Ar fi trebuit sau nu să merg la Praga? Planuisem sa merg la cateva biserici romane din nordul Italiei. Planificarea mea a fost insa gresita. Trebuie sa zburam inapoi spre USA luni la ora pranzului. Imi pare rau ca n-am planificat-o pentru marți sau miercuri. Acum trebuie sa fim duminica in Viena …
Ca sa nu stam prea mult pe capul celor de acolo, am hotarat sa plecam undeva. Radu Stir mi-a spus ca nu regretă de loc sejurul in Praga. Cornel Prejban îi da dreptate, spunându-mi și el că se merită.
Praga este singurul oras european major care a scăpat de bombardamentul aliatilor in cel de al doilea război mondial, fiind astăzi relativ așa cum a fost dintotdeauna. (Ghidul avea sa-mi spuna ca Praga a fost totuși bombardament … o singura zi, cand a fost confundata cu Drezda). Fara sa gazduiasca obiective de importanta militară, Praga n-a “meritat” sa fie distrusă.
Am inchiriat deci o masina si am luat-o de-a dreptul, nu pe autostrada, preferând sa vedem țara la nivelul drumurilor regionale. N-am regretat. Cehia este o rostogolire de dealuri printre care văile sunt fertile și pline de sate asemănătoare cu cele pe care le-am văzut în Ungaria.
Nota pentru americani: Faceți-vă rezervațiile din USA! Chiar și când vă schimbați planurile, ca noi acum, un telefon rapid în USA si o rezervație trimisă rapid prin Internet reduce costurile in vecinătatea lui “jumătate de preț”. Valer Monafu, ginerele nostru de la monitorul de acasă a făcut aproape minuni pentru noi. La Praga am stat la un hotel de lux, cu cinci stele, în chiar centrul orașului vechi, așa că n-am avut nevoie de mașină. Nu-i vorbă că nici n-aș mai fi putut să o scot din pivnița/ parcare în care am înghesuit-o incredibil după o mulțime de minimanevre la limita posibilului. Să vedem cum o s-o scot când va trebui să plec! Am stat in Praga de joi pana sambata. Vineri am luat un tur care ne-a plimbat cu autobuzul, cu vaporul si … pe jos.
As spune deci ca a trebuit sa merg, s-a meritat. Multimea de turiști ne-a facut de cateva ori sa ne simtim ca trecatorii de pe Lipsacaniul bucurestean, cot la cot si cu mainile atenți la buzunare. Oameni pestriti din toate țările. Surprinzător de putini romani, doar o pereche de tineri si încă un moldovean care vorbea la telefon și o dădea din cand in cand și pe rusește.
In Praga, multi vin să cunoască, dar putini inteleg cu adevărat, multi privesc, dar foarte putini văd ceea ce este cu adevărat important. Fara un ghid priceput ești lasat sa te uiti ca vițelul la suprafața lucrurilor, că porțile sunt multe și monumentele se țin lanț pe fiecare parte a drumului.
Cehii sunt foarte mândri de trecutul lor. Boemia a fost în vechime ținutul unde a bătut inima Europei. Împună cu Budapesta si Viena, Praga intregeste tripleta de centre majore pe care s-a zidit, ca pe o coloană vertebrală, Imperiul Habsburgilor. Orasul este un tezaur cultural. Copernicus, alaturi da Kafka si de Havel sunt parte din constelația geniilor locale.
Vaclac Havel a lasat orasului un monument pentru initiati. Cand a fost reactivată Loja masonică după adormirea de sub comuniști, mare maestru era tatăl lui. Havel a lasat orasului un urias … pendulum.
Ghidul ne-a spus doar ca instrumentul nu măsoară timpul, ci doar pulsul democratiei locale.
Initiații știu însă altfel.
După semnele publice de până acum, unghiul și compasul, pendulum adaugă elementul trei. După, “plan” și “spațiu”, apare acum în public si “timpul”. Altfel spus, noua ordine mondială a depășit stadiul de plan, și-a definit spațiul de implementare și “revoluțiile” au marcat debutul timpului care-i măsoară instaurarea.
