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(hŭs`īts), followers of John Huss. After the burning of Huss (1415) and Jerome of Prague (1416), the Hussites continued as a powerful group in Bohemia and Moravia. They drew up (1420) the Four Articles of Prague, demanding freedom of preaching, communion in both kinds (i.e., both wine and bread) for the laity as well as priests, the limitation of property holding by the church, and civil punishment of mortal sin, including simony.

Although it ultimately failed, the Hussite movement is of permanent historical significance. It was the first substantial attack upon the two bulwarks of medieval society, feudalism and the Roman Catholic Church. As such it helped pave the way for both the Protestant Reformation and the rise of modern nationalism.

The Utraquists and the Taborites

In 1419 the Hussite WarsHussite Wars,
series of conflicts in the 15th cent., caused by the rise of the Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia. It was a religious struggle between Hussites and the Roman Catholic Church, a national struggle between Czechs and Germans, and a social struggle between the landed
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 began, and in their course the Hussite movement splintered into several groups. The moderate group, called Utraquists [Lat. sub utraque specie=in both kinds] or Calixtines [Lat.,=chalice], consisted chiefly of the lesser nobility and the bourgeoisie. The Univ. of Prague was their center and Master Jan Rokycana their principal leader. Except for the demands made in the Four Articles, they agreed substantially with the Roman Catholic Church.

The more radical Hussites, the Taborites, named after their religious center and stronghold at Tabor, went further than the Utraquists in accepting the doctrines of John Wyclif. Consisting largely of peasants, this group expressed the messianic hopes of the oppressed. They regarded the Four Articles as minimal concessions. Their real goal was the total abolition of the feudal system and the establishment of a classless society without private property. From among their number came such leaders as John ZizkaZizka, John
, Czech Jan Žižka , d. 1424, Bohemian military leader and head of the Hussite forces during the anti-Hussite crusades of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund.
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 and Procopius the GreatProcopius the Great,
Czech Prokop Holý, d. 1434, Czech Hussite leader. A priest, he joined the Hussite movement (see Hussites) and distinguished himself as a captain under John Zizka in the Hussite Wars.
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. Puritanical and iconoclastic, the Taborites reduced the sacraments to communion and baptism, denied the Real Presence, and abolished the veneration of saints and holy images.

The Hussite Wars necessitated a temporary alliance between the two groups. However, when the Utraquists were reconciled (1436) with the church through the agreement known as the Compactata, the Taborites refused to acquiesce. Of the demands of the original Four Articles, the Catholic Church conceded only on communion in both kinds. The obstinacy of the Taborites led to the alliance between the Utraquists and the Catholics and to the military defeat of the Taborites at Lipany (1534). After this, Taborite influence vanished from Bohemia. The Bohemian and Moravian Brethren are, however, probably descended from this group (see Moravian ChurchMoravian Church,
 Renewed Church of the Brethren,
or Unitas Fratrum
, an evangelical Christian communion whose adherents are sometimes called United Brethren or Herrnhuters.
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Further Division and Suppression

The Utraquists obtained (1436) royal recognition of the Compactata, which remained the fundamental religious law of Bohemia until 1567. By that time Protestantism had made great progress in Bohemia, and the Utraquists themselves were divided. The Old Utraquists remained Catholic; the New Utraquists joined with the Lutherans and drew up (1575) the Confessio Bohemia, which achieved official status (1609) in the Letter of Majesty of Emperor Rudolph II (see BohemiaBohemia,
Czech Čechy, historic region (20,368 sq mi/52,753 sq km) and former kingdom, in W and central Czech Republic. Bohemia is bounded by Austria in the southeast, by Germany in the west and northwest, by Poland in the north and northeast, and by Moravia in the
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). The violation of this letter was the prelude to the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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. Bohemia, which was overwhelmingly Protestant in the mid-16th cent., was returned to Catholicism by both force and persuasion. Nevertheless, the Evangelicals, as the Lutheran Utraquists were called, did not entirely disappear, and neither did the other major communion, the Moravian Church.


See H. Kaminsky, A History of the Hussite Revolution (1967); F. M. Bartos, The Hussite Revolution, 1424–1437 (1986).

References in periodicals archive ?
Concerning whom Chelcicky read, Atwood, quoting Molnar and Spinka, proposes three influences: the writings of the Waldenses, although these with only a direct reference, John Wyclif and the Hussite literature.
43) In this cosmic duel against the vile "princes of the earth", the radical reformers of the early 16th century were acting in the traditions of famous precursors, such as the Hussite Taborites.
Schwert (1527), as well as manuscript copies of Hubmaier's Ein einfaltiger Unterricht auf die Worte Das ist der Leib mein (1526) and of a Hussite treatise on the martyrdom of Jan Hus in Constance in 1415.
Czech composer Janacek's music is as varied as the plot suggests, with extra-terrestrial sounds of the moon and patriotic Hussite hymns - there's even bagpipes.
Dramatically there are weaknesses in both, but Janacek's use of Hussite chorales, some original, some newly composed, gives the 15th century tale great interest, and the music on the Moon is inventive.
But all of a sudden socialism took root here in 1960 as the communist leadership added an extra "S" to the official name of the country (the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (ESSR)), as the state lion obtained a star instead of a crown, and as his heraldic shield was replaced by a Hussite pavise.
The famous nineteenth-century, liberal, Viennese rabbi Adolph Jellinek was the descendent of Czech peasants of Hussite background who converted to Judaism in the eighteenth century.
The Hussite battles of the fifteenth century linked to colonial battles of the nineteenth in Sourkova and Gilbert's drawings; the pain of the mourners in Wilhelm Lehmbruck's sculptures echoed that of Michelangelo's Pieta, as conjured by Selg's sculptures.
Como ilustracion rapsodica de esta consideracion, podriamos contemplar los dichos de Herbert Spencer sobre su propia madre: "Concerning my mother, nee Harriet Holmes, in 1794, the fact first to be named is that no signs were manifest in her of that small infusion of Huguenot blood and trace of Hussite blood, along one line of ancestry, which we have inferred.
The concerts also feature Dvorak's Hussite Overture and Sibelius's SymphonyNo1.
The following sixteen religious communities are registered in the Slovak Republic: Apostolic Church, Brethren Unity of Baptists, Church of Seventh Day Adventists, Brethren Church in the Slovak Republic, Czechoslovak Hussite Church in Slovakia, Protestant Church of the Augsburg Confession, Protestant Methodist Church, Greek Catholic Church, Christian congregations, Religious community of Jehovah Witnesses, New Apostolic Church in the Slovak Republic, Orthodox Church in Slovakia, Reformed Christian Church, Roman Catholic Church, Old Catholic Church, and Central Union of Jewish Religious Communities.