cited by Gindely, II. p. 465, Note 37. 

'" Crato committed to writing the conversations which Luther carried 
on at table, and this MS. became the basis of John Goldschmidt's, or 
Aurifaber's, well-known work entitled " Luther's Tischreden." 

" Of his connection with the Brethren numerous letters in the L. F., 
reproduced in Quellen, pp. 388, etc., give ample evidence. 


(1564). Prostiborsky after having briefly recited its contents, 
delivered the petition. The Emperor expressed his regret that 
not all the nobles of the Unity had signed the document ; 
Prostiborsky replied, that they would present themselves, in a 
body, whenever his Majesty would come to the Diet at Prague. 
Thereupon he delivered the Confession. Maximilian accepted 
both these papers and promised to answer the petition in due 
time. For the fulfillment of this promise the Brethren 
anxiously waited, but waited in vain. No answer was given. 
That their effort to gain the goodwill of the new monarch 
had thus failed, they ascribed to the timidity of those nobles 
who had excused themselves from signing the petition. The 
Church, it was said, had not confessed tlie Lord ; therefore 
the Lord had not confessed the Church .^^ 

In the following year (1565), when Vienna was full of 
prominent dignitaries in church and state, who had come to 
grace the removal of Ferdinand's remains to Bohemia, 
and many of whom were enemies of the Brethren, another 
deputation, contrary to the earnest advice of Blahoslaw, 
appeared before Maximilian, reminded him of his promise 
and presented a new petition, asking that that status of the 
Unity which had existed prior to 1547, might be restored. 
Four days after the presentation of this paper, the deputies 
received, through the Chancellor, a reply pointing them to the 
decrees which were on record against their Church, which the 
lafe Emperor had issued and which the Diet had sanctioned. 
This reply was as ominous as it was unexpected. But no perse- 
cution followed, and the alarm of the Brethren soon subsided. 

Maximilian's course, however, continued to be inexplicable. 
In 1566, in response to the appeal of seventy Brethren of 
Pardubitz, exiled by the Archduke Ferdinand for reintro- 
ducing public worship in their chapel, he annulled the decree 
of banishment and permitted them to return to their homes. 
But in the following September, when Bishop Augusta, in 
conjunction with several nobles, sent him a new petition, 

12 Czerwenka, on the strength of a Bohemian MS., in L. F., IX, cited by 

Gindely in his Notes. 


praying that all enactments against the Unity might be 
revoked, he caused the decision issued by the Chancellor, in 
the previous year, to be affirmed. And yet, only two mouths 
later, in November, he accepted with great good-will a copy 
of the new German Hymual which, by the advice of Crato, 
had been dedicated to him ; assuring the barons who 
presented it, that if the Brethren would continue in their 
allegiance, he would be their gracious king.^^ And it seemed. 
indeed as if his policy with regard both to them and his 
Protestant subjects generally were settled. For at the Diet 
which convened at Prague, on the third of March, 1567, he 
sanctioned the abrogation of the Compactata, which had so 
long been an obstacle in the way of a legal recognition of the 
evangelical faith, and interposed no objections when the states 
resolved that, while heretical sects should be suppressed, 
religious liberty should be granted to all Christians whose 
belief centered in the Bible. 

One of the Moravian parishes of the Brethren was on the 
domain of Letowic, recently purchased by the Counts 
Hardegg. These Counts were Lutherans and unwilling to 
tolerate any confession except their own. Serious difficulties 
thus arose, in consequence of which the Executive Council, 
in 1565, defined the relation of the Unity to the Augustana. 
There are, it was said, differences between the Augustana and 
the Confession of the Brethren ; the Brethren will therefore 
hold to their own doctrinal standards, but at the same time 
acknowledge the many truly evangelical points which the 
Lutheran Confession sets forth.^* And now, on the occasion 

" In the dedication the Brethren expressed their hope and the hope of 
all the godly, that Maximilian would bring about a general reformation of 
the Church ; that he would take courage from the example set by David, 
Jehoshaphat, Josiah, Constantine, and Theodosius; and that he would 
apply to such an end the talents given him of Grod. 

1* Dekrete d. B. U., p. 217, etc., cited by Czerwenka. The Brethren were 
eventually forced to relinquish their parish at Letowic to the Lutherans. 
The Counts appealed to the University of Wittenberg and caused the 
Brethren no little trouble. It was the old cry: if they acknowledge the 
Augustana, why do they keep up a separate organization ? 


of the Synod which, as we have said in another connection, 
regulated the course of the Unity in regard to the Protestants 
of Poland, it was resolved to render the form of government 
among the Brethren more intelligible to other churches. 
These misunderstood the character of the Executive Council : 
inimically disposed persons even said that the Brethren were 
ruled by "a many-headed monster." Hence, instead of the 
official signature — "The Seniors, or Bishops, in conjunction 
with the Executive Council" — appended to the canons and 
other documents, the following new signature was agreed on : 
"The Seniors (Bishops) of the Unity," (June, 1567). In 
consequence of this change the members of the Council re- 
ceived the title of Conseniors, that is, Assistant Bishops, and 
their ordination as such was, in all probability, now 

In the Spring of 1568 Nikodem brought from Vienna 
news which strengthened the Brethren in the hope that they 
had permanently won the Emperor's favor ; for he had said 
to Crato, who was advocating their cause : " The Waldensian 
Brethren may enjoy their faith in peace; let them be patient ; 
all will be well." ^^ But on the twenty-ninth of October, of 
the same year, they were confounded by the publication of an 
imperial decree — which, however, remained a dead letter — 
ordering their chapels to be closed in accordance with the 
edict of St. James.^^ 

'^ That the members of the Council were formally ordained Assistant 
Bishops, we have shown in Chap. XXIII, p. 214, in accordance with that 
section of the Katio Discipline which treats of their ordination (R. D. p. 
28) ; and that all priests who were elected to this body subsequent to the 
Synod of 1567, received such ordination is implied by Jaffet, S. G., II. p. 
21, etc. It does not appear, however, that any were actually ordained at 
that Synod ; we rather suppose that the Synod merely resolved to introduce 
such an ordination. 

1® Nikodem went to Vienna in order to consult Doctor Crato with regard 
to Blahoslaw's failing health. 

" The Hist. Persecutionum, Cap. XXXIX, 4, relates that, in 1565, 
Maximilian, much against his will, was persuaded by Joachim von 
Neuhaus, the Chancellor of Bohemia, to renew the edict of St. James in all 
its parts, but that this nobleman, togetlier with the greater part of his 


No less mysterious was the Emperor's course toward the 
Catholics. When the Archbishop, agreeably to an enactment 
of the Council of Trent, was about calling together a 
Bohemian Synod, Maximilian interfered and forbade the 

After his reconciliation with his colleagues Bishop Augusta 
devoted himself to official visits in the Moravian and Bohe- 
mian parishes, and on one occasion proceeded as far as Poland. 
About the year 1569 he was again involved in differences 
with the Executive Council. He proposed to give up the old 
pericopes and to substitute the articles of the Apostles' Creed 
as the basis of the Sunday sermons. With such an end in 
view he rewrote the work which he had composed in prison, 
and produced a series of discourses for the whole ecclesiastical 
year. This book, which he called Sumovnik, or Summarium, 
was to serve the parish priests as a manual. Instead of 
accepting it, the Synod of 1567 resolved to retain the peri- 
copes. Augusta was greatly disappointed; and when the 
Council, to which his work had been referred, took no further 
notice of it, he determined to publish it on his own responsi- 
bility. Such an undertaking was contrary to the rules of the 
Unity. On the first of September, 1570, the Council held a 
special meeting at Jungbunzlau and adopted a paper formally 
remonstrating with the aged Bishop. This paper, while 
assuring him that his colleagues regarded him as children 
regard a father, besought him to relinquish his purpose and 
come to an understanding with them ; warned him that, if he 

retinue, was drowned in the Danube, bv the breaking of the bridge at 
Vienna, as he was about returning to Bohemia, and the decree of renewal 
lost. This narrative lacks authority. Cotnp. Czerwenka, II, p. 401, Note. 
'^ Maximilian did not prevent the meeting of such a Synod in Moravia. 
It was convened by the Bishop of Olmutz, on the tenth of May, 1568, in 
spite of the opposition of many Moravian nobles, and held its sittings, which 
were public, in the cathedral of that town. Nikodem was present and 
refused to kneel at the elevation of the host. He was commended for his 
fearlessness by some of the Bishop's own retinue. We agree with Gindely 
in saying, that he did not deserve commendation. He should have left the 
church when the celebration of the mass beeran. 


persisted- in his course of action, he alone would have to bear 
the consequences; and entreated him to be more careful in 
his conduct over against the Government/^ Although the 
result is not known, it is more than probable that he listened 
to these expostulations ; for no such work as the Summarium 
is extant, and no further complaints were made by the Council. 
In the same year Augusta wrote another treatise, called 
"The Reformation." It set forth the idea which he had 
conceived of a union between the Brethren and the Lutheran 
Utraquists, under a common church-government. For reasons 
of his own, Martin von Melnik, the Administrator of the 
Consistory,^'' entered upon this project in so far as to begin 
negotiations with Augusta. The Bishop ardently responded 
to this overture and, in imagination, saw himself occupying 
a seat in the body which was to govern the united Church. 
But no sooner did Martin recognize the impossibility of 
carrying out his own plans than he dropped all further 
connection with Augusta. That the Bishop's inborn ambi- 
tion, which even old age could not quench, was again aroused, 
is no doubt correct ; but that he was also incited by higher 
motives, can scarcely be questioned. His project grew out of 
the Sendomirian union, which was awakening general interest 
in Bohemia. He beheld the religious confusion of that 
country, and believed that it, as well as Poland, would reap 
rich benefits from a religious confederation. The other 
Bishops did not share his views. Blahoslaw, as on many 
previous occasions, was his chief opponent. After Augusta's 
death, when discussions with regard to a common evangelical 
Confession were going on in the Diet, his work on "The 
Reformation " was much spoken of, and its plan of union 
found supporters." 

" Dekrete d. B. IT., p. 226, etc., cited by Czerwenka. 

*° Mistopol, who had filled this office for many years, died in 1568. 

*i Gindely, II, p. 133. We disagree with Gindely's, but especially with 
Czerwenka's extreme views regarding Augusta. Czerwenka seems almost 
to take pleasure in presenting him in as unfavorable a light as possible, and 
makes him out to have been, after his liberation from Piirglitz, a mere 


On the occasion of the Diet which opened at Prague on 
the thirtieth of April, 1571, the Lutheran Utraquist states 
petitioned Maximilian to recognize in Bohemia the Augsburg 
Confession, as he had recognized it in Austria, and allow the 
institution of a Lutheran Consistory. Both the Utraquist 
Consistory and the Archbishop protested against such a 
concession, and it was refused. Nor did a second and very 
urgent appeal induce the Emperor to change his mind. 
From these negotiations the Brethren stood aloof; but now 
they were drawn into an unexpected controversy. 

Soon after the adjournment of the Diet, Crato, who seems 
not to have been in communion with any church, although he 
inclined to the Reformed,-^ published an open letter recom- 
mending the Augustana as a common Confession for 
Protestants, and advising the Brethren to adopt it in place 
of their own, but to retain their discipline."^ This letter 
caused great excitement. Blahoslaw was indignant. He 
wrote a sharp reply, drew up an opinion which he sent to his 
priests, and visited Kromau, where Crato was staying, in 
order to consult with him in person. The nobles of the 
Unity were no less wrought up, and the Council issued an 
official answer. There exists no reason whatever, so said 

troubler in Israel, selfish, headstrong and overbearing. A carefal study of 
the sources, which are, moreover, insufficient, does not, it appears to us, 
warrant such conclusions, particularly when the fact is taken into consid- 
eration that these sources, for the most part, proceed from Blahoslaw who, 
in the very nature of the case, could not be an impartial witness. For the 
way in which Czerwenka, II. p. 412, represents Augasta's plan of union 
with the Lutheran Utraquists — as though he meant individually to forsake 
the Unity and go over to the Utraquists in order to revenge himself on the 
Council — there is no excuse. It is hard to understand how so careful a 
historian as Czerwenka could allow so gross an error to stand, especially 
when we find that, on page 447, he speaks of Augusta's project as "a union 
of the Utraquists with the Brethren under a common church-government " 
and therefore contradicts himself. 

'^ Blahoslaw says of him : " He asserts that he belongs to the old Church, 
which means, I suppose, that he holds with those who are no longer living. 
He stands like a solitary tree in the wilderness." Gindely, II, p. 67. 

^ Letter in Quellen, p. 374, taken from L. F., p. 63, etc. 


this paper, why the Brethren should depart from the faith of 
their fathers ; their Confession is older than any other and its 
importance has been generally acknowledged; in point of 
doctrine and discipline it contains what can be found in no 
other Confession.^* Crato did not allow these dilFerences to 
interfere with his friendship for the Unity. 

It now became necessary to fill up the ranks of its episcopate. 
John Czerny was asleep in death. " Worthy of being per- 
petually remembered," he finished his course on the fifth of 
February, 1565.^^ Four years later Matthias Cerwenka, 
distinguished for his learning and eloquence, "a diadem in 
the hand of the Unity," was summoned, on the thirteenth of 
December, 1569, from the midst of active work to his 
eternal reward.^® The only Bishops that remained, were 
John Augusta, George Israel and John Blahoslaw. On the 
eleventh of October, 1571, the Synod, which had convened at 
Eibenschiitz, proceeded to an election. Andrew Stephan, 
John Kalef, and John Lorenz were chosen.^ They received 
consecration at the hands of Augusta, Israel and Blahoslaw. 
Thus the true succession was renewed.^ 

Stephan, born about the year 1528 at Prossnitz, ordained 
to the priesthood in 1557, elected to the Council in 1564, was 
a man of extraordinary piety, well versed in theology and 
eloquent as a preacher. He took up his residence at Eiben- 
schiitz and directed the Moravian Province.^^ Kalef, ordained 
to the priesthood in 1555 and elected to the Council in 1567, 

2* Blahoslaw's papers are given in L. F. XII, pp. 67-97 ; the paper of the 
Council in the Dekreten, p. 234, and a free Latin version in Quellen, p. 377, 
with a heading by a later hand. 

2^ Todtenbuch, p. 38. Czerny was very active in collecting the historical 
documents which form the Lissa Folios. 

2« Todtenbuch, p. 42. 

" Dekrete d. B. U., p. 235, cited by Czerwenka. 

'8 JafFet's Sword of Goliath, I, p. 21, R's. Z., pp. 367, 368. 

'* Todtenbuch, p. 64. Stephan assumed the duties of Archivist in 1567, 
when Blahoslaw's health began to fail. Blahoslaw had been constituted 
Cerwenka's assistant as Archivist in 1558. 



had his seat at Jungbunzlau and superintended the Bohemian 
Province. He was "a staunch defender of the Truth of 
God," uncompromising in tlie maintenance of the discipline, 
zealous in founding chapels, and though often severely tried, 
a hero of faith.^ Israel and Lorenz stood at the head of the 
Polish Province. Their seat was at Ostrorog. 

A few weeks subsequent to the consecration of these new 
bishops, Blahoslaw died at Kromau, on the twenty-fourth of 
November. Although only forty-eight years old, ill health 
had prematurely aged him. In the galaxy of the worthies of 
the Church he shines as a star of the first magnitude. His 
sound judgment was a safe-guard for his brethren; his energy 
led them forward, however great the obtacles by which they 
were surrounded ; his reputation as a scholar and author 
enhanced their fame. Of his numerous writings twenty-two 
are known to exist. His style was pure, beautiful and classic. 
He completed that development of the Bohemian language 
which Hus began. " It pleased the Lord," says the Todtenbuch, 
**to remove him far too soon, according to our judgment." ^^ 

In the following year, on the thirteenth of January, 1572> 
Bishop Augusta died at Jungbunzlau, aged seventy-one years. 
A cloud obscured the setting of his sun. The hero of the 
Church had become a burden to his brethren. And yet in 
all their subsequent history his equal is not to be found. We 
mourn over his faults ; we bring a tribute to the greatness of 
his works, to his heroism as a confessor, to the zeal, the 
endurance and the high aims which he infused into the 
Unity. His appearance was striking. He had a lofty brow, 
a brilliant eye, a noble countenance revealing the force of his 
character, and was graced with extraordinary dignity .^^ 

^" Todtenbuch, p. 83. 

*^ Todtenbuch, p. 48. Gindely, II, p. 471, Note 105, gives a list of his 

'^ Gindely, II, p. 73, says : " We do not remember to have seen in any 
Bohemian portrait a more noble expression." There exist two portraits of 
Augusta. The one is in the Archives at Herrnhut ; the other, we presume, 
at Prague. We have engravings of both. Augusta was the author of some 


Prior to the decease of these two leaders, the Bishops had 
determined to issue a Latin version of the Confession presented 
to Maximilian. Various reasons, but particularly the import- 
ance of making the doctrinal standards of the Unity more 
accessible to the theological world, rendered such a work 
desirable. It was to take the place of the Latin Confession 
of 1535 and set forth the faith of the Brethren in its maturity. 
Esrom Riidinger, Professor of Greek and Philosophy in the 
University of Wittenberg,^^ having been engaged as the 
translator, the permission of the Theological Faculty to have 
the work printed in that city,^* as also a testimonial acknowl- 
edging the Confession to be in harmony with the Holy Scrip- 
tures and the Lutheran symbols, was secured. These nego- 
tiations were carried on, in 1571 and 1572, by Isaiah Cepolla.^ 
It was with the utmost difficulty that he persuaded the Faculty 
to accede to the wishes of the Council. The Professors, afraid 
of offending the Saxon court and the extreme party in their 
own Church, at first declined all his overtures. It was only 
after he had sent them a protest, in which, with a master's 
hand, he interwove flattery and menaces, that they reluctantly 
yielded. But the publication of their testimonial they refused 
to permit even now.^^ 

twenty devotional and polemical works, and composed many hymns. The 
charges mentioned by Gindely against his moral character are notoriously 
false, as this historian fully acknowledges (II, p. 72). 

^^ Kiidinger, the son-in-law of Joachim Camerarius, was born at Bamberg, 
March the nineteenth, 1523. Prior to his connection with the University 
he was Eector of the school at Zwickau. 

3* In accordance with the privileges conferred by the Elector of Saxony 
upon the University, no theological work could be issued from a Wittenberg 
press without the sanction of the Theological Faculty. 

^* Peter Herbert was appointed translator, but could not at once begin the 
work and died in 1571 ; thereupon John Aeneas, a student at Wittenberg, 
was intrusted with it; at his suggestion the services of Eudinger were 
secured. Isaiah Cepolla, or Cybulka, a former student at Wittenberg, was 
born at Bystrice, near Pernstein, ordained to the priesthood in 1572, elected 
to the Council in 1577, and died, in his best years, at Kralic, on the twenty- 
fifth of August, 1582. Todtenbuch, p. 70. 

^ The negotiations are given at great length in Quellen, pp. 319-372, 
taken from L. F., XII. 


Riidinger having finished his translation, superintended its 
printing. The work appeared in March, 1573. Under his 
direction the German version was republished in the same 
year, and also at Wittenberg.^'^ In the way of introduction 
are given : Luther's preface to the Confession of 1 535 ; a 
long historical preface, dated December the tenth, 1572, and 
composed by Rudinger, but signed, "The Seniors and Minis- 
ters of the Church of the Brethren, who teach the pure 
doctrine of the Gospel in Bohemia, Moravia and Poland ;" ^ 
and the preface of the nobles to the Confession of 1535. The 
doctrinal part is divided into the following twenty articles : 

1. The Holy Scriptures. They are true, infallible and worthy 
of all belief, having been inspired by the Holy Ghost. 2. The 
Catechism. It is the kernel of, and the key to, the entire Bible. 
8. The Holy Trinity. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, are three distinct persons, but according to their being, 
the one, true, eternal and unsearchable God. 4. Self-knowledge ; 
Sin; and the Promises. The entire human race is depraved: 

'' Of this German version the Malin Library contains two original copies 
No. 810, which must have been printed at different times, although both in 
1573, inasmuch as the type is different and the one does not give the name 
of the printer, which was Johan. Schwertel, while the other omits a part 
of the title. The latter copy is remarkable because of the chain with 
which it is still furnished and by which it was, no doubt, fastened to a 
reading desk in the vestibule of one of the chapels of the Brethren ; subse- 
quently it must have fallen into the hands of an enemy, for its margins are 
filled with remarks, written with a pen and, as far as we can decipher them, 
severely criticising the Unity and its Confessions. Of the Latin Confession 
we have seen no original copy and do not know whether any exists ; it is, 
however, found in Lydius, Tom. II. pp. 95-256, and bears the following 
title : Confessio Fidei et Religionis Christianae, quum sereniss et potentiss- 
Romanorvm, Vngariae et Bohemiae, etc. Eegi Ferdinando, obtulerunt 
Viennae in Austria XIV. Die IX bris, Anno Jesv Christi MDXXXV. 
Barones, et ex nobilitate in regno Bohemia ij. qui puriori doctrinae in pijs 
Ecclesijs, quas communitatem Fratrum Bohemicorum nominant, dediti sunt 
et conjuncti : Quae eadem et Imperatori Maximiliano II. Avg. et Sereniss. 
Regi Poloniae Sigismundo, etc. oblata est : Recognita, et conversa in 
linguam Latinam nova interpretatione, Anno Christi MDLXXIII. Psal. 
CXIX. Loquebar de testimonijs tuis coram Regibus, at non confundebar. 

