(properly pronounced, his name rhymes with goose, which is also what his name happens to mean in Czech)- a 15th-century priest born in what was then called Bohemia, who was burned at the stake July 6, 1415 for heresy. He was the namesake of the Hussite reform movement, and was strongly influenced by Wyclif. Although often accused of heresy, King Sigismund liked him and did what he could to protect him. What finally got him killed was his 'view' that the pope did not exist by divine ordinance, but rather had been established by the Church for organizational and governing purposes (oh, really?). This royally pissed off the Council of Constance, which had only recently succeeded in uniting all of Western Christendom under the current pope by the skin of his skullcap. Thus, in order to keep the Church's hard won victory from being undone, poor Jan had to sizzle.

John Huss was born a peasant in Husinec, Bohemia circa 1370. He was ordained in 1400 and was appointed a preacher of the Bethlehem Chapel where he taught the gospel in the Czech language. He soon found himself agreeing with many of the writings of John Wycliffe, who railed against the abuses of the church, most notably the doctrine of transubstantiation.

While he became increasingly unpopular within the church, Huss gained support from the uncrowned Holy Roman Emperor Wenceslaus IV, as well as the growing Czech nationalist movement. After the Council of Pisa desposed the rival popes Gregory XII and Benedict XIII, the archbishop of Prague attempted to excommunicate Huss and his followers. Wenceslaus would intervene, and a truce was arranged until Huss denounced the bulls of the antipope John XXIII and spoke out against indulgences.

The pope finally excommunicated Huss who retired to a castle near Tabor to concentrate on writing. In his works he emphasized the ultimate authority of the Scripture over the church, the duty of the state to supervise the church, and denounced the infallibility of an immoral pope. His ideas fell very much in line with those of Wycliffe, and he is considered a forefather of the Protestant Reformation.

His retirement was interrupted when he was invited to defend his views at the Council of Constance. Then Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund assured his safety, but the council had other ideas, and Huss was tried as a heretic. Huss would be burned at the stakein 1415, an act would would lead to the Hussite Wars. Huss was declared a martyr by the University of Prague, and is still fondly remembered by the Czech Protestant church.

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