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Jerome of Prague

(1379-1416), a Czech church reformer and one of the chief followers of Jan Hus who was burned for heresy at the Council of Constance. He is often called Hieronymus the Latin form of his first name.

Jerome was born in Prague, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) in 1379 and graduated from the University of Prague in 1398. He later studied at Oxford University where he first became familiar with the reformist teachings of John Wycliffe. He was a philosopher, theologian, university professor, and church reformer who dedicated his life to eradicate those church doctrines and dogmas he found to be corrupt. He was constantly in and out of jail.[3] His radical ideas eventually brought about his death by execution as a heretic to the church, but made him a martyr for the Protestant Reformation and followers of Jan Hus (known as Hussites). He was well-educated and spent most of his life traveling, trying to incite religious reform in various cities. It was for his criticisms rather than heresy that he was martyred

Jerome tended to teach radical ideas pertaining to Roman Catholic doctrine, namely that God’s teachings were directly accessible to a Christian without need for the church or church officials. He taught that one should obey the direct teachings of Jesus, even when they conflicted with those of the Catholic Church. He was largely a follower of the ideologies of both church reformers John Wyclif and Jan Hus. As his teachings were contrary to those of the Roman Catholic Church, he was constantly on the run from authorities. Hus, although much less disruptive in his approach, was a mentor for Jerome.

Jerome incited public demonstrations in Paris, Vienna, Prague, and everywhere in between; most of these demonstrations took place in cities with universities where Jerome taught. Teaching at universities allowed Jerome to reach a broad audience. In Kraków, he was publicly examined as to his acceptance of the forty-five articles which the enemies of Wyclif had made up from Wyclif's writings and which they asserted represented Wyclif's heretical teachings. Jerome declared that he rejected them in their general tenor.

Trial and death:

When, on 11 October 1414, Hus left for the Council of Constance, Jerome assured him that if needed, he would come to his assistance, contrary to the wishes of Hus. Hus was tricked into attending the Council of Constance by means of a letter promising immunity, and upon his arrival in the city he was arrested and imprisoned.Jerome kept his promise, even though Hus and other friends of Jerome warned him not to come. On 4 April 1415, he arrived at Constance. Predictably, he created a stir in the town.

As he had, unlike Hus, come without a safe-conduct, Jerome's friends persuaded him to return to Bohemia. But on his way back he was arrested in Hirschau on 20 April and taken to Sulzbach, where he was imprisoned, and was returned to Constance on 23 May. He was immediately arraigned before the council on the charge of fleeing a citation.

His condemnation was predetermined in consequence of his general acceptance of the views of Wyclif and his open admiration for Hus. Consequently, he did not have a fair hearing. The conditions of his imprisonment were so horrid that he fell seriously ill and so was induced to recant at public sessions of the council held on 11 and 23 September 1415. The words put into his mouth on these occasions made him renounce both Wyclif and Hus. The same physical weakness made him write in Bohemian letters to the king of Bohemia and to the University of Prague, which were declared to be entirely voluntary and to state his own opinions, in which he announced that he had become convinced that Hus had been rightfully burned for heresy. (Hus had been burned at the stake while Jerome was imprisoned.) However, the Council of Constance kept him imprisoned as they doubted his sincerity and wanted a more incriminating confession. On 23 May 1416, and on 26 May, he was put on trial by the Council. On the second day he withdrew his recantation, and on 30 May he was condemned and burned. In this way, Jerome became the first official martyr for the Hussite reform cause.

Extract from en.wikipedia.org.- Read more

 

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All quotations have been taken from the "King James Version" of the Bible
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