^* This historical Preface is found also in Camerarius, p. 263, etc., where 
it is entitled : De origine Ecclesiarum Bohemiae, etc., et Confessionibus ab 
iis editis. 


man must learn to know his depravity : redemption comes 
tlirough Christ alone, according to the promises. 5. Eepentajice. 
Having recognized his depravity man must repent : repentance 
is fear of God and His judgment, sorrow for sin, a broken and a 
contrite heart. 6. Christ and Justification. No one can be 
delivered from the bondage of sin and enter the liberty of the 
children of God except through living faith in Jesus Christ, who 
is the Only Begotten Son of the Father but became a man and 
took upon himself human nature: such faith, without any work 
or merit of his own, justifies a man in the sight of God : justifica- 
tion is the forgiveness of sin, deliverance from everlasting 
punishment, an imputing to the believer of the righteousness of 
Christ, acceptance through grace, and the inheritance of eternal 
life: in this doctrine is found the sum of the Gospel. 7. Good 
Works and Christian Life. Such as are justified must, con- 
strained by the Holy Ghost, show their faith by good and pious 
Avorks. 8. The Church. The church militant is the com- 
munion of all Christians : this communion consists of righteous 
and unrighteous, of living and dead members : wherever doctrine 
is preached in all purity, and the sacraments are administered 
according to the institution of Christ, and the members, in the 
unity of the faith and of love, grow up into Christ,— there is the 
true Church : the Brethren do not claim to be exclusively the 
true Church, but they are a part of the true Church. 9. The 
Teachers of the Church. Those that preach the Gospel are 
ambassadors for Christ ; they must be properly ordained : they 
must not be lords over God's heritage, yet the people must obey 
them as having the rule over them : they shall, if possible, earn 
their bread by the labor of their hands. 10. The Word of God. 
The preaching of the Gospel is the true office of grace, instituted 
by Christ himself. 11. The Sacraments. They have been insti- 
tuted by Christ and form the means through which the believer 
is united with Him, so that a spiritual body is produced : the 
mere administration of a sacrament, as an o^ms operatuvi, is 
worthless. 12. Holy Baptism. The outward washing with water 
is a sign and a testimony of the spiritual washing and inner 
cleansing, through the Holy Ghost, from innate depravity and 
other sin to the obtaining of the new birth (ad consequendum 
novum ortum uascendi seu regenerationem): God "washes away 
sin, regenerates man (hominem regenerare), and confers upon 
him salvation." Children also are to be baptized. 13. The 
Lord's Supper. " The bread of the Lord's Supper is the body 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, given for us : in the same manner, the 
cup, or the wine in it, is His blood shed for us for the forgiveness 
of sin : this we believe according to the clear words of Christ, 
when He says ; ' This is my body ; this is my blood :' to these 
certain words, spoken by the Lord Christ, by which He pro- 
claims, testifies and institutes, that the bread is His body, and 


the wine His blood, no one shall add anything, and from them 
no one shall take anything, but every one is bound to believe 
what they say : in order, however, to explain the meaning of 
such faith we teach further, that although the bread is the body 
of Christ, according to His institution, and the wine His blood, 
neither the bread nor the wine changes or loses its nature and 
substance ; but the bread is and remains real bread, and the wine 
real wine : hence this locutio, or manner of speaking — namely, 
the bread is the body, and the wine is the blood of Christ — must 
be understood as a sacramental locutio, signifying that these two 
different things remain what, according to their nature, they are, 
and yet, in view of their sacramental union, also are that which 
they signify and testify ; not by nature and in a natural manner, 
but through the institution and declaration (de institutione atque 
pronunciatione) of Him who instituted this sacrament." 14. The 
Keys of Christ. The power of the keys is based upon the words 
of Christ and has been received by the Church from Him, 
through the Holy Ghost : it is the power to bind and to loose. 
15. Vsages; Ceremonies; and Christian Liberty. Usages and 
ceremonies, although of subordinate importance, are proper for 
the furtherance of the service of the Church : Christian liberty is 
that which proceeds from the forgiveness of sins : therefore all 
such usages and ceremonies as militate against the honor, glory 
and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, are to be avoided. 16. The 
Civil Power. Government has been instituted by God : it must 
abide by His commandments : and the people must obey it in all 
things which are not contrary to the divine law. 17. The Saiiits 
and their Adoration. No one shall adore the saints or their 
pictures : adoration belongs to God alone : but it is proper to 
hold up their lives as an example to the people. 18. Fasting. 
This is an outward act of faith, by which the believer is exercised 
in abstinence. 19. Celibacy; Virginity; and Marriage. It is left 
to the free will of men or women to choose a life of celibacy, or 
of virginity : and no one shall be forced to adopt it : the marriage 
state is holy and well-pleasing to God : yet the Church of the 
Brethren recommends celibacy to its priests, without binding 
them to accept it : any priest may marry, with the consent of the 
Bishops. 20. The Time of Grace. This present life includes 
the time of grace : repentance must not be delayed until old age 
or a sick or dying bed : nevertheless if any one is converted in 
his last hour, he shall receive the consolations of the Gospel. 

The Confession, of which the above is a brief summary, 
was the last and most complete of all the Confessions officially 
issued by the Brethren. It shows the progress which they 
had made in the knowledge of evangelical truth and the 
influence which the Reformation had exercised upon their 


theological system. The Synod, that met on the twentieth of 
September, at Holleschau, while satisfied with Riidinger's 
translation, for which he was liberally paid, expressed its deep 
regret that the testimonial of the Wittenberg Faculty had 
remained in manuscript. Soon afterward the Faculty per- 
mitted its publication.^^ 

The Confession was widely circulated in Bohemia, Ger- 
many and Switzerland. With regard to its merits, opinions 
differed. Peter Codicilluc, the Rector of the University of 
Prague, took great offense at the historical Preface; Beza 
found fault with the article on the Lord's Supper and with 
many other points; Crato severely criticised the celibacy of 
the clergy and certain modes of expression relating to the 
work of Christ ; but Jerome Zanchi, Professor of Theology 
at Heidelberg, Olevianus, Jacob Mylius and Ursinus, ex- 
pressed their unqualified approbation.*'^ 

In their relations to other Protestants, the Brethren were 
beginning to manifest an unfortunate tendency. That they 
continued to fraternize both with the Lutherans and the 
Reformed, was right and in accord with a fundamental 
principle of the Unity. But they went beyond a mere 
fraternization. They sought, perhaps unconsciously, what 
was tantamount to patronage. How eager were they not to 
obtain a testimonial from the Wittenberg Faculty, although 
its glory had departed ! In order to secure such an indorse- 
ment they were willing even to reconstruct their doctrinal 
articles.*^ It is true that the same thing had been done in 
Luther's day. But at that time their theology was still 

'^^ Dekrete d. B. U., p. 240. This testimonial appears in the original 
German edition of the Confession published at Wittenberg in 1573, and 
referred to in Note 37 ; hence the Faculty must, prior to the end of that 
year, have given its permission. 

*° The many letters that passed between Bishop Stephan and the above 
divines, together with other cognate documents, are given in Quellen, pp. 
382-341, taken from L. F., XII. 

*' The article on baptism, and especially that part which related to the 
baptism of children, was changed to suit the views of the Wittenberg 


forming. Now they had reached, both in doctrine and life, a 
maturity which gave them the right to take their own course 
independently of Wittenberg, of Geneva, or of any other 
theological centre. Amidst the disgraceful controversies 
which were in progress, begetting a carnal spirit and a low 
standard of life, they ought to have stretched their wings and 
soared like the eagle. Their true mission was to press 
forward among the Slavonian nations, and shaking oif every 
trammel, to lengthen the cords and strengthen the stakes of 
their Unity. The course which they did pursue, diminished 
its influence and eventually helped to bring about its extinc- 
tion. Zinzendorf forcibly says : " The Bohemian Brethren's 
Church began to decay, not when it grew to be great, but 
when it sought outside unions."*^ 

There was another evil which resulted from such a 
tendency. In attempting to gain the good will both of the 
Lutherans and of the Reformed, the Brethren, at times, 
exposed themselves to the charge of insincerity. 

The practical outcome of their recent negotiations with 
Wittenberg, was — strange to say ! — a growing sympathy not 
with the Lutherans, but with the Reformed. After the 
catastrophe which overtook the University in 1574, such 
sympathy became a marked feature in their history.*^ 

That the Brethren failed to recognize the evil results of the 
policy which has been indicated, was owing, in no small 
degree, to the want of leaders like Luke, Augusta and 
Blahoslaw. True and faithful and superior in learning 
though the later bishops were, they did not guide the helm 
with the skill, the authority, the farsightedness of those 
masters ; whose intercourse with other Protestants, moreover, 
had been of a different character. For what they had 
received, they had given a full equivalent. Of this Augusta's 

" Croeger, II. p. 90, Note. 

*^ In 1574 the Elector of Saxony forcibly suppressed, at the CJniversity 
of Wittenberg, the system of Melanchthon, or Crypto-Calvinism as it was 
called, and treated some of its upholders with great cruelty ; especially 
Peucer, Melanchthon's son-in-law, who was imprisoned for twelve years. 


admonitions to Luther with regard to the discipline, are a 
notable instance. 

It was the discipline which chiefly engaged the attention of 
that Synod at HoUeschau to which we have referred. The 
same subject had been discussed in the previous year, at a 
meeting at Austerlitz (February the twenty-eighth, 1572). 
Cases of immorality had occurred among the nobility and 
too much license had been permitted at weddings. Resolu- 
tions of the strictest kind were therefore adopted, to exercise 
the discipline without fear or favor.^* 

Meantime the Brethren were quietly regaining their former 
status in Bohemia. They prospered even in the capital, under 
the eyes of the Archbishop. In the spring of 1573 this 
prelate lodged formal complaint with the government, that 
their chapel, on Brennten Street, was frequented by " many 
more people than some of the principal churches of the 

Since the accession of the House of Hapsburg to the 
Bohemian throne no Diet was equal in importance to that 
which convened on the twenty-first of February, 1575; and, 
with an occasional recess, continued its labors until the 
twenty-seventh of September, of the same year. Under the 
leadership of Bohuslaw Felix Lobkowitz von Hassenstein, a 
movement was set on foot to unite the Lutheran elements of 
Utraquism into an independent evangelical church. Although 
the Brethren, at first, held themselves aloof from this move- 
ment, it gradually drew them into its current. The Lutheran 
states desired their co-operation. To define their relation to 
the new Church proved, however, a difficult thing. It was 
finally agreed by both parties to insert in the Preface of the 
Confession, prepared by a committee for presentation to the 
Emperor, a passage to the following effect: The Lutheran 
states will not interfere with the religion of their " dear lords 
and friends who call themselves the Brethren's Unity," seeing 

** Dekrete d. B. U., p. 240, cited by Czerwenka. 
« Giadely, II. p. 102. 


that its Confession " in all its chief articles agreeg with the 
Confession of Christian faith herewith presented." ^^ 

This " Bohemian Confession," as it is generally denom- 
inated, was presented to Maximilian on the eighteenth of 
May, 1575. It was written in Bohemian and consisted of 
twenty-five articles, based both upon the Augustana and tlie 
Confession of the Brethren. Its brevity and concise defini- 
tions of doctrine constituted its chief merit. A plan for the 
government of the Bohemian Lutheran Church accompanied 
the document.*^ 

It was not until the twenty-second of August that the 
Emperor returned an answer. He could, so he said, neither 
accept the Confession nor allow the institution of a new 
ecclesiastical government ; he had sworn to be true to the 
Bohemian constitution ; the proposed novelties were not in 
keeping with that constitution. That he assumed such a 
position because the Kings of Spain and France had remon- 
strated with him, and the Pope had threatened to excom- 
municate him, Maximilian privately confessed. But he was 
ill at ease. On the second of September he summoned to an 
audience representatives of the evangelical states, and of his 
own accord declared : that these states had his permission to 

*® " Dass wir sie (dieweil sich ihre Confession in alien vornemsten Haupt- 
aitiokelu, mit dieser unserer ubergebenen Christlichen Glaubensbek;iutiiiss 
vergleicht) iu ihrer Religion nicht zu bedrangen gedeuken." BekUntniss, 
d, h. Christl. Glaubens, aller dreyer Stiind dess Koenigreichs Bohmen, etc., 
1609. Vorrede, fol. 5. Malin Library, No. 747. In the course of the 
negotiations between the Brethren and the Lutherans the former drew up 
an independent petition to the Emperor, but were persuaded not to jjresent 
it. From this document, which was signed by all the Bohemian nobles 
belonging to the Unity and present at the Diet, we obtain an idea of the 
strength and influence of the Brethren about this time. The signatures of 
not less than one hundred and fifty-eight heads of noble houses are 
appended. Seventeen of .the signers were barons and one hundred and 
forty-one knights. Gindely, II. pp. 154—158, who gives the names in full. 

*' The Bohemian Confession was translated into German in the same year 
in which it was presented to the Emperor. Besides the German edition 
cited in Note 46, the Malin Library contains copies of the editions of 1611 
and 1621. A Latin version appeared at Frankfurt, in 1614. (Malin Library, 
No. 302.) This version is found also in Niemeyer's Conf., pp. 819-846. 


elect " Defenders ;" that "he herewith granted them the free 
exercise of their religion ;" that his word was equivalent to a 
written edict ; that he would rather suffer death than be un- 
faithful to that word.*^ Several days later, his son, Rudolph, 
was elected King of Bohemia (September the eleventh). On 
the twenty-second of the same month, after having promised 
to respect the pledge of religious liberty given by his father, 
he was solemnly crowned. 

And now was seen a great change throughout the kingdom. 
Ten Defenders were appointed who began to arrange a system 
of ecclesiastical government ; the Protestant nobles, without 
exception, called to their domains ministers of their own faith ; 
the cities which had Protestant lords did the same ; even the 
royal cities re-organized their parishes ; and in Prague several 
churches passed out of the hands of the Utraquists. On a 
sudden, however, the Emperor issued a decree forbidding the 
publication of the Bohemian Confession, the appointment of 
evangelical ministers in royal cities, and, in accordance with 
the edicts of Uladislaus and Ferdinand, the religious services 
of the Brethren. In vain were the expostulations of Hassen- 
tein and other nobles ; the Emperor remained firm, saying 
that his edict was directed against the Picards, and that in 
the royal cities he was lord. The sky began to darken- 
Distant mutterings were heard of a coming storm. It drew 
nearer at the Diet of the following year. But before it burst, 
the Emperor was overtaken by death. He breathed his last 
at Regensburg, on the twelfth of October, 1576. In Feb- 
ruary, of 1577, his body was conveyed to Prague for burial. 
The obsequies were interrupted by a panic, as unaccountable 
as it was fearful, which dispersed the funeral procession and 
made the city wild with terror. It was said that the Jesuits 
had planned a massacre which was to be the counterpart of 
that of St. Bartholomew. For this report there existed no 

*« Czerwenka, II. p. 472. 

*' A very full and quaint account of this panic is given in the Todtenbuch 
pp. 55, etc. 



The Beginning of Rudolph's Reign. A. D. 1576 to 1580; 

and the Polish Branch of the Unitas Fratrum in the 

first Deoade after the Synod of Sendomir. 

A. D. 1570-1580. 

Religious Liberty and the Jesuits. — Rudolph the Second. — His first Diet. — 
Decline of the Utraquist Consistory. — Rudolph and the Moravian States. 
— Baron Zerotin. — Correspondence with John Casimir of the Palatinate. 
— Death of Bishop Stephan. — Feeling against the Brethren. — Krajek 
excommunicated. — Correspondence with Casimir renewed. — Rokita and 
the Russian Czar. — Death of Sigismund Augustus. — The Pacta Conventa. 
— Union Synod at Cracow. — Synod of the Brethren at Posen. — Corona- 
tion of Henry of Valois. — Stephen Bathori King. — The Jesuits. — Cor- 
respondence of Polish Magnates and Divines with Germany respecting 
a general Convention of all the Protestants of Europe. — Synod atPetrikau. 
— End of the Brethren's Church in East Prussia. — New Bishops. 

At various times, in its past history, Bohemia had beheld 
fleeting visions of religious liberty ; but it was not until the 
Diet of 1575 that such liberty assumed a real existence. It 
is true that this existence depended upon a verbal promise 
and was not formally guaranteed. Nevertheless the events of 
1575 were the sign of an approaching crisis. A crisis was 
inevitable in a kingdom whose sovereign was a Romanist, 
while the majority of his subjects were Protestants. It came 
in 1609, and resulted in the Bohemian charter. Under the 
broad wing of this charter Protestants and Catholics enjoyed 
equal rights, and prosperity would have blessed the realm, if 
it had not harbored the Jesuits. These satraps of Rome 
steadily kept in view her supremacy and the destruction, no 
matter by what means, of everything that she called heresy. 


Hence as soon as Bohemian Protestantism lifted up its head, 
they silently declared war against it ; and never rested until 
by slow but sure degrees they brought on a catastrophe which 
crushed evangelical religion and produced a conflict of arms 
that extended far beyond the bounds of Bohemia, convulsing 
the half of Europe and raging fearfully for thirty years. 

When these commotions burst forth Rudolph the Second, 
Maximilian's son and successor, was no longer living, but his 
reign constituted their seed-time. It was a dark day that saw 
him ascend the throne. Educated at the Spanish court, under 
the eye of Philip the Second and the sinister influences of the 
Jesuits, he grew to be a gloomy, suspicious, irresolute and yet 
self willed man.^ With no strength of mind and no force of 
purpose he undertook to rule a kingdom and an empire, and 
instead of devoting himself to the duties of his high mission, 
manifested in the afiairs of state an indolence that is almost 
incredible, dabbled in astrology and alchemy, collected 
pictures, gems and statues, spent hours in his stables where 
stood the finest horses that money could procure, eschewed 
matrimony for a dissolute life, and became a mere tool in 
the hands of unworthy favorites. 

That he bore such a character was not known when he 
assumed the government. His Protestant subjects trembled 
with apprehension. To what extremes might not his ante- 
cedents lead him? Reared in an atmosphere thick with 
Philip's cruel bigotry, might he not carry out in Bohemia 
what he had learned in Spain ? But the very first Diet which 
he convened (February, 1577), gave unmistakable evidence 
of the weakness of his character. The Protestants took heart ; 
their nobles grew bold; in a short time the power of the 
aristocracy in general was as overweening as it had ever been. 

At the Diet bitter complaints, especially against the Breth- 
ren, were brought forward by the Utraquist Consistory. The 

1 Rudolph was born at Vienna, on the eighteenth of July, 1552 ; in his 
eleventh year he was sent to Spain ; in 1575, soon after he had been elected 
King of Bohemia, he was chosen and crowned Roman King at Regensburg, 
and hence became Emperor on the death of his father. 


position of this body had become pitiful. Its authority was 
acknowledged by but fifteen domains and a few royal cities.^ 
The lame efforts which Rudolph made to come to its assist- 
ance proved fruitless. 

And now he proceeded to Olmiitz in order to assume the 
sovereignty of his Moravian raargraviate.^ Its nobles failed 
not to provide for a continuance of its religious liberty. 
They exacted pledges before acknowledging him as Margrave. 
They humbled the Bishop of Olmiitz who refused to join 
with them in their demands. They interfered when Rudolph, 
on the strength of a decree which he had issued, attempted to 
oppress the Brethren at Gaja, one of the royal towns. 

In these proceedings, John von Zerotin took a prominent 
part. He was a rich and influential baron and a leading 
member of the Brethren's Church. Blahoslaw had been his 
teacher and had made of him a far-sighted statesman and 
an enlightened Christian. His seat was at Namiest, but he 
owned a number of other Moravian and Bohemian domains, 
among the latter Brandeis on the Adler, which continued to 
be one of the centres of the Unity. 

