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Brzesc nad Bugiem. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001 - [

The History
of the Roman Catholic
Church in



* * *



Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine   3.2





After the christianisation of Kyivan Rus', through the 11th-12th centuries, the Kyivan metropolitanate (initially Eastern rite and, later, Orthodox) gradually encompassed all the eastern Slavic lands and oriented them towards Byzantium. But Kyivan Rus' remained open to other influences as well. Its geographic location enabled trade, military and political contacts with the Eurasian steppe, the Baltic north and the Catholic West. In the Middle Ages, Kyivan metropolitans and the kniazi of Rus' had contact with the Church of Rome. Kyivan metropolitans attended the Councils of Lyon (1245) and Constance (1418). Archbishop Petro AKEROVYCH, celebrated Mass in Lyon together with Pope Innocent IV. Metropolitan Hryhorii TSAMBLAK, who was not recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, took part in the Council of Constance with a delegation consisting of 300 people. The churches considered that their disunity was contrary to the will of God and therefore, even shortly after the Schism of 1054, attempts were made at solving the controversial issues between eastern and western Christendom. The Union of Florence 1439 signalled a temporary reconciliation which was approved by both the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople.


The Union of Florence 1439



Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine   3.2





Pius IIIn 1458 the original Kyivan metropolitanate split into a Kyivan and a Muscovite one. Pope Pius II pronounced Gregory the Bulgarian (1458-1472) the Archbishop of 'Kyiv, Lithuania and tota Russia inferior'. Archbishop Gregory's jurisdiction consisted of 6 dioceses in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Chernihiv, Smolensk, Polatsk, Turau, Lutsk and Volodymyr) and 3 dioceses in the Polish Kingdom (Przemysl (Peremyshl), Chelm (Kholm) and Halych). Of these 9 only the bishop of Chernihiv and Briansk rejected the new Metropolitan and fled to Muscovy. Papal bulls of 1458 show that Rome held no illusions about the prospects of the Florentine Union in a Russia superior under the 'schismatic rule of Iona the Muscovite'. From 1458 until the Union of Brest (Brzesc) 1596 the lands belonging to the Kyivan metropolitanate coincided with the borders of the dynastically linked states of Poland and Lithuania. Although the Florentine Union was a great achievement for the Byzantine and other Eastern patriarchs because it signalled the reconciliation with the Church of Rome, for the Church in Rus'-Ukraine it was not very successful due to various political pressures, the precarious position of the Eastern Orthodox Church, particularly after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 and the growth of the Autocephalous Muscovite Orthodox Church which had begun to expand its jurisdiction into the territories of Rus'-Ukraine.


The Union of Brest 1596



Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine   3.2





Clement VIIIThe aim of the Union of Brest (1596) was the unification of the Kyivan Orthodox Church with the Holy See in Rome. From the Catholic side, the idea of such union was vigorously promoted by the Jesuit Piotr SKARGA and the Apostolic nuncio Antonio POSSEVINO. On the Kyivan Orthodox side, several bishops felt that union with Rome was the only way to save the Kyivan Church in the face of strong religious and cultural challenges from the Protestant and later, the envigorated Counter-Reformation Catholic Church. The constitution promulgated by Pope Clement VIII Magnus Dominus confirmed the decision of the Kyivan Metropolitan Mikhail ROHOZA to unite the Kyivan Orthodox metropolitanate with the Catholic Church in the territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Josaphat KUNTSEVYCHAlthough the Union offered guarantees of the retention of certain eastern practices in the Kyivan Church, such as the Eastern liturgy (in Church Slavonic), communion under both species, married clergy and the eastern calendar, the Union of Brest aroused opposition among some of the Orthodox. In 1620, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophanes III secretly ordained 7 Orthodox bishops and a metropolitan as well, for all the dioceses which already had Uniate bishops (those who signed the Union of Brest). The Union did not fare well over the next few centuries. In signing of the Treaty of Pereyaslav (1654) the Hetman of Rus'-Ukraine, Bohdan KHMELNYTSKY, turned the bulk of the Ruthenian lands into a Muscovite protectorate. After the partitions of Poland in the 18th century, the Uniate Church which found itself in the lands ceded to Moscow, was destroyed by the Tsars in the 19th century. For those Uniate bishops whose dioceses ended up in the territories ruled by Austria, the Pope formed a special ecclesiastical jurisdiction: Halych. The Uniate cause also had its martyrs - the most famous being Josaphat KUNTSEVYCH who was killed in Vitebsk in 1623 by opponents of the Union. Pope Urban VIII pronounced him Blessed in 1643 and Pope Pius IX canonized him in 1867. St. Josaphat KUNTSEVYCH is the only saint from Ukrainian lands who is venerated by both the Roman and Uniate (Eastern rite - Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church) Catholic Churches. His relics were found in the area of Chelm (Kholm) in 1916 and brought to Vienna where they remained in the Church of St. Barbara until 1944 when they were transferred to Rome to St. Peter's Basilica.


