John Huss (1369-1414)
Huss was the most important of the forerunners of the Reformation within Europe. He was born of peasant stock but he was a gifted scholar and received a good education and became the Rector of Prague University when he was 34 years old.
But Huss was stirred by his knowledge of the Bible. He read the works of John Wycliffe and he started preaching in a chapel in Prague known as the Bethlehem Chapel. This chapel was established to allow people to hear the Bible in their own tongue (very few people, even within the clergy, knew Latin which was the only language that the Roman church allowed the Word of God to be heard in).
The Archbishop of Prague opposed Huss. Then the Pope excommunicated Huss and forced him out of Prague. In 1414 Huss was summoned for trial before the General Council of Constance. He was promised a safe conduct so he went to defend himself. What we now know the be the basic truth of the Bible, that God loves us all and sent His Son to take the penalty of our sin upon Himself, was contrary to the teaching of the Roman church at that time. And Huss was burnt at the stake because he revealed this truth to ordinary people!
The followers of Huss were known as Taborites and then Bohemian or Moravian Brethren and they strongly influenced the Reformation as it developed.