It is a state holiday in the Czech Republic, in honour of the Czech religious reformer Jan Hus (John Huss), who died on July 6, 1415. Services dedicated to him have been held in Hussite, Czech Evangelical and other Protestant churches around the country, on this the 590th anniversary of his death.
Born in south Bohemia, he studied in Prague before being made parish priest at the city's Bethlehem chapel. He was strongly influenced by the English reformer John Wycliffe, whose writings he translated into Czech. When Wycliffe's teachings were banned by the Church, Hus protested from the pulpit; he was declared a heretic and excommunicated, before being burnt at the stake.
In 1999 the late Pope John Paul II expressed regret for Hus's killing, though he was not rehabilitated.
A service was held at Bethlehem chapel in honour of Jan Hus on Wednesday, attended by the prime minister, Jiri Paroubek. President Vaclav Klaus, meanwhile, was among the congregation at a service in Husinec, south Bohemia, where the reformer was born around 1370.
The large statue of Hus on Prague's Old Town Square is to be lit up at night from today on.
Tuesday was also a holiday in the Czech Republic, in honour of SS Cyril and Methodius, who brought Christianity to the Czech Lands in the 9th century. While many people enjoyed the day off, it was a black one on the country's roads, with 11 people dying in accidents, the highest number for a single day so for this year. The authorities said the number of collisions may have been due to motorists being tired after driving long distances on the state holiday.
President Klaus has travelled to the west Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary for its international film festival. Mr Klaus is due to attend the festival's closing ceremony on Saturday night, and will also find time to play tennis and golf, a spokesman said.
It is expected to continue to rain over the next four or five days. There will also be sunny spells, and temperatures of up to around 20 degrees Celsius.
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