Twice a week I post a quote from a saint from the Episcopal Calendar of Saints that week. They are to be meditative and mindful, playful and thought inducing. I hope they are helpful in your spiritual journeys.
Priest, Prophetic Witness and Martyr
John Huss (Jan Hus) was born in Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic) in about 1371. He received a master's degree from Charles University in Prague in 1396, became a professor of theology in 1398, was ordained to the priesthood in 1400, was made rector of the University in 1402, and in 1404 received a bachelor's degree in theology (presumably a more advanced degree than the term suggests today).
Meanwhile, Hus had begun to denounce various church abuses in his sermons. His disputes with authority did not concern basic theological issues, but rather matters of church discipline and practice. The custom had arisen, at celebrations of the Lord's Supper, of distributing the consecrated bread to all Christians in good standing who desired to receive it, but restricting the chalice to the celebrant alone. Hus denounced this restriction as contrary to Holy Scripture and to the ancient tradition of the Church. He also held that Church officials ought to exercise spiritual powers only, and not be earthly governors. In 1412 his archbishop excommunicated him, not for heresy, but for insubordination. (The real problem was that Hus supported one papal claimant and the archbishop another. Hus's candidate was ultimately declared to be the true pope.) Matters came to a head when one claimant (later declared unfit) proclaimed a sale of indulgences to raise money for a war against his rivals. Hus was horrified at the idea of selling spiritual benefits to finance a war between two claimants to the title "Servant of the Servants of God," and said so.