OOC: Just to jolt this back to life. The year was 1414 AD, and storm clouds were stirring over Europe. The church, usually the bulwark of the continent, was divided, not just into the usual Catholic and Orthodox, but into four separate factions. The ever-present Patriarch in Constantinople, of course, but three instead of the usual one opposed him. The Western Schism was in full swing, and there seemed no way to reconcile the three (!) Popes. Finally, frustrated by this religious clashing, and aware for one of the few times in the history his title, Emperor Sigismund realized that the first word in his title was Holy, and took it upon himself to reconcile the religions and focus on more important things. Like burning that heretic, Hus. Hence, on November 16, 1414, a large group of churchmongers met to decide what to do with the popes springing up left and right, and how to reconcile them. It was then that Sigismund made the most important act in perhaps all of the next century, or even beyond, that defined not only how the Council would proceed, but how the history of Europe would proceed as a whole. He contemplated how many people regarded him as a secular ruler more than a religious ruler. He also contemplated how he regarded himself in the same way. He also, in a fit of divination, recognized that if he were to hang around, so would all the other secular rulers, and that they would demand concessions, clogging the way for badly needed reform. He decided, in short, to leave the popes and bishops to their own devices and to keep the nobles in check. No matter why he decided to, it was that he did that made all the difference. The religious leaders started well enough, but without the constant presence and suggestions and pressure of the Emperor, while they were stopped from any secular fights, they soon had broken into something resembling war in the council halls, with followers of each pope declaring the illegitimacy of the others. Meanwhile, without the promise of safe conduct that Sigismund himself might have issued, Jan Hus immediately resisted the notion of traveling to Constance. The religious decree was far more hostile than any secular one; it demanded him to come to Constance to face trial for heresy. Hence, Hus stayed in Bohemia, and his teachings grew more and more acceptance. With the church in deadlock, the council fell apart in late 1415, nothing accomplished, all three popes at odds, the Holy Roman Emperors experiment failed. The people began to lose faith in the Catholic church... They couldnt even agree on a single pope, why should they be trusted for more important matters? And Hus teachings of finding the truth in Christianity by finding it in yourself, the denial of the authority of the popes to dictate your life, and his support of the sensible side of the now infamous controversy over indulgences towards the church. Then on December 25, Christmas day, all hell broke loose. The decree of the King of Bohemia on this day was, for all intents and purposes, rebellion against the church: It is the view of the new clergy of Bohemia and the king of the same that... in light of the inexcusable excesses committed by members of the clergy in the Holy Roman Empire... that the Papacy, fractured as it is, cannot control the clergy in these excesses. Thus, it is our decision to endorse the teachings of Jan Hus; and to allow free preaching thereof in the entirety of Bohemia. Furthermore, those who might attempt to reinstate the old clergy of Bohemia shall be resisted... by all means available to the crown of said nation. Suddenly, to people all over Europe, it didnt seem quite as heretical to be a... heretic.