This peaked my interest in the Hussite Church, and a bit of research later that evening revealed that it was founded in 1931 as yet another breakaway Church from Rome, with ties to the Old Catholic Church. It's heresies were the familiar ones. The liturgy should be celebrated in the vernacular, the faithful should receive both elements of Communion, celibacy should be optional, women should be ordained. And in fact, in 2000, the Hussite Church ordained it's first female bishop, with Catholic representatives attending the consecration. What this tells us - yet again - is that, while it is important to respect and preserve the uniqueness of particular religious traditions, the boundaries are slowly dissolving, and the Spirit of the Risen Christ is no respecter of dividing walls, but moves and blows where she will. She was certainly moving and stirring last night, during the concert of Alasdair Bouch, and many of us in this sacred space felt deeply moved.
Relations between the Church and its fellow members of the ecumenical movement are cordial, but remained strained with the country's Roman Catholic leadership. The first female bishop of the Czechoslovak-Hussite church was elected to a 7-year term of office in April 1999. In January 1999, Catholic Archbishop Miloslav Vlk initially made a public statement of disapproval, warning against election of a woman to this position and saying that it would cause deterioration of ecumenical relations. Following criticism by the Czech-Hussite Church for interfering in their affairs, the Roman Catholic Church distanced themselves from his remarks and stated that they would exert no pressure against her election. In 2000, Catholic representatives attended the consecration of Jana Šilerová as the Hussite Church’s first woman bishop.