Czech Republic - (Europa)

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78866 Quadratkilometer
atheist 39.8%, Roman Catholic 39.2%, Protestant 4.6%, Orthodox 3%, other 13.4%
Christen (%)
Protestanten (%)
Reformierte (%)

The Christian era began in the Czech lands in 863 through the missionary activity of Constantine (Cyril) and Methodius, who had been sent by the Byzantine emperor. While Czech Christianity was influenced by Eastern tradition, it nevertheless became an integral part of the Western Church.
Czech Protestantism has its roots in the 14th and 15th centuries. Under the reign of Charles IV (1346-1378), Prague became the political and spiritual center of the Holy Roman Empire. At that time radical voices regarding the interpretation of Scriptures, church organization, and the papacy began to be voiced. The preaching activity of men such as Milic of Kromeríz, Konrad Waldhauser, and Matej of Janov,the ideas of John Wycliffe, and the activity of Waldensians prepared the soil for the struggle of Jan Hus (1370-1415). His death at the stake in Constance led to the creation of the Hussite Church, which for two hundred years — until 1620 — represented an island in the heart of late medieval Europe which was no longer controlled by Rome. The Hussite Church emphasized the free proclamation of the Word of God, the administration of the Eucharist in both kinds to lay people, and the renewal of the church according to the model of the early church.
Under the influence of the lay theologian Petr Chelcicky (1380-1415) a separatist movement grew within the Hussite Church which organized itself in 1457 into the Unity of Brethren. The Unity preached nonviolence, separation from the world, refusal to take oaths, and the upbuilding of spiritual community life in a secluded place. In the 16th century the Unity abandoned these restrictions and entered fully in the cultural life of Czech lands. It became famous especially in the fields of education, diaconal activity, church organization, and discipline. One of its great contributions to Czech national culture was the translation of the whole Bible, including the apocryphal books, accompanied by a commentary, and called the Bible of Kralice (1579- 1593). The last bishop of the Unity, Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1676), was the founder of modern pedagogy. As a result of the Counter-Reformation he had to live in exile. Before 1620 it is believed that 90% of the Czech population were Prot. During the Counter-Reformation the Protestant faith became illegal and for more than 150 years was maintained only in families of farmers and agricultural workers. When, in 1781, the Edict of Toleration was issued by Emperor Joseph II, only remnants of the former Protestant communities, approximately 100,000, registered as Reformed or Luth. They were not allowed to organize themselves in continuity with their own indigenous tradition but depended on the consistory in Vienna. Congr, mainly those established in the countryside, were served by Slovak and Hungarian pastors. The first Czech students of theology studied in Sárospatak, Debrecen, and later in Vienna. Not until the second half of the 19th century was the church given more freedom. In this period contacts were made with sister churches in Germany, Scotland, etc. German and Anglo-Saxon hymns were translated into Czech. Theological thinking was enriched by emphases coming from abroad (Scottish Spirituality, H. F. Kohlbrügge, E. Böhl). The Czech Reformed Church became a member of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in 1877.


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