JAN HUS’ END IN CONSTANCE
“I, Master John of Husinec, announce to the entire kingdom of Bohemia that I am ready to take my stand in the court of the priest archbishop at the forthcoming assembly of the clergy in regard to all those accusations by which I am falsely accused and charged. . . . I intend to take my stand on this declaration, in order to establish the truth, before the general Council in Constance . . . ”
From a letter Jan Hus wrote to the entire Kingdom of Bohemia (calling for people to come to Constance if they have accusations of heresy against him,) August 26, 1414, translated in Matthew Spinka, The Letters of John Hus.
After a month of freedom in Constance, Hus was imprisoned on November 28. He was held in several different prison locations and confronted many hardships including severe illness and lack of books or other means of amusement. When considering the journey to Constance, Hus assumed that he was being granted safe passage in order to defend himself before the court; however, the lack of opportunity to speak in his own defense proved otherwise. He was brought there simply to recant, which he continued to refuse to do. He appeared before the Council at Constance several times, forbidden to fully defend his stance and unwilling to recant. The final hearing was on June 8, 1415.
A month after the end of his trial on July 6, 1415, Hus was sentenced to death as a heretic. A paper cap adorned with three devils (to be worn by heretics) was placed on his head. After further ridicule Hus was turned over to the secular authorities to be burned at the stake. Following his death his ashes were thrown into the Rhine.
“For with God’s help I will there tell the truth plainly. I desire that my body be consumed by fire rather than that I should be so iniquitously kept out of sight by them, in order that all Christendom may know what I have said in the end. . . . My hope in the Lord is ever firm.”
From a letter Hus wrote to Lord John of Chlum, after June 10, 1415, translated in Matthew Spinka, The Letters of John Hus.