While the Brethren were not affected by the complaints of 
the Utraquist Consistory, they gained notoriety and earned 
ill-will in another way. The attention of the Elector 
Frederick the Third, who had introduced the Reformed 
system into the Palatinate, having been drawn to them, he 
expressed a desire to become acquainted with their standards. 
Bishop Stephan sent him the German and the Bohemian 
Hymnals (1576). But as the Elector died before receiving 
these books, Stephan wrote to the Palatine John Casimir and 
begged him to accept them. In acknowledging this gift 
Casimir suggested to Stephan, that the Brethren should 
appoint delegates to a Reformed Synod at Frankfurt-on-the- 

2 Gindely, IT. p. 236. 

^ As an instance of Kudolph's unwillingness to attend to the affairs of 
state, it is related, that it was only with the greatest difficulty that he 
could be persuaded to go to Olmiitz in order to receive the homage of the 
Moravian nobles. 


Main (1577).^ This Synod was to be an offset to that 
Lutheran convocation near Magdeburg which had produced 
the " Form of Concord," and representatives were expected 
from all the Reformed countries of Europe. The Bishops 
were perplexed. They sympathized with the Reformed, but 
foresaw the odium which the Unity would reap if they 
accepted the invitation. While still undecided as to what 
course they should pursue, Stephan died suddenly at 
Jarmeritz, on the twenty-first of July, 1577.^ This unex- 
pected stroke was reported to Casimir and assigned as a 
reason for declining his request. A second letter, written in 
the same month, set forth the relation of the Brethren to the 
Augustana and the very serious entanglements which their 
presence at a Reformed Synod would bring about.*' In spite 
of the secrecy with which this correspondence had been con- 
ducted, it became known and produced so great a sensation 
that the Council, at a meeting held at Prerau, resolved to 
consult the nobles of the Church in all future negotiations 
with foreign princes. 

The feeling against the Brethren was intensified through a 
notable exercise of discipline at Jungbunzlau. Baron Adam 
von Krajek took part in a dance and became intoxicated; 
and Kreszentia, a young Baroness of the same family, fell 
into gross sin with one of her own servants. Both these 
offenders were publicly excommunicated by Bishop Kalef. A 
cry of wrath rang through the ranks of the Lutheran and 
Catholic nobility. Excommunicate members of a family as 
exalted as the House of Krajek ! The thing was not to be 

* Both the Letters are found in Quellen, pp. 434 and 435, taken from 
L. F. XII. 

5 On the following day his remains were conveyed to Prossnitz and 
buried in the presence of thirty-four priests and deacons of the Unity. 
Several nobles of Rudolph's retinue came from Olmiitz and attended the 
funeral, taking occasion to converse with the Brethren on their faith and 
public worship. Todtenbuch, p. 64. 

« Both these letters are given in Quellen, pp. 437, etc. They are dated 
at Eibenschiitz, the first on the thirteenth of July ; the second simply in 


tolerated ! Kalef ought to be beheaded ! Such were the ex- 
pressions heard on many sides. The excitement had not yet 
subsided, when a certain Lorenz, an apothecary of Jungbunzlau 
and a member of the Unity, walled his wife in a cave, on 
suspicion of her having committed adultery. She was rescued 
by his neighbors ; but the inhuman act of which he had been 
guilty was charged upon the discipline of the Brethren and 
added fresh fuel to- the prevailing indignation.^ This was as 
unjust as the fearless course of Bishop Kalef was illustrious. 
The lord of the domain embracing the principal seat of the 
Brethren was dealt with in the same way in which one of 
his serfs would have been treated.^ Such rigid impartiality 
can not but excite our admiration. 

Different is the impression made by the renewal of the cor- 
respondence with the Palatine. In this respect the position 
assumed by the Bishops deserves anything but praise. 

Casimir sent them, through Peter Duthenus, his court- 
preacher, a report, drawn up by Christopher Threcius, of the 
Synod at Frankfurt and urgently invited them to a second 
Synod which he proposed convening.^ This overture was con- 
sidered at a special meeting of the Bishops and Council. They 
realized that there were serious obstacles in the way ; that 
they might be accused of forming an alliance with a foreign 
power, nay of treason; that the Palatine was actuated rather 
by political than by religious motives. On the other hand 
they were impressed with the idea that they ought not to 
allow this opportunity to gain the good-will of a Reformed 
prince to pass by ; that a time might come when they would 
be forced to sever their connection with the Lutherans and 
make common cause with the Calvinists. In any event the 

' L. F. XII. pp. 429 and 432, cited by Gindely. 

* Krajek confessed that his conduct was censurable, but for a long time 
obstinately refused to apply for re-admission to the Church, although he 
as obstinately rejected the efforts of the Lutherans to win him to their side. 
Eventually he became penitent, was re-admitted to the Unity and resumed 
his former influential position. 

* Letters of the Palatine and Duthenus in Quellen, pp. 441, etc. 



controversies of the former were abhorrent to them ; while in 
the experiences of the latter they saw, to some extent, their 
own reflected. Hence they finally resolved to accept the 
Palatine's invitation and send a delegate, but with the 
utmost secrecy.^*^ A preliminary letter was addressed to 
Casimir. It was written by Esrom Riidinger, and made 
humiliating advances and unprecedented concessions. 

The Brethren reject ubiquitism;" their views with regard 
to the sacraments must be understood accordingly; these 
views correspond fully with those of the Frankfurt Synod; 
but the Unity has thus far been under the protection of the 
adherents of the Augustana; to give up this connection would 
jeopard its existence in Bohemia and Moravia. Would the 
Palatine be willing to acknowledge the Confession of the 
Brethren in his own dominions? Does he insist on a public 
separation from the Lutherans and a public union with the 
Reformed ? What does he advise the Brethren to do ? They 
will follow his advice. 

The sentiments which this letter expressed, in the name 
of the leaders of the Unity, as well as the extravagant 
humility and lamentable want of self-assertion shown in their 
previous communications to Casimir, constitute a further and 
striking proof of that tendency which we have pointed out in 
the foregoing chapter.^^ It must not be forgotten, however, 
that, in spite of the resolution adopted at Prerau, the nobles 
and the membership generally knew nothing of such over- 
tures, but pursued, witli singleness of heart, the way of their 
fathers. The responsibility rested with the Bishops and the 
Council. Their deliberations were guided by a questionable 

^° So says Gindely in the Introduction to the Eleventh Part of his 
Quellen, p. 433. 

" That is, the corporeal omnipresence of Christ, which dogma was creat- 
ing virulent disputes at the time. 

^2 Eudinger's letter is given in Quellen, p. 443, etc., and taken from L. 
F. XII. Eiidinger had been obliged to leave Wittenberg and had taken 
charge of one of the Brethren's schools. Even Bishop Croeger, with all 
his gentleness and respect for the divine riglit of sovereigns, grows indignant 
and sarcastic, when speaking of the communication to Casimir. 


expediency which brought them to slippery ground. It was 
therefore a fortunate circumstance that the proposed Synod 
did not take place and that the correspondence with Casimir 
came to an end. 

In the year of the Sendomirian Synod and soon after its 
adjournment (1570), Sigismund Augustus sent an embassy of 
four magnates to the Russian Czar, Ivan the Fourth, sur- 
named The Terrible.^^ Two of the ambassadors, John Kro- 
towski and Raphael Leszcynski, were members of the Breth- 
ren's Church. At their suggestion John Rokita was invited 
to accompany the embassy as chaplain. The Bishops gladly 
gave their consent, in the hope that he might be the means 
of bringing to Russia the light of the pure Gospel. Their 
instructions were, that he should endeavor to induce the Czar 
to accept the evangelical faith. 

It was at Moscow that the ambassadors were admitted to 
an interview with Ivan. His reception of them was as rude 
as his manners were savage. He snatched from them what- 
ever happened to please his fancy; and had the horses, 
which they had brought as a gift from the King, hewn in 
pieces, in wanton contempt, before their very eyes. Undis- 
mayed by such barbarism Rokita sought and obtained an audi- 
ence. It took place in public and was opened by the Czar 
with the curt question, harshly put : " Who are you ? " 

Rokita, to whom had been assigned a seat on a divan 
covered with rich tapestry, replied : " I am a minister and 
preacher of the Church of Christ." 

" What do you teach your hearers ? " 

" The doctrines comprehended in the writings of the Prophets 
and Apostles, and sealed with the testimony of miracles ; of 
which doctrines the chief are found in the Decalogue, the 
Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, in the definitions of the 
two sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and in 
what is set forth respecting the duties of each Christian." 

" Also known as Ivan Vasilievitch the Second, and called, in some 
of the sources, the Grand Duke John Basil. He was the first Russian 
ruler that assumed the title of Czar. 


Continuing his questions Ivan successively asked : 

" What do you believe concerning man's justification before 
God ? " 

" If divine grace alone saves men, why will Christ judge 
them according to their works ? " 

" What religion do you confess ? It seems to me that it is the 
religion of Martin Luther, who fell away from the old faith." 

" If you have fallen away from the old faith, tell me, who 
has called you to the priestly office?" 

" What do you hold of Christian fasting ? " 

" In what way do your people pray ? " 

"Why do you not adore the pictures and images of the 

" What is your opinion with regard to the marriage of 
priests, and celibacy ? " 

These questions Rokita answered with great boldness and 
power from on high. Of justification he said, that no man 
can free himself from the curse of sin or satisfy his Creator 
by good works. " But when," so he proceeded, " the con- 
science is overwhelmed by the multitude of the sins which it 
has recognized and is filled with sorrow because of the oflfence 
which these sins have given to the Divine Majesty, I point, 
as John the Baptist pointed, to the Lamb and Son of God, 
Jesus Christ, who taketh away the sin of the world, and Him- 
self is the righteousness of all who believe." This truth he 
developed, with great force, according to the Scriptures. 

As to good works he declared that faith is hidden in the 
heart, but that good works are its fruit which must be seen 
of men. " And indeed," he solemnly added, " I who stand 
here before God and the angels confess, yea, and testify to 
thee, that we believe and teach, that a Christian washed by 
the blood of Jesus and reconciled to God ought not any more 
to give a loose bridle to his depraved lusts, nor trusting in 
mercy, allow sin to reign in his mortal body ; but that he 
ought rather to adjust the whole course of his life in such 
a way as will lead him to serve the Lord in all holiness, 
righteousness and truth." 


"NVheii treating of the adoration of the saints he proclaimed, 
with the utmost freedom, that God, in the twenty-sixth 
chapter of Leviticus, had distinctly forbidden such adora- 
tion ; that St. John had written, " Little children keep your- 
selves from idols ;" that St. Peter had said to Cornelius, when 
he fell down at his feet and worshiped him : " Stand up, I 
myself also am a man ;" that even the angel before whom 
St. John prostrated himself, had said : " See thou do it not ! "' 

In speaking thus fearlessly Rokita did not forget the 
violent character of the monarch with whom he had to do ; 
but he trusted in the promise of his divine and infinitely 
greater Master: "Ye shall be brought before governors and 
kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the 
Gentiles ; it shall be given you in that same hour what ye 
shall speak." " This ])romise was fulfilled. The testimony 
borne in the presence of Ivan The Terrible was a demonstra- 
tion of divine power, even though his proud heart remained 

That its chords had not been touched, soon became evident. 
The first Czar of Russia neither accepted Protestantism him- 
self nor allowed it to have free course in his dominions. 
Rokita received in writing, what claimed to be, a complete 
refutation of all that he had said at the audience. This 
refutation abounded in coarse invectives against himself and 
his Church. It told him that he might depart in peace, but 
that he was nevertheless a heretic, a servant of Antichrist, 
inspired by the devil ; and that to try and convince him and 
his brethren of their errors, was to give that which is holy 
to the dogs and to throw pearls before swine. 

In spite of such vituperations, Ivan presented to Rokita, 
when he was about leaving Moscow, a royal gift. It con- 
sisted of an exposition, in manuscript, of the faith of the 
Greek Church. This manuscript was bound in plates of 
solid gold and richly ornamented with pearls.^^ 

" Matt. 10 : 18 and 19. 

^" The authorities for the above narrative are the following : A Polish 
MS. written by Kokita and found at Lissa, by Gindely, who cites it in II. 


Two years after tlie return of this embassy, on the seventh 
of July, 1572, Sigismund Augustus died without issue. The 
Diet of Convocation, as it was called, met on the sixth of 
January, in the following year, and adopted an act of con- 
federation, known as the Pacta Conventa, which secured to 
Poland religious liberty, but at the same time gave the nobles 
unlimited power, even in spiritual things, over the peasants, 
who were thus — so Krasinski says — estranged from Protestant- 
ism. This act was constituted a fundamental law to which 
the Polish kings were obliged to swear fidelity ; the mon- 
archy became elective; and its prerogatives were circum- 
scribed. In effecting these changes the magnates of the 
Unity took a prominent part. Three months later, Henry 
of Valois, Duke of Anjou and brother of Charles the Ninth 
of France, was chosen king. 

On the twenty-ninth of September, of the same year (1573), 
at Cracow, the confederated Protestants held their first general 
Synod.^^ The Brethren were represented by Israel, Lorenz, 
Turnovius, and John Enoch. After the Consensus Sendo- 
miriensis and the Articles of Posen had been anew ratified, 
various constitutional points and disciplinary principles were 
settled. The latter applied to the Reformed only; the 
Brethren having a well-established discipline and the 
Lutherans being allowed to take their own course. There 
followed at Posen, on the eighteenth of November, a Synod 
of the Brethren, at which Erasmus Gliczner was present. 

p. 89 and p. 474, Note 128 ; Lukaszcwicz, p. 53, etc. ; Kegenvolscius, p. 91 : 
a letter in L. F., X. written by Rokita to Cerwenka and consulting him 
with regard to the proposed mission, Quellen, p. 123; Krasinski, II. p. 398, 
Note; Croeger, II. p. 90, etc.; and especially a work by Lasitius, entitled 
De Russorum Moscovitarum et Tartarorum Religione, etc., Spirse, 1582 
(Malin Library, No. 347). This work contains the Czar's ten questions, 
with Rokita's answers in full, and also, in fourteen chapters, the Czar's 
refutation, each chapter having a reply by Lasitius appended. Where 
Bishop Croeger found the answers which he ascribes to Rokita, we have no 
means of ascertaining. They differ materially from those given by Lasitius 
whom we follow. 

•^ Sources for the History, in this cliapter, of the Polish Brethren, are 
Lukaszewicz, pp. 87-98, and Krasinski, II. Chap. HI. 


The various compacts with their fellow Protestants were dis- 
cussed and affirmed; and a suggestion that the Protestant 
magnates should assemble in full force in order to receive 
the new king, found great favor. In this way, it was said? 
he would get a proper idea of the strength of the evangelical 

When Henry reached Poland, in January, 1574, this sug- 
gestion was carried out on so magnificent a scale that his 
French escort were filled with astonishment. His coronation 
took place on the twenty-first of February. It was a memor- 
able occasion. At Paris he had sworn to uphold the Pacta 
Conventa ; at Cracow the oath was to be repeated. But, 
influenced by the Catholic clergy, he sought to evade this ob- 
ligation. The ceremony was almost at an end; he had 
already knelt at the altar in order to be crowned ; it was 
evident that he meant to ignore the prescribed oath. In that 
moment the Palatines Firley and Dembrinski came forward 
and presented it written on a scroll. In great astonishment 
Henry rose from his knees and confronted them. But Firley 
seizing the crown exclaimed in a loud voice: ^' Si non jurabis 
non regnabis ! " *'' The French Prince took the oath and was 

He reigned four months and then, on receiving the news of 
his brother's decease, secretly left Poland, hurried to France 
and ascended its more congenial throne. 

In his stead Stephen Bathori, Prince of Transylvania, was 
elected king and married Anna, the sister of Sigismund 
Augustus (1575). He was a zealous but conscientious 
Catholic. " Three things," he said, " God has reserved for 
himself: the creation of the world out of nothing; the knowl- 
edge of future events ; and the power over the human con- 
science." ^^ Nor could he be persuaded to interfere with 
religious liberty. 

'' "If thou '.vilt not swear, thou shalt not reign." Krasinski, II, p. 41. 

^* Croeger, II, p. 94. Krasinski maintains that Bathori was a Protestant 
but was induced by the Roman Catholic clergy to become a pervert, to 


During his reign the Jesuits made rapid progress in 
Poland. They had been introduced in the time of Sigismund 
Augustus, by Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius, a bigoted but cele- 
brated prelate, who established them at Braunsberg (1564). 
Six years later, in 1570, they gained access to Posen, which 
place soon grew to be their stronghold. They won the favor 
of the Princess Anna who upheld them, in every way, when 
she became Queen ; they opened schools which gained a high 
repute and were patronized even by Protestants ; they intro- 
duced public disputations that attracted great attention; 
they manifested unusual eloquence in the pulpit; and with 
the most insinuating arts they crept up to powerful magnates 
of the evangelical party, and tried to entice them back to 

Meanwhile some of these magnates were endeavoring to 
extend the blessings of the Sendomirian confederation. On 
the occasion of the Diet of Warsaw, in 1578, they wrote 
to the Palatine John Casimir, to the Elector of Saxony 
and to the Margrave of Brandenburg, deploring the discord 
which prevailed among the German churches, suggesting a 
union on the plan of that established in Poland, and urging 
that there should be held a convention in which all the 
Protestant churches of Europe should be represented. At 
the same time Gliczner, Turnovius, Gilovius, Prazmowski 
and other divines sent similar letters to the theologians of 
Germany. This laudable eflfbrt was not crowned with success. 

It was followed by a second General Synod, held on the 
first of June, in the same year, at Petrikau. This body 
again ratified the Consensus Sendomirensis ; forbade com- 
municants to remain seated when receiving the elements 
of the Lord's Supper, but otherwise allowed each church 
to maintain its own ceremonies at this sacrament ; resolved 
that any church connected with the Sendomirian union 
might, with the consent of the proper authorities, call to its 
service a minister of either of the other two churches ; 
determined to establish a general Protestant school for 
Poland ; and adopted a number of other regulations. 


In 1574 the Prussian branch of the Unity came to an 
end. After the death of Duke Albert (1568), the restrictions 
imposed upon the Brethren grew more and more irksome, 
until at last their ritual was altogether forbidden. There- 
upon the majority of them went to Poland ; the rest returned 
to Bohemia. 

The vacancy in the episcopate, caused by the death 
of Bishop Stephan, was filled on the thirtieth of August 
1577, when Zacharias and John Aeneas were elected. They 
received consecration at Holleschau, at the hands of Israel 
and Kalef.'^ Both the new Bishops were set over the 
Moravian Province. Zacharias took up his seat at Slezan 
and Aeneas at Eibenschiitz. The latter was a very learned 

^' Jaffet's S. G., II, p. 38. Zacharias was born at Leitomischl ; in 1552 
he was ordained to the priesthood ; in 1572 elected to the Council. 

'*" In 1572 he was ordained a deacon on one day and a priest on the 
next, after which he took charge of the parish at Trebitz and remained 
there until his election to the episcopacy. 



Hymnology of the Unitas Fratrum. A. D. 1517-1580. 

The Bohemian Hymnal of 1505.— The German of 1531 and 1540.— The 
Polish of 1554. — New and enlarged Hymnals in Bohemian, German, 
and Polish. 

One of the most attractive features in the history of the 
Bohemian Brethren is their hymnology. It beautifully 
illustrates the doctrinal system which they upheld, and 
affords an insight into the depths of their Christian life. 

As their Hymn-books were destroyed, by thousands, in 
the Anti-Reformation and the copies which remain are 
extremely rare, we will, at some length, describe the principal 

Of the first Hymnal, edited in Bohemian, by Bishop 
Luke, in 1505, and containing versions of old Latin hymns, 
too-ether with original compositions, we have spoken in a 
previous chapter.^ It was republished in a revised form, in 
1541, at Prague, Bishop Horn being its editor and Paul 
Severin its printer. 

Out of it grew the German Hymnal, edited by Michael 
Weiss, published at Jungbunzlau in 1531, and republished 
at Ulm, in 1535.2 It bears the following title: 1523. 

1 Vide p. 226. 

"^ Michael Weiss was born at Neisse, in Silesia. He founded the 
churches at Landskron, where he died in 15b4, and at Fulneck. Having 
learned the Bohemian language he translated many Bohemian hymns into 
German. Luther said of him that he was an excellent German poet. 
German Hymnal, ed. of 1639, p. 482, which work says that besides the 
edition of 1535, two others were published at Ulm. But these undoubtedly 
are editions of Horn's revised Hymnal. 