The text was translated into English
Melbourne, Australia)



The monastery in Suprasl


The Internet page of the Monastery in Suprasl:


    The Monastery in Suprasl was established in 1500. The founders of the monastery were voivode of Nowogrodek Aleksander Chodkiewicz, the owner of Grodek and Zabludow as well as archbishop of Smolensk Jozef Soltan (later the metropolitan of Kijev). The Monastery in Suprasl soon became the second important monastic centre following Kijev-Pieczersk Lavra. Monks from Suprasl had an enormous influence on the development of religious and national consience of the population of Bialystok's region.
    The original placement of the monastery took place in 1498, near the castle on the territory of Grodek. However, this place was not suitable for secluded life. For this reason some of the monks went back to Kijev, and the others moved in 1500 to the place named Suchy Hrod giving the beginning to Suprasl Lavra. In 1501 a wooden church under the invocation of St. John the Theologian, the patron of the Aleksander Chodkiewicz's father - Iwan, who had died in the Turkish captivity. Two years later the construction of a brick church under the invocation of the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary was started. Those investments could only be put into practice owing to the help of the benefactors: Aleksander Chodkiewicz and bishop Jozef Soltan as well as many other representatives of the Orthodox Church. The foundation of monastic churches was confirmed with a tomos of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Joachim. Archbishop Jozef Soltan (later Kijev's Metropolitan) gave the copy of the Miraculous Icon of the Mother of God, which he had brought from Smolensk, to the monastery as a present. It later became famous as the Suprasl Icon of the Mother of God.
    In XVI century Suprasl Monastery maintained close contacts with the major centres of religious life of the Orthodox Church in the country and abroad. The sign of growing importance of the monastery was its raising to the dignity of "Lavra" and bestowing a mitre to archimandryte Tymoteus in 1582 by the Patriarch of Serbia and Bulgaria - Gabriel. The Monastery in Suprasl become a territory of interaction of various religious currents and cultures of many Slavic nations. The architecture and painting of sacral buildings as well as the collections of monastic library are the example of this interaction. The originality of the architecture of the defensive temple consisted in the combination of Gothic and Byzantine styles in church's construction. The accomplishment of this project led to rarely encountered extension of the church vault, building four miniature side towers and a substantial number of rifle ranges in the main cornice. The construction of the building resembles the defensive churches of St. Sophia in Polock, in Synkowicze and Malomozejkow. During the reign of archimandryte Sergiusz Kimbar a group of painters under the direction of „Serbian Nectarios the painter” decorated the interior of the temple with frescos. The style of the frescos resembles the monuments of Serbian monumental paitning, and especially the decor of the monastery in Manasia from 1418. The monastic library possessed about 200 manuscripts and printed books in 1557, and in 1645 their number increased to almost 600. The monastery maintained close contacts with the capital of the Metropolity. The father of congregation's founder - Iwan Chodkiewicz was a Kijev voivode. The second funder Jozef Soltan became the Kijev Metropolitan in 1504. The chapels of the church under the invocation of tha Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary were devoted to the Kijev saints: Teodozius of Pieczersk, Borys and Gleb.
    The Monastery of Suprasl was the place where many outstanding writers, religious and political activists stayed. Ecumenical Patriarch of Carogrod (Constantinople) Jeremiash, who was on his way back to Moscow, came to Lavra of Suprasl in 1589. He reformed the monastic congregation and made it the main fulcrum (centre) of the Orthodox Church in the west of Lithuania. The monastery gained then the name of the cultural centre with Slavic-wide meaning. Lavra of Suprasl became the centre of theological thought of the Orthodox Church and the cradle of many polemical works. The monks who were defending the dogma of "Greek faith" were open to new trends of philosophical thought which was reflected in sacral art, editorial and polemic activity. These factors contributed to the fact that the Suprasl centre became one of the main orthodox monastic centres in Polish Kingdom in XVI century.
    During the council of Brzesc in 1596, archimandryte of the Monastery Hilarion Masalski was among the major opponents of the union. For this reason, uniats bishops wanted to subordinate the monastery to their jurisdiction. Despite the monks resistance the monastery was taken over by the Uniats in 1609. Uniats metropolitans changed the character of the monastery assigning it a residential function. In XVII and XVIII century the new buildings for monks as well as abbot's palace were built. The largest investments were made while Uniats metropolitan Leon Kiszka was residing in the monastery. At the point the Monastery of Suprasl was the place of numerous basilians congregations. Since 1692 a printing house has been opened in the monastic building site which was printing books in Russian, Polish and Latin.





