The Burning of Jan Hus

1415: On July 6, Jan Hus is condemned as a heretic and then burned at the stake.

husAfter John Wycliffe, Jan (John) Hus is considered the first Church reformer, as he lived before Luther, Calvin and Zwingli. Hus was a key predecessor to Protestantism, and his teachings had a strong influence on the states of Western Europe, most immediately in the approval of a reformist Bohemian religious denomination, and, more than a century later, on Martin Luther himself. On July 6, 1415, John Hus (whose name means “goose” in his native Czech) made his way to the place of execution. Some of his last words were: You are going to burn a goose but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.

This “Swan” of this statement has popularly been interpreted to be Martin Luther, not to mention, even by Luther himself:

However, I, Dr. Martinus, have been called to this work and was compelled to become a doctor, without any initiative of my own, but out of pure obedience. Then I had to accept the office of doctor and swear a vow to my most beloved Holy Scriptures that I would preach and teach them faithfully and purely. While engaged in this kind of teaching, the papacy crossed my path and wanted to hinder me in it. How it has fared is obvious to all, and it will fare still worse. It shall not hinder me. In God’s name and call I shall walk on the lion and the adder, and tread on the young lion and dragon with my feet. And this which has been begun during my lifetime will be completed after my death. St. John Huss prophesied of me when he wrote from his prison in Bohemia, “They will roast a goose now (for ‘Huss’ means ‘a goose’), but after a hundred years they will hear a swan sing, and him they will endure.” And that is the way it will be, if God wills. [LW 34:103]

Via our Saxon friends on FB.