Veritas Odium parit. Elm New Gesangbiichlen. MDXXXI. 

Venite exultemus Domino, jubilemus Deo salutari nostro. 
Psalm 95. Veritas vincit. 

" 1523. The Truth produces hatred. A new Hymn-book. 
1531. O come, let us sing unto the Lord ; let us make a joyful 
noise to the rock of our salvation. Psalm 95. The Truth 

The colophon reads : Gedriickt zum Jungen Buntzel 
in Behnen. Durch Georgen Wylensehioerer. Im Jar 
MCCCCCXXXL Am zwelften Tag des Mertzen volendet. 

"Printed at Jungbunzlau in Bohemia, by George Wylen- 
schwerer, in the year 1531. Finished on the twelfth day of 
March." ^ 

This work contains one hundred and seventeen hymns, 
mostly translated from the Bohemian, and classified under 
seventeen heads. Along with the hymns are printed in 
full the notes of the tunes — an arrangement which is kept 
up in all the subsequent Hymnals. The dedication, signed 
by Michael Weiss, is addressed to " The Churches of the 
Christian Brotherhood at Fulneck and Landskron," and 

"Your frequent requests have induced your Seniors and 
Pastors to supply you, our German brethren, as well as our 
Bohemian brethren, with spiritual songs. The compilation of 
this work was committed to me. I have undertaken it to the 
best of my ability, making use of your and the Bohemian 
brethren's old Hymnal, and bringing its meaning, according 
to the sure words of the Holy Scriptures, into German rhymes. 
The syllables, words and metre I have arranged in such a way 
that each hymn can be sung according to the notes by which it 
is accompanied. These hymns, after having been diligently 
revised, corrected and improved, have now been published by the 
Seniors. Therefore, dear brethren, make use of this little book 
and pray to God that He may lay upon it His benediction." 

There follows, in rhymes, an " Exhortation " addressed to 
the reader, to praise God in the German tongue. 

* Of this Hymnal the Herrnhut Archives contain a copy, whose title has 
been transcribed for us. What the figures 1523, at the beginning of the 
title signify, we do not know ; nor could our copyist tell us. Our 
description of the work is based upon Hist. Nachricht vom Briider 

Gesangbuche, Gnadui, 1835, p. 16-18. 


But not until this Hymnal had appeared in print did the 
Bishops discover that Weiss had tampered with it, setting 
forth, as he had done in the German version of the Confession 
of 1532, the Zwinglian view of the Lord's Supper, He was 
called to a severe account and directed to revise the 
objectionable hymns; but before this revision was completed, 
" God summoned him from hence." ■* Thereupon Bishop 
Horn undertook the work, assisted by two other Bishops ; 
and in 1540 the Hymnal appeared in its new form. 

Its title, printed partly in red and partly in black letters, 
is the following : Eln Gesangbuch der Brilder in Behemen 
vnd Merherrn, Die man cms hass vnd neyd, Piekharden, 
Waldenses, etc., nennet. Von jnen auff ein newcs {sonderlich 
vom Sacrament des Nachtmals) gebessert, und etliche schone 
newe geseng hinzu gethan. 

" A Hymn-book of the Brethren in Bohemia and Moravia, 
who through hatred and envy are called Picards, Waldenses, etc. 
Newly revised by them (especially in relation to the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper), and several beautiful new hymns added." 

Tliere follow three x>assages from Scripture : Psalm 68:5- 
Psalm 149 : 1 ; Ephesians 5 : 19 and 20. This work, as the 
colophon shows, was printed at Nuremberg by John vom 
Bero; and Ulrich Neuber. 

The Preface has this heading : " John Horn wishes the 
Christian reader grace and peace through Jesus Christ our 
Lord ;" and explains how Weiss succeeded in interpolating 
his Zwinglian tendencies. Horn assumes part of the blame. 
He revised the hymns translated from the Bohemian, but 
allowed such as were original to go to the printer without 
revision or examination. This he did because Weiss' 
knowledge of the German was far superior to his own. 
Hence that representation of the Lord's Supper which is 
contrary to the long-established principles of the Brethren. 
Speaking of the new Hymnal Horn says : 

* Bishop Horn's words in the Preface to the revised Hymnal. His 
censure of Weiss is harsh. 


" It has been our chief aim to let every one fully and clearly 
understand what our views are with regard to the articles 
of Christian faith ; also how and in what way, in our assemblies, 
we praise, honor, and call upon God the Father, together with 
His beloved Son, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. And now, 
in all kindness, we would request such printers as will republish 
this Hymnal, not to change its sense ; not to add syllables to, 
and not to take syllables from, the words, as was done in the 
former edition; not to mix strange hymns with these our hymns ; 
but to let this Hymnal be and remain our Hymnal. As such 
we acknowledge it." 

The table of contents embraces the following twenty-three 
heads : 

1. Incarnation of Christ ; 2. His Birth; 3. His Circumcision ; 
4. His Manifestation to the Gentiles ; 5. His Presentation at 
the Temple ; 6. His Walk on Earth ; 7. His Triumphal Entry 
into Jerusalem ; 8. His Sufferings and Death ; 9. His Resurrec- 
tion; 10. His Ascension ; 11. The Holy Ghost ; 12. The Holy 
Trinity; 13. The Holy Christian Church; 14. Didactic Hymns; 
15. The Lord's Supper; 16. Hymns of Praise; 17. Hymns 
of Prayer; 18. Morning and Evening Hymns; 19. Hymns 
for the Fallen; 20. Hymns for Children; 21. The Saints; 
22. Funeral Hymns ; 23. The Judgment. 

There are one hundred and eighty hymns — sixty-three 
more than in Weiss' edition, most of the new hymns being 
translations from the Bohemian. The book is a small octavo 
of five hundred and eight pages, and is illustrated with 
sixteen wood-cuts.^ 

In the year 1554 the Brethren published, at Ostrorog, 
their first Polish Hymnal. It was compiled and edited by 
George Israel. 

Thus they had a complete hymnology, in the three 
languages of the Unity — the Bohemian, German, and Polish. 
The German Hymn-book, which was extensively used in 
Germany also, passed through several editions at Ulm and 

^ The copy which we have described above is No. 765 of the Malin 
Library. Although the year of its publication is not given, internal 
evidence shows that it is a copy of Horn's original edition of 1540. The 
same Library contains a Nuremberg reprint of 1611. Our own Library 
contains a copy printed, without the wood-cuts, at the same place, in 1585. 


The year 1560 marks an era iu the hyranology of the 
Brethren. They determined to publish new and larger 
Hymnals, "adapted to the spirit of the age," and yet not 
disconnected with the past. Their fathers, it was said, had 
exercised the greatest care in choosing hymns " which would 
cause the minds of the singers to flow together in the unity 
of the divine truth;" therefore of these hymns the best 
should be retained. But there existed also a large number 
of new ones; hence of these too a good selection should be 
made. Thus the old and the new would be brought into 
harmony; the churches would be edified; and God would 
have the praise. This important work was intrusted, by the 
Synod, to " several tried men of the Unity ."^ 

' Czerny and Blahoslaw were charged with the revision 
of the Bohemian Hymnal. In 1561 the new work appeared 
at Samter, iu Poland. Its title is the following : 

Pisne Duehownj Eioangelistke, opet znowu prehbdnute, 
zprawene a shromazdene : etc. 

"Evangelical spiritual Hymns, revised, emended and collected : 
many new ones having been composed on the basis of the Holy 
Scriptures, to the glory and praise of the one eternal God and 
of the blessed Trinity. Also to be an Aid and a Comfort in 
the service of true Christian godliness ; for all Believers who 
love the Bohemian Nation and Tongue." 

The book is a small folio, contains three hundred and 
seventy-six pages, and seven hundred and forty-three hymns.^ 
Its Preface was written by John Blahoslaw and is signed : 
" The Seniors of those Brethren of the Law of Christ whom 
some, through ignorance or hatred, call Picards or Waldenses." 
There were forty contributors to the hymns; the largest 

« L. F., TX, pp. 318, etc., E.'s Z., p. 397, etc., gives the substance of the 
above ; adduces the names of all the authors whose hymns found a place 
in the new Bohemian Hymnal ; sets forth brief biographical notices with 
regard to these authors ; and appends to their names the numbers of the 
hymns which they composed. 

■^ There is a copy of an early edition, printed in 1564, in the Herrnhut 
Archives. The Malin Library contains a beautiful copy, folio, bound in 
parchment, with clasps, and printed in 1615. The Psalms in metre are 
added, translated by George Vetter, and each part of the Hymnal has a 
separate and highly ornamented title page. 


number having been composed by Bishops Luke, Augusta, 
Michaiek, and Blahoslaw. Other well-known names are: 
Hus, Ciklovvsky, Krasonicky, John Taborsky, Czerny, 
Cerwenka, Adam Sturm, Rokita, and even Rokycana. 

In the next place a new German Hymnal was compiled. 
This work was intrusted to Michael Tham, John Geletzky, 
and Peter Herbert, whom names are appended to the Preface. 
These three editors contributed together one hundred and 
fifty-three hymns; the rest were composed or translated by 
Weiss, Horn, John Giskius, Paul KlantendoriFer, John 
Korytanski, Syrutschko, Valentine Schultz, Martin Zitta- 
viensis, George Vetter, or Streic, Martin Polycarp of Hradek, 
and Luke Libaviensis.^ 

The work appeared in 1566 and bears the following title, 
which is highly ornamented with arabesques, the letters being 
partly red and partly black : 

Kirchengeseng, Darinnen die Heuptartickel des Christlichen 
Glaubens kurtz gefasst vnd aussgeleget sind: Jetzt vom newen 
durchsehen, gemehret, vnd Der Rom. Key. Mai. in vnterthen- 
igster demut zugesehrieben. 

"Church Hymns, in which the chief Articles of the Christian 
Faith are briefly defined and explained : Now newly revised 
and enlarged, and dedicated, in deepest humility, to his Koman 
Imperial Majesty." 

The colophon says : " Printed at Nuremberg, by Catharine 

Gerlach and the Heirs of John vom Berg." ^ 

* Verzeychniss derer Personen, welche die Bohmischen Gesiinge in 
Deutsche Eeymen iibergesetzt, und also dieses Cantional verfertigt haben. 
Edition of 1639, pp. 482 and 483. Michael Tham was a German, an 
upright, pious, examplary and very diligent old priest, ordained in 1534. 
He had charge of the churches at Fulneck and Landskron, labored also 
at Jungbunzlau and in Poland, and died at Fulneck, August the twenty- 
seventh, 1571. Geletzky was a faithful priest who had charge of the 
churches at Fulneck and Grodlitz, in Bohemia. He died in 1568. The 
rest were all ministers or students of the Unity. 

' The copy which we describe is No. 100, a, of the MalinLibrary and was 
printed in 1580, but it prestents the same appearance as the copies 
of 1564. The Malin Library copy is bound in a sheet of parchment, on 
which are written, in illuminated characters, the notes and words of an old 


This Hymnal consists of three parts. The first comprises, 

so says the Preface, "hymns in relation to Christ and His 

work, describing His life and our redemption; the second 

includes the chief points of Christian doctrine, according to 

the contents and order of that Christian Faith which is called 

the Symbolum Apostolieum;''' the third is made up of " Spiritual 

Hymns, of which some were commonly used in the Church 

from of old, and others have been composed, in our time, 

by pious, enlightened Christians and by godly teachers," In 

the first part we find the following thirteen heads : 

1. Christ's Incarnation ; 2. His Birth ; 2. His Circumcision ; 
4. His Manifestation to the Magi ; 5. His Presentation at the 
Temple; 6. His Fhght into Egypt; 7. His human Growth 
8. His Conversation in His twelfth Year ; 9. His Human Life 
and Ministry; 10. His Sufferings, Death and Burial; 11. His 
Resurrection; 12. His Ascension ; 13. The Holy Ghost. 

In the second part, which has an ornamented title page 

of its own, there are twenty-two heads : 

1. The One Triune God; 2. Creation ; 3. The Angels; 4. The 
Fall of Man; 5. The Law; 6. Christ the only Mediator; 7. The 
Church; 8. The Servants of the Church; 9. The Word of God; 
10. Faith; 11. Repentance; 12. Prayer; 13. Justification; 
14. The Sacraments; 15. Christian Life; 16. Marriage; 17. The 
Civil Power; 18. Mortality; 19. Funeral Hymns ; 20. Resur- 
rection of the Dead; 21. The Last Judgment; 22. Eternal Life. 

These two parts together comprise three hundred and 
forty-five hymns ; in the third part, which has both a title 
and paging of its own, are given one hundred and eight 
hymns, mostly by Luther; hence there are, in all, four 
hundred and fifty-three hymns. The volume is a quarto 
of six hundred and twenty pages, one hundred and thirty- 
two of which belong to the third part. 

At the beginning of the Dedication stands the following 
greeting : " The Evangelical churches in Bohemia and 
Moravia (which by some are called Waldenses) invoke grace 
and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 
upon the most serene, the most powerful and the invincible 
Prince and Lord, Maximilian of this name the Second, 
Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia, Archduke 


of Austria/' etc. The Dedication itself is a fervent protesta- 
tion of loyalty and an earnest plea for protection, setting 
forth also the importance of hyninology in the Church of 

In the Preface the editors, first, speak of the wonderful 
works of God in all ages of His Church. Then they go 
on to say : Of such works there has been given an example, 
" in these countries toward the north, in as much as God, 
prior to our time, raised up that beloved man, John Hus, 
the Bohemian Apostle, the steadfast confessor and martyr ; 
and after him, in our time, that excellent teacher and prophet 
of the German country, Martin Luther, through both of 
whom He has renewed the Church ;" in as much as these two 
distinguished men were closely allied in the character of 
their undertakings, their descendants ought to live in loving 
fellowship; Hus introduced church-hymns in the vernacular 
as a means to carry on his reformation; his descendants 
developed both hymnology and singing in a way never before 
known; this new collection of their spiritual songs is to set 
forth clearly the doctrines of the Evangelical Bohemian 
Church ; the old songs of praise, which the Church used in 
ancient days, have been gathered as precious crumbs ; 
modern hymns, by distinguished writers, have been added, 
but in a separate part, so that the Brethren may not be 
accused of appropriating to themselves the work done by 
others; this new Hymnal is offered not only to their own 
German churches, but also to the evangelical churches of 
Germany itself. 

Last of all the Polish Hymn-book was revised and 
enlarged. It appeared, in its new form, in 1569. 

The works which we have now described were frequently 
republished, always in small folio or quarto form, and 
remained in use as long as the Bohemian Brethren continued 
to exist.^° A large number of their German hymns passed 

^^ In 1604 and 1605 a revision of the German Hymnal was again under- 
taken by Martin Polycarp, of Hradeck, who added thirty-two hymns of his 
own. This work appeared in 1606. Malin Library, No. 100, b. The 


into the Hymnals published by their descendants of the 
Renewed Unitas Fratrum." 

What the Hymnals say with regard to the general character 
of the songs of the Brethren, is still more clearly set forth by 
Bishop Stephan, who adds important information touching 
the tunes. In that letter to the Elector Frederick the Third 
of the Palatinate, which we have mentioned in another 
connection, he writes : 

" Our fathers have taught us not only to preach the doctrines 
of religion from the pulpit, but also to frame them in hymns. 
In this way our songs become homilies. Experience having 
shown us that this principle bears good fruits among the 
Bohemians, we have introduced it among the Germans also. 
Some of our hymns date back to the time of Hus and the 
Taborites ; others are new, and among these several have been 
composed by noblemen." Our tunes are, in part, the old Grego- 

arabesques of the title page are different from those of the former edition 
at the top of the page stands the name Jehovah, in Hebrew characters ; 
at the bottom is an Agnus Dei, surrounded by crowned saints singing and 
playing the harps of God ; the Preface is not signed by the three editors, 
but by " The Seniors and Ministers of the churches of the Brethren in 
Bohemia, Moravia and Poland ;" and the first part, as well as the second 
and third, has an ornamented title page of its own, in addition to the 
g neral title. A second copy of the same edition, with the Psalms in metre 
appended, is preserved in the Bethlehem Archives. This copy has an 
interesting history. It was carried by Paul Miinster, strapped to his back 
from Moravia to Herrnhut, in Saxony, in 1729, when he fled for the 
Gospel's sake. He deemed it his greatest treasure ; all his other possessions 
he left behind. In the Library of the Moravian Historical Society, at 
Nazareth, there is a copy printed at Lissa, in 1639. This edition was 
revised by Daniel Vetter. 

" Croeger, I, p. 235, etc., and II, p. Ill, etc., gives fifty-nine hymns 
of the Bohemian Brethren found in the various German Hymnals of the 
Renewed Brethren's Church. There are many more. The American 
edition of the English Hymnal contains the following seven: Nos. 2, 37, 
54, 174, 228, 828, and 922. The following additional hymns are given in 
the Second Series of Catharine Winkworth's Lyra Germanica: "Once more 
the day-light shines abroad," p. 69 ; " Now lay we calmly in the grave," 
p. 117; " Faith is a living power from heaven," p. 160. 

^* An interesting example is the Hymn We gmeno Kryda daufame, 
("We hope in the name of Christ,") Boh. Hymnal, 1615, p. 378, composed 
by Barons Krajek, Prostiborsky, Tym, and Bishop Augusta conjointly, 
in 1535, when they were about to go to Vienna to present the Confession 
to Ferdinand. 


rian, which Hus used, and in part bori'owed from foreign nations, 
especially the Germans. Among these latter tunes are popular 
airs according to which worldly songs are sung. At this 
strangers, coming from countries where they have heard them 
used in this way, take offence. But our hymnologists have 
purposely adopted them, in order through these popular notes to 
draw the people to the truth which saves. We find no fault 
with intentions which are so good." '^ 

To a musically uncultured ear the tunes are not euphonious ; 
and the versification of the German hymns, on account of 
their literal rendering from the Bohemian, is often hard and 
rough. Nevertheless both tunes and hymns have excited, 
even in modern times, profound admiration. Herder, than 
whom no writer of the last century had a more thorough 
knowledge of sacred poetry, says : 

" The hymns of the Bohemian Brethren are instinct with a 
simplicity and devotion, with a fervor and spirit of brotherly 
love, which we must not hope to imitate, because these 
characteristics no longer exist among us." " 

Doring, another authority, says : 

" It is the duty of the conscientious hymnologist to point to 
the old songs of the Brethren, which constitute a precious 
treasury of tunes that can not be sufficiently extolled. * * * 
Few composers have been able to strike, with the same correctness 
and effect as was done in the songs of these little churches, the 
tone of a piety strong in its faith, of an earnestness which ever 
reproved sin, of prayers that were most fervent, and of a joy 
that was godly. * * * To render these songs, or even a 
mere selection of them, more accessible, would be a meritorious 
work." '' 

In response to this suggestion John Zahn has published 
such a selection, both of hymns and tunes. The latter are, 
to some extent, modernized. In his Preface he says : ^® 

" Epistola Fr., etc., de cantionibus, Camerarius, p. 286. 

" Croeger, II, p. 110. 

'* Doring's Choralkunde, p. 61., cited by Zahn. 

'® Zahn's Geistliche Lieder d. Briider. Nuremberg, 1875. Two of the 
old tunes are retained in the German Moravian Tune Book of the present 
day, namely 69 and 520. 


" No other songs express, in so touching and childlike a way, 
a consciousness of the necessity of redemption, joy in the Gospel 
of the Incarnation of the Son of God, earnestness in the con- 
flicts for holiness, and trust in the aid of God amidst all the 
trials of earth. As to the tunes, many of them bear a character 
peoiiliarly their own. When heard for the first time, they sound 
strange ; but the oftener they are sung the deeper they pene- 
trate the heart. Hence they are classed, by all connoisseurs 
of evangelical psalmody, among the noblest productions of 

If we turn to the time in which the hymns of the Brethren 
were still in use, we will hear from various sides, but with one 
voice, testimony of the same kind. 

Joachim Camerarius, the distinguished Leipzig Professor, 
writes to Cepolla, that he uses the new Hymnal with which 
he has been presented almost daily, and that he and his 
family often unite in its songs.^*^ 

Lasitius describes the impression which the singing of the 
Brethren made upon him, by applying to himself the words 
of St. Paul ill his first epistle to the Corinthians (14: 25): 
*'And so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, 
and report that God is in you of a truth." 

