Jan Hus, a predecessor of Martin Luther, was an early 15th century Czech theologian and scholar. He advocated church reforms, such as using Czech as the liturgical language, aligning the church’s practices with teachings contained in the Bible, limiting the power of the church to spiritual matters, and stopping the sale of indulgences.
Consequently, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1412 for insubordination. He was summoned to the ecclesiastical Council of Constance in 1414, where he was ordered to recant his teachings. Refusing to comply, Hus was burnt at the stake on July 6, 1415.
Over the centuries Jan Hus has become a powerful symbol of an independent Czech national identity.