Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy

Synopsis persecutionum


Synopsis historica persecutionum ecclesiae Bohemicae jam inde a primordiis conversionis suae ad Christianismum, hoc est anno 894, ad annum usque 1632, Ferdinando Secundo Austriaco regnante, in qua inaudita hactenus arcana politica, consilia, artes, praesentium bellorum verae cuasae et judicia horrenda exhibentur


A summary history of thepersecution of the Bohemian Church from its very beginnings in the Christian faith in the year of Our Lord 894 to the year 1632 in the reign of Ferdinand the Second, in which are presented hitherto unheard political secrets, intentions, plots, the true causes of the present wars and terrible judgements


Origin of the work:
  1632 Leszno

  1647 Leiden

1989 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, sv. 9/I, Historia o těžkých protivenstvích církve české



This is an important work in Czech historiography of the post-White Mountain era.

The Bohemian emigrants were asked, in their Dutch exile, to contribute to John Fox’s book on ‘The Acts and Monuments of the Church’, which considered the persecution and martyrdom of evangelicals in England. The Brethren were to compose one of the sections of this book under the title Martyrum historia (A History of the Martyrs), which was to be a continuation of Fox’s own work. The text was not, however, supplied within the necessary time frame, and was ultimately published separately under this title. Prior to publication, Brethren in Holland, Germany and Poland compiled material for this great work, which provided information to foreign lands about the suffering and wrongs inflicted upon the Bohemian Church. As a result, rich and diverse materials were brought together that had to be classified and ordered; Comenius played the greatest part in determining how the treatise would finally appear and in its preparation.




He also prepared a second edition of the work, this time under the title Historia persecutionum ecclesiae Bohemicae (A History of the Persecution of the Bohemian Church), which was published a year later (1648). In 1655 a Czech translation was published under the title Historia o těžkých protivenstvích církve české (the Historia o protivenstvích).

The book is divided into 107 chapters, of which the first four relate the coming of Christianity to Bohemia and Moravia and the persecution of Christians by the pagan Princess Drahomíra. The fifth through thirtieth chapters describe the banishing of the Slavonic Liturgy from Czech soil under Pope Gregory VII, the forerunners of Hus, Hus and Jerome, the Taborite Martyrs, the origins of the Unitas Fratrum and the bullying of the latter’s members. It later describes the serious problems that arose under Ferdinand I, after which there followed a relatively calm period under the Emperors Maxmilian II and Rudolf II. A new persecution appeared under Matthias and culminated under Ferdinand II. A separate and weighty section is occupied by an account of the deaths and suffering of martyrs after the Battle of White Mountain. The closing chapters sketch out the fate of the Reformation in Czech towns, and finally the martyrdom of the subject peasant class.


For further study, see also:

J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol.9/I. Prague 1989, pp387-390

D. Čapková, Pojetí dějin v díle J. A. Komenského. In: J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 9/I. Prague 1989, pp7-20

J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp206-209

Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, pp243-244




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