Saturday, October 8, 2011

Archbishop Christopher, Metropolitan of the Czech Lands on Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague

"Czechs began to venerate Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague as saints immediately after they were burned at the stake. Jerome of Prague was the first to call Jan Hus a saint—at the very Council of Constance, which condemned Jan Hus and which awaited a “statement of repentance” and condemnation from Jerome of Jan Hus. They were venerated for two hundred years. However, after the defeat by the Catholic Leagues at the fatal battle on White Hill in 1620 and the forced Catholicization of the Czech people, the names of Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague were basically outlawed. In 1918, when Czechoslovakia became an independent state, the modernist Church took the name of Jan Hus. The communists called him something of a revolutionary. In fact, he never called for modernism in his sermons, but spoke only about the undistorted, original teaching of Jesus Christ, which was in fact Orthodoxy."

[Interviewer] Does that mean that Jan Hus’s and Jerome’s martyric deaths could be considered martyrdom for Orthodoxy?

"It was precisely of Orthodoxy that they were accused. This was one of the points of accusation of their heresy. However, they considered themselves Catholics and officially were so. Only at the end of the twentieth century did the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, John Paul II, express his deep regret over their burning at the stake. But he did not go beyond regret. And they both, Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague, died for the undistorted faith, for the pure faith of Christ—that is, for Orthodoxy. Therefore we are completely justified in canonizing them as saints. This has already been confirmed by the Church of Cyprus and the Greek Church. Other Orthodox Churches also support us."

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