In dedicating his exposition of the Psalms to Baron John 
von Zerotin, Esrom Riidinger gives expression to the follow- 
ing sentiments : 

" Your churches surpass all others in singing. For where 
else are songs of praise, of thanksgiving, of prayer and instruc- 
tion so often heard ? Where is there better singing ? The newest 
edition of the Bohemian Hymn Book, with its seven hundred 
and forty-three hymns, is an evidence of the multitude of your 
songs; and yet double that number have never been printed. 
Three hundred and forty-six have been rendered into German ; 
I wish that all the rest might be translated. If I understood 
Bohemian, I would not wish or ask it, but do it. There is no 
doubt with regard to the character of the hymns and the sing- 
ing. Your churches sing what you teach, and many of the 
hymns are real homilies. And since the people can be best 
taught by hymns, why should these not contain all the essential 
doctrines? Another advantage which your churches enjoy, is, 
that the whole congregation sings and thus takes part in the 

" Hist. Nachricht, pp. 22 and 23. 


worship of God. That which, in the Hebrew Psalms, seems to 
be beyond imitation, has been best imitated in the hymns of the 
Brethren. Therefore I was deeply moved when as a stranger, 
I, for the first time, heard your hymns and found that they were 
used not only in public assemblies, but also in the family-circle 
— in your own house and in other noble houses — at morning 
and evening worship, before and after meals, with a devotion 
w^hich, in your own case in particular, was most exemplary." ^* 

Peter von Chlumecky, a Moravian writer of the present 
(lay, adds: 

" The wonderful songs in the Hymnals of the Brethren set 
forth the ideal picture of the Slavonian's inner life. The deep 
religious spirit of the people was poured out in these lays, 
which lifted the soul of the singer up to God. Like the old 
epics these Hymnals were not the work of a single mind ; the 
people helped to edit them. Therefore it may, with great pro- 
priety, be asserted that in these Hymnals was contained the 
history of the religious development and of the poesia sacra 
of the Slavonians of Moravia. They were a blossom of the 
national life ; when this ceased to pulsate, those songs grew 

Chlumecky's words, when compared with Riidinger's 
description, show how great must have been the influence 
which the hymns of the Brethren exercised upon the popular 
mind. They used that gift of song with which the Czechs, 
in all periods of their history, have been endowed, to the 
edification of the Church, to the aAvakening of the religious 
consciousness of the nation, to the glory of God. In the 
cottage of the peasant, in the home of the burgher, in the 
ancient castle of the baron, were heard the songs of Zion, 
strengthening faith, enlivening hope, inspiring love, giving 
tone to daily life. 

'* Hist. Nachricht, p. 23, etc. ; Croeger, II, p. 109, etc. In the chapels 
the singing was led by a precentor. There was no instrumental accompani- 

^^ Chlumecky's Carl v. Zerotin u. s. Zeit, p. 266. 



The Catechisms, Other Literary Works, and the Schools of 
the Unitas Fratrum. A.D. 1517-1580. 

Catechisms of 1522, 1554, and 1616. — Blahoslaw's New Testament and 
other Works. — Sermons. — Metrical Psalms. — Histories. — Publication 
Offices. — Schools. — College at Eibenschiitz. — Schools in Poland. 

In point of importance the Catechisms of the Unitas 

Fratrum rank next to its Hymnals. Of the first Catechism, 

which was published in 1505, but is now lost, we have 

spoken in another connection. The second was written, in 

Bohemian, by Bishop Luke in 1521, and in the same year 

translated into German, probably by John Horn. Both 

versions appeared in 1522. This was the Catechism which 

led to the controversy between Luke and Luther.^ It was 

published in octavo form and bears the folloAving title: 

Ein christliche vnterweysung Der klaynen Kinder jm Gelauben, 

durch ein weyss einer Frag. M.D.XXIJ. 

" Christian Instruction in the Faith, in the Form of Questions, 
for little Children. 1522." 

This Catechism originally had seventy-six questions and 

answers. The first five are the following : 

1. WJiat art thouf A rational creature of God and a mortal. 
2. Why did God create theef That I should know and love Him, 
and having the love of God, that I should be saved. 3. Upon 
what does thy salvation depend f Upon three divine graces. 
4. Name these graces. Faith, love, and hope. 5. Prove this. 
St. Paul says: "And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, but 
the greatest of these is charity." 

' Vide pp. 226 and 234 of this History. 


Tlie remaining questions and answers treat of faitli ; of tlie 
commandments ; of love ; of salvation and eternal life ; of 
tlie Trinity ; of honoring God ; of prayer ; of the Virgin 
and the Saints; of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; 
of the service of God ; of false and true hope ; of mortal 
affections ; and of the unity of believers. In the course of 
the work are introduced the Apostles' Creed, the Ten 
Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the Lord's Prayer.^ 

The next Catechism of Avhicli we have any knowledge 
was orio^inally written in Bohemian and translated into 
German in 1554, by John George, who dedicated it to 
Duke Albert of East Prussia. Its title is the following: 
Catechismus Der Bechtghubigen Behemischen Bruder, Welclie 
der Antichrist mit seinem Gotlosen anlicmg verfolget, vnd auss 
Teuffelschem eingeben, Hass, Neid, vnd vnrcarheit fur Ver- 
filhrer, Ficcarden, vnd Waldenser, etc., schilt vnd lestcrt, Alien 
rechtscliaffenen gleubigen ziim trost vnd ivareni Bericht, Ver- 
deutscht Durch Johannem Gyrc'k, Strelnensem, Pfarlierrn zu 
Neidenburgh, in Brcvsscn, 3T.D.LIIII. 

* The oldest copy known to exist belongs to the Royal Library of Dres- 
den, and is rejiroduced by Zezsclnvitz in his Katecliisnien d. Waldenser u. 
Boh. Bruder, pp. 39-57. This copy has seventy-five questions and answers; 
but it omits tlie sixty-first, to which Luther took exception and which 
. treats of honoring Christ in the Lord's Supper. In the edition of 1531, 
found in Ehwalt, pp. 353-377, No. 61 is reinserted, and the title says that 
this edition is a faithful reprint of the original, whereas other reprints 
have been tampered with. Ehwalt's numbers, however, are wrong and 
Nos. 63 and 64 have been omitted, evidently through an inadvertence. 
Zezschwitz devotes his work to a comparison of this C'atecliism with that 
of the Waldenses, to which he assigns tlie year 1498 as its date. He 
asserts that the latter is the source from which the former was taken ; 
and intimates that the visit of Bishop Luke to the AValdeuses, in 1497 and 
1498, led him to write a new Catechism. Such a position, according to 
Palacky's Waldenser, pp. 34 and 36, is untenable ("ganz u. gar ohne Be- 
griindung"). Lideed the latest researches in the field of AValdensian 
literature render it far more probable that the Waldenses based their 
Catechism upon that of the Brethren. Many parts of the tAvo Catechisms 
are identical. It is not unlikely that the foundation of that of the 
Bretliren is a Catechism discovered by Palacky and supposed to have 
been written by John Hus. (Documenta Hus, pp. 708-712.) Compare 
The Catechism of tlie Boh. Brethren, by E. de Scliweinitz. Bethlehem. 1869. 


"Catechism of the orthodox Bohemian Brethren, whom 
Antichrist with his wicked followers jjersecutes, and insj)ired 
by the devil, by hatred, envy, and lies, reviles and slanders as 
Seducers, Picards, and Waldenses, etc. In order that all 
upright believers may receive comfort and a true report, trans- 
lated into German by John George, of Strehlen, Minister at 
Neidenburg, in Prussia. 1554." ^ 

On the reverse of the title-page are printed the twenty^ 
second and twenty-third verses of the sixth chapter of St. 
Luke's Gospel : there follow the Dedication to Duke Albert, 
signed by John George; extracts from the thirty-third chapter 
of Ezekiel, from the third chapter of St. Peter's first epistle, 
from the fifteenth chapter of Jeremiah ; and the " Preface of 
the Seniors of the Brethren." In this Preface they say, that 
that pure and true Christian doctrine, without any hurtful 
human additions, wiiich the Catechism sets forth, they hold 
to be the doctrine of God to which the Holy Sciiptures bear 
testimony. The work contains one hundred and eighty-seven 
questions and answers. In 1560 appeared a second part with 
the following title : 

Das ander theil des Jleyllgen Catechismi, Das ist: Lehre 
%md Beincht von dcr Heyligen Tauff, Beicht, Vergebung {oder 
Aufflosung) der S'llnden, vnd dem Abentmal des Her r en, 
Dessgleichen von der ewigen Seligkeit, eic. Gezogen aus ge- 
meiner Lehr der RecMgleuhigen Behemischen Bruder, fur die' 
Jungen Christen, Durch Johannem Gyrclc von Strelen, etc. 
Psalm IIG : Ich gleuhe, Darub rede icli, Ich werde aber sehr 
geplagt. GedrucJd zn Konigsperg in Preussen, Durch Johann 
Daubman. M.D.LX. 

" The other part of the Holy Catechism. That is : The 
Doctrine and Exposition of Holy Baptism, of Confession, of 
Forgiveness of Sins, and of the Supper of the Lord, also of 
eternal Salvation, etc. Drawn from the doctrines of the orthodox 
Bohemian Brethren, for young Christians. By John George, of 
Strehlen, etc. Psalm 116 : I believed, therefore have I spoken : 
I was greatly afflicted. Printed at Konigsberg in Prussia, by 
John Daubman. 1560." 

^ Given by Ehwalt, pp. 1-290, wlio adds, page for page, a Latin version 
wliicli he found, in manuscript, in the Ivihrarv of Dantzic. 


Tills worlv enil)races sixty-five questious aud answers relat- 
ing to the subjects set forth iu the title. There are appended 
instructions as to the use of the Lord's Prayer, as also 
"Passages from the Holy Gospels" for the comfort of all 

Finally, although it belongs to a later period, we adduce 
the Latin Catechism. It bears the following: title : 

Catechesis Cliristiana, ad lustifuendam piam Juventidem 
Gonscripta; in qua summa docirince Dei proponitur et e.iplicatur. 
Ex Boemico idiomate in latinum translata. Anno Domini: 
M.DC.XVI. The colophon says: Hmdeci cis Albim. In 
OJicina typograpjhica Martini Kleimcechteri. 

"Christian Catechism, written for the Instruction of pious 
Youth ; in which the substance of the Doctrines of God are 
set forth and explained. Translated from the Bohemian ver- 
nacular into Latin. A. D. 1616." 

This work, which was probably adopted at Zerawic, in 
1616, by the same Synod that issued the Baiio Disciplinai, 
embraces two hundred and three questions and answers, and 
iu many particulars resembles the Catechism of 1554.^ It is 
known as the "Greater Catechism," in contradistinction to the 
"Shorter Catechism," which existed both in German aud 
Polish. When and by whom the original Bohemian was 
written, we can not tell. 

Thus it appears that the Brethren introduced into their 
churches Catechisms in the Bohemian, German, Polish, and 
Latin languages. The importance which they attached to 
these manuals and to a systematic use of them, is evident from 

* Given by Ehwalt, pp. 291-352. 

* It is found in tlie form of foot-notes, in Ehwalt, pp. 20-289, reprinted 
from the original which appeared in duodecimo form and a copy of 
which was lent to him by Bishop Cassius, of Lissa. Besides the Catecliism 
of Amos Comenius, of which we will speak in a later chapter, four others 
are mentioned by Koecher, pp. 20-28: one of 1591, another of 1607; a 
third of 1615, published at Bremen, in Greek, Latin, Bohemian, and 
German, in parallel columns ; and a fourth, without date, being a threefold 
mode of catechising. These are of minor importance and not farther 
known. They were probably ijublished by individuals and not by the 


the second article iu their Confession of 1573. This article 
says : 

"Our preachers recognize the Catechism as a sure guide in, 
an established standard for, and an index to, all their instructions, 
sermons and writings. Hence, with faithful care, they give all 
diligence to inculcate in the hearts of Christians, and engraft in 
the minds and lives of their hearers, the entire body of Truth 
contained in these first and fundamental principles of religion. 
* * * * In the same way they instruct little children, 
that from their youth upward they may be practised in the chief 
articles of the divine covenant, and learn to understand the true 
service of God. Therefore, too, special services for the children 
are instituted. * * * * Iu particular, however, is the 
Catechism, with its first principles of true religion, diligently 
taught to young people who begin a Christian life, before they 
are admitted to the Lord's Table, which sort of instruction 
serves to lead them to true repentance, as well as to the enjoy- 
ment of the grace of faith in all its power." ^ 

Turning to the general literature of the Unitas Fratrum 
we notice, first of all, a distinguished work by Blahoslaw. 
It was a Bohemian version of the New Testament. At the 
time in which it appeared there existed sixteen different 
editions of the Testament; two — those of 1518 and 1525 — 
having been issued by the Unity. But all these editions 
were translated from the Vulgate. Blahoslaw's version, was 
the first rendered from the original Greek, and constituted a 
model of pure, flowing, idiomatic Bohemian, The volume 
was published in 1565, in a beautiful style, with small but 
clear type, and in the form of a pocket edition. Gindely 
thinks it was printed at Eibenschiitz, where the Brethren 
had established their fourth press. In 1568 a second edition, 
in large octavo form, was issued.'^ 

Other works by the same author were: a Bohemian 
Grammar, republished at Vienna iu 1857, and containing 
a valuable list of all the Bohemian writers from Hus to 

« Confessio, Das ist Bekenntnis, etc., Art. II, pp. 9-12. 

' The publication of this New Testament led to an interesting corres- 
pondence with Doctor Peucer, Malanchthon's son-in-law, who encouraged 
Blahoslaw to translate the Old Testament also. Quellen, p. 287, etc., taken 
from the L. F. 


Augusta; a Treatise on Music, which appeared in 1558 and 
a second edition in 1560; a Biography of Bishop Augusta; 
an Apology of the Bohemian Hymnal ; a Treatise on Election 
through Grace ; etc. 

Augusta's works, both of a devotional and polemical 
character, were numerous; Bishop Stephan issued a series 
of Sermons on the Gospels and Epistles of the Ecclesiastical 
Year; John Capito was the author of another series of 
Sermons ; George Vetter translated the " Institutes of Calvin " 
into Bohemian, and produced a metrical version of the 
Psalms;^ This version was arranged according to the tunes 
introduced by the Calvinists of France, and added to the 
Bohemian Hymnal, constituting its last part. Riidinger 
prepared a German version, which Ambrose Lob wasser adapted 
to the French tunes. This work having been revised by 
Martin Opitz, was appended to later editions of the German 
Hymnal. A Polish version was produced by Rybinius. 

In addition to the brief Latin History of the Unitas 
Fratrum by Blahosla"\v, of which work we have spoken in 
another connection, and the more voluminous History in 
Bohemian, which we have repeatedly cited and whose 
authorship is doubtful, three other Historical Treatises claim 

John Lasitius, a Polish nobleman, visited some of the 
Bohemian churches of the Brethren and was so impressed 
with their apostolic character that he determined to write a 
History of the Unitas Fratrum. He says : 

" When I beheld Avith mine own eyes what Ignatius, Justin 
and Tertullian report of the primitive Christians, it seemed 
to me as though I were at Ephesus, or Thessalonica, or in the 
midst of some other church founded by the Apostles. Truly, 
most unreasonable are all those who find fault with the Brethren ! 

•* George Strejc, or Vetter, was ordained to the priesthood in 1567 ; 
became a member of the Executive Council; was a learned and diligent 
scholar and a hymnologist; and exercised no little influence in the Church. 
At the time of his death he was priest of the parish at Schlowitz, in 
Moravia. He died on Friday after the second Sunday after Epiphany, 
1599. Todtenbuch, p. 91. 


Bohemia does not recoguize, Moravia does not know, what they 
are ; otherwise these countries would honor and love them. 
They are worthy to govern the whole Church, if it is to revive 
and regain its apostolic power." " 

Supplied by the Bishops with the necessary documents 
Lasitius began his work subsequent to 1567, and finished 
it about 1570. On the twenty-third of March he sent the 
manuscript to John Lorenz. It Avas to be submitted to the 
Bishops and, with their approval, published. But they 
hesitated to give their approval. Beza, whom Lasitius 
consulted, advised him to undertake a thorough revision, 
omitting everything that seemed marvelous. If this were 
done, he promised to -write a preface. Riklinger, to whom 
the manuscript was submitted by Cepolla, at Wittenberg, in 
1571, severely criticised the work. Its style was faulty, he 
said, and its author superstitious. Even Blahoslaw, in a 
letter to Lasitius written in the same year, although favoring 
the History and sending additional materials, gave him an 
unmistakable hint that the Bishops would prefer if, for the 
time being, it remained in manuscript.^" Hence it was not 
printed. Whde the manuscript had been in the hands of 
the Bishops, Turnovius had enriched it with copious anno- 
tations; and now Lasitius himself began a careful revision. 
This was completed in 1599, at Czaslau, in Lithuania; and 
the revised work, carrying the history of the Brethren to the 
year 1575, was dedicated to Charles von Zerotin. But even 
now it was not published." 

At the request of the Bishops, Professor Joachim Camera- 
rius, of the University of Leipzig, consented to write a History 
of the Unity.^^ This work was found completed among his 
papers, after his death in 1574; but it was not published 
until 1605, when his grand-son, Lewis Camerarius, brought 

» Croeger, II. pp. 100 and 101. 

^^ Authorities for the above, letters in Quellen, pp. 379, 380, etc., and 325. 
*i Comenius, in 1648, published the eighth Book and the Contents of the 
other Books. 

'■^ Quellen, p. 343, compared with p. 347. 


it out at Heidelberg. Along with it appeared a brief History 
by Riidinger, written in 1579, entitled: De Fratrum 
Orthodoxorum in Bohemia et lloravia EcclesioUs Narrati- 
uncula}^ Of the origin and progress of the Unity in Poland, 
George Israel wrote a short account. 

The above are only a few of the works which were issued 
in the period under review ; a number have been omitted, and 
the majority were lost amidst the storms of the Anti-Reforma- 
tion. As in all former times of their history the Brethren 
still diligently used the press to the glory of God. In 
addition to their four presses in Bohemia and Moravia, they 
had a fifth at Szamotuli in Poland. This press was subse- 
quently removed to Lissa. Hymnals Avere issued in the 
highest style of art. The arabesques with which they were 
ornamented were particularly beautiful; in some instances 
such works were printed on the finest parchment. Claudia- 
uus, proved to be an adept in bringing out publications of 
this kind. About 1580 the offices for baptisms, and marriages, 
for the burial of the dead, and for other occasions of worship, 
were published for the use of the priests. Such offices were 
not given into the hands of the people. 

Education was greatly developed. In 1575 about forty 
students were studying for the ministry at foreign universities, 
besides many young nobles of the Church. The number of 
its schools in Bohemia and jNIoravia had increased. While 
the course of instruction was thorough and systematized, and 
probably reached beyond the elements of Latin, we know 
nothing further with regard to it. In 1574 a College was 
founded at Eibenschiitz, for young noblemen, by Barons 
John von Zerotin, Znata von Lonenic, and Frederick von 
Nachod. Its first Rector was Esrom Riidinger. In con- 
sequence of the Ciypto-Calvinistic catastrophe which over- 
whelmed the University of AYittenberg in 1574, he was 
imprisoned and then banished. The Brethren received him 
with open arms. One of the first Professors of the ncAv 

'^ Camerarius, p. 145, etc. 


College was John Aeneas. It was supported by a grant which 
seventeen nobles pledged themselves annually to make. This 
college prospered. Among its students were young men from 
Germany and Catholics from Moravia. 

Not less was the care bestowed by the Brethren upon their 
schools in Poland. Acolytes were educated in the Parsonages, 
as in Bohemia and Moravia, Lorenz and Turnovius being 
particularly zealous in furthering this mode of instruction ; 
elementary schools existed at Barcin, Lobsenia, Ostrorog, 
Posen, and Wieruszew; and schools of a higher grade at 
Kozminek and at Lissa.^^ 

1* Eegenvolscius, pp. 117 and 118; Lukaszewic, (Polish ed.), p. 388, etc. 







A. D. 1580-1620. 


The Unitas Frairum in Bohemia and Moravia. 
A. D. 1580-1590. 

The Jesuits. — Sturm preaches and writes against the Brethren. — Kirmezer 
and Hedericus. — Persecutions. — The Bishop of Olmiitz and Eiidinger. 
— Theological Seminaries. — Death of Bishops Lorenz and Israel. — 
New Bishops. — Jungbunzlau passes out of the Hands of the Krajek 
Family. — Changes in the Manner of Living among the Clergy. 

