In the first quarter of the fifteenth century, the region of Bohemia, now the Czech Republic, was racked with religious strife. Much of the trouble was instigated by the "Hussites," followers of John
Hus, a Czech disciple
of the English heretic John
Wyclif, who had rejected the authority of the pope and the Eucharistic doctrine of transubstantiation. The conflict led to much bloodshed. In 1420 Pope Martin
V sent preachers to Bohemia
to refute the schismatic and heretical propositions being circulated by the Hussites. Among those sent were the Servite priests Lawrence Nerucci, Augustine Cennini, Bartholomew
Donati, and John-Baptist Petrucci, natives of Italy's province of Tuscany. Shortly after their arrival in the Czech city of Prague, the monastery where they were residing was stormed by the Hussites. As the four priests and sixty other Servite friars were singing the Church's thanksgiving hymn, the Te Deum, in the monastery chapel, the Hussites
set the building on fire, burning to death all sixty-four religious.