    The monastery was returned to orthodoxy in 1824. Since that year a renewed period of its magnificence has started which lasted till the outbreak of First World War. Suprasl again became the main centre of religious and intellectual life in Bialystok's region. In 1888 archimandryte Nicolaj Dalmatow build a new church of St. John the Theologian. The frescos from XVI century which had been concealed by the Uniats ware uncovered. The scientific world had a chance to learn about the richness of the monastic library. The cult of the miraculous Suprasl Icon of the Mother of God was revived. During the First World War the majority of the monks went to Russia (it was then when the Suprasl Icon of the Mother of God was taken to Russia where it was lost - nowadays in the monastery there is a copy made for the 400 anniversary of the Suprasl Lavra). In Second Republic of Poland the Suprasl monastery was taken waway from the Orthodox Church by Roman Catholic Church, which was sanctioned by Polish sanation's authorities. In the interwar period the monastery was being used by salezians. The following loss of the Suprasl monastery was the destruction of the church of the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary by German soldiers in 1944. The rebirth of religious life in Suprasl took place after Second World War. The orthodox parish regained then the church of St. John the Theologian, and in 1984 the monastic parish was reactivated. At the same time, the orthodox community started reconstruction of the destroyed principal church. Since 1996 the Suprasl monastery got back the other building and began their thorough redecoration (as well as the reconstruction of the church of the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary). Nowadays, Archimandryte Gabriel (Giba) is the prior of the monastery.


Parish feasts:
- the feast of the Icon of the Suprasl Mother of God - August 10 (July 28, old style)
- the Annunciation of the Holy Lady Virgin Mary - April 7 (March 25, old style)
- the feast of
St. John the Theologian - May 21 (May 8, old style)


    In 1998, His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW I paid a visit in the Suprasl monastery (15.10.1998). The distinguished guest was interested in the progress of works over the reconstruction of the monastery. The visit of the Patriarch of Constantinople took place again in the important moment in the history of the Suprasl Lavra, when monastery strted regaining its previous magnificence.

Prof. Michal Hruszewski


A part of vol. 6 "History of Ukraine-Ruthenia", chapter 3 "Cultural and national relations: national composition and national element". Translation reviewed and corrected by the author (applies to Polish translation -sp).

Printed in: History of Ukraine, Commemorative Volume, edited by W. Lipinski, Kiev 1908

National relations in various parts of Ukraine were different during 14-16 centuries as a result of different political, economical and colonization conditions. Consequently, at the turn of 16 century these relations were quite different in different parts of the Ukraine. It seems useful to introduce a division of the Ukrainian lands into certain parts, which varied under aforementioned aspect one from another and then these parts shall be examined separately. Therefore, is seems appropriate to distinguish Western strip containing Red Ruthenia, Podolia, lands of Chelm and Podlasie with the Brzesc-Lithuanian part of the basin of Bug river, and Pinsk area, the right-bank strip with remaining part of the Bug river basin and with the Dniepr basin, and at the end beyond-the Dniepr strip.

Red Ruthenia. The earliest evolution of the national relations was noted in the Western strip, and these changes were by far the strongest. I have proved before that during 1340-1370 wars for Red Ruthenia, the privileged classes of the Ukrainian inhabitants suffered most and were then greatly weakened (The History of Ukraine-Ruthenia, t. 4, p. 61-2, 5. p. 20-3). Those taking active part in the defense of the country against Polish occupation, after Polish victory, were forced - had they not been killed - either to migrate to Wolyn lands or to the Bug river basin, or, in result of the confiscation of the estates, they were pushed down the social ladder. Their place and wherever it was possible, the Polish government introduced privileged Polish elements, or foreign, being supporters of Polish colonization. The government generously distributed ample lands and estates, extensive like principalities, such as Rzeszow lands given to Jan Pokoslaw, Sambor lands given to the Spytkos, Laroslaw lands offered to the Tarnowskis, immense latifundia of the Odrowazs, Kmitas, Buczackis and smaller estates confiscated and taken away from the locals, sometimes "nullo jure possessores", being not able to produce legal documents proving their claim, as well as farms and villages belonging to peasant freeholders. Poles and other foreigners, fulfilling Polish policies, receive high administrative offices. Burgher class is mixed with Polish and foreign element in big towns, it comes even to the peasant masses in villages settled based on German law.