Pe mine însă m-a împins spre Praga … trista poveste a lui Ian Hus, predecesorul Reformei lui Luther. Cu aproximativ 100 de ani înaintea germanului, Hus s-a ridicat împotriva bisericii catolice, condamnându-i abuzurile.
Puțin știut de români, Hus a pledat pentru întoarcerea la simplitatea ortodoxiei răsăritene, la căsătoria preoților, ca în bisericile răsăritene (abandonarea celibatului catolic), și a condamnat practica scandaloasă a indulgențelor. Chemat la ordine și judecat, Ian Hus a fost ars pe rug la Constance, în Germania. Urmașii lui nu s-au supus însă Papei și au urmat 40 de ani de războaie “sfinte”. Trei cruciade trimise de papalitate au fost înfrânte de urmașii lui Hus. Până la urmă, mișcarea s-a prăbușit dinăuntru, din cauza fracțiunilor și a divizării între gruparea bogaților și tabăra oamenilor din popor. Biserica catolică a revenit în forță, iar cei care nu i s-au supus au fost omorâți sau au trebuit să fugă în altă parte.
Poate prin-o fericită coincidență, poate prin inspirație divină, Ian Hus a rostit la moartea sa o profeție despre Martin Luther. “Ardeți voi această biată gâscă (Hus înseamnă “gâscă), dar din ea va ieși un vultur pe care într-o sută de ani nu-l veți mai putea atinge”.
(John Huss was judged guilty of heresy and sentenced to be immediately burned at the stake. As the fire was being lit that fateful day in July, 1415, John Huss gave an inspired prophecy. There are many versions of it, but the following appears to be the most authentic:
As the official executioner was about to light the pyre at the feet of the reformer, he said, “Now we will cook the goose.” (Huss in Bohemian means goose.) “Yes”, replied Huss, “but there will come an eagle in a hundred years that you will not reach.”)
Pentru cititorii de limbă engleză, iată un scurt rezumat și un material despre continuatorii ideilor reformatoare ale lui Ian Hus, frații moravieni.
Statuia lui Ian Hus cu fața întorsă melancolic spre biserica Husită, transformată prin forță de catolici în biserică papală.
The Jan Hus Memorial stands at one end of Old Town Square, Prague in the Czech Republic. The huge monument depicts victorious Hussite warriors and Protestants who were forced into exile 200 years after Hus and a young mother which symbolizes national rebirth. It was unveiled in 1915 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Jan Hus’ martyrdom. The memorial was designed by Ladislav Šaloun and paid for solely by public donations. Born in 1370, Hus became an influential religious thinker, philosopher, and reformer in Prague. Hus believed that Catholic mass should be given in the vernacular, or local language, rather than in Latin as well as many teachings of John Wycliffe. This did not go over well with the Vatican in Rome and Huss was ultimately condemned by the Council of Constance and burned at the stake in 1415.
The people of Bohemia and other regions around Prague were constantly under oppressive regimes. Jan Hus became a symbol of dissidence and a symbol of strength against oppressive regimes. His opposition to church control by the Vatican gave strength to those who opposed control of Czech lands by the Habsburgs in the 19th century, and Hus soon became a symbol of anti-Habsburg rule. When the statue was erected in 1915 during World War I, the memorial became a symbol of anti-Russian[?] rule. A couple decades later when Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule, sitting at the feet of the Jan Hus memorial became a way of quietly expressing their opinion and opposition against the Communist rule. Another memorial statue commemorating Jan Hus is found in the Union Cemetery in Bohemia, Long Island. This statue was erected in 1893 by voluntary contributions from Czech immigrants, and it is the first officially dedicated memorial in the United States erected to honor a foreigner.
Jan Hus Monument in the middle of the Old Town Square
Jan Hus burned as a heretic
Master Jan Hus, the dean of the Charles University in Prague, criticized church practices such as selling indulgence. He used to preach in the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague and he was excommunicated by the pope for his ideas in 1410. Despite that, he continued in preaching and he had many followers in Prague, that´s why the pope interdicted the whole city of Prague in 1414. Finally, Jan Hus was invited to the Council in Constance and he was asked to renounce his ideas. He refused, and he was burnt at the stake as a heretic on 6 th July 1415.
