Reformation in the
Holy Roman Empire
Reformation
in Switzerland






The Reformation in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown



A.) The Structure of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown

The lands of the Bohemian Crown comprise four - the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Duchies of Moravia, Silesia and the County of Lusatia. They all were part of the Holy Roman Empire; they all had a population partially Slavic, partially German. The dominant territory of the four was Bohemia, its capital Prague, seat of the Empire's oldest university (1348) and of the archdiocesis responsible for the territorial complex. its cultural center.


The Reformation in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown



A.) The Structure of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown



The lands of the Bohemian Crown comprise four - the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Duchies of Moravia, Silesia and the County of Lusatia. They all were part of the Holy Roman Empire; they all had a population partially Slavic, partially German. The dominant territory of the four was Bohemia, its capital Prague, seat of the Empire's oldest university (1348) and of the archdiocesis responsible for the territorial complex. its cultural center.


B.) The 15th Century

Bohemia saw the first reformer in the person of JAN HUS, who polarized the country, the vast majority of the ethnic Germans rejecting his teaching, which found wide and sincere support among the ethnic Czechs. When the Council of Konstanz (Constance) in 1515 declared Hus a heretic and burnt him at the stake, his supporters, the HUSSITES, stood firm and resisted a series of crusades. In 1433 the BASEL COMPACTATES (1433) offered a solution, permitting the moderate Hussites to practice the communion in both kinds (in utraque species); the moderate Hussites henceforth were referred to as UTRAQUISTS or Calixtines. The radical Hussites - the Taborites - were defeated by the moderate Utraquists in 1434, and their scattered remnants for years lacked organization until the BOHEMIAN BRETHREN were founded in 1457.
By 1500, Bohemia and Moravia, for many decades, thus were accustomed to the coexistence of three different christian communities (the Catholic community included). There had been periods of persecution and periods of peaceful coexistence; As the country had been divided during the Hussite wars, the central authority was unable to enforce repressive measures throughout the country; cities or noblemen often decided on their own if they wanted to join in these measures or not.
The Bohemian Lands in the 15th century mat well be referred to as the experimenting ground of the Protestant Reformation.


C.) The Bohemian Lands during the Early Reformation Years (1517-1547)

Lutheranism spread into the Bohemian lands and became the dominant confession in Lusatia and Silesia (in German : Schlesien). In Bohemia and Moravia, however, the Lutheran community only added to the existing caleidoscope of denominations. In Silesia, CASPAR SCHWENCKFELD developed his own interpretation of the reformation and soon had to leave Silesia for Moravia with her more liberal climate for religious dissenters, and where he found a community of followers, the SCHWENCKFELDERS.. Moravia also attracted Anabaptist refugees from Tyrol, the HUTTERITES. After the events at Münster, a repressive policy was implemented in Moravia against the Anabaptists, and many moved on.
Attempts to bridge the differences between Lutheranism and Utraquism have been undertaken, bit did not lead to a merger. Instead, during the SCHMALKALDIC WAR both supported different sides - Catholics and Utraquists supported the Emperor, Lutherans and Bohemian Brethren did not (Lutheran Duke-Elector John Frederick had invaded Bohemia).


D.) The Bohemian Lands 1547-1620

The period from 1547-1617 was that of continued coexistence between the major religious communities - Catholics, Utraquists, Lutherans and Bohemian Brethren. The Jesuits were called to Prague in 1566. In the 1570es, Calvinism made inroads; an attempt to narrow the differences between the denominations was the 1575 CONFESSIO BOHEMICA, which was only accepted by the Neo-Utraquists. In 1579 the Jesuits established a university at Olomouc (in Ger.: Olmütz). In 1593 the KRALICE BIBLE was published, in Czech. In 1609, Emperor Rudolf II. granted RELIGIOUS TOLERATION to Moravia.
The DEFENESTRATION OF PRAGUE in 1618 destroyed the complex modus vivendi of the various denominations in Bohemia, as the rebels elected Frederick Count Palatine, a Calvinist, King of Bohemia; the rebels were defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620, Habsburg rule restored, and a policy of massive repression against non-Catholic communities implemented, which caused many to emigrate.



EXTERNAL
FILES
Article Bohemia, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Chronology of Catholic Dioceses : Czech Republic, from Kirken i Norge
DOCUMENTS
REFERENCE Mark Greengrass, The Longman Companion to the European Reformation c.1500-1618, Harlow (Essex): Longman 1998, p.159-162, KMLA Lib.Sign. 274.06 GB 121


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 19th 2003, last revised on November 15th 2004

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