At the break of 14 and 15 centuries there is still significant number of the local clans, being however, pushed out to the background. Interesting reflection of these relations we can see in the jurors panel judging case of Jagiello against Elzbieta Pilecka in Medyka in 1404. Following nobles and dignitaries took part in the panel: Maciej, bishof of Przemysl and Athanazy, the esquire, Jan of Tarnow, the Rusyn subprececf, Kmita, the Sandomierz palatine, Iwo of Kleczyca, Benko of Zabokruki, Janko of Mazovia, Mikolaj of Kulikow, Jaszko Klus, Krystyn of Marcinkowicze, Mikolaj Pstroski, Jaszko Fortuna, Franciszek Borsnicz, Hrynko Sokolecki, Andrijko and Hrycko Bybelskis, Hrycko Kierdejowicz, Hlib Dziadkowicz, Wolczko Presluzycz, Danylo Zaderewicki, Kostko Solneczkowicz, Kostko, the Przemysl judge, Jacko, the Sanok judge, Wasko Teptiukowicz, Mychajlo Procowicz, Drahut (or Drahin) The Walachian, Chodko Czemer, Juryj and Wasko Moszonczyce, Wolczko Kuzmicz, Mychajlo Senkowicz, Iwan Danslawicz, Oleszko Hrudkowicz, Wasko Czortkowicz.

Document in Czartoryskis' library in two original texts, Ukrainian (Rusyn) and Latin. First published in archives J.Z.R. and at Holowacki; new edition (facsimile) in "Paleograficzeskije snimki"  I N.31, the Latin text published not long time ago in vol. IV of Kodeks Malopolski, l. 1084. The Ukrainian text some Polish names have Rusyn form, in Latin just opposite. Therefore both texts shall be taken carefully into account. Compare this register with some information from last quarter of the 14 century and first years of 15 century, such as the sale contract of the Kalenik monastery 1378 (Town and land archives II l. 9), where we can meet old Chodko Bybelski with Dworskowiczs, Grozd, Wasko Kuzmicz and others, ib. IV.19,V.14 etc.

This panel of significant "nobles and gentry of the Ruthenia lands", how they are called in the document, in fact the Western part of Ruthenia, Przemysl area, shows remarkable number of the Rusyns (Hrynko Sokolecki and subs., except Drahin, are probably all Rusyns). However, they are mentioned after Poles, and there are no dignitaries among them, except Kostka Bolestraszycki, the Przemysl judge, and Jacek, the Sanok judge, by no means high ranking officers (fact from before legal reform in Red Ruthenia. Similar relations we see in Eastern part of Red Ruthenia. There, in first half of th 15 century we can see still a great number of well off Ukrainian (Rusyn) aristocracy, but also without influence and on rather low offices.

The Lviv and Zydaczow lands Confederation Act more than a half of the nobility names are names of the Ukrainian nobles, sometimes with Rusyn seals, such as Jursza of Chodorowstaw, Stanko of Dawidowa (in 1410 he was named Ostaszko of Dawidow), Dmytro Lahodowski, Martyn Kalenyk of Podhajce, Michno and Paszko of Borszczow, Juryj of Malczyce, Senko Halka of Iljaszow, Senko of Nahorce, Olechno, Marko and Lenko of Drohoszow, Petro Wolczko of Kolodenice, Stecko, Onyszko and Stecko-Ilko of Czerkasy, Dmytro and Jacko of Didoszyce (Diduszykis), Jacko of Roznitow, Andrejko of Swaryczow, Iwaszko of Duliby, Iwan of Koszawa, Oleksa and Luczko of Witwice, Danko, Myka and Senko of Balice, Jacko of Nowosielice.

Town and land archives. VII, 55; description of the seal p. 108-109; the Cyrillic descriptions are on 8 seals, some have Latin description but with Rusyn forms of names, like Michn... de Borsofsky, Ilko, Stecko dominus de Sirkaz, (Iac)konis de Dzedosicze.

Rusyns during 15 century still are among dignitaries and on the offices, either elected or as king's nominees. Senko of Siennow (de Syennow) is the Przemysl chamberlain and a tutor during 1436-37 confederation, Ihnat of Kutyszcze for long years was a Halich judge (1438-1471), Wasko of Rybotyczewas a Przemysl judge (and a sub-judge before that) (1460-67) , Jacko Bybelski is a master of the pantry, and Olechno alias Aleksander Porochnicki a deputy master of the pantry for Przemysl, Hlib-Mikolaj of Siennow is known as a sub-judge (1471-77), and one of Porochnickis was a Przemysl castellan (1449-54).

Dates as shown in the respective archives.

