John Amos Comenius was an important Czech pedagogue, writer and bishop of the Unity of Brethren. He considered himself to be a Moravian, by language a Czech, and a theologian by profession. Nevertheless, he had to leave the Czech lands at the age of 36. Why was that so and why did he never return to Bohemia?
John Amos Comenius was born on March 28, 1592 in the present-day Zlín Region. Probable places include Uherský Brod, Nivnice or Komňa. His father was an important member of the Unity of Brethren, thanks to which Comenius received a good education and the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. He studied both in Amsterdam and at the University of Heidelberg. He returned to Bohemia, specifically to Prague, in 1614, where he assumed the post of rector of the Latin school. After two years he was ordained a preacher and five years, until 1621, he worked as a preacher and rector in Fulnek.
At that time, the so-called Thirty Years' War had been going on for 3 years, the causes of which date back to the time of Martin Luther, ie the time when a new reform form of Christianity began to prevail - Protestantism. Protestants and Catholics were often at odds in various parts of Europe. In 1555, there was a peace of Augsburg in the Holy Roman Empire, which resulted in the segregation of Protestants and Catholics, ie the consolidation of the religion according to the rulers of the country. The Czechs were ruled by the Habsburg monarchy, which tried to strengthen the Catholic faith in every way possible. But with the arrival of Maximilian II Habsburg and his successor Rudolf II the Czechs achieved the promise of religious freedom. After the overthrow of Rudolf II by the Habsburgs themselves, his brother Matthias ascended the throne, followed by his cousin Ferdinand II, who sought to re-establish the Catholic faith. This caused discord between the Czech states and the imperial system, which culminated on May 23, 1618 with the so-called 3rd Prague Defenestration. The Bohemian Revolt definitively ended with the execution of 27 lords in the Old Town Square on June 21, 1621.
John Amos Comenius refused to convert to Catholicism and, as bishop of the Unity of Brethren, had to hide for several years. After the issuance of the Renewed Land Establishment, he lost all hope that he could operate legally on Czech territory and left for Leszno, Poland. Thanks to his work, he soon became known throughout Europe and also visited many countries to which he was invited. After the Swedes invaded Europe and peacefully taking Leszno, he lost almost all his property and almost his life during an attack by Polish partisans. He spent the last 14 years of his life in Amsterdam, where he died on November 15th, 1670.