People in the whole Czech Kingdom were outraged by his death and they started a rebellion called Hussite Wars – a Protestant movement against the Roman Catholic Church. Several crusades were sent against them, but all were defeated. The movement was finally defeated by conflicts between the rebels themselves.
Jan Hus Monument
The monument of Jan Hus at the Prague Old Town Square was designed by Ladislav Saloun. The foundation stone was laid down in 1903 and the monument was unofficially revealed on 6 th July 1915, the 500 th anniversary of Jan Hus´s death. A festive event was forbidden. Prague citizens covered the Jan Hus Monument with flowers.
The monument consists of Jan Hus statue and statues of Czech people around him. Jan Hus statue is looking at the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, which was the main church of the Hussites between 1419 and 1621. The people around him are the Hussite warriors on one side and on the other side there are prostrated people, forced to leave the country in 1620s, after the rebellion of Czech estates was defeated.
Inscriptions on the monument
The inscriptions on the Jan Hus Monument were added after the independent republic Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918. It reads: “Love each other and wish the truth to everyone” (Jan Hus´s words), “Live, nation sacred in God, don´t 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” (words from the anthem of the Hussite warriors).
A Brief History of the Moravian Church
For over five centuries the Moravian Church has proclaimed the gospel in all parts of the world. Its influence has far exceeded its numbers as it has cooperated with Christians on every continent and has been a visible part of the Body of Christ, the Church. Proud of its heritage and firm in its faith, the Moravian Church ministers to the needs of people wherever they are.
The name Moravian identifies the fact that this historic church had its origin in ancient Bohemia and Moravia in what is the present-day Czech Republic. In the mid-ninth century these countries converted to Christianity chiefly through the influence of two Greek Orthodox missionaries, Cyril and Methodius. They translated the Bible into the common language and introduced a national church ritual. In the centuries that followed, Bohemia and Moravia gradually fell under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Rome, but some of the Czech people protested.
The foremost of Czech reformers, John Hus (1369-1415) was a professor of philosophy and rector of the University in Prague. The Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, where Hus preached, became a rallying place for the Czech reformation. Gaining support from students and the common people, he led a protest movement against many practices of the Roman Catholic clergy and hierarchy. Hus was accused of heresy, underwent a long trial at the Council of Constance, and was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415.
Organized in 1457
The reformation spirit did not die with Hus. The Moravian Church, or Unitas Fratrum (Unity of Brethren), as it has been officially known since 1457, arose as followers of Hus gathered in the village of Kunvald, about 100 miles east of Prague, in eastern Bohemia, and organized the church. This was 60 years before Martin Luther began his reformation and 100 years before the establishment of the Anglican Church. By 1467 the Moravian Church had established its own ministry, and in the years that followed three orders of the ministry were defined: deacon, presbyter and bishop.
Growth, Persecution and Exile
By 1517 the Unity of Brethren numbered at least 200,000 with over 400 parishes. Using a hymnal and catechism of its own, the church promoted the Scriptures through its two printing presses and provided the people of Bohemia and Moravia with the Bible in their own language.
A bitter persecution, which broke out in 1547, led to the spread of the Brethren’s Church to Poland where it grew rapidly. By 1557 there were three provinces of the church: Bohemia, Moravia and Poland. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) brought further persecution to the Brethren’s Church, and the Protestants of Bohemia were severely defeated at the battle of White Mountain in 1620.
The prime leader of the Unitas Fratrum in these tempestuous years was Bishop John Amos Comenius (1592-1670). He became world-renowned for his progressive views of education. Comenius, lived most of his life in exile in England and in Holland where he died. His prayer was that some day the “hidden seed” of his beloved Unitas Fratrum might once again spring to new life.