But it is also a period of fast denationalization of the more prominent Ukrainian clans, which still were present among upper classes of the local nobility. They slowly melted away and disappeared among new incoming Polish element. The major factors causing aforementioned denationalization were: the same feudal interest, pursuing of actual (not only legal) equality with privileged Polish aristocracy, aspiration of obtaining all these prerogatives and honors available only to the Polish magnates and nobility, influence of the Polish culture and growing pressure of the Catholicism, which was conquering new Ukrainian lands and finally, mixed marriages between Rusyns and Poles. "When it happened - wrote Jan Prochnicki (Porochnicki), Lviv archbishop and great supporter of Jesuits, himself being of Ukrainian ancestry, on the process of polonization of Ukraine - that a girl was an only daughter with estate or a rich widow, the kings would send the Polish nobles to Ruthenia, (faverunt) and helped them with their influence to get married and it resulted with filling Ruthenia with religionem catholicam romanam. The rest, perfecit vigilantia pastorum (was done by the perfection of the priests), that the previous masters of Ruthenia went to the Roman church, eiurate schismate graeco (throwing away the Greek schism).

Excerpts from that family chronicle of archbishop  Prochnicki, written in first quarter of the 17th century, are given in the 48th volume of "Zapiski nauk. Tow. im. Szewczenki", p. 6

It is quite impossible to attribute so great influence to the mixed marriages, however, the fact is that those marriages caused a great number of the Ukrainian estates went to the Polish hands and they were a direct cause of polonization of Ukrainian families or clans. The Bybelski clan in which archbishop Prochnicki had his roots - one of the best off Ukrainian clans in Red Ruthenia - let the granddaughter of Chodko Bybelski, Duchna marry a Pole, Jan Barzy of Bolozow 

(Beginnings of the family unclear, but judging from the names, already in first half of the 15th century the family was if not Polish, then polonized. The following may serve as a documentation of that kind of marriages - one of many: generosa Oluchna de Hermanow consors generosus Albert Svathek de Uyasd iudicis castr. leopoliensis. Town and Land archives VII, 53)

and the family of the latter, enriched with the Bybelskis estates, gained high offices and senatorial chairs in 16 century, not available for Bybelskis. Marriage articles related to the marriage between Senko Bybelski and Fredro of Pliszowice from 1441 says that Fredro will give his daughter to Senko, under conditions that Senko will become a roman catholic. "Noble Frydro of Pliszowice - we can read there - and nobles Jacko of Bybel and his brother voluntarily agreed that Frydro will give his daughter Jadwiga to Senko of Bybel as a wife, under a condition that the marriage will be executed in four years, together with the wedding (in quatuor annis debet fore copula et cum hoc nupcie), and if any party will not hold to the agreement, it will pay to the other party one thousand grzywny as pledge, and Senko, with similar pledge, will become a roman catholic before the wedding  (et etiam Senko sub eodem vadio debet se baptizare prius quam copulam contraheret), and Frydro will give to Senko two hundred grzywny of dowry and clothing worth same. Senko shall pay his wife Jadwiga dowry of 600 grzywny secured on the half of the estates he will receive.

(Town and land archives, XIII, 1491)

That kind of evolution was taking place during 15th and 16th centuries within families and other private arrangements. The proof of the evolution could be double names being in use in second half of the 15th century by people representing Ukrainian families of Red Ruthenia, those Costhko alias Joannes Porochnicki, Joannes alias Hrycko Bybelski, Hlib-Mikolaj of Siennow etc.

(Town and lands archives, VII 63, IX 81 i 110, and indexes, vol. XIII i XVII)

In general, history of polonization of the Ukrainian families was never examined and explored in spite of fact that it is extremely interesting from the cultural point of view and that there is abundance of documents related to it.

In 16th century there was almost no magnate families in Red Ruthenia, which would perserve in Ukrainian (Rusyn) nationality.

Al. Jablonowski names (Zr. Dziejowe, XVIII cz. II str.287-288)* such magnate families out of old aborigin clans as the Lipskis, (decendands of Dymitr of Goraj, endowed by Casimir the Great with immense estates in Chelm lands, the Czurylos (from the same clan), the Bybelskis-Nowomiejskis - all using coat of arms Korczak. The Danilowiczs, Dzieduszyckis and Tarnawskis - using arms Sas. The Kierdejs, Wapowskis, Lahodowskis - using other arms. Except Lahodowskis, which still in 16th century show off their Rusyn origin by care of Uniow monaster, the others denationalized by the end of first half of the 16th century, mostly even before the 16th century outbreak.

