Michael Bradacius

Michael Bradacius the first Moravian bishop, flourished originally as a Hussite priest at Zamberg, in the eastern part of Bohemia, about the middle of the 15th century. In 1467, when the Moravian Brethren (q.v.) separated from the National Church, and instituted a ministry of their own, Michael, who had in the mean time joined the Moravian Brethren, was sent, together with two other priests, to a Waldensian colony on the frontiers of Bohemia and Austria, in order to secure the episjcopacy. These Waldenses were on friendly terms with the Calixtines, and openly fraternized with them at the mass. John Rokyzan, the Calixtine leader, who had ambitious projects with regard to the archiepiscopal chair at Prague, which had long been vacant, hoped to win the support of the Waldenses. Hence, when their ministry had become extinct, he induced bishop Philibert, who had come to Prague as a delegate of the Council of Basle, to ordain two members of the Waldensian colony, Frederick Nemez and John Wlach, as priests, on the 14th of September, 1433. In the summer of the following year (1434) — when the Taborites had been defeated by the Calixtines; when the utmost confusion prevailed throughout Bohemia in Church and State; when an open feud was raging between the council and the pope; when, however, the former did everything in its power to conciliate the Bohemians — these two Waldensian priests were consecrated bishops at Basle by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. This act was meant as an example and encouragement for the Bohemians, that they might be the more ready to accept the compactata of the council. Nemez and Wlach consecrated other bishops, of whom two were living in 1467, the name of the senior being Stephen. He and his associate consecrated Michael Bradacius and his two companions, who thus became the first bishops of the Bohemian Brethren.

AChurch council was organized, of which Michael Bradacius was constituted the president. After a time he resigned the presidency in favor of Matthias of Kunwalde (q.v.), but remained in the council. He died at Reichenau in 1501. Zezschwitz in his article Lukas v. Prag, in Herzog's Real-Encykl. volume 20 calls in question the authenticity of the above narrative, but fails to make good his doubts. He is misled by preconceived notions against the Moravian episcopacy, as his article plainly shows. The transfer of the Waldensian episcopate to the Brethren is established by a number of documents, whose dates range from 1476 to 1600, in the "Lissa Folios," at Herrnhut, see MORAVIAN BRETHREN, THE ANCIENT; by the official report (1478) of Wenzel Koranda, the administrator of the Utraquist Consistory at Prague (Palacky's Geschichte v. Bohmen, 1:191, 192); and by the earliest histories of Blahoslaw, Lasitius, Regenvolscius, and Comenius; while the origin of the Waldensian episcopacy is set forth in the official answers with which the Brethren met the attacks of the learned Jesuit, Wenzel Sturm, in the reign of Maximilian I. These answers were written by the assistant bishop Jaffet, and are preserved in the archives at Herrlhut. The validity of the episcopate of the Brethren was not doubted either by the Roman Catholic or by the National Church, and the fact that they had secretly secured it from the Waldenses brought about a severe persecution immediately after the truth became known (1468). Compare Benham's Origin and Episcopate of the Boh. Breth. (Lond. 1867); Schweinitz's Moravian Episcopate (Bethlehem, 1865); Palacky's Geschichte v. Bohmen, 7:492; Gindely's Geschichte d. B.B. 1:37; Czerwenka's Persekutionsbuchlein (Gutersloh, 1869), c. 20, n. 31; Croger's Gesch. d. Alten Bruderkirae (Gnadan, 1865), volume 1. (E. de S.)

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