Jan Hus Monument


1998

This monument to Jan Hus in Old Town Square was dedicated in 1915, five hundred years after his death. Hus was a popular priest and religious reformer. Influenced by John Wyclif, he identified with the common people and preached against the abuses of the wealthy Catholic Church hierarchy. He was also a nationalist at a time when the Czech lands were ruled by foreigners.

As a result of his fiery sermons against the practice and privileges of the church, Hus was summonsed to appear before the Council of Konstanz in Germany. There, despite assurances by the Holy Roman Emperor that he would not be harmed, Hus was condemned as a heretic and imprisoned when he refused to recant his views. On July 6, 1415 he was paraded through the streets and then burned at the stake.

His death fueled widespread unrest and rioting amongst his supporters, who became known as Hussites. Within five years civil war erupted between the Hussites, who were mainly peasants, and the Catholic Crusaders, who were backed by the nobility. The eventual defeat of the Hussites strengthened the position of the religious empire, enhancing its control over the population.

Today Jan Hus is a symbol of integrity and national pride. The Czech motto of "truth shall prevail" is associated with his courage to stand up and die for his beliefs. To a large extent, Hus's life has helped shape the national character of the Czech Republic. Today, the anniversary of his death is a national holiday. During the 1968 Soviet invasion someone tied a blindfold over the eyes of the Jan Hus statue so he would not have to witness another assault on Czech national sovereignty.

Seek the truth,
Speak the truth,
Hear the truth,
Protect the truth,
Love the truth,
Learn the truth,
And defend truth unto death.

Jan Hus
1369-1415