Huss, John (1369-1415), the great Wyclifite reformer of Bohemia, was born at Hussinecz (whence his surname Huss), near Prackaticz. He studied at the newly-established university of Preegue, where he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts (1393), and Master of Arts three years later, and began to lecture in 1398. He became preacher at the Bethlehem chapel in Prague, 1402, and soon attracted attention by his bold assertion of the doctrines of Wyclif and his denunciation of ecclesieestical abuses, becoming popular with the commonalty and attracting some of the nobility.
In 1403 he was elected rector of Prague University. At first Archbishop Sbinko was inclined to tolerate the plain speaking of the zealot, who, however, became an object of hatred and terror to the clergy, so that in 1408 he was deprived and suspended, and in 1410 excommunicated, while copies of Wyclif's writings were publicly burned in Prague. But in 1409 the Bohemian "nation" at the university had upheld King Wenceslas against the foreign "nations," with the result that the Bohemians received by royal edict thrice as much voting power as the rest, who accordingly withdrew from Prague, while Huss earned the protection of King Wenceslas. He therefore went on preaching and teaching in spite of renewed excommunications (1411, 1412), and a Papal interdict which was issued in 1413, as aretort to Huss's condemnation of the Bull published by Pope John XXIII., instigating a crusade against King Ladislas. In 1414 he was summoned before the Council of Constance, and, having obtained a safe conduct through the influence of King Wenceslas, he set out on the fatal journey, October 14th of that year, reaching Constance November 3rd. It was not thought obligatory to keep faith with a heretic, so that, in spite of his safe conduct, he was apprehended (November 28th) and thrown into prison. His accusers exhibited 39 articles against him, and in a full sitting of the council under the presidency of the Emperor (July 6, 1415), it was finally resolved that Huss had erred in all the points urged against him and that he must abjure hia errors and make a public recantation. As he stoutly refused to acknowledge that he had erred, he suffered death at the stake as a heretic, as did in the following year his friend and adherent Jerome of Prague.