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The Bohemian Religious Peace (July 1609)

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(B) Agreement between the Catholics and Protestants, Concluded Without Prejudice to the Imperial Patent.

At the Diet of 1608 Monday after Exaudi, the Article on Religion, at the gracious request of His Imperial Majesty as King of Bohemia, was postponed to the following Diet and until all other business had been concluded. The substance the matter is that His Majesty, having discussed the said Article in the Diet with all three Estates of the Kingdom, has by His Royal Patent empowered the Utraquists to practice their religion according to the Bohemian Confession submitted to His Royal Majesty and in accordance with the treaty and agreement concluded between themselves, freely and without pressure or impediment. On this occasion he has also transferred the Lower Consistory and the University of Prague, with all appurtenances thereof, to the authority and keeping of the Utraquists, as shown in greater detail in the Imperial Patent which has been registered in the Diet records and the special session of the Diet under the date of Thursday after St. Procopius’s Day [9 July 1609].

First, the Catholics (Communion in one Kind) have discussed with several representatives of the Utraquists and have agreed that the Utraquists shall leave the Catholics their Churches, Divine Service, collations, cloisters, privileges, endowments, tithes, perquisites, reversions, and all usages—in short, their faith—unaltered, and shall submit them to no violence and no hindrances, even as the Catholics shall and must leave the Protestants the churches now in the possession of that party.

Second, should His Imperial Majesty as King of Bohemia, or any person, Catholic or Utraquist, belonging to the higher Estates (12), wish to install on his lands for himself or his subjects, in a pastoral office of which he is patron, an Utraquist priest who has been ordained by the Archbishop, he shall be entitled to do so. As regards Prague and the other Royal Boroughs, since the Congregations of Prague and their clergy and the other urban Congregations have adhered in large numbers to the Utraquists and that Confession, and most of them wish to follow the order that either has been or is to be established among the Utraquists, according to that Confession, the following agreement is established, for the avoidance of later dissensions and disputes in any commune or parish. Should there be in any commune or parish a person who wishes to install a Utraquist priest who has been ordained by the Archbishop of Prague and not in accordance with the said Confession, he may apply to any such priest ordained by the Archbishop and have him conduct Divine Service, though without putting impediment in the way of the commune, the parish or the Consistory to be established by the Estates, or causing confusion.

As to the interment of bodies and the tolling of bells, these shall not be permitted to the Utraquists in the churches and parishes of the Catholics, nor vice versa, unless with the knowledge and consent of the collator and the incumbent.

If Utraquists are parishioners of a Catholic parish and pay it tithes or any other dues, they can be buried in it without special permission from the collator [patron]. And vice versa, if Catholics are parishioners of a Catholic parish and pay tithes or other dues in it, they can be buried in it without special permission from the collator. Should the collator or any other person wish to prevent the interment of bodies, the persons in question are not bound to pay tithe or other dues. The person in authority over them may direct them to any parish he pleases and they can carry through their interments there.

Should the Utraquists possess no churches or graveyards of their own, or if they share with Catholics, in any village or town or even on an estate of the King or the Queen, the text of the Imperial Patent allows them to build churches and lay out graveyards for themselves.

If prior to this agreement any person was in contention with another before the ordinary courts over a collation, and if the legal decision is still outstanding, he shall wait until it is delivered. Should any person wish to acquire a collation from another by process of law, he shall not possess himself of it arbitrarily but wait for the legal verdict, as provided in greater detail in the treaty between Catholics and Protestants.

Since the Imperial Patent given by His Majesty to the Utraquists is not to prejudice this treaty, nor this treaty the Imperial Patent, and the assurance of the one does not invalidate the true sense of the assurance of the other, His Imperial Majesty leaves the Catholics in enjoyment not only of the safeguards assured them under the Imperial Patent, but also of those secured under this treaty. Just as the Imperial Patent does not weaken the force of the treaty, so the treaty shall in no way diminish that of the Imperial Patent. His Majesty graciously permits that both the Catholics and the Utraquists shall be furnished with a copy both of the Imperial Patent and of this Article of the Diet, from the latter’s Archives, with the seal of this Kingdom attached. Given on the Thursday after Procopius, 1609 (13).

(12) Lords and Knights (or magnates and gentry).
(13) The Treaty was signed for the Catholics by five members of the Estate of the Lords, five Knights, and five burgesses of Prague; for the Protestants, by the thirty Directors.

Source of English translation: “The Bohemian Religious Peace” (pp. 37-45) from The Habsburg and Hohenzollern Dynasties in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by C.A. Macartney. Introduction, editorial notes, chronology, translations by the editor; and compilation copyright © 1970 by C.A. Macartney. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source of original German text: Geschichte der Böhmischen Brüder by Anton Gindely. Second Volume (1564-1609). Prague: Carl Bellmann’s Verlag, 1858, pp. 447-58.

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