Renewed in the 1700s
The eighteenth century saw the renewal of the Moravian Church through the patronage of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a pietist nobleman in Saxony. Some Moravian families fleeing persecution in Bohemia and Moravia found refuge on Zinzendorf’s estate in 1722 and built the community of Herrnhut. The new community became the haven for many more Moravian refugees.
Count Zinzendorf encouraged them to keep the discipline of the Unitas Fratrum, and he gave them the vision to take the gospel to the far corners of the globe. August 13, 1727, marked the culmination of a great spiritual renewal for the Moravian Church in Herrnhut, and in 1732 the first missionaries were sent to the West Indies.
Moravians in America
The Moravians first came to America during the colonial period. In 1735 they were part of General Oglethorpe’s philanthropic venture in Georgia. Their attempt to establish a community in Savannah did not succeed, but they did have a profound impact on the young John Wesley who had gone to Georgia during a personal spiritual crisis. Wesley was impressed that the Moravians remained calm during a storm that was panicking experienced sailors. He was amazed at people who did not fear death, and back in London he worshiped with Moravians in the Fetter Lane Chapel. There his “heart was strangely warmed.”
After the failure of the Georgia mission, the Moravians were able to establish a permanent presence in Pennsylvania in 1741, settling on the estate of George Whitefield. Moravian settlers purchased 500 acres to establish the settlement of Bethlehem in 1741. Soon they bought the 5,000 acres of the Barony of Nazareth from Whitefield’s manager, and the two communities of Bethlehem and Nazareth became closely linked in their agricultural and industrial economy.
Other settlement congregations were established in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. They built the communities of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Lititz, and Hope. They also established congregations in Philadelphia and on Staten Island in New York.All were considered frontier centers for the spread of the gospel, particularly in mission to the Native Americans.Bethlehem was the center of Moravian activity in colonial America
Bishop Augustus Spangenberg led a party to survey a 100,000 acre tract of land in North Carolina, which came to be known as Wachau after an Austrian estate of Count Zinzendorf. The name, later anglicized to Wachovia, became the center of growth for the church in that region. Bethabara, Bethania and Salem (now Winston-Salem) were the first Moravian settlements in North Carolina.
In 1857 the two American provinces, North and South, became largely independent and set about expansion. Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and Winston-Salem in North Carolina became the headquarters of the two provinces (North and South)
The Southern Province grew mainly in Forsyth County, but over time established congregations in Charlotte, Greensboro, Wilmington, Raleigh, and Stone Mountain, Georgia. Moravian churches in Florida are growing with the influx of immigrants from the Caribbean basin.
The Northern Province expanded with the influx of immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia into the upper Midwest in the late 19th century. It now reaches both coasts and as far north as Edmonton, Canada. Green Bay, Wisconsin, was founded by Moravians. Such wide geographical spread caused the Northern Province to be divided into Eastern, Western and Canadian Districts.
After World War II, strong pushes for church extension took the Northern Province to Southern California (where only an Indian mission had existed since 1890) as well as to some Eastern, Midwestern and Canadian sites. The Southern Province added numerous churches in the Winston-Salem area, throughout North Carolina and extended its outreach to Florida and to Georgia. In North America, the Moravian Church has congregations in 16 states, the District of Columbia, and in two Provinces of Canada.
Huss si Luther
“Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies.”
Early in his monastic career, Martin Luther, rummaging through the stacks of a library, happened upon a volume of sermons by John Huss, the Bohemian who had been condemned as a heretic. “I was overwhelmed with astonishment,” Luther later wrote. “I could not understand for what cause they had burnt so great a man, who explained the Scriptures with so much gravity and skill.”
Huss would become a hero to Luther and many other Reformers, for Huss preached key Reformation themes (like hostility to indulgences) a century before Luther drew up his 95 Theses. But the Reformers also looked to Huss’s life, in particular, his steadfast commitment in the face of the church’s cunning brutality.
From foolishness to faith
Huss was born to peasant parents in “Goosetown,” that is, Husinec, in the south of today’s Czech Republic. (In his twenties, he shortened his name to Huss—”goose,” and he and his friends delighted in making puns on his name; it was a tradition that continued, especially with Luther, who reminded his followers of the “goose” who had been “cooked” for defying the pope).
