This surname of PROCHNOW was Czech, Polish, Ukrainian and Belorussian given name ultimately from the Greek PRO + KOPE (Pioneer). This was the name of the first victim of Diolcletian's persecutions in Palestine in AD 303. He was greatly venerated in the Orthodox church, whence the popularity of the Russian given name PROKOFI. The popularity of the name in central Europe is largely due to a later St. Prokop, the patron saint of Bohemia, who founded the Sazaba Abbey in Prague in the 11th century. The name is also spelt PROCOP, PROKOPF, BROKOF, BROKOB, PROKUPEK and PROKIC. The modern state of Czechoslovakia is going through a transitional phase as a result of the fall of the Iron Curtain. Its various regions encompassed the medieval provinces of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. The first two of these, where the language properly called Czech is spoken, were heavily subject to German cultural and linguistic influence from the Middle Ages onwards, being administratively a Crownland of Austria for much of the time until independence in 1918. This influence is reflected in the many Czech surnames derived from German, both from given names, and from vocabulary words. Occupational names are quite common in Czech as are nicknames, especially those referring to some physical feature. Many of the most common Czech surnames have the diminutive ending 'CEK', which is often found attached to these names. A notable member of the name was Andrew PROCOP (also known as Procopius the Great), born circa.1380 - 1434. He was the Bohemian Hussite leader. Originally a monk, he became a member of the conservative Ultraquist Hussite movement, and later the commander of the peasant Taborites. Under him the fearful raids into Silesia, Saxony and Franconia were carried out, and he repeatedly defeated German armies. He headed an internal conflict of the Taborites with the more moderate Calixtines and fell at Lipan near Bohmischbrod. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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