Jerome of Prague: A European, an Intellectual and an Agitator

March 15, 2016

Jerome of Prague: A European, an Intellectual and an Agitator


This year, 600 years will have passed since Jerome of Prague (Jeroným Pražský) was burnt at the stake in Konstanz. Although this activist of the Czech middle ages is often overshadowed by Jan Hus, he was perhaps an even more significant personality. He was tortured after Hus’ death and he recanted, fearing for his life. However, he later proclaimed his beliefs againand suffered the same fate as his friend. The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethern will commemorate Jerome of Prague with a number of events.

The planned events are part of the ECCB’s six-year project called Our Reformation, which has the principal goal of marking important church anniversaries. The project began in 2013, when 400 years passed since the publishing of the Bible of Kralice, and will finish in 2018 by celebrating 100 years of the ECCB’s existence.

This year’s mascot is a 65-centimetre-tall marionette of Jerome of Prague, made by Jan Růžička. The woodcarver drew inspiration from the way Jerome of Prague was depicted in the Richental Chronicle.

The events will culminate with a one-day festival, which will take place on 28 May on the Střelecký Island in Prague. Visitors can look forward to live music, puppet theatre or a discussion about Jerome. The programme will begin with a service and there will also be activities for children.

To mark the anniversary, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethern is also planning other events such as a film night at the church of St Martin in the Wall, followed by a discussion with experts, or the publishing of a small brochure on Jerome of Prague, his life and his legacy. There will also be an interactive test in which people will be able to find out how much they know about the personality.

Jerome of Prague was born around 1378. In 1398, he finished his studies at the Prague university and later brought the most important writings of Wycliffe from Oxford to Prague. He held lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris and at universities in today’s Germany and Austria. He contributed to the publishing of the Decree of Kutná Hora and wrote several poems and “protest songs”. As a diplomat serving king Wenceslas IV, he also visited Jerusalem.

In April 1415, Jerome arrived in Konstanz despite the warnings. “After being imprisoned and severely tortured, he recanted his beliefs. However, when the trial was once again opened, he professed the teachings of John Hus and John Wycliffe. He was sentenced to death by the church council and burnt at the same place as Hus on 30 May 1416.”

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Jana Vondrová

foto: D. Ženatá