Caught in between the West and the East: Struggles for national and ecclesial self-determination in the Czech Lands after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (handout)

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This handout focuses on the political, cultural and religious forces which formed the Central Europe at the time of the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As it follows the rise of the new national states as well as new struggles for a
   1 Caught in between the West and the East: Struggles for national and ecclesial self-determination in the Czech Lands after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Ivana Noble, Institut Catholique (Paris), 12 March 2014 The lecture will offer a historical and geographical excursus on Central Europe at the time of the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, followed by the rise of new national states as well as new struggles for a local ecclesial identity. It will ask:    What are the specific features of Central Europe which impact upon ecclesial self-determination in this region?    How did the Eastern and Western influences contribute to the struggle for national independence in the late Austro-Hungarian Empire?    What other influences impacted on the conflict within the Roman Catholic Church after World War I, after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the formation of the independent Czechoslovakia?    How did new schisms emerge, and how did they affect the churches and societies in the region?    What has been the journey from a mutual estrangement to cooperation, and various practical forms of communion? The space “ in-between ” : A Brief Note on Central European History The concept of Central Europe came into broader circulation during the Cold War, as a challenge to the schematic division of Europe into the democratic West and communist East, trying to show that if we look more closely at European political, cultural and religious history, we cannot ignore the region “ in-between ” , representing the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, which today includes Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the countries of former Yugoslavia, such as Slovenia, and Croatia, as well as Poland, and according to some accounts Germany, and according to still others Serbia. 1  The reasons for the inclusion into or exclusion from this region of various countries range from arguing that it is a territory with a large Slavic population, but historically oriented towards Western and Catholic Christianity, to emphasizing the dominance of the regions which largely  belonged under the Austro-Hungarian Empire  –   and varied not only from the countries further West, but even more from those living under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire, and from Tsarist 1  See Lonnie R. Johnson, Central Europe : Enemies, Neighbors, Friends , Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996.   2 Russia, the East. 2  Hence the question concerning Germany  –   can we say that e.g. Catholic Bavaria  belongs to central Europe but Protestant Prussia doesn‘ t? Or what about the Balkans, is it Central Europe? In parts of Orthodox Serbia and of Western Romania we find imprints of the imperial culture: the same railway stations, post offices, school buildings, town halls as in Austria, Bohemia, Slovakia or Hungary. As the borders and state-affiliations changed in this region frequently, the debate concerning the inclusions or exclusions of various regions is complex. Christianisation of the region      It took place before the great schism, through both missions recognised both by Byzantium and Rome    Tension not as much between Roman-Byzantine Christianity, as between Frank-Slavic Christianity In the 4th century, the Goths and Vandals who migrated to Roman Empire adopted Arian Christianity. 498/9: Clovis and his soldiers were baptised  –   Franks became for Rome a vital presence in the region 800  –   Under Charlemagne, the Frankish state took the place of the Western Roman Empire  –   the position of the Byzantine emperor was replaced by that of the medieval king and of the Pope, who was gradually assumed to have a universal jurisdiction. 863-885  –   The Mission of Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia (including the territories of today ’ s Czech Republic, Slovakia, and, at its peak, also parts of today ’ s Poland and Hungary) and to Pannonia (an ancient eastern province of the Roman Empire, including the territory of Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, western Slovakia, and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina) 884 -The Duchy of Bohemia receives Christianity through that mission 950 - The Hungarian tribes that conquered the Pannonian basin received Christianity in Constantinople 966 Christianisation of Poland  –   Rome Bohemia during the Hussite Wars    Before the modern concept of nation or of confession came into circulation  –   a symbolic reference of religious, political and social self-determination   2   See Jan Rychlík a kolektiv,  Mezi Vídní a Cařihradem: Utváření balkánských národů. Vyšehrad, Praha, 2009.     3 1415 Jan Hus burned as a heretic at the Council of Constance Protestatio Bohemorum  to the Council –  knights and nobles of Bohemia and Moravia condemned the execution of Hus 1420   the Emperor Sigismund with the help of Pope Martin V organised a crusade against “the heretics of Bohemia”   This led to the consolidation of the various reform movements in Bohemia and, for the next 14 years, their fighting back. The reform was summarised by the Four Articles of Prague, demanding: (i) free preaching of the Word of God; (ii) frequent receiving of the eucharist under both kinds; (iii) suspension of priests and monks led by the love of wealth and power into sinful lives; (iv) the punishment of mortal sins committed by people in any rank of life. The reform movement had a strong social and anti-elitist dimension. During this period the radical community of Tabor was founded, where common ownership of property was practised. Gradually differences emerged, especially between Prague and Tábor, and  these weakened the movement. After the last crusade when the Hussites were defeated, the moderate party formulated its demands in a document which was finally accepted by the Church of Rome in a slightly modified form. This is known as the Compacts, and it restated the Four Articles in a moderate way. In 1620, at the Battle of the White Mountain, the Utraquists (adherents of the reform) were defeated  by the Habsburg Emperor, Ferdinand II; for the next 300 years Bohemia lost its national independence together with the religious plurality present in the country since the Hussite reform.  