Prague Minos Guide

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13. - 14. století

Jan IV of Drazice

Bishop of Prague
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He was the last Metropolitan of Prague to be a bishop, before the Prague diocese was promoted to archiepiscopate. He severely criticized mendicant orders and their ardor.
Jan of Drazice was the descendant of an old Czech dynasty. He was elected Bishop of Prague in 1301, in the period of glory of Wenceslas II. He kept his office even after the extinction of the Premyslid dynasty, but remained neutral when it came to quarrels about a ruler, eventually giving his support to John of Luxemburg. He was strongly influenced by his participation to the ecclesiastical council in Vienna in 1312. After returning to Bohemia he set against the inquisitive activity of the Dominicans, for which he was blamed by the provost of the Chapter of Litomerice, Henry of Sumburg, who rid him from his lucrative prebend at the Curia. Pope John XXII deposited Drazice in 1318 and ordered

an investigation. The almost 70 years old Bishop decided to conduct his own defense in Avignon. The trial lasted an incredible 11 years, but Jan of Drazice eventually returned to Prague in 1329, fully exonerated from all accusations. Despite his old age he continued to quarrel against the mendicant orders.
He was a very active Bishop and is renowned for his activities in the fields of culture and construction. He initiated the writing of the Chronicle of Frantisek Prazsky, he had the Episcopal court rebuilt in the Lesser Quarter, had a stone bridge built over the Elbe River in his residential town of Roudnice nad Labem (1333-38), as well as a monastery for the Augustinian canons and a hospital for the sick and poor. He brought back from Avignon numerous manuscripts with precious illustrations, which influenced the field of book illustration in Bohemia.


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