(Boiemum, Boiohemum, Boemia; Germ. Bohmen, Boheim), a kingdom of Germany, in the Austrian dominions, bounded on the north by Misnia and Lusatia, east by Silesia and Moravia, south by Austria, and west by Bavaria. Two thirds of the inhabitants are Sclavonians, and call themselves Czechs; the remainder are chiefly Germans. As early as 845, many Bohemians had embraced Christianity through the medium of the Germans and Romans, in consequence of the wars of the German king Lewis. In 871, Duke Borzivoy, upon a visit to Svatopluk, governor of the Moravians, became acquainted with the Christian religion, and he, his wife Ludmila, and their attendants, received baptism, probably at Olmutz. On that occasion he became acquainted with Methodius, a monk and painter, who had been sent in 862 from Constantinople to Moravia as missionary, with his brother monk Cyrillus, who invented the Sclavonic alphabet. Methodius accompanied the Bohemian duke to his own country, where many were converted and several churches built. The good work which Borzivoy had begun, Drahomira, the heathen wife of his son Vratislav, sought afterward to destroy. Ludmila, Bierzivoy's widow, and her grandson, Dtke Wenzel, fell victims to her fury. It was not till the reign of Boleslav the Pious (967-999) that Christianity obtained security and peace in Bohemia.
In 968 a distinct bishopric was formed at Prague for Bohemia, which until that period had been subject to the Bishop of Regensburg; and Hatto, archbishop of Mavence, consecrated the Saxon Dethmar bishop of Bohemia. Then the pope required (though the Christianity brought in by Methodius was properly derived from the Greek Church, and the Sclavonian liturgy had been introduced in several places) that every thing should be arranged in conformity with the Romish ritual. The use of the Latin language in divine service, the celibacy of the priests, and the Lord's Supper without the cup, were especially enforced. But the Bohemians made great resistance, and in 977 the Bohemian delegates obtained a temporary permission for the use of the liturgy in the Sclavonic language. But it was soon afterward resolved at Rome that the vulgar tongue should be expelled from the churches. An order to that effect by Pope Gregory VII, 1079, asserts that " it is the pleasure of Almighty God that divine worship should be held in a private language, though all do not understand it; for, were the singing general and loud, the language might easily fall into contempt and disgust." Nevertheless, both liturgies continued in use up to the middle of the 14th century.
In 1353, under the archbishop of Prague, Ernst de Pardubitz (commonly called Arnestus), the communion without the cup was again insisted upon. Foreign professors and students, who had been accustomed in their native country to the Lord's Supper under one form, promoted this innovation in Prague. Nevertheless, in 1390, the communion under both forms was for some time allowed at Kuttenberg by Boniface IX, probably because these mountaineers had always been treated with much forbearance. Under Archbishop Ernst, Romish customs were generally adopted in Bohemia. But there were many opponents of Romish perversions in the 14th century. Wycliffe's writings had impressed many of the noblest minds, both clergy and laity. Prominent among them were Milicz (q.v.) and Stiekna, cathedral preachers at Prague, Matthias Janow (q.v.), confessor to Charles IV, all of whom were exiled. After them arose Huss (q.v.), martyred 1415, and SEE JEROME OF PRAGUE (q.v.), 1416, whose bloody deaths aroused the spirit of the Bohemians. In 1420, the Hussites, having taken up arms, were excommunicated by the pope; the Emperor Sigismund sent an army into Bohemia. The bravery and terrible deeds of Ziska, the Hussite leader, protracted the contest for many years. Fearful cruelties were practised on both sides. The painful division of the Reformers into Calixtines (q.v.) and Taborites (q.v.) gave great advantage to the papal party. In 1432 the pope convoked a council at Basle, which was attended by 300 Bohemian delegates. An accommodation was made by granting the cup (communio sub utraque), and the Calixtine Rokyzan was made archbishop of Prague. This arrangement satisfied the Romanizing Calixtines, or Utraquists, as they were called, but not the Taborites, who were, in the main, thorough Protestants. They continued unmoved by arguments or threats, by flatteries or sufferings, and, having gradually remodelled their ecclesiastical discipline, became known by the name of the BOHEMIAN BRETHREN. The peculiarities of their religious belief are exhibited in their Confession of Faith (A.D. 1504), especially their opinion as to the Lord's Supper. They rejected the idea of transubstantiation, and admitted only a mystical spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist. On all points they professed to take the Scriptures as the ground of their doctrines; and for this, but more especially for the constitution and discipline of their churches, they received the approbation of the reformers of the 16th century. They distributed their members into three classes, the beginners, the proficients, and the perfect. To carry on their system they had clergy of different degrees: bishops (seniors and conseniors or assistants); presbyters and deacons: and, of lay officers, sediles and acolytes, among whom the civil, moral, and ecclesiastical affairs were judiciously distributed. Their first bishop received his ordination from a Waldensian bishop, though their churches held no communion with the Waldenses in Bohemia. They numbered 200 churches in Bohemia. Persecution raged against them even up to the middle of the 17th century, and thousands of the best citizens of Bohemia were driven into Poland and Prussia. They subsequently obtained toleration, and entered into agreement with the Polish Lutherans and Calvinistic churches. Those who remained in Bohemia and Moravia recovered a certain degree of liberty under Maximilian II, and had their principal residence at Fulneck, in Moravia, and hence have been called Moravian Brethren. SEE MORAVIANS. Though the Old Bohemian Brethren must be regarded as now extinct, this society deserves ever to be had in remembrance as one of the principal guardians of Christian truth and piety in times just emerging from the barbarism of the Dark Ages, and as the parent of the United Brethren. Their Catechism has been republished by Dr. Von Zezschwitz (Die Catechismen der Waldenser u. Bohmischen Briider, Erlangen, 1863). The Jesuits, supported by Ferdinand II, carried through the "counter-Reformation" in Bohemia effectually in the 17th century. Protestantism was crushed at the expense of civilization. There was no legal toleration for it until the philosophical emperor Joseph II issued his l'Edict of Toleration," Oct. 13, 1781 (Pescheck, ii, 335). Protestant congregations, both Lutheran and Reformed, soon sprang up.
The Roman Church is now very powerful in Bohemia. Its hierarchy includes one archbishop (Prague), three bishops (Leitmeritz, Koniggratz,, and Budweis), a titular bishop, and twelve prelates of the rich orders of Knights of the Cross and Premenstretenses. The regular clergy have 75 monasteries and 6 convents of nuns. The Protestants are found chiefly in north-eastern Bohemia; they number from 75,000 to 100,000, of whom 17 churches follow the Reformed confession, and 17 the Lutheran; and there are perhaps 70C0 to 10,000 Mennonites and smaller sects. See Pescheck,
Reformotion in Bohemia (transl. Lond. 1846, 2 vols. 8vo); Hardwick, Ch. Hist., Middle Age, p. 124. SEE AUSTRIA.