Jan Hus was a Czech (then Bohemia and Moravia) theologian and philosopher who became a church reformer and an inspirer of Hussitism, a key predecessor to Protestantism. On July 6, 1415, he was burned at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church.
While imprisoned in Constance, Hus hoped he would have the opportunity to present a sermon about peace (Sermo de pace), in which he wrote about the necessity of being reconciled with God and with oneself before trying to reconcile and build peace with the others.
According to Jan Hus, the justice of God and of his law is concord, humbleness, voluntary poverty, purity, patience and effective preaching of gospel. Hus proclaimed the values of truth, love and a pure way to Christ in the beginning of the fifteenth century.
The Jan Hus Memorial stands at one end of Old Town Square. Hus is looking at the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, which was the main church of the Hussites between 1419 and 1621. It monument also depicts victorious Hussite warriors and Protestants who were forced into exile 200 years after Hus in the wake of the lost Battle of the White Mountain during the Thirty Years’ War, and a young mother who symbolizes national rebirth.
An inscription on the base was added in 1918 after Czechoslovakia gained its independence from Austria. It contains the words of Hus himself: “Love each other and wish the truth to everyone.” Also inscribed are word from the anthem of the Hussite Warriors: “Live, nation sacred in God, do’nt die”; “I believe, that the anger thunders will cease and that the government of your affairs will return to your hands, Czech folk” and “Who are the warriors of God and his law.”
It was unveiled in 1915 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Jan Hus’ martyrdom. The memorial was designed by Ladislav Šaloun and paid for by public donations. At the time Prague was under Austrian rule, and the Habsburgs refused to officially inaugurate the monument. Locals covered the monument with flowers in protest. When Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule, sitting at the feet of the Jan Hus memorial became a way of quietly expressing one’s opinion and opposition against the Communist rule.