* Due to the problem of great interest, here and in a few other paragraphs we quote extensively Alexander Jablonowski's "Zrodla dziejowe", which were mentioned by prof. Hruszevskij. Editors

"By nature of things the Rusyn magnates should have major influence in Ruthenia. The boyar families were powerful there during Ruryk descendants rule and could not be moved out by new sovereign - Casimir the Great and his successors. That was what happened. Taking into consideration both immediate results and historic data we shall conclude that first Polish rulers maintained good relations with important boyar families leaving them at their estates." Then the author names these boyar familes mentioned above by prof. Hruszevskij. Al. Jablonowski counts also the Komarnicki family (perhaps with a kind of question mark) using arms Junosza into boyars. Then "the intermediate link between old Rusyn and pure Polish families were houses, which came to Ruthenia during Opolczyk's rule from Silesia or Moravia, such as the Herburts using arms Paweza and undoubtedly the Fredros using arms Boncza (or from Hungary)" writes Mr. Jablonowski. Further Jablonowski writes: "so numerous formerly in Red Ruthenia and in other Rustyn lands boyar class, now at the end of 16th century semmed ceased to exist. It splitted into two parts: one got itself luckily into file of nobles-gentry endowed with Polish laws, the other pauperized, fell to the class of simple servants, serfs, etc." (p. 175-176)

Few better off noble families remained, which could be counted into Ukrainian (Rusyn) population by their national identification. In known for example petitions of 1539-1540 to the Metropolitan in regard with the Halicz eparchy, following Red-Rusyn nobles took a part: Marek Szumlanski, Iwan Stanimirski, Iwan and Stefan Demidecki, Nikandro Switelnicki, Michal and Marek Balaban, Pawel Zeliborski, Iwan Lopatka, Piotr Uhernicki, Wasko, Trufan and Iwan Grabowiecki, Iwan and Pawel Zahwozdecki, Olechno Zamostski, Iwan Dubrowicki, Wasyl and Olechno Czolhanski, Iwan and Wasko Roznitowski, Raszko and Stefan Swaryczewski, Deonisij and Iwan Horbaczewski, Iwan and Pawel Sambor, Michal and Jacko Jaczniski.

(Archives Z. R. II, 193 and 198)

From aforementioned noble families a few could be counted as wealthy: the Balabans, perhaps the Demideckis and Czolhanskis; the remaining group belongs to moderately wealthy or petty like the Grabowieckis, Dubrowickis, Rozniatowskis, Swaryczewskis, Jaczniskis, etc.

( See at Jablonowski after p. 339 and next, passim*.)

*) "Petty gentry of Rusyn origin. We have deliberated a little - writes Jablonowski - about certain characteristic order of propagation of Rusyn families, known or little known. And it is not a small retnue by no means! Firstly, all houses and families using arms Sas (about 50 families, page 340) just Rusyns, if we discount a legend originating their roots behind the Mountains of Beskid, from Hungarian Walachia. Immediately next to those, there are families with arms Wreby and Korczak (circa 40 families, page 341), probably the aboriginal Ruthenia. Also, although not to same extent, arms Kierdeja are of old Rusyn origin; and with rather Turkish than Hungarian roots come Salawa and Holobok. That is it! The remaining part of the old Rusyn families and houses adjusted their original seal signs to well established already Polish arms, or just adopted them. More often than others such as Nieczuja, Sulima, Junosza, Jastrzab, Ostoja".

Those gentry folk of Ukrainian (Rusyn) progeniture settled widely Red Ruthenia (particularly Przemysl lands) already in 16th century. Later, in 17th century all Rusyn families removed earlier by the government from everything giving income and influence, joined those aforementioned. Propagating and growing in numbers, the petty nobility was loosing their holdings and meaning and finally, it landed among petty landlords, except of course those families extinct earlier or polonized during 16th century. As a result, we can see first half of the 17th century Ruthenia following Rusyn families of petty gentry.

( Lozinski "Prawem i Lewem" I, p. 290-1, gives a list of those families together with other pertinent data. The list, however, is by no means exhaustive, therefore I am adding a number of names being conscious that it will still remain far from being complete and there is a number of names left.)

In Halicz area we have: the Berezowskis, Chocimirskis, Drogomireckis, Grabowieckis, Holynskis, Kniahynickis, Krechowieckis, Medynskis, Swistelnickis, Sulatyckis, Strutynskis, Tatomirs, Uhernickis, Wolkowickis, Zeliborskis, Zurakowskis; in Lviv region: the Balickis, Czolhanskis, Dubrowskis, Hoszowskis, Kopeckis, Lozinskis, Podwysockis, Podlasieckis, Pletenieckis, Pohoreckis, Popiels, Przedrzymirskis, Swirskis, Semihinowskis, Srokowskis, Winnickis, Witnickis; in Przemysl region: the Baczynskis, Bereznickis, Bilinskis, Bojarskis, Bratkowskis, Dobrianskis, Horodynskis, Horodyskis, Ilnickis, Jaminskis, Jasienickis, Jaworskis, Kolnofojskis, Koblanskis, Komarnickis, Kopystynskis, Krynickis, Kruszelnickis, Kulczyckis, Litynskis, Luckis, Monastyrskis, Matkowskis, Paclawskis, Podhorodeckis, Popiels, Radylowskis, Rytarowskis, Sieleckis, Sozanskis, Smereczanskis, Stupnickis, Terleckis, Tureckis, Turianskis, Tustanowskis, Uniatyckis, Uruskis, Winnickis, Wysoczanskis, Zeliborskis; in Sanok region: Dobrianskis and Lozinskis *).