Jan Hus, the Hussites and the Utraquists gained a symbolic, if also divisive, role in the modern national and confessional self-identification.   Bohemia under the Habsburgs    Rise of the modern concepts of nation and confession    How did Eastern and Western influences contribute to the struggle for national independence in the late Austro-Hungarian Empire? 1620 –  Battle of the White Mountain won by Habsburgs: 27 Czech Lords publicly executed 1620-1918 - Bohemia became part of Habsburg Monarchy: Germanisation and Re-Catholicisation 18th and 19th century –  Czech national revival with the following aims: to revive Czech language and culture in order to strengthen national identity, to seek for the renewal of national   4 sovereignty. While among those who struggled for the revival of language and local culture the Roman Catholic clergy, especially Jesuits, played an important role, other streams of the revival included a distance towards Roman Catholicism as alien to the national identity; this part of the revival movement drew on romanticist interpretations of both the Slavic mission and of the Hussite period. 1781 - Emperor Joseph II issued a Patent of Toleration, according to which those of the Augsburg and Helvetic Confessions, as well as Greek Orthodox (meaning all the Orthodox who were not united with Rome) were to be tolerated within the Empire. The Utraqists or Moravian Brothers were not included. The tolerated non-Catholics were allowed public worship: if there were more than 100 families living in an area, they were allowed to build a church –  but with restrictions, such as, for example, the church not having a direct entrance from the street and no visible appearance of being a church. A year later the Edict of Toleration included also the Jewish religion. This allowed Jewish children to attend schools and universities, the adults to engage in higher profile jobs, such as being merchants or to open factories. Yiddish and Hebrew, however, could not be used as official languages. The Modernist Synthesis and a Romantic Return to Slavic Christian Roots    Modernism in the Czech lands had a specific form, given by the situation of the national suppression and by the social problems of the region 1902 - Czech and Moravian Modernists organised themselves into the Clergy Union. Its church reform manifesto was first expressed in the Přerov Programme (1902), and  included allowing the lower clergy and lay people to participate more actively in the life and decision-making of the church; celebration of the whole of the mass in the vernacular and the right of local churches to  participate in the decision concerning the nomination of the bishop. Later these points were developed with the addition of optional celibacy. 1907 - The Union was forbidden, and after a period of clandestine activities was officially renewed after World War I, at which time it included about half of the clergy in the region. The modernist clergy sought to reform the church so that it would respond to the needs of their time; this included: supporting the effort at national revival; coming to terms with modern science, and thus trying not to lose the Catholic intelligentsia; finding a way of efficient pastoral care among the working class. 1919 - After the founding of the independent Czechoslovakia the representatives of the Clergy Union went to Rome to negotiate. They moderated their initial document "The Renewal of the   5 Catholic Church in the Czechoslovak Republic", requiring the following; (i) new bishops instead of those who collaborated with the Austrian authorities and who had lost moral authority; (ii) the Archbishop of Prague should have much a stronger position, comparable to the position of Methodius (initially they wanted to speak about a Czech Patriarchate); (iii) as in the times of Cyril and Methodius, the whole of the worship, including the daily office should be in the vernacular and on special occasions in holy places in old Slavonic; (iv) moderation of the demand for celibacy. The delegation was not well prepared and it ended in a fiasco. After that the Clergy Union divided and its radical wing, presided by a priest, Karel Farský , decided to do the reform via facti . Some of the priests got married, and thus broke the requirement of compulsory celibacy. At Christmas 1919 a number of parishes led by the radical Modernist clergy celebrated the whole mass in Czech. An open conflict with the hierarchy was inevitable, and it led to further division within the Clergy Union, and to the founding of the independent church on 8 January 1920, thus depriving Czech Catholicism of the strength of a big part of the life-giving dissent for several generations. The Confessional Terrain at the beginning of the Twentieth Century    The new schisms and new unions which emerged in the late Austro-Hungarian Empire and at the rise of the independent Czecchoslovakia 1871  –   Clergy from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire met at the Munich convention and decided to join other dissenting groups from the Netherlands and form with them the Old Catholic Church under the See of Utrecht. They kept the Roman rite, but gradually replacing Latin by the vernacular. In our region, however, the Old Catholics recruited from the German-speaking  population, and there was little communication with the clergy involved in the Czech national revival. 1919  –   The Reformed and the Lutherans formed a united Czech Brethren Church  –   the church also claimed the heritage of Jan Hus, the Hussite Movement, and the Moravian Brothers, interpreting these traditions in a Protestant key  –    as the “first Reformation”.  1920  –   The Czechoslovak Church was established after the unsuccessful negotiations with Rome. It adopted Roman Catholic canonical and liturgical regulations, with some alterations taken from the Modernist reform programme. Negotiations began concerning affiliation with the Serbian Orthodox Church. In 1921 one of the leaders of the Czechoslovak Church, Matěj Pavlík  , was consecrated by the Orthodox in Belgrade as the first Czechoslovak bishop, and received the name Gorazd. Two
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