Re: [TexasCzechs] St. John of Nepomuk
- 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.
On Sat, 01 Jul 2000 21:11:46 -0000 "Marie Neuman Gottfried"
> 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
> 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
> 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
> IV. The king gets mad.
> *To get even, King Vaclav IV has a dam built across the Elbe River
> 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
> *By the time the archbishop and company arrive,King Vaclav IV has
> already been drinking since early morning and has no patience for
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> *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
> 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
> 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,
> 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
> 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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