To escape poverty, Huss trained for the priesthood: “I had thought to become a priest quickly in order to secure a good livelihood and dress and to be held in esteem by men.” He earned a bachelor’s, master’s, and then finally a doctorate. Along the way he was ordained (in 1401) and became the preacher at Prague’s Bethlehem Chapel (which held 3,000), the most popular church in one of the largest of Europe’s cities, a center of reform in Bohemia (for example, sermons were preached in Czech, not Latin).
During these years, Huss underwent a change. Though he spent some time with what he called a “foolish sect,” he finally discovered the Bible: “When the Lord gave me knowledge of Scriptures, I discharged that kind of stupidity from my foolish mind.”
The writings of John Wycliffe had stirred his interest in the Bible, and these same writings were causing a stir in Bohemia (technically the northeastern portion of today’s Czech Republic, but a general term for the area where the Czech language and culture prevailed). The University of Prague was already split between Czechs and Germans, and Wycliffe’s teachings only divided them more. Early debates hinged on fine points of philosophy (the Czechs, with Wycliffe, were realists; the Germans nominalists). But the Czechs, with Huss, also warmed up to Wycliffe’s reforming ideas; though they had no intention of captionering traditional doctrines, they wanted to place more emphasis on the Bible, expand the authority of church councils (and lessen that of the pope), and promote the moral reform of clergy. Thus Huss began increasingly to trust the Scriptures, “desiring to hold, believe, and assert whatever is contained in them as long as I have breath in me.”
A political struggle ensued, with the Germans labeling Wycliffe and his followers heretics. With the support of the king of Bohemia, the Czechs gained the upper hand, and the Germans were forced to flee to other universities.
The situation was complicated by European politics, which watched as two popes vied to rule all of Christendom. A church council was called at Pisa in 1409 to settle the matter. It deposed both popes and elected Alexander V as the legitimate pontiff (though the other popes, repudiating this election, continued to rule their factions). Alexander was soon “persuaded”—that is, bribed—to side with Bohemian church authorities against Huss, who continued to criticize them. Huss was forbidden to preach and excommunicated, but only on paper: with local Bohemians backing him, Huss continued to preach and minister at Bethlehem Chapel.
When Alexander V’s successor, the antipope John XXIII (not to be confused with the modern pope by the same name), authorized the selling of indulgences to raise funds for his crusade against one of his rivals, Huss was scandalized and further radicalized. The pope was acting in mere self-interest, and Huss could no longer justify the pope’s moral authority. He leaned even more heavily on the Bible, which he proclaimed the final authority for the church. Huss further argued that the Czech people were being exploited by the pope’s indulgences, which was a not-so-veiled attack on the Bohemian king, who earned a cut of the indulgence proceeds.
With that Huss lost the support of his king. His excommunication, which had been tacitly dropped, was now revived, and an interdict was put upon the city of Prague: no citizen could receive Communion or be buried on church grounds as long as Huss continued his ministry. To spare the city, Huss withdrew to the countryside toward the end of 1412. He spent the next two years in feverish literary activity, composing a number of treatises. The most important was The Church, which he sent to Prague to be read publicly. In it he argued that Christ alone is head of the church, that a pope “through ignorance and love of money” can make many mistakes, and that to rebel against an erring pope is to obey Christ.
In November 1414, the Council of Constance assembled, and Huss was urged by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund to come and give an account of his doctrine. Because he was promised safe conduct, and because of the importance of the council (which promised significant church reforms), Huss went. When he arrived, however, he was immediately arrested, and he remained imprisoned for months. Instead of a hearing, Huss was eventually hauled before authorities in chains and asked merely to recant his views.
When he saw he wasn’t to be given a forum for explaining his ideas, let alone a fair hearing, he finally said, “I appeal to Jesus Christ, the only judge who is almighty and completely just. In his hands I plead my cause, not on the basis of false witnesses and erring councils, but on truth and justice.” He was taken to his cell, where many pleaded with him to recant. On July 6, 1415, he was taken to the cathedral, dressed in his priestly garments, then stripped of them one by one. He refused one last chance to recant at the stake, where he prayed, “Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies.” He was heard reciting the Psalms as the flames engulfed him.
