Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy

Unum necessarium


Unum necessarium, scire quid sibi sit necessarium in vita et morte et post mortem. Quod non-necessariis mundi fatigatus et ad Unum necessarium sese recipiens senex J.A. Comenius anno aetatis suae 77. mundo expendendum offert


The One necessity, to know what is necessary for oneself in life, in death and after death. Offered to the world for consideration of the weariness of the unnecessary and taking refuge in the One necessary by the elder J. A. Comenius in the 77th year of his life


Origin of the work:
  1668 Amsterdam

  1668 Amsterdam

1765 Halle, Czech translation by Jan Theophil Elsner

1920 Prague, Czech translation by J. Ludvíkovský

1974 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 18

1974 Prague, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. VII, various eds., Czech translation by J. Ludvíkovský


This work is Comenius’ lifetime’s testament and will. In it, the author accounts at the end of his life for the various periods of his own activity. Motifs of his youthful Labyrinth and Depths of Safety (the Labyrinth and the Centrum) are to be heard here. The world is full of error and labyrinths, the causes of which consist of the inability of people to distinguish the essential from the unessential. Philosophy suffers from the dispersal of knowledge, states from the large number of forms of government and laws, the Church from its division into innumerable sects. Relief can come only from the search for the “One necessity”, after the pattern of Christ’s declaration in the Gospel according to Luke (10,41-42). People need unanimity, synthesis and concentration, and simplified dealings and establishments, amongst which are the sciences, politics and culture. Even his life was an endlessly fruitless striving and desire for things which he now sees as errors and labyrinths – his didactic, irenic (pacifistic), pansophic (pansophy) and prophetic (prophecy) efforts. Nevertheless he believes that these will not be without use to humanity. The one necessity that he sees now, before his approaching death, is the giving of himself and his works into God’s hand.


For further study, see also:

J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 18. Prague 1974, pp132-135

Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. VII. Prague l974, pp52-54

J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp642-645

Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, pp306-307




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