Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


Gen. name for followers of J. Hus.* Fierce indignation aroused throughout Boh. by execution of Hus and Jerome* of Prague, rejection by the Council of Constance* of the use of the cup—introd. during the imprisonment of Hus with his approval—as heretical, and determination of Hussites to defend their faith to the utmost resulted in grave disorders and civil war. A favorable setting for the Hussite movement had been prepared by Devotio* moderna. Wycliffism* furnished Hussites with a theoretical basis for revolt. Refusal of the estates to have Sigismund* as king brought on the Hussite Wars. Martin* V organized a crusade against the dissidents 1420. Hussite moderates (called Calixtines [from their demand for the use of the chalice (Lat. calix) in communing the laity] or Utraquists [from Lat. sub utraque specie, “under both kinds”]) were conservative in demands for reform. Taborites,* a more radical group, gathered around Jan (Johann) Zizka (Ziska; ca. 1360–1424), rejected transubstantiation,* adoration of saints, intercession for dead, and eccle siastical customs not commanded in the Bible; they demanded that the state regulate its affairs by the Bible, and had chiliastic and communistic tendencies. Horebites (from a mountain which they called Horeb and to which they retired), another radical group, also gathered around Zizka. These 3 groups adopted the Articles of Prague 1420: 1. Freedom of preaching; 2. Communion under both kinds; 3. Reduction of clergy to apostolic poverty; 4. Severe punishment for mortal sin. Hussites were repeatedly victorious and carried the war into neighboring countries. Crushing defeat of the RC army 1431 blighted all hopes of emp. and pope of subjecting the Bohemians by force. The driving force of the Hussites was religious zeal nourished by Biblical preaching, frequent partaking of the Eucharist, and rich vernacular hymnody. Negotiations bet. the Council of Basel* and the Hussites resulted in adoption 1433 of a modified form of the Articles of Prague. Communion under both kinds was allowed. Taborites rejected the agreement and were well-nigh annihilated 1434 by Hussite moderates and RCs in a battle near Lipan. Hussite zeal and religious creativity came to an end but found new expression in the Bohemian* Brethren. Utraquists continued in an uneasy peace with RCs till the time of M. Luther* (see Bohemia, Lutheran Theology in). Most then became Luth. or neo-Utraquist; Old Utraquists merged with the RC Ch. See also Poland, 1.

F. G. Heymann, “The Hussite-Utraquist Church in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, LII (1961), 1–16, and John Zizka and the Hussite Revolution (Princeton, New Jersey, 1955); F. H. H. V. v. Lützow, A History of Bohemian Literature (New York, 1900); The Cambridge Medieval History, ed. C. W. Previté-Orton and Z. N. Brooke, VIII (New York, 1936), 65–115. MSF

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online