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Re: [TexasCzechs] St. John of Nepomuk

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  • Richard Garza
    Hi Marie, Thanks for digesting Demetz writing on John Nepomuk. Of course, it s still a popular name. One of my mom s uncles was named Nepomuck and my dad
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2000
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      Hi Marie,
      Thanks for digesting Demetz' writing on John Nepomuk. Of course, it's
      still a popular name. One of my mom's uncles was named Nepomuck and my
      dad always got a kick out of that name.
      Rick Garza

      On Sat, 01 Jul 2000 21:11:46 -0000 "Marie Neuman Gottfried"
      <mngottfried@...> writes:
      > Dear List Members,
      >
      > A while back, I had sent an inquiry about St. John of Nepomuk, a
      > patron saint of the Czech Republic. I had read where his
      > canonization was removed in the early 1960's by the Vatican. I have
      >
      > finally found information on him that has satisfied my question.
      >
      > The information is in the book, Prague In Black and Gold, by Peter
      > Demetz. I sent an earlier e-mail reviewing the book. Since the
      > book
      > is very academic, I will paraphrase what I found in Chapter 4, The
      > Hussite Revolution 1415-1422, pages 121-123.
      >
      > * The king is Vaclav IV, son of King Charles IV who built Prague
      > into
      > a glorious city after being crowned the emperor of the Holy Roman
      > Empire. Vaclav IV was not a strong ruler like his father before
      > him. The early part of the chapter tells of Vaclav IV's personality
      >
      > and faults.
      >
      > *1392 The archbishop wishes to discipline a relative of King
      > Vaclav
      > IV. The king gets mad.
      >
      > *To get even, King Vaclav IV has a dam built across the Elbe River
      > on
      > the archbishop's land. This cuts off shipping and money the
      > archbishop had been collecting by charging tolls.
      >
      > *The archbishop complains. The kings says, "Come on over and let's
      > talk about it."
      >
      > *The archbishop travels to see the king. Meanwhile, the king sends
      > thugs to trash the archbishop's estate.
      >
      > *The archbishop goes home to a trashed estate, but a judge rules in
      > his favor to open up his shipping rights.
      >
      > *King Vaclav IV decides to get even. He is going to establish a new
      >
      > bishopric, centered on the monastery of Kladruby. This way the king
      >
      > will have control of the area.
      >
      > *The archbishop is no fool. He installs an abbot at Kladruby who
      > will stay loyal to him.
      >
      > *When the king hears this, he is hot. He leaves his hunting estate
      > and heads back to Prague with revenge on his mind.
      >
      > *March 20, 1393 The king invites the archbishop to a monastery in
      >
      > Prague to talk about it. The archbishop brings along his vicar
      > (lawyer) Johann Pomuk and two officials: Nicholas Puchnik and
      > Vaclav
      > Knobloch.
      >
      > *By the time the archbishop and company arrive,King Vaclav IV has
      > already been drinking since early morning and has no patience for
      > the
      > archbishop. The king commences to scream at the group and commands
      > the royal guards to arrest them all.
      >
      > *The archbishop escapes and the three companions are captured. King
      >
      > Vaclav IV shuts down the Vltava River, having all ships searched for
      >
      > the archbishop. He can't find him and gets super mad.
      >
      > *The three prisoners are marched through Prague, ending up at the
      > town judge's prison in Old Town. The hangman is called. The three
      > are placed on the racks and torches are passed over their bodies,
      > mainly on their sides and hips.
      >
      > *The enraged king grabs a torch and does some torturing. The king
      > finally comes to his senses and decides to let the three go free. A
      >
      > public notary is called to draw up documents which the prisoners
      > will
      > sign, agreeing to never discuss this matter.
      >
      > *Puchnik and Knobloch come off the racks, sign, and leave. Johann
      > Pomuk, a middle-aged man, dies as he is brought off the rack.
      >
      > *The hangman carried the body of Johann Pomuk and dumped it into the
      >
      > river. It washes up several weeks later.
      >
      > This was all kept quiet. After all, who would want to cross this
      > king?
      >
      > The Legend
      > *In 1471, Jan Zidek, a Catholic writer of Jewish heritage, suggested
      >
      > in his writings that Johnn of Pomuk was a priest from Nepomuk. He
      > was the confessor of Queen Sophia. He refused to tell King Vaclav
      > IV
      > the queen's confession and was tortured and killed.
      >
      > *March 19, 1729 Pope Benedict XIII had Johann of Pomuk canonized.
      >
      > Now he is St. John of Nepomuk.
      >
      > The Facts
      > *Johann of Pomuk was born to a German. His father worked in the
      > Cistercian monastery of Pomuk in southwestern Bohemia.
      > *Johann went to school in Prague and Bologna. He became a legal
      > expert.
      > *Johann held a minor post at the Prague Cathedral, was parish priest
      >
      > in the Old Town of Prague, and became a canon (high church official)
      >
      > at Vysehrad.
      > *By 1389, Johann was the vicar-general for the archbishop. His job
      > was to handle all financial and legal matters, to supervise the
      > morals of the priests, and to watch for heretics.
      >
      > So the Catholic version of the life of St. John is not entirely
      > accurate. The version found on Radio Prague On-line dismisses him
      > as
      > a clerk thrown to drown in the river by the enraged king. That does
      >
      > him no justice either.
      >
      > St. John was a priest and a lawyer. He was at the wrong place at
      > the
      > wrong time and died in place of the archbishop. If the archbishop,
      > who escaped to live in a castle far from Prague, had been killed,
      > the
      > story would be in history books similar to that of Thomas Becket.
      >
      > So St. John of Nepomuk is real. His village name is incorrect and
      > the
      > way he died is incorrect. However, he was a martyr at the hands of
      > King Vaclav IV.
      >
      > Thanks for reading my story.
      >
      > Marie Neuman Gottfried
      > Pattison, TX
      > Waller County
      >
      >
      >
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