The so-called “Hussite Wars” that commenced following the murder of Jan Hus by church authorities was nowhere more evident than among the Taborites. Their zeal prompted the letter below from Joan of Arc, in which she boldly threatens to leave off fighting the English in order to teach the Bohemian brethren a thing or two. Ironically, this letter (or a poor translation of the same) would be used by church authorities in their trial of Joan, who herself was then executed by the Roman church authorities. As was typical of her, she addresses the letter to “JJrdud, Maria.”
Joan of Arc in Battle by Hermann Stilke, 1843
For some time now, rumor and public information have made it clear to me, Joan the Maid, that from true Christians you have become heretics and, practically on a level with the Saracens, you have destroyed true faith and worship, and taken up a disgraceful and criminal superstition and wishing to protect and propagate it, there is not a single disgrace nor act of barbarism which you do not dare. You ruin the sacraments of the Church, you mutilate the articles of the Faith, you destroy churches, you break and burn statues which were created as memorial monuments, you massacre Christians unless they adopt your beliefs.
What is this frenzy? What rage or madness drives you? This faith, which Almighty God , which the Son, which the Holy Spirit have revealed, established, given sway and glorified a thousandfold through miracles is the faith which you persecute, which you wish to overturn and obliterate. You yourselves are blind, but not because you’re among those who lack eyes or the ability to see. Do you think that you will not be punished for this? Or do you not realize that God will block your criminal efforts? Do you think He will allow you to remain in darkness and error? The more you give yourselves over to criminal sacrilege, the more He will ready great punishment and torment for you.
As for myself, I tell you frankly, if I wasn’t busy with these English wars I would have come to see you a long time ago. But if I do not hear that you have reformed yourselves, I might leave the English behind and go against you, so that by the sword, if I cannot otherwise, I may eliminate your false and vile superstition, and take away either your heresy or your life. But if you choose instead to return to the Catholic faith and the original source of Light, then send me your ambassadors and I will tell them what you need to do. If you do not wish to do so and persist in resisting the spur, keep in mind what damages and crimes you have committed and await me, who will deal with you comparably with the aid of divine and human force.
Given at Sully, the 23d of March.
to the heretics of Bohemia.