*) Al. Jablonowski, mentioning the names of the Red Rusyn origin nobility still holding their estates at the end of  16th century, apart from aforementioned undoubtedly Rusyn families, gives additionally following clans:

In Halicz region: the Bednawskis, Bludnickis, Czastylowskis, Czerleniowskis, Dymideckis, Grabowskis, Hnileckis using arms Sas Krechowskis (Sas), Kunaszowskis, Lichanskis, Orzechowskis, Obertynskis(Sas), Powerbeckis, Poplawnickis, Szumlanskis, Studzinskis arms Holobok, Zagwojskis, Zywaczowskis.

In Lviv area: the Belzeckis, Borszowskis, Borosniowskis arms Sas, Czajkowskis, Ciemierzynskis arms Sas, Hermanowskis, Jastrzebskis, Narajowskis, Pieczychojskis, Polatyckis, Rozniatowskis arms Sas, Streptowskis, Swaryczowskis arms Sas. In Przemysl lands: the Boryslawskis, Baranieckis arms Sas, Bystryowskis, Blazowskis arms Sas, Chlopczyckis, Chlopickis, Czyzowkis, Dabkowskis, Debowskis, Dubowlanskis, Jasienskis arms Sas, Klodnickis arms Sas, Korczynskis arms Sas, Kropiwnickis arms Sas, Krukienickis arms Korczak, Kupiatyckis, Lubienieckis, Lowieckis, Morawskis, Nowosielskis arms Sas, Nowoszyckis, Tarnowskis, Wolosieckis arms Sas, Zupanskis. In Sanok region: Bukowskis, Leszczynskis, Lodzinskis arms Sas" (p. 330-333).

From among those families, these using arms Sas, Korczak, Holobok are, as we know, undoubtedly of Rusyn progeniture, and the others, the fact of their settling as early as 16th century would proof local progeniture, however, it is prudent to accept Jablonowski's conclusion that "since nobles of Rusyn origin took with time Polish arms, it is difficult to distinguish roots of these houses from houses of Polish origin, taking names from the endowed lands, without in-depth examination." (p. 342).

"Great number names taken from the Red Ruthenia localities can be explained that apart from already accounted for reasons, there was a custom that each separating branch of the family or house or clan, used to take separate name or by-name. And there we have the Boratynskis house arms Korczak from Przemysl region, which gave beginnings to the houses of the Malczyckis, Dabrowskis etc. The Grochowskis arms Junosza, also from Przemysl lands, gave beginnings to the houses of the Hermanowskis, Komarnickis, Kijewskis." (p. 352). Editor's notes.

Mostly they were old families, holding significant estates, which with time grew in numbers, divided into different branches with characteristic by-names and nicknames, such as Proskurczetas, Kalinowieta - Kniahynickis; Lechowskis, Josypowiczs, Jakubszowiczs - Zurakowskis; Beryndas, Soloninkas, Trunkowicz - Czajkowskis; Hryckowietas, Iskrzeta - Paclawskis etc.

(See at Jablonowski's p. 353*) and at Lozinskie's 1. c.)

*) Nicknames among the Terleckis - wrote Al. Jablonowski - Popowietas; Sieleckis - Hryckowietas, Dziurdzies; Blazowskis - Czechs, Sochas, Telepas, Iwankowietas; among the Komarnickis - Jankowietas, Dudyczs; Turzanskis - Holowaczs, Lujs; Sozanskis - Prasolas, Woronowiczs; Winnickis - Mukaszs, Oszosts; Jaworskis - Mrzyglodowiczs; Popiels - Tarapatyczs, Petelczycs (Chwosciaks - Lozinski, p. 291); Bratkowskis - Puhaczs; among the Kruszelnickis - Wolks, Holowkas, Popowietas, Blyszczycs; Swaryczewskis - Czepiels; Chojenskis - Kostrowiczs; Sosnowskis - Feciulowiczs; Czarnolozkis - Orzeszkowiczs; Piaseckis - Skoczylass; Gruszeckis - Zakowiczs; Stawskis - Bylinas, Sowas; Komorowskis - Malcherowiczs.

These families belonged to two specifically Ukrainian coat of arms groups: Sas and Korczak (in particular to the first one). Progeniture and propagation of these arms among Ukrainian (Rusyn) nobility remains unresolved, however, from historic and cultural point of view, very interesting story.

