Jerome of Prague

c.1371-1416. Bohemian Reformer. A layman, he was a brilliant orator and debater, and a close friend and disciple of John Hus.* Intellectually he was a Realist, following closely upon the Wycliffism which he ardently propounded in Bohemia and especially at Prague, but he always remained orthodox on transubstantiation. After graduating from Prague University in 1398, he greatly contributed to the spreading of Wycliffe's works in Bohemia. Later he received the M.A. degree from Paris where he also lectured, but adverse reaction to his Realism and Wycliffism led to flight successively from Paris and Heidelberg.

In 1407 he helped to lead the nationalist-Wycliffite campaign which granted the Czechs equality of powers in the hitherto German-dominated Prague University. The archbishop of Prague apparently excommunicated him in 1409. In 1410 his preaching at the court of Sigismund of Hungary led to his dismissal. He appeared in Vienna, where the Inquisition arrested him, but despite an oath to the contrary he fled. From 1410 he became much more radical and activist in his opposition to the church. In Prague he was a leader of popular demonstrations against his friend Hus's excommunication, against indulgences, and against religious relics. In 1413 the local episcopate expelled him from Cracow and he went to support the Ruthenian schismatics in White Russia. In 1414 he went to the Council of Constance, honoring a promise to help his friend Hus. He quickly left to avoid arrest, but was brought back and jailed. In June 1415, after Hus's condemnation, Emperor Sigismund demanded that Jerome be dealt with, and he was burnt as a heretic at Constance in 1416.

See “Jerome of Prague,” University of Birmingham Historical Journal, vol. I (1947).