With the progress of Protestantism the influence of the 
Jesuits kept even pace. Protestantism was preparing for a 
general victory throughout Bohemia and Moravia ; the Jesuits 
were scheming to change this triumph into a defeat. During 
the first part of his reign, Rudolph was like wax in their 
hands. Whenever it suited their purpose they moulded him 
as they pleased ; at other times they did not deem it worth 
their while to seek his support.^ Their order numbered forty 
members, among them several Bohemians educated at Rome, 

' Subsequent to 1600 Rudolph entertained a positive dislike to the clergy, 
including the Jesuits. This was owing to his mental weakness which, at. 
that time, began to show itself. Gindely's Rudolf II., I. p. 42. 


at Ferdinand's expense. But wlietlier they were natives or 
foreigners, they all burned with equal zeal to restore the 
supremacy of the Catholic Church. In endeavoring to reach 
this end they employed the same means as in Poland. They 
established schools which soon won a high repute. They 
undertook missionary tours, preaching and disputing on doc- 
trinal points in towns and villages, in churches, in market- 
places, in private houses, and wherever else they gained a hear- 
ing. They strained every nerve to turn the powerful hands 
of the nobles against Protestantism, and in this effort were 
supported by the Spanish wives w^hom several of the Barons 
had married. 

Weuzel Sturm and HostoAvin distinguished themselves. 
The former was appointed by the Archbishop to undertake a 
mission against tlie Brethren. Sturm prej)ared for it by 
critically studying their writings. Rejecting as absurd the 
charges of moral depravity, he made dogmatical points the 
base from which to begin an attack. The Brethren, he as- 
serted, had repeatedly changed their doctrinal syctem. It was 
unstable. This he offered to prove in public disputations. 
He traveled through the country, making known the result 
of his studies and repeating his challenge. It Avas not ac- 
cepted. Foiled in this effort, he published a number of 
polemical works, criticising the faith, ministry, and claims of 
the Unity as an apostolic church. The most important of these 
writings was his " Comparison of the doctrinal Teachings of 
the Brethren" (1582). 

About the same time two Protestant controversialists, both 
in Moravia, entered the field. The one was Paul Kirmezer, 
Dean at Ungarisch-Brod, an independent Lutheran, ignorant, 
unstable and perfidious. In that town the Unity had a flour- 
ishing parish of which he tried to gain the control. Failing 
in this attempt he issued a scurrilous work, incited Baron von 
Kunowic, the owner of the domain, against the Brethren, de- 
nounced their parsonage as a common brothel and had it 
searched. Bishop Aeneas indignantly repelled such charges ; 
Zerotin and other Moravian nobles opened the eyes of Kuno- 


wic to the true character of Kirmezer. He was dismissed 
from Uugarisch-Brod. In deep abasement he came to the 
Brethren and begged them to have mercy on him. They re- 
ceived and supported him to the day of his death.^ 

The other opponent was Doctor Hedericus, or Heidenreich, 
pastor of the Lutheran Church at Iglau and a zealous advo- 
cate of ubiquitism. He published a work at Frankfort-ou- 
the-Oder, attacking the doctrines of the Unity (1580). The 
offers of several Lutheran divines — opponents of ubiquitism 
— to write a reply, were declined by the Bishops. They them- 
selves took no notice of this assault until eleven years later, 
when Turnovius was appointed by the Synod to publish a 
refutation (1591) f but they complained to the Moravian 
Diet of the various publications that had been recently issued 
against their Church. The Diet found these complaints to be 
just and resolved that all writers of libels should thereafter oe 
dealt with strictly according to law.^ 

But more formidable attacks than those of the pen were 
undertaken against the Brethren. In 1582, mstigated by the 
Jesuits, Baron Pernsteiu, on whose estates about one-third of 
their number Avas domiciliated, began a persecution. At Pot- 
tenstein, Kostelec and other places their chapels were closed ; 
at Landskrou their parsonage was laid even with the ground ; 
in many instances they were driven with clubs to Catholic 
churches, and while servants held them and forced them to 
open their mouths, the priests thrust in the consecrated wafer.^ 
The spiritual oversight of his Moravian domains Pernsteiu 
committed to the Bishop of Olmiitz, who was not slow to ex- 

■■* Croeger, II. p. 170. 

^ The work of Hedericus bore the following title : D. Johannis Hederici 
Examinationem capitum doctrinse fratruru, etc., quibus ab ecclesia Augus- 
tanse Confessionis publice privatimque dissentire eos, demonstratnr. In 
1585 it was translated into German by John Lsetus ; in 1742 a new German 
version was added by Carpzov to his Religions-Untersuchung d. Bohmisch 
und Miihrischen Briider, published at Leipzig, a polemical work against the 
Unitas Fratrum, both the Ancient and the Renewed. 

* Gindely, 11. p. 271. 

^ L. F., XIII. p. 261. R.'s Z., p. 432. 


ercise the power wliicli lie thus received, even after the Baron's 
death, which occurred in the same year. 

In other respects, too, this Bisliop, unmindful of the humilia- 
tion he had, on former occasions, endured at the hands of 
Moravian nobles, gave evidence of his zeal as a persecutor. 
He secured an order for the arrest of Riidinger. Although 
Baron von Lippe, the owner of Eibenschiitz, Avho had disre- 
garded an imperial mandate, issued in 1578, to close the Col- 
lege at that place, refused to allow this ncAV order to be 
executed, Riidiuger became uneasy, left his post and accepted 
an asylum on a domain of Frederick von Zerotin. Riidinger 
never returned to Eibenschiitz. His health was failing and, 
after a time, he retired to Nuremberg, where he died in 1590. 
The persecution on the Pernstein estates gradually came to an 

In 1584 Rudolph, yielding to the persuasions of Rosen Ijerg 
and the Jesuits, renewed the Edict of St. James, and thus at- 
tempted a general persecution. But it failed. The edict was 
everywhere disregarded. The Brethren manifested no alarm 
and continued to develop their Church. At a meeting of the 
Synod, held in the same year at Jungbunzlau, it was resolved 
to found three Theological Seminaries — one in that town, 
another at Prerau, and a third at Eibenschiitz.'^ Of the char- 
acter of these institutions we know nothing. They probably 
Avere merely a higher grade of the schools conducted in the 

On the Day of John the Baptist (June the twenty-fourth), 
in 1587, Bishop Lorenz died at Ostrorog, aged sixty-eight 
years. In perfect peace, bidding farcAvell to each member of 
his family, and calling upon the name of the Lord, he Avent to 
his rcAvard. " Through his labors God accomplished great 
things in Poland."^ In the same year the Synod met at 
Leipnik and elected John Abdias and Simon Theophilus Turn- 

* Kegenvolscins, p. 65; Croeger, II. pj). 161 and 162. 
' Todtenbucli, p. 78. Lorenz married in his old age. He was probably 
the first Bisliop that took this step. 


oviiis to the episcopacy.* -They were consecrated by Kalef, 
Zacharias and Aeneas. Israel, who had retired from active 
work and who was known and greatly honored as " The Sire," 
probably took part in this consecration. Of the new Bishops 
Turnovius continued to labor in Poland, Avhile Abdias was as- 
signed to the Moravian Province. He was a godly, kind- 
hearted and zealous servant of the Church, But the Lord had 
need of him and called him from the work of his episcopate 
when it had continued for scarcely a year. He died at Prerau, 
on the twenty-fourth of June, 1588. A few weeks later, on 
the fifteenth of July, the venerable George Israel, in a full age 
of eighty years, was gathered to his fathers. George Vetter 
preached a memorial sermon, which moved the congregation to 
tears. His text was : " The righteous perisheth, and no man 
layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none 
considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to 
come. He shall enter into peace ; they shall rest in their beds, 
each one walking in his uprightness." (Isaiah 57 : 1 and 2.) 
In conclusion he spoke, in substance, as follows : 

Amidst all the circumstances of his long life the deceased 
Bishop was eminent " because of his sound judgment, his wonder- 
ful memory, his extraordinary piety and zeal. Passing by many 
other points, I sum up his character and work by saying, that he 
was a most distinguished instance of divine grace and a most 
illustrious instrument in the hands of God. Oh how we all re- 
joiced whenever we were permitted to behold his hoary head, to 
listen to his earnest words, to make them the basis of our deliber- 
ations, to watch him in his daily life, which was so gentle and 
fatherly, to enjoy his fellowship ! Alas the all-wise God has 
taken back this rare gift, which He granted us for a season ! 
Where shall we find another father like unto him? Certainly not 
in the communion of Antichrist ! " " 

Bishop Kalef was now appointed President of the Council. 
In consecpience of the death of Baron Adam von Krajek (Mav 
the seventeenth, 1588), and the intrigues by which his domain 

8 Jaffet's S. G., I. p. 22, etc. E.'s Z., 436. 

^ That is, the Eoinish Qiurch. Todtenbuch, p. 80-82, which work gives 
the Latin epitaph engraven on Israel's tombstone. 


of Jungbunzlau was alienated, Kalef removed to Brandeis on 
the Adler, taking the archives with him/" 

There he died on Monday after the third Sunday in Ad- 
vent, 1588. In the next year, in the week following the first 
Sunday after Trinity, John Ephraim and Paul Jessen were 
elected to the episcopacy at Leipnik, and consecrated by 
Zacharias, Aeneas and Turnovius. Zacharias was appointed 
President of the Council. ^^ 

A marked change was going on among the ministers of the 
Unity. Although many of them still supported themselves, 
in part, by the labor of their hands, there were few, especially 
in Moravia, who did not, at the same time, enjoy an income 
from a fund, or from the gardens, vineyards and fields belong- 
ing to their parishes. Moreover, they were now commonly 
married. Even the Bishops began to take unto themselves 
wives. Subsequent to the first decade of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, celibacy was given up entirely. Those of the parsonages 
which were conducted on the old style, had been improved and 
enlarged, and were furnished with every convenience necessary 
to the comfort of the household. The servants, both male and 
female, were under the control of the Council. 

In every parish there was a fund, called Korhona, from 
which the poor and the sick received aid. This fund was 
maintained through the free-will offerings of the people, and 
with it were paid also the contributions toward the support of 
the priest.^^ 

^^ Krajek left no children. His heirs were his widow and two sisters. 
George Popel von Lobkowitz, under whose protection the widow put her- 
self, succeeded in getting possession of the estate ; subsequently he exchanged 
it for another and it passed into the hands of Bohuslaw Hassenstein von 

" JafFet's S. G., I. p. 22, etc. and II. p. 38, etc. R.'s Z. pp. 435 and 436. 

^^ Gindely's Comenius, p. 532. 



Progress of the Unity and the Kralitz Bible. 
A. D. 1591-1593. 

The Utraquists, Catholics and Reformed. — Bohemia in a State of Confusion. 
— Activity of the Brethren's Church. — Synods. — Meetings of the Aco- 
lytes, Deacons and Priests. — Peter Wok von Eosenberg. — The Kralitz 
Bible. — Its three Editions. — Extracts from the first Edition. — Opinions 
of Scholars. — Reprints. 

While the Unitas Fratriim continued to prosper and the 
changes, of which we have spoken in the last chapter, helped 
to develop its inner growth, the Lutherans were still in an un- 
settled state and the Utraquists dwindling to a bare remnant. 
The few cities which acknowledged the Consistory, did nothing 
to uphold its authority ; the priests which it appointed, were 
ridiculed and hindered in the discharge of their functions ; 
the Administrator was a worthless character ; the University 
was alienated and had practically become a Protestant seat ; 
and the inferior schools were following in its footsteps. That 
National Church which Rokycana had so proudly organized, 
lay in its last gasps. At the same time the Roman Catholic 
reaction went boldly on, through the efforts of the Jesuits ; 
and the Reformed began to gain footholds. In the last years 
of the sixteenth century they spread rapidly, exercising no 
little influence in the religious development of the kingdom. 
In other respects its state was deplorable. The increasing 
lethargy of Rudolph produced confusion which often bordered 
on anarchy. 


Such circumstances brought out the activity of the Breth- 
ren's Church in bold relief. This Church labored with un- 
abated vigor. Numerous Synods were held. On one of these 
occasions, at Leipnik, July the eighth, 1591, special meetings 
of the acolytes were appointed for the following year.^ Those 
in Bohemia were to assemble at Jungbunzlau, those in Mora- 
via at Zerawic ; both on Tuesday following the Sunday called 
Jubilate, or the Third Sunday after Easter, when a Bishop 
would deliver to them a charge on the duties of the priesthood. 
The meeting at Zerawic was conducted by Bishop Aeneas 
(April the twenty-first, 1592). There were present ninety- 
nine acolytes, with whom had come twenty-seven deacons. 
In his charge he w^arued them — so says Gindely — against 
witchcraft, astrology, jurisprudence and medicine.^ 

On the twelfth of July, of the same year, another Synod 
convened at Leipnik. Bohuslaw von Lobkowitz, the new 
owaier of Jungbunzlau, asked, whether a murderer, if a mem- 
ber of the Unity, might be accompanied by a priest to the 
place of execution ? The decision of the Synod was as fol- 
lows : " It is not proper to comfort him whom God does not 
comfort, or to grant the service of love to one to whom it is 
not granted by God." ^ At the instance of Daniel Strasnicky 
permission was given for the purchase, at Prerau, of a house 
which was to be converted, according to the example of other 

^ Dekrete d. B. U., p. 243, cited by Czerwenka. 

2 Gindely, II. p. 326, cites a MS. from Lissa in the Boh. Museum at 
Prague. This MS., as appears from Czerwenka, is the original of the De- 
krete d. B. U., since published by Gindely ; and yet in the published work 
there is found no report of the meeting at Zerawic. It is therefore not clear 
from what source he derives his information ; and it is, in the highest de- 
gree, improbable that Bishop Aeneas, whatever his opinion of the study 
and practice of law may have been, warned the acolytes against the science 
of medicine. 

^ Dekrete d. B. U., p. 249, etc., cited by Czerwenka, who correctly remarks, 
that the service of a priest, on the occasion referred to, was therefore made 
to depend upon the state of mind of the criminal. If he repented he might 
be accompanied by a priest ; not otherwise. Gindely incorrectly interprets 
the decision as referring to every case, whether the criminal was penitent 
or not. 


parishes, into a hospital. Au ordination of thirty-three priests 
took place ; and John Popel/ Zacharias Aristou, John Albin 
and Jacob Alpheus were elected to the Executive Council. 
Immediately after the Synod, on the sixteenth of July, a 
special meeting for the instruction of the priests and deacons 
took place at Leipnik. 

About this time there died at Prague Baron A^^illiam von 
Rosenberg, a trusted councilor of the Emperor, an ardent sup- 
porter of the Jesuits, the most influential and richest Catholic 
noble of the realm. He left no children and his vast domains 
passed into the hands of his brother, Baron Peter Wok von 
Rosenberg. This nobleman was a member of the Unity. 
What a blow to the Romanist cause ! What a gain for the 
Brethren and the faith which they represented ! ^ 

The year 1593 saw the completion of the Kralitz Bible. 
This was the greatest literary work undertaken by the Unitas 
Fratrum and constitutes its grandest monument. 

There existed a number of earlier Bohemian versions, but 
they had all been translated from the Vulgate. The Brethren 
determined to give the Czechs a Bible rendered from the 
original. Blahoslaw, of whose New Testament we have 
spoken, set the project on foot. The most thorough prepara- 
tions took place : in particular were several young men sent to 
the Universities of Wittenberg and Basel in order to fit them- 
selves for the difficult task of translating. When they had 
completed their studies a Commission was appointed to under- 
take the work.^ This Commission consisted of Bishop John 

* Popel was an exemplary servant of God, ordained to the priesthood at 
Austerlitz, in 1581. He died at Horazdowic on Friday previous to the 
twentieth Sunday after Trinity, 1599, and was buried in the convent where 
the remains of many other priests of the Unity were resting. Tliis convent 
was the property of the Brethren. Todtenbuch, p. 92. 

* Wok von Eosenberg joined the Brethren in 1582, through the influence 
of Henry Schwarz, who became his chaplain. Chlumecky's Zerotin, p. 148. 

® Our account of tlie Kralitz Bible is based upon Eisner's rare but in- 
valuable treatise entitled, " Vei-such einer Bohmischen Bibel-Geschichte," 
Halle, 1765; Malin's "The Boliemian Bible," in the Appendix to the 
Catalogue of his library ; and a personal examination of the copies of tlie 
Kralitz Bible in this librai-v. 


Aeneas, the chairman ; of George Streic, or Vetter, Isaiah 
Cepolla, John Ephraim, Paul Jessen, John Capito/ members 
of the Council ; and of Albert Nicholas, a Silesian, and Luke 
Helic, the son of a baptized Jew, distinguished Hebrew 
scholars. The vacancies created through the death of Cepolla 
and Capito, were filled by John Nemczansky and Zacharias 
Ariston. Near Willimowitz, in Moravia, stood a castle known 
as Kralitz, the property of John von Zerotin. In that castle 
the Commission met and the work was printed ; hence the 
name by which it is commonly known. Zacharias Soliu, a 
priest of the Unity, had charge of the press ;^ Zerotin assumed 
the entire cost of the undertaking. 

For fourteen years the Commission labored with indefatiga- 
ble diligence. The work was published in six Parts. The 
first, which contained the Five Books of Moses, appeared in 
1579; the second, comprising the Books from Joshua to 
Esther, in 1580; the third, embracing the Poetical Books, in 
1582; the fourth, consisting of the Prophetical Books, in 
1587; the fifth, composed of the Apocrypha, in 1588; and 
the sixth, being Blahoslaw's New Testament, in 1593.® 

We will proceed to describe each of these volumes. 

Voi.UME I. — Biblj Ceske Djk pricnj, totiz Patery Knihy 
Mogzjssowy, w nowe wyclane MDLXXIX. 

" The First Part of the Bohemian Bible, that is, the Five Books 
of Moses, published anew 1579." 

This title is printed partly in red and partly in black letters 
and surrounded by an arabesque border, with an Agnus Dei 

'' John Capito was born at Bystric, near Pernstein ; a learned man ; died 
at Trebitz, on tlie last Sunday of the year 1589. Todtenbuch, pp. 84 and 92. 

* Solin was as faithful in the discharge of his ministerial duties as he was 
skillful in superintending a printing-office. He brought out beautiful copies 
of the Bible, printed on vellum, and corresponding in style to the vellum 
Hymnals. In 1581 he was ordained to the priesthood and died at Kralitz, 
on the eighth of March, 1595. Todtenbuch, p. 89. 

' Why both Gindely and Czerwenka assert that the fifth and sixth Parts 
were published simultaneously in 1593, we do not know. Eisner, who wrote 
with a copy of the Kralitz Bible before him, says the fifth Part was pub- 
lished in 1588 ; and this is substantiated by the title of that Part transcribed 
for us fi'om the copy in the Herrnhut Archives. 


at the top.'" Ou the reverse side of the page are given the 
following passages of Scripture : 

" When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord Thy God 
in the place which He shall choose, thou shalt read this law before 
all Israel in their hearing." (Deut. 31 : 11.) 

" This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth ; but 
thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest ob- 
serve to do according to all that is written therein : for then thou 
shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good 
success. Only be strong and very courageous, that thou mayest 
observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant 
commanded thee : turn not from it to thy right hand or to the 
left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 
1 : 8, 7.) 

"Abraham said unto him. They have Moses and the prophets; 
let them hear them." ( Luke 16 : 29.) 

"And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets. He expounded 
unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." 
(Luke 24: 27.) 

" For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me : for 
he wrote of me." (John 5 : 46.) 

There follows a preface iu which the Bishops inform their 
clergy why this Bible is published. A second preface is ad- 
dressed to the reader and contains an account of the origin and 
arrangement of the entire work. At the end of the volume 
are five synoptical tables. The first treats of the division of 
the divine laAV into the moral, ceremonial and civil ; the second 
sets forth those passages iu the Pentateuch which contain the 
commandments of the moral law ; the third presents, accord- 
ing to Origen, such passages as relate to the worship of God, 
to priests and sacrifices, and to whatever else is embraced in 
the ceremonial law ; the fourth contains, again according to 
Origen, the various statutes belonging to the civil law ; and 
the fifth gives passages encouraging men to prize and diligently 
keep the entire law of God. " I find these five tables," says 
Eisner, " to be very good. They serve an intelligent reader 

'•* The title pages of the books published by the Brethren were frequently 
ornamented with an Agnus Dei, because it constituted the device on tlieir 
episcopal seal, with the legend : Vicit agnus nosier, eum sequamur. Tliis 
seal was made over to the Renewed U. F., when it obtained the episcopal 
Buccessiou througli .Jablonsky, and is still in use. 


as a compendious Concordance to the Pentateuch and enable 
him to ffain a clear idea of the Mosaic law in all its various 

Volume II. — Biblj Ccske Djk druhy, w nowe loydany Leta 

" The Second Part of the Bohemian Bible, published anew in 
the year of the Lord 1580." 

On the reverse side of the title-page is given a list of the 
Books, from Joshua to Esther, contained in this volume. 

Volume III. — BibJj Ceske Djk tretj, w wydany Leta Pane 

"The Third Part of the Bohemian Bible, published anew in 
the year 1582." 

On the reverse side of the title-page we find a list of the 
Books, from Job to the Song of Solomon, embraced in this 
volume. The Book of Job is supplied with a preface holding 
him up as an example of patience ; and an introduction to the 
Psalms treats of their importance, of their titles and authors, 
and of the order in which they are given. It is that of the 
Hebrew Bible and not that of the Septuagint, which latter 
order was observed in the other Bohemian versions ; but the 
ninth Psalm is divided into two parts, while the one hundred 
and forty-sixth and the one hundred and forty-seventh are 
combined into one. At the head of each Psalm the numbers 
according to the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint are both given. 

Volume IV. — Biblj Ceske Djk divrty, w nowe wydany Leta 


" The Fourth Part of the Bohemian Bible, published anew in 
the year 1587." 

On the reverse side of the title-page is a list of the Pro- 
phetical Books, from Isaiah to Malachi ; the next page begins 
with a preface treating of the importance and excellency of 
these writings, and of the rules to be observed in reading them. 

Volume V. — Biblj Ceske Djk paty, w neniz se Knihy ty, 
kterez sau nazioany Apokryfi'a, pokladagj. W nowe wydany 


" The Fifth Part of the Bohemian Bible, in which those Books 
which are called the Apocrypha usually stand. Published anew 
in the year 1588." 

Ou the reverse side of the title-page is found a list of the 
Apocryphal Books ; a lengthy preface treats of their impor- 
tance and of the way in which they ought to be read. 

Volume VI. — Bihij Ceske JDjk ssesty, totiz Noioy Zahon. 
W nowe wydany Leta Pdne MDXCIII. 

" The Sixth Part of the Bohemian Bible, that is, the New 
Testament. Published anew in the year of the Lord 1593." 

On the reverse side of the title-page is a list of the Books 
of the New Testament ; to each Book is prefixed a summarv 
of its contents. At the end of the volume is a Table of the 
Pericopes appointed for the ecclesiastical year. 

These six volumes are quarto in form, and printed on good, 
stout paper, in beautiful Latin type ; the outer margin of each 
page contains annotations ou the text, and the inner, references 
to parallel passages, as also brief summaries of the contents. 
Nemcansky and Ariston furnished the greater part of the 
commentary. In order to give an idea of its character we 
here present a few extracts translated into English from the 
German of Czerwenka, who has rendered them from the 
original Bohemian : ^^ 

Matthew 26 : 26. ''And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, 
and Messed it, (or gave thanks,) — He gave thanks to His Father 
for the work of redemption which was soon to be finished, in re- 
membrance of which He instituted the sacrament of His body 
and blood : — or He blessed ordinary bread to this particular 
purpose, so that it might become the sacrament of His body, and 
thus be distinguished from all other bread — and brake it, — not 
only in order that it might the more easily be distributed among 
His disciples, but also as a symbol and testimony, that He would 
himself be broken on the Cross for our sins, that He would give 
himself as a ransom for all believers so that, through His merits, 
there would be a communion among them — and gave it to the dis- 
ciples, — as a sign and an assurance, that He gave to them Him- 
self, the true bread of life, for the strengthening of their fellow- 
ship and for the nourishment of their souls, — a7id said. Take, eat; 
this is my body, — this bread, which I break, or this sacrament, 

" Czerwenka, II. pp. 501 and 502. 


which I institute, is a mighty testimony and proof, that my body 
is given for you unto death, that it is crucified, broken as it were, 
and prepared as delicious food for your souls ; this body is given 
unto death for the life of the world, laid as it were upon the 
table, that it may be partaken of in faith. 

Romans 9 : 8-11. That is, They which are the children of the 
flesh, — begotten according to the flesh, as there still are many 
false Christians, who indeed have a name, but not the truth — 
these are not the children of God : but the children of the proniise — 
who have been chosen by* God through free grace as His children 
— are counted for the seed, — such are those to whom God has pro- 
mised that He would be their gracious God. For this is the word 
of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. — 
Some one might perhaps think, that Isaac was chosen on account 
of his mother, a believing and righteous woman, and that Ish- 
mael was rejected on account of his proud and perverse mother. 
But the example of Jacob and Esau shows the contrary ; for 
although they were the children of the same father and mother, 
Esau, and he the first-born, was rejected, while Jacob, through 
grace, was chosen of God— ^nd not only this; but when Rebecca 
also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac ; for the children 
being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, — whereby 
they might have merited the wrath or the grace of God — that the 
purpose of God, — according to which He ordained whom, through 
grace. He would save, and whom, in consequence of His justice. 
He would condemn — according to election, might stand, not oj 
works, but of him that calleth;—the purpose of God rests upon His 
electing and rejecting ; for those whom He has elected unto eternal 
life. He has also purposed to save, and those whom He has rejected. 
He means to condemn. 

1 Peter 3: 19, 20. By which also he went and preached — 
through Noah, the preacher of righteousness, that which served 
to awaken repentance and faith. Or as others interpret the words: 
Christ came and preached, and thus caused the power of His 
death and merits to be experienced not only by the living but also 
by those long dead, in that He made known to them that power 
— fmfo the spirits in prison; — those who had long ago died, whose 
spirits however, separated from their bodies, had come, on account 
of their unbelief and impenitent lives, into the prison of everlast- 
ing damnation. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the 
long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah,— not in vain has 
the Spirit of the Lord made use of the word " once ;" He meant to 
show that the time which God has fixed, is limited ; whoever 
neglects this time, has no other for repentance. 

Revelation 11 : 3. And I urill give power unto my two wit- 
nesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three- 
score days, clothed in sackcloth. — In comparison with the number 
of Antichrist's deceivers, I will intrust my city and the temple of 


my holy Church, to but a few iusignificant and despised ones 
among my servants, as it were to but one or two of them ; never- 
theless they shall, in unity, accomplish my work and mutually 
support each other ; and shall prove themselves sufficient as wit- 
nesses unto the truth, which shall be established in the mouth of 
two or three witnesses, so that in the presence of wisdom like unto 
theirs the enemies will not be able to lift up their heads. Such 
servants, in ancient times, were Elijah, Micha, Zerubbabel, Josiah, 
and those disciples of the Lord who went out " two and two;" in 
later times. Master John Hus, Jerome of Prague and others." 

In 1596 a second and cheajDer edition of the Kralitz Bible 
was published, in one quarto volume. The title reads as 
follows : 

Biblj Swata, to gest, Kniha, w niz se wssecka Pjsma Swata 
Stareho y Noweho Zakona Zdrzugj; w nowe wytissiena a wydana. 
Leta Pane MDXCVI. 

" The Holy Bible, that is, the Book in which all the Holy 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are contained : printed 
and published anew in the year of the Lord 1596." 

The title-page is highly ornamented. At the top appears 
the name Jehovah in Hebrew characters ; at the bottom Christ 
is represented in a triumphal chariot, leading captive death 
and hell ; on the left side Moses with the tables of the law, on 
the right, Aaron as high-priest ; within these devices an oval 
encircling the title which, with the exception of the two words 
to gest, is printed in red letters. 

On the reverse side of the page we find the following pas- 
sages of Scripture : 

"And Abraham saith unto them : They have Moses and the 
prophets; let them hear them." (Luke 16 : 29.) 

"And he said unto him. If they hear not Moses and the pro- 
phets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the 
dead." (Luke 16 : 31.) 

"And he said unto them. These are the words which I spake 
unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be ful- 
filled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, 
and in the psalms, concerning me." (Luke 24 : 44.) 

" Search the Scriptures ; for in them ye think ye have eternal 
life: and they are they which testify of me." (John 5 : 39.) 

On the next page follows the preface addressed to the minis- 
ters of the Unity ; the second preface is omitted ; but a com- 


plete Table of all the Books of the Bible is given. The six 
divisions of the first edition are kept up, there being, at the 
beginning of every new part, an ornamented title in red. 
There are eleven hundred and forty pages and each page has 
two columns ; on the margins are references to parallel pas- 
sages ; between the columns appear the numbers of the verses, 
which are not, as in the first edition, distinguished by a new 
line but by the sign |. The annotations are omitted. At the 
end of the book we find, first, a list of the passages of the Old 
Testament cited in the New by Christ and the Apostles ; 
second, an alphabetical Register of Hebrew and Chaldee 
proper names, with their signification in Bohemian ; third, a 
Table of the Pericopes appointed for the ecclesiastical year. 

The sixth volume of the first edition, that is, the New Tes- 
tament, revised by Zacharias Ariston, was republished in 1601 ; 
and a new edition of the entire work, on the plan of the second 
edition and again without the commentary, appeared in a folio 
volume in 1613. 

The Kralitz Bible is not only the first Bohemian version 
rendered from the original, but also the first which divided 
the chapters into verses and separated the apocryphal from the 
canonical books. As a translation, it forms a master-piece ; 
its style is pure, idiomatic and beautiful, a standard even at 
the present day. 

With regard to this point there is but one voice. 

Gindely says : "As long as the Bohemian tongue will be 
spoken, there can never die the memory of this great work. 
It is the type of the development which the Bohemian lan- 
guage reached in the sixteenth century." ^^ ''God," writes 
Comenius, " has laid such a blessing on this work, that we 
have the writings of the prophets and apostles translated into 
our own language in a style as beautiful as that found in any 
other European version." ^^ When the work first appeared, a 
Roman Catholic Bishop openly expressed his profound admira- 

ls Gindely, II. p. 309. 
'3 Comenii Hist. | 117. 


t'on. At a later time, in 1668, the Jesuits of Prague published 
an Orthographical Tract, in which occurs the following passage : 

" Here is given an excellent method of writing and printing 
the Bohemian language correctly, drawn from that Bohemian 
Bible which is divided into several parts, furnished with marginal 
annotations, and highly esteemed among Protestants. It is true 
that this Bible, on account of its heretical errors, is not to be read 
or kept by Catholics ; nevertheless because, according to the unan- 
imous testimony of all scholars, it presents the Bohemian tongue 
in words more idiomatic, beautiful and chaste than other books, 
its style deserves to be praised above all measure." " 

And yet the Kralitz Bible, more than any other work of the 
Brethren, was sought out and destroyed in the time of the 
Anti-Reformation. Thousands of copies perished ; but few 
remain at the present day.'^ In 1722 the third edition was 
reprinted, in a handsome volume, at Halle, for the descendants 
of the exiled Bohemians ; and again at Brieg, in Silesia, in 
1745. This latter reprint, however, says Malin, "was so in- 
ferior that none but the poorest people would purchase it." 
The New Testament was frequently republished, between the 
years 1709 and 1752, at Halle, Zittau, Lauban, Brieg and 
Berlin ; but for a period of two hundred and sixty years, 
neither the Old nor the New Testament appeared in Bohemia. 
Mere extracts from the latter were issued at Prague, in 1861 
and the follovying years. In 1873, however, the "Amos Com- 
enius Association," of that city, began the republication, in 
beautiful style, of the entire New Testament, with the original 
annotations. This work was completed in 1875. It forms a 
splendid quarto volume of eight hundred and ninety-two 
pages. Moreover the Kralitz version has furnished, word 
for word, the text of the Bohemian Bible published by the 
British and Foreign Bible Society. 

" Kleich's Preface to the N. T. of 1720, cited by Eisner in his Versuch, 
etc., pp. 36, 37, Note. 

^^ There is a well-preserved copy of the first edition, in six vols., in the 
Archives at Herrnhut ; another in the Bohemian Museum at Prague. The 
Malin Library, No. 100, contains the third volume, 1582, of the first edition; 
a complete copy, No. 350, of the second edition, of 1596, probably the only 
one in the U. S.; and a complete copy, No. 36, of the third edition of 1613. 



Further History of the Brethren^ Church in Bohemia 
and Moravia. A. D. 1594-1607. 

Deatlk of Bishops Zacharias, Aeneas and Jessen. — Synod of 1594. — New 
Bishops. — Members of the Council. — Enactments of the Synod. — Its 
Convocation in 1598. — Doctrine of the Lord's Supper discussed by 
Turnovius. — Death of Ephraim. — New Bishops. — Charles von Zerotin. 
— His Home and Career. — Accused of trencon and heresy. — His Ac- 
quittal. — Plots against the Unity. — Renewal of the Edict of St. 
James. — The Brethren lose Jungbunzlau. — Wenzel Budowa. — His 
Speech at the Diet. — New Reactionary Measures. 

Death was reaping a harvest among the leaders of the 
Unity. In 1590, after a faithful service of thirty-eight years, 
Bishop Zacharias, the President of the Council, finished his 
course;^ in 1594, on the fifth of February, his successor, 
Bishop John Aeneas, was called to rest. At New Year, 
while on the road from Kauuic to Eibenschiitz, he was at- 
tacked and robbed by a party of marauding soldiers. The 
shock brought on an illness of which he died, aged fifty-six 
years. In him the Unity lost one of its most illustrious rep- 
resentatives. A scholar, the Kralitz Bible the splendid 
memorial of his fame — he led a life exemplary through its 
piety and showed himself to be " a prudent watchman over 
the household of God."^ 

• He died at Slezan, on Wednesday previous to the fourth Sunday in 
Lent, not quite sixty-eight years old. Daniel Boreas preached the funeral 
sermon, on 2 Tim. 4 : 6-8. Todtenbuch, p. 84. 

* Todtenbuch, p. 87. 


A few months later, ou tlie twenty-foiirtli of May, Bisliop 
Paul Jesseu followed him into eternity. He, too, was a 
learned man, mighty in word and deed, of keen understand- 
ing, never at a loss for an answer, and very eloquent. But 
God had given him a thorn in the flesh, so that he was often 
hindered in his public ministrations.'^ 

In order to fill the vacancies thus created the Synod met at 
Prerau and elected to the episcopacy Jacob Narcissus and John 
Nemcansky, one of the translators of the Kralitz Bible. They 
were consecrated on the fourteenth of July, 1594, by Turnovius 
and Ephraim, the only surviving bishops.* jSTarcissus was 
eloquent and sagacious ; Nemcansky, distinguished for his learn- 
ing, his conscientiousness, his humility before God and man.^ 

The Synod constituted Turnovius Ecclesiastical Judge for 
the Polish churches and President of the Council ; Ephraim 
Ecclesiastical Judge for Bohemia and Moravia; Narcissus, 
histoi-ian ; and Nemcausky, archivist. Associated with these 
Bishops in the Council were the following Assistant Bishops ; 
Jacob the Great; John Slavon — elected in 1572, died in 1600, 
at Jungbunzlau, a pious, diligent and exemplary man, but 
an enemy of learning and bitterly opposed to the marriage of 
priests ; Luke Andronik — elected in 1572, died in Poland, 
in 1595, surnamed Smelaus, a man of very small stature, 
zealous in the work of God ; Paul Sperat — died at Straznic, 
in 1601, an earnest laborer in the Lord's vineyard ; Samuel 
Susicky — a distinguished scholar, subsequently elevated to the 
episcopacy; John Popel ; Zacharias Ariston — elected in 1592, 
eventually a leading bishop ; John Albin ; Jacob Alpheus ; 
Matthias Ryba ; and Andrew Kolsky.^ 

' Todtenbuch, p. 88. Jessen was ordained to tlie priesthood at Austerlitz, 
in 1576, and elected to the Council in 1584. He died at Bezauchow and 
was buried at Drewohostic. The thorn in the flesh, of which the Todten- 
buch speaks, was probably some chronic and painful disease. 

* Jaffet's S. G., I. p. 22, etc., and II. p. 38, E.'s Z., p. 435. 

^ Narcissus was ordained to the priesthood in 1574; Nemcansky in 1584, 
and elected to the Council in 1589. Kegenvolscius, p. 320 ; Todtenbuch, p. 91. 

« Todtenbuch, pp. 94, 89, 96, 92, 101. A number of the above names are 
not mentioned in the Todtenbucli. 


Subjects of iniportauce discussed at the Synod Avere : the 
publication of a Concordance, the revision of the Kralitz 
Bible, and the introduction, in public worship, of instrumen- 
tal music. Such music Avas permitted, but moderation in the 
use of it was strongly recommended/ 

At a later convocation, Avhich took place at Jungbunzlau 
on the third of June, 1598, the doctrine of the Lord's Supper 
received attention. Turuovius introduced this topic and 
earnestly contended for the tenet of the fathers : that the 
Lord's body is present sacrameutally and spiritually, but that 
all further explanations are to be avoided. From this point 
of view, he said, the Brethren occupied a middle ground be- 
tween the Lutherans and the Calvinists. He added, in words 
that have the true ring : " The Unity is not an old woman. 
It has grown strong, perfected its doctrines, and reached that 
point in its apprehension and explanation of the truths of the 
Holy Scriptures which renders it unnecessary that it should 
be learning of other churches, but rather gives it the right 
to be their teacher."^ 

The principle urged by Turnovius Avas ancAv accepted ; and 
he received permission to publish an elaborate Avork, Avhich he 
had prepared, on the Lord's Supper. Gindely asserts that, 
six years later, in 1604, the Synod forsook the old position, 
formally adopted the Calvinistic doctrine and engrafted it 
upon the Brethren's Church.^ This Ave deem to be an incor- 
rect view of the case. That a majority of the Synod declared 
in favor of the Reformed dogma, is true ; but that Bishop 
Ariston protested against this declaration, that the tenet of the 
fathers was not condemned, and that the definition of the 
Lord's Supper as set forth in the Confessions Avas not changed, 
all this is equally true. The course pursued by the majority 
formed one of those doctrinal fluctuations which occasionally 
took place among the Brethren, but Avhich, as Turuovius Avell 

"< Deki-ete d. B. U., p. 260, etc., cited by Czerwenka, II. pp. 504, 505. 
8 Gindely, II. pp. 328, 329, based upon the Dekrete d. B. U. 
" Gindely, II. pp. 344, 345. 


said in his address at the Synod of 1598, affected individuals, 
not the Unity as such. 

On the seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, 1598, Bishop 
John Nemcansky died at Drewohostic, after having filled the 
episcopal office for but four years. An election was held at 
the Synod of 1599, which convened again at Jungbunzlau, 
and Samuel Susicky and Zacharias Ariston were chosen. 
They received consecration at the hands of Turnovius, Eph- 
raim and Narcissus, on the sixth of July, this day being fixed 
upon in memory of the martyrdom of John Hus.'" Four 
weeks later, Susicky died; on the ninth Sunday after Trinity ; 
and in the following year, 1600, John Ephraim passed away, 
at Prague, on the twenty-first Sunday after Trinity. Both 
these Bishops were buried in Augusta's grave, at Jungbunzlau. 

Ephraim was a learned scholar, amiable and fatherly in 
his intercourse with men of every rank, but timid and apt 
to borrow trouble. The exercise of discipline invariably 
caused him a struggle. On such occasions he would seclude 
himself, and spend hours in mourning and weeping, as though 
he were to do penance instead of imposing it. Of this tender- 
heartedness the guilty often took advantage." 

The new vacancies in the episcopate were filled, in 1601, by 
the election of John Lanetius and Bartholomew Nemcansky, 
who was a brother of the deceased Bishop of the same name. 
They were consecrated, on the fifth of May, by Turnovius, 
Narcissus and Ariston.^^ 

About this time Baron Charles von Zerotin became prom- 
inent. He was born at Brandeis on the Adler, on the four- 
teenth of September, 1564. His father was John von Zero- 
tin, through whose liberality the Kralitz Bible was published 
and who died on the twenty-fifth of February, 1587 ; his 
mother, Marianna von Zerotin, belonged to the ancient house 
of Bozkowic. After having been carefully trained in the 

'» Jaffet's S. G., I. p. 22, etc., II. pp. 38, etc., E.'s Z., p. 437. 

1' Todtenbuch, p. 94. 

'2 Jaffet's S. G., I. p. 22, etc., and II. p. 38 etc., R.'s Z., p. 437. 


schools of the Brethren, he completed his studies at the Uni- 
versities of Basle and Geneva. A tour through France, 
England, the Netherlands and Germany, brought him into 
connection with many distinguished soldiers, statesmen and 
theologians. Henry of Navarre excited his deepest admira- 
tion and the war which he was carrying on against the Cath- 
olics filled him with enthusiam. He looked upon this Prince 
as the champion of the true faith and joined his banner. 

Zerotin's military career was brilliant ; but his ideals were 
shattered. Out of heart, the sacrifices which he had made for 
the cause scarcely appreciated, he returned to Moravia in the 
same year in which Henry abjured the Protestant religion 
(July, 1593). There, in the service of his king, his coun- 
try, and his God, he hoped to find a sphere of usefulness. 
Accomplished, an eloquent speaker, a graceful writer, a sol- 
dier, a statesman, and an earnest Christian, attached with his 
whole heart to the Church of the Brethren — he seemed or- 
dained to accomplish great things. His exalted rank was 
sustained by immense wealth. He owned eight estates in 
Moravia and one in Bohemia. His revenues Avere princely.^^ 

In order to give an idea of the style in which the barons of 
the Unity lived, we will briefly describe Zerotin's home. It 
was not exceptional in its magnificence, but a sample of the 
seats of the higher aristocracy throughout Bohemia and 

The domain on which he resided lay to the west of Briinn 
and was called Namiest. It embraced an area of more than 
twenty-five square miles ; its chief town, bearing the same 
name as the estate, was situated on the Oslava, at the foot of 
a hill crowned with massive rocks that were overtopped by 
two crags. On these crags, between which was constructed a 
draw-bridge, towered the stately home of Zerotin. The one 
was covered with the dwellings of his officials ; from the other, 
which beetled over the valley of the Oslava, rose the Castle. 

^^ Chlumecky aptly calls Zerotin, " both a Maecenas and a scholar." His 
estates were the following : Namiest, Kralitz, Rositz, Struty, Loninitz, 
Drewohostitz, Prerau, Turnitz, and Brandeis on the Adler. 


Round about it stood the houses of his retainers and domestics. 
The sides of the hill presented a park of pines, beeches and 
very old oaks. This park was stocked with deer. A flight 
of broad marble steps, with statues on either hand, led to a 
splendid portal opening into the court-yard, in the middle 
of which appeared a fountain representing Neptune sur- 
rounded by dolphins. The Castle was three stories high, 
built in the romanesque style, and contained nearly one hun- 
dred apartments. 

Its establishment and all its appointments were regal in 
their character. The Baron was surrounded by a court. To 
it belonged scholars and artists whom he had invited to make 
his house their home; gentlemen of the chamber, all of noble 
birth ; pages waiting on him or the Baroness, and represent- 
ing some of the most ancient families of Moravia ; the masters 
and teachers of these pages ; secretaries ; equerries ; masters 
of the chase ; and last, but by no means least, the chaplain, 
who was a priest of the Unity. The retinue of servants was 
very large. It consisted of valets, lackeys, haiducks, grooms, 
stable-boys, huntsmen, barbers, watchmen and couriers ; the 
culinary department was in charge of a kitchen-master with 
numerous cooks and bakers under him ; in addition, there were 
household tailors, shoemakers, saddlers and other tradesmen. 

The Castle was rarely without guests. Among these the 
bishops and ministers of the Unity were ever welcome. 
They exercised a great influence in the family ; the chaplain 
was the Baron's confidential adviser; religion gave tone to 
the whole house. Every morning and evening the hymns of 
the Brethren swelled, in sweet harmony, through its halls, 
and from the Kralitz Bible were read aloud the words of 
eternal life. It was a home, says Chlumecky, in which " pre- 
vailed abundance without extravagance, hilarity without 
excess, piety without sanctimoniousness." ^^ 

On his return from France Zerotin took part in a campaign 
against the Turks. While thus engaged he was appointed 
Assessor of the kSupreme Court of Moravia. In this position, 

" Chlumecky's Zerotin, pp. 141-146. 


no less than in the Diet, he distinguished himself by his 
liberal course and soon stood at the head of a party that con- 
tended for religious freedom and civil rights. In all his 
efTorts he was supported by his cousin, Frederick von Zerotin, 
the Governor of Moravia. 

After Frederick's death (May the thirtieth, 1598), the 
Romish reaction assumed formidable proportions and began 
to single out Zerotin as a shining mark for its arrows. His 
ruin would lead to the destruction of the Brethren's Church, 
So argued the Catholic leaders, with whom his personal 
enemies made common cause. About the beginning of the 
year 1600, he was formally charged with treason and heresy. 
The trial took place at Prague and resulted in his triumph- 
ant acquittal. The reactionists were baffled; his personal 
enemies covered with confusion. They succeeded, however, 
in driving him from his seat on the bench. 

At this time the chief advisers of the Emperor were the 
notorious Melchior Khlesel,^^ Zbynek von Duba, Archbishop 
of Prague, Albert von Lobkowitz, the Chancellor, Joroslaw 
von Martinic, John Menzel, the imperial Secretary, and three 
Jesuits, George Scherer, William Lamorraain and Jacob Ger- 
anus, the Rector of the College. These men ceased not to 
plot against the Unity and Protestantism in general. Their 
designs in relation to Zerotin had failed, but a conspiracy 
involving the destruction of the Brethren in a body might 
be more successful. For months the capital was full of rumors. 
A grand stroke, it was whispered, had been concocted. Prague 
would soon see terrible things. For such dark sayings there 
was cause. On the second of September, 1 602, heralds issued 
from the gates of the Hradschin, came down into the city and 
with the blast of trumpets published, from street to street, a 
decree renewing the Edict of St. James. 

1^ Khlesel was the son of a baker, who was a Lutheran. Through the 
influence of the Jesuit Scherer he became a pervert to the Romish faith 
and entered the service of the Catholic Church, in which he rose to be 
Bishop of Vienna and subsequently a Cardinal. He was the bitter and un- 
compromising foe of Protestantism in every shape and form. 



The infamy of this measure was surpassed only by its bold- 
faced assurance. A Romish persecution was ordered in a 
Protestant country! Of the nobility scarcely one-tenth, of 
the people less than one-tenth, belonged to the Catholic 
Church .^^ And yet this insignificant minority meant to 
coerce the conscience of a nation. 

At first Prague and all Bohemia stood aghast. Although 
the Picards only were mentioned in the edict, no one doubted 
that it was aimed at the Protestants as a body. But the con- 
sternation soon subsided. The magistrates of the capital re- 
ported to the Chancellor that it was impossible to carry out 
their instructions. A burlesque of the decree appeared, 
ostensibly issued in heaven by God. This parody, probably 
from the pen of a member of the Unity, met with an immense 
sale. It was followed by a hymn in memory of Hus and the 
reprint of a satirical production published at the time of the 
Council of Trent." Men laughed over these travesties, and 
yet failed not to realize that they were signs of a grave crisis. 

The Brethren of Prague deemed it prudent to omit their 
public worship and meet in secret; those at Jungbunzlau 
suffered an irreparable loss. This town, in 1597, had bought 
its freedom of Bohuslaw Hasseustein and thus become a royal 
city. It constituted the most flourishing seat of the Unity in 
all Bohemia. In addition to Mount Carmel, with its ancient 
chapel, parsonage and school, was the beautiful church built 
by Krajek, in 1555. The membership was large and pros- 
perous. Here synods were often held, on which occasions 
Jungbunzlau was thronged with bishops and ministers. It 
formed the centre of sacred memories reaching back to the 
earliest time of the Brethren and around many a familiar spot 
clustered hallowed associations of a later age. 

In this venerable precinct appeared two imperial commis- 
sioners, and on the eleventh of November, 1602, closed the 

'^ Gindeiy's Eudoif 11. u. seine Zeit, I. p. 179, 

" Czerwenka, II. pp. 509, 510. Sixtus Palma, the publisher, was im- 
prisoned and eventuallj' banished. 


chapel and church ; on the twenty-third of December, the 
parsonage and school. Several mouths later these buildings, 
together with the land belonging to them, were confiscated by 
the Emperor and, in 1606, sold to the town, which endowed a 
hospital with the entire property. A similar fate befell the 
parish at Moldauteinitz. 

The perils threatening the Unity awakened a new champion 
in its defence. 

Wenzel Budowec von Budowa, born about the year 1547, 
after spending twelve years in foreign countries, partly at 
universities and partly on travels, and acquiring a number 
of languages, had been associated, in the reign of Maximilian, 
with Baron David Ungnad in an imperial embassy to Con- 
stantinople. In that city he passed four years and mastered 
both the Arabic and Turkish tongues. ^^ He returned to Bo- 
hemia rich in experience, progressive in his views, strong in 
his determination to secure religious liberty for his Church 
and countrymen. 

At the Diet that met at Prague, in January, 1603, he be- 
came, by common consent, the leader of the Protestant party. 
It was proposed to withhold supplies from the Emperor until 
he had revoked his decree. But Budowa delivered a brilliant 
speech, in which, after showing that the edict affected all 
Protestants alike, he urged measures that would be strictly 
legal. Money for the war against the Turks should be 
unconditionally voted, but at the same time a petition should 
be presented to the Emperor asking him to protect his subjects 
against an edict which had originated through the evil 
counsels of his advisers and their ignorance of the constitu- 
tional law of Bohemia. This suggestion was adopted. But 
when the clique behind Rudolph's throne perceived that the 
Protestant states meant to employ legal and not, as they had 
hoped, revolutionary measures, they induced him to pro- 

'^ While at Constantinople he studied the Mohammedan religion and re- 
futed its claims in a work which he entitled "Antialkoran." This work 
was by many so entirely misunderstood that he was accused of having 
embraced the Moliammedan faitli. 


rogue the Diet before the petition could be signed and to call 
Budowa to an account for his speech. 

Budowa pledged his word to appear whenever cited. In 
the following month the citation took place. He repaired to 
Prague and deposited in the Chancellor's office the petition 
of the Diet, a German translation of the Bohemian Con- 
fession, and a paper of his own proving by incontrovertible 
arguments that the states had the law on their side. When 
these papers were presented to Rudolph he was so deeply- 
impressed that lie quashed further proceedings against Bu- 
dowa and sent him a message saying, that he desired, above 
all things, to maintain friendly relations with the Protestants. 

But his advisers were not satisfied. With a high hand 
they carried out measures still more reactionary in their char- 
acter. A second decree appeared, ordering a strict observ- 
ance of the first, especially in royal cities ; a Catholic Synod 
was held (September the twenty-eighth, 1605), the first since 
the rehabilitation of the arch-bishopric; every priest, pro- 
fessor, student, physician, teacher, bookseller and printer was 
required to sign an oath of allegiance to the ecclesiastical 
authorities ; and a strict censorship of the press was established. 

Such measures could not but defeat themselves. They 
cemented the bond between the Brethren and Lutherans. 
They roused up both these parties. They formed the step- 
ping stone to religious liberty. 



The Polish Branch of the Church to the General Synod of 
Thorn. A. D. 1581-1595. 

Opposition to tlie Sendomirian Confederation. — Gerike and Enoch. — Synod 
of Posen. — General Synod of Wladislaw. — Gerike and the Jesuits. — 
Death of King Steplien. — Election of Sigismund tlie Third. — His 
bigoted Policy and its Results. — Appeal to the Diet. — Breach and 
Reconciliation between Gliczner and Turnovius. — The General Synod 
of Thorn and its Enactments. — Gerike excommunicated. — Results of 
the Synod. 

The union among the Protestants of Poland began to totter. 
This was owing to the baneful influences w'hich proceeded 
from Posen. In that city were two Lutheran churches; the 
one German, in charge of Paul Gerike; the other Polish, with 
John Enoch, a renegade from the Brethren whose discipline 
he could not brook, as its minister. Upon both these men 
had fallen Morgenstern's mantle of intolerance. In language 
as bitter as that which had come from his lips they preached 
against the Consensus Sendomiriensis and denounced the fel- 
lowship of the Lutherans with the Unity. Such a course was 
suicidal. The encroachments of the Roman Catholics could 
be successfully resisted only by an unbroken phalanx. This 
the Protestant leaders fully realized, and in order to restore 
harmony, convoked at Posen a joint Synod of the Brethren 
and the Lutherans. It met on the fourteenth of February, 
1582. Three bishops of the Unity, thirty of its priests, two 
Lutheran superintendents and twenty ministers took part in 
its deliberations. The Consensus was anew ratified; while 


Gerike and Euocli were rebuked and admonished to desist 
from their injurious course. In the following year, at a Gen- 
eral Synod held at AVladislaw, on the ninth of June, a still 
more formal agreement was entered into by all the three Pro- 
testant Churches, that the confederation of Sendomir should 
be maintained. In order to give to it more authority the 
publication of the Consensus, in Latin and Polish, was re- 
solved upon. Several senators, many magnates and about 
seventy clerical representatives of the Brethren's, the Lutheran 
and the Reformed Confessions composed the membership of 
this Synod.^ 

These convocations, however, did not heal the breach at 
Posen. Enoch grew more tractable and, after a time, re- 
signed his- charge; but his successor, Andrew Luperian, the 
son-in-law of Morgenstern, showed himself to be a bitter foe 
of union, and Gerike, smarting under the reproof which he 
had received, became more violent than before. Not satisfied 
with personally declining to recognize the Brethren, he for- 
bade his parishioners to visit their church, and uublushingly 
proclaimed from his pulpit, that an alliance between the 
Lutherans and Jesuits would be preferable to the Seudomir- 
ian confederation. The Jesuits were not slow to profit by 
these dissensions. They flattered Gerike's vanity, assuring 
him that he was the only true Lutheran in all Poland ; they 
praised his zeal ; tliey incited him to still more vehement de- 
nunciations; and then contrasted the quarrels of the Protest- 
ants with the peace and unity prevailing among Catholics. 
The result Avas, that not a few Protestants of Posen were 
triumphantly led back, by the cunning Fathers, to the bosom 
of the mother-church. 

Gerike and his associate ministers at Posen were not alone 
in their opposition to the Consensus; a similar tendency ex- 
isted among the German Lutheran churches of Lithuania. 
This was plainly seen in the so-called Concordia Vilnensis 
which they issued (1583), and became still more evident from 

' Lukaszewicz, pji. 99 and 100 ; Krasiuski, p. 79, etc. 


the fact that they declined to send delegates to the General 
Synods. But they did not, like Gerike, openly attack the 
confederation ; and it was supported by the Polish Lutheran 
churches of Lithuania. 

In 1586 King Stephen died, at Grodno, after a brief 
illness. This event was a severe blow to the Protestant 
cause. He had remained true to the principle laid down at 
the beginning of his reign. Catholic though he was, he had 
not interfered with the religious beliefs of his subjects. His 
successor, Sigismund the Third, elected on the nineteenth of 
August, 1587, pursued a different course. The only son of 
John the Third, of Sweden, a Protestant monarch, and the 
grandson of the illustrious Gustavus Vasa, he nevertheless, 
through the influence of his mother, became a bigoted Pom- 
anist.^ The sway exercised over him by the Jesuits was 
absohite. He was a mere tool in their hands. Without the 
advice of Bernhard Golynski, one of their order and his private 
confessor, he did nothing, whether in matters of religion or 
of the state. 

Of the nefarious counsels which he thus received, his reign 
began to give evidence. An open persecution would have 
been premature. Other ways were, therefore, suggested. The 
most notable showed the astuteness of the Fathers. By all 
the means within his reach he commenced favoring the Cath- 
olics. To them alone he granted the starosties which were 
at his disposal ; ^ they were invested with the highest and 

2 His mother was the sister of Bigismund Augustus, of Poland. Sigis- 
mund the Third was born June the twentieth, 1566. The Archduke 
Maximilian of Austria disputed his election and supported, by the force of 
arms, his own claims, until he was taken prisoner and forced to renounce 
the crown. After the death of Sigismund's father (1592) he became King 
of Sweden also, but Avas deposed in 1604 and his uncle, Charles the Ninth, 
whom he had appointed Kegent, ascended the Swedish throne. 

* Krasinski, II. p. 93, Note, says : " The kings of Poland possessed a great 
number of domains known under the name of Starosties, which they were 
obliged to distribute to nobles, who held tliem for life. These estates were 
converted into powerful instruments of seduction in the hands of Sigismund 
the Third, wlio with them rewai-ded tliose who deserted from Protestant- 
ism, or tlie Greek Church, and became converts to Komanism." 


most lucrative offices; if recent perverts from the Evangelical 
faith, he heaped riches and distinctions upon them ; honors 
and emoluments were held out to noblemen as inducements to 
deny their religion; vacancies in the Senate, which at the 
beginning of his reign had been an almost wholly Protestant 
body, were filled with Romanists until but two Protestant 
members remained ; to the complaints which came from the 
Evangelical party in all sections of his kingdom, he turned a 
deaf ear. 

The ultimate result of the Jesuitical policy thus inaugu- 
rated was the ruin of Poland ; its immediate consequences 
were heavy losses inflicted on Protestantism. Many of its 
adherents fell away — magnates and inferior nobles, citizens 
and peasants ; many domains on which its churches and 
schools had been a shining light, grew dark with Romish 
superstition and intolerance. At the same time the Jesuits 
themselves were indefatigable in their efforts. From the 
pulpit, with all the eloquence of which they were masters, 
they appealed to the Poles to return to the Catholic Church ; 
through the press they sent forth a stream of polemical 
writings. The Archbishop of Gnesen, the Bishop of Cujavia 
and the Bishop of Posen lent their powerful aid. Svnods 
were held in order to promote the authority of Rome ; at 
Kalish a second Jesuit College was founded. Even violent 
measures were resorted to. At Cracow a mob, instigated by 
the Jesuits and led by the students of the University, burned 
the Protestant church (1591); at Posen, two years later, the 
pupils of the Jesuit schools attempted to destroy the Breth- 
ren's church, but were obliged to desist when they found the 
populace unwilling to join in the outrage. Sigismund himself, 
on his way to Sweden, seized the principal churches of Thorn 
and Elbing and gave them to the Catholics. It was high 
time for the Protestants to bestir themselves. 

The Brethren took the initiative. Bishop Turnovius pro- 
ceeded to Warsaw, in May, 1593, and appealed to the Diet. 
He was in the noon-tide of his influence and popularity, 
respected both by nobles and the common people for his learn- 


ing, eloquence and zeal."* His appeal was supported by 
many magnates ; and in spite of the efforts of its Catholic 
members the Diet passed a severe law against all disturbers 
of the public peace. For a time the Protestants remained 

But discord continued to throw their own ranks into con- 
fusion. Gerike inveighed, as vehemently as ever, against the 
Consensus; Erasmus Gliczner, excited by the remonstrances 
of Lutheran divines in Germany, began to waver. In 1594 
he published, at Dantzic, a Polish version of the Augustana, 
Avith a preface criticising the Confessions both of the Brethren 
and the Reformed and making no allusion whatever to the 
Sendomirian confederation. This unwarranted proceeding 
was highly resented by Turnovius, who wrote his celebrated 
" Defence of the Consensus Sendomii'iensisr An open breach 
took place. It would have led to grave consequences, if the 
two leaders had not been reconciled, through the exertions of 
Count Andrew Leszcynski and other magnates, at the Diet of 
Cracow, in the following year.^ 

On the same occasion it was agreed to convoke another 
General Synod. Invitations were sent to all parts of the 

The response was prompt and enthusiastic.^ From Great 
and Little Poland, from Lithuania, Polish Prussia, Red and 

* Turnovius spoke Polish, Bohemian and German with great fluency, 
was master of the Latin, Greek and Hebrew, a poet of no mean rank, a pro- 
ficient in music, an astronomer and a historian. 

^ A written compact, containing nine points, was signed by Gliczner and 
Turnovius, as also by several witnesses. This compact is given by Luk- 
aszewicz, pp. 106 and 107 ; Jablonski in Con. Send., pp. 240 and 241 ; 
Salig Hist. Aug. Conf., p. 787. Tlie full title of Turnovius' work was: " De- 
fence of the Sendomirian Consensus and of the evangelical confessions 
contained therein, against that improper edition of the Augsburg Confes- 
sion which annuls this Consensus. In the year 1594." 

* Full accounts of the Synod are found in Krasinski, II. chap. -3 , Fischer, 
II. pp. 39-82; Lukaszewicz, i^p. 107-134, whose principal sources are Dan- 
iel Mikolajewski's official report as clerical secretary and a MS. History 
of the Synod by Turnovius. This History, translated from the Polish 
into German, is found in full in Fischer, II. Anhang, No. 2, p. 405, etc. 


White Russia, from Volhynia, Podolia and the Ukraine, a 
large number of nobles flocked to Thorn, the place of meeting. 
They were joined by more than seventy clerical delegates. 
The Brethren, the Lutherans and the Reformed were all 
fully represented. After a solemn service of praise and 
prayer in the church of St. Mary, the Synod was opened on 
the twenty-first of August, 1595. Stanislaus Orzelski, Starost 
of Radziejow, a man of learning and influence, was chosen lay 
president; Andrew Rzeczycki, Chamberlain of Lublin, his 
assistant; Bishop Turuovius, Erasmus Gliczner and Francis 
Jezierski, the Superintendent