(See footnote 4, p. 610-12, v. VI "Historya Ukrainy-Rusi")

Military reviews prove great number of these petty nobility families (military review was a mandatory gathering and presentation of all nobles in the region to show military readiness - sp) of first half of the 17th century.

(Numbers related to the reviews per Lozinski, op. c. I p. 339-40, 342)

So, during Lviv lands nobility review i 1621, total number of gentry was 518. Among them 43 Czajkowskis, 34 Hoszowskis and 40 Witnickis. During Przemysl lands review in 1648 among almost 1000 gentry there were 70 Jaworskis, 46 Kulczyckis, 36 Winnickis, 23 Bilinskis ). In the documents related to the reviews we can find details on arms and armories and war readiness of the nobles, showing clearly their "wealth" and social status. Few of them could afford a retinue and those being able to show on the horseback and at arms were in minority. Out of 43 Czajkowskis three came with horses, remainings presented themselves on foot. Out of 40 Witwickis nobady was riding a horse. The Lviv lands review shows even with greater emphasis the petty gentry poverty, due to which, most of them could not afford not only a horse, but even any kind of armory. Noble Hryc Wolczkowicz Jasnicki of Jasniszcze presented himself on foot, but with a saber and a musquet. Noble Iwan Wolczkowicz Jasnicki stood also on foot, but only with a "stick" (a primitive rifle - sp); noble Roman Hoszowski standing as a substitute for his father Anton Hobrycz Hoszowski presented hinself also only with a "stick"; noble Fedor Hoszowski of Kleczkowicze was on foot with a saber and a musquet, but noble Stec Andronikowicz Hoszowski wielded only a rapier (considered as inferior to a saber - sp), noble Fedor Szumlanski of Bratkowicze presented himself on foot with a "stick", noble Hryhory Rudnicki of Bratkowicze (note two nobles were sharing an estate, possibly with others) with a saber and a musquet, noble Iwan Zaplatynski of Ostaloicze with a saber, an axe and with a bird gun (small caliber rifle), etc.

(Town book of Lviv, 280, p. 2581-5)

Poverty did not allow these people to afford even so low degree of learning and culture, which better off Polish and polonized nobility could afford. This caused that these petty gentry was closer to the "masses" and peasants and in the effect caused that these people preserved their national identity as Ukrainians (Rusyns) through out not only 17th and 18th century, but also later, till modern times. These folks remained in 17th and 18th century, similarly as in 15th and 16th centuries faithful to their "Rusyn religion" and national tradition and in a same way as all those Waskas, Fedkos, Hryckos (typical Rusyn names - sp) with no less characteristic by-names like Puhaczs, Kolodrobs, Wowkos, Holowkos, Tarapatyczs, Popowietas, etc. differ from Przeclaws, Prandotas, Zboznys and Szczesnys, Polish nobility, gente or natione.

(See Lozinski, op. c. p. 291)

Their national identity is alive with them and, sometimes, they show off as reprezentatives of "all Ruthenia", Ruthenia of unclear form, indistinctive, such as it was in the imagination of all Western frontier inhabitants, immense Ruthenia reaching with its boundlessness, yonder, to the Eastern horizon beyond haze.

Being in majority among all local nobility and based on the Polish Constitution recognizing all nobles as equal, without distinguishing the wealthy from the petty, honors, education, titles and offices and resolving all public matters by common vote of all present, these masses of petty gentry could easily govern their lands and counties, elect their candidates to the offices and have leading role in the life of province. Unfortunately, they were lacking solidarity, well defined social, political and national goals, organization, and in result, those people were too often moved to insignificant position and subdued to their better off and having more influence Polish "brothers".

There were however, moments, when crystallized in some cast in concrete fact national or class interest pushed this nobility mass towards more active and solidary action. Reasons and conditions creating such an action are not always clear, even when the facts are well known. Such mysterious activity was massive joining of the Halicz region nobility the Moldavian palatine Bohdan army during his aggression against Red Ruthenia lands in 1509.

(This Bohdan's aggression and resulting retaliation against Moldavia Pulaski describes in his sketch: "Zygmunt I's war with Moldavian palatine Bohdan in 1509", Sketches, v.I)

Incidentally there we can find that people such as Iwanko Demidecki and Ilja Szumlanski, Iwanko, Jacko, Wasko Mieszczenskis (?), Fedko Dubrowicz, Zan Cucylowski, Sienko Witwicki, Wasko and Marek Kniahynickis, Semen, Iwan, Senko and Sydor Drogomireckis, Sienko Balicki, Dmytro z Danyskowicz, Hryhory, Senko, Hryncza, Hryhor, Ficza and Iwasko Berezowskis, Iwasko Pyszyninski (?), Andrzej Lucki joined Moldavian forces.

(Materyaly, I, 66 - some names distorted)

The were pronounced traitors

(Sua temeritate, fