Today is a public holiday in the Czech Republic – the burning of the church reformer Jan Hus. The event kicked off a period when several crusades were launched against the rebel nation and the Czechs prevailed over them. They saved themselves from annihilation.

Declaring someone’s burning alive a national holiday is weird. But we’ve gotten used to it. Jan Hus is the only real national saint (whatever the Vatican bureaucracy may say) and it has become accepted that we commemorate the date of his burning, not, say, the date of his first public appearance. After all, nothing prevents us from celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Vitkov in a few days.

The anniversary of Jan Hus also reminds us of the complexity of the Czech relationship with the West. Of course, we are part of Western civilisation. After all, the Reformation is a thoroughly Western phenomenon, which, for example, Orthodox civilisation does not know. But on the other hand, it is also true that the Czechs are a nation threatened with enslavement or extermination from the West. From its own civilization. Neither the Avars, nor the Hungarians, nor the Mongols ever posed a comparable threat to us.

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