His executioners scooped up his ashes and tossed them into a lake so that nothing would remain of the “heretic,” but some Czechs collected bits of soil from the ground where Huss had died and took them back to Bohemia as a memorial.
Bohemians were furious with the execution and repudiated the council; over the next several years, a coalition of Hussites, radical Taborites, and others refused to submit to the authority of the Holy Roman emperor or the church and fended off three military assaults. Bohemia eventually reconciled with the rest of western Christendom—though on its own terms (for example, it was one of the few Catholic regions that offered Communion of both bread and wine; the rest of Christendom simply received the bread). Those who repudiated this last compromise formed the Unitas Fratrum (“Union of Brethren”), which became the foundation for the Moravian Brethren (Moravia is a region in the Czech Republic), who would play an influential role in the conversion of the Wesley brothers, among others.
Un vis simbolic – Frederick’s Dream (de aici)
Now for the “rest of the story”, which is not widely known. On the morning of 31 Oct 1517, the very day on which Luther would nail his 95 Theses to the church door, Frederick of Saxony had a dream. He told it to his brother, and fortunately it was recorded by many of the chroniclers of the time. Here it is in Frederick’s own words:
Having gone to bed last night, fatigued and out of spirits, I fell asleep shortly after my prayer, and slept calmly for about two hours and a half; I then awoke, and continued awake to midnight, all sorts of thoughts passing through my mind. Among other things, I thought how I was to observe the Feast of All Saints. I prayed for the poor souls in purgatory; and supplicated God to guide me, my counsels, and my people according to truth. I again fell asleep, and then dreamed that Almighty God sent me a monk, who was a true son of the Apostle Paul. All the saints accompanied him by order of God, in order to bear testimony before me, and to declare that he did not come to contrive any plot, but that all that he did was according to the will of God. They asked me to have the goodness graciously to permit him to write something on the door of the church of the Castle of Wittenberg. This I granted through my chancellor.
Prince Frederick’s Dream
by Michael Parker
Thereupon the monk went to the church, and began to write in such large characters that I could read the writing at Schweinitz. The pen which he used was so large that its end reached as far as Rome, where it pierced the ears of a lion that was crouching there, and caused the triple crown upon the head of the pope to shake. All the cardinals and princes, running hastily up, tried to prevent it from falling. You and I, brother, wished also to assist, and I stretched out my arm; — but at this moment I awoke, with my arm in the air, quite amazed, and very much enraged at the monk, for not managing his pen better. I recollected myself a little; it was only a dream.
I was still half asleep, and once more closed my eyes. The dream returned. The lion, still annoyed by the pen, began to roar with all his might, so much so that the whole city of Rome, and all the States of the Holy Empire, ran to see what the matter was. The pope requested them to oppose this monk, and applied particularly to me, on account of his being in my country. I again awoke, repeated the Lord’s prayer, entreated God to preserve his Holiness, and once more fell asleep.
Then I dreamed that all the princes of the Empire, and we among them, hastened to Rome, and strove, one after another, to break the pen; but the more we tried the stiffer it became, sounding as if it had been made of iron. We at length desisted. I then asked the monk (for I was sometimes at Rome, and sometimes at Wittenberg) where he got this pen, and why it was so strong. “The pen,” replied he, “belonged to an old goose of Bohemia, a hundred years old. I got it from one of my old schoolmasters. As to its strength, it is owing to the impossibility of depriving it of its pith or marrow; and I am quite astonished at it myself.” Suddenly I heard a loud noise — a large number of other pens had sprung out of the long pen of the monk. I awoke a third time; it was daylight.
That inspired dream was given to Prince Frederick before the 95 Theses were even tacked to the church door. At first he would have had no idea what it meant, but the meaning would become clear soon enough. It must have had a profound influence on him to help defend Luther against the pope and the emperor.