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The Bohemian Religious Peace (July 1609)

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Since, then, it is Our wish that all love and concord, peace and good understanding shall prevail in this Kingdom, now and in the future, between all three Estates, both those of the Catholic party and those of the above-mentioned Utraquists, and among all Our dear and loyal subjects, for the promotion and maintenance of the general welfare and peace. We wish, too, that each party shall practice the religion in which it hopes for its salvation freely and without let or hindrance, and that satisfaction be thereby given both (as is equitable) to the conclusions of the Diet of 1608 and also to the general enactments issued by Us. In these documents, We have publicly declared the united Utraquist Estates, which profess the above-mentioned confession, to be what they have always been, namely, Our loyal and obedient subjects under Our gracious protection, beneficiaries of all ordinances, rights and liberties of this Kingdom and subject to Our Royal duty, right and authority. And now we do [again] so declare them. We therewith take into account the weighty promises recorded above, the repeated assiduous requests of the Utraquist Estates themselves, and finally, the many true and important services rendered at all times by them to Us during Our happy rule. For all these and many other causes, We, after mature consideration, with Our serious knowledge and will, by virtue of Our Royal prerogative in Bohemia, with the agreement of the supreme officials, judges and councilors, do at the present general Diet in the Castle of Prague, with all three Estates of the Kingdom, order and enact this Article in respect of religion. And we mean to confer this Our Royal Patent on them, the Utraquist Estates and do hereby expressly confer it.

Firstly, as it is already laid down in the Bohemian Constitution in respect of the faiths of one or both Kinds, that no man shall vex another, but rather that all shall hold together as good friends, and the one party shall not vilify the other: so now, too, this article of the Constitution shall be constantly observed, and both parties shall be held in future to respect it, under pain of the penalties provided by law. And seeing that the Catholics in this Kingdom are entitled to practice their religion freely and unimpeded, and the Utraquist Party belonging to the above-mentioned Confession may do the former no prejudice nor impose rules on them; so, in order that full equality may prevail, We permit, empower and authorize that the above-mentioned united Utraquist Estates, together with their subjects and all persons of any quality, without exception, who have professed and do profess the Bohemian Confession submitted to the Emperor Maximilian of glorious memory, Our beloved father, at the Diet of 1575 and now again submitted to Us. They may practice their Christian religion in both Kinds, according to the above-mentioned profession of faith and the agreements and compositions concluded between them, freely and at their pleasure, in any place, and they shall be left undisturbed in their faith and religion, and also in their clergy and liturgy as they now have it or may introduce it—all this pending the achievement of a complete general settlement of the religious question in the Holy Roman Empire. Likewise, they shall not be bound, either now or in the future, to conform to the Compacts dropped at the Diet of 1567 and those cancelled in the Provincial Privileges and elsewhere (5).

Furthermore, We wish to show the Utraquist Estates Our especial favor and to restore to their authority and keeping the lower Prague Consistory (6), and We also most graciously concede that the Utraquist Estates may renew the said Consistory with its clergy according to their faith and associations. They may also have their preachers, both Bohemian [Czech] and German, ordained accordingly, or may accept and install those already ordained at their collations without any hindrance from the Archbishop of Prague or any other person. Furthermore, we convey to the keeping of the said Estates the University of Prague, Utraquist since ancient times (7), with all its appurtenances, that they may staff it with efficient and learned men, make good and praiseworthy dispositions and may place over both reliable persons from among themselves as Defenders (8). Meanwhile, however, before all this has been put into effect, the Utraquist Estates shall nevertheless be left in enjoyment of all the rights set out above, namely, the right to practice their religion freely and unimpeded. Whomever they shall select from their midst to be Defenders of the said Consistory and University of Prague, according to their mutual agreement—an equal number from each of the three Estates—and present to Us, as their King and Lord, lists of their names, within two weeks from the day of submission of the lists We will confirm all persons thus nominated, without any exception, and pronounce them Defenders, nor will we impose on them duties or instructions beyond the duties prescribed to them by the Estates. Should We, however, on account of Our business or for any reason whatever, be unable or fail to confirm them within the said period, they shall nevertheless continue to be Defenders of these two institutions and have full powers to direct and administer them in all respects, as though they had already been confirmed and recognized by Us. Should one of them die, the Estates shall at the next Diet elect another in his place and add him to the survivors. And this procedure shall in the future always be followed, as laid down and to be observed by Us, Our heirs and successors to the throne in Bohemia, and also by the Estates and Defenders.



(5) In 1567 at the request of the neo-Utraquists, the agreements [Compacts], which the Hussites had negotiated with the Council of Basel in 1437, were declared no longer legally valid.
(6) The Estates had enjoyed the right of nominating members to the Utraquist Consistory until 1562, when Ferdinand I withdrew it from them.
(7) The University of Prague, founded in 1348 as a Catholic institution, had soon passed into Protestant hands, and in 1417 it had declared Communion in both kinds to be necessary for salvation. Later, however, it had fallen into decadence, and the Jesuits, allowed in 1561 to settle in Prague, had been gaining increasing influence over it.
(8) In 1575, Maximilian, while retaining the crown's control over the consistory, had allowed the Protestants to appoint fifteen "Defenders" [defensores] not subject to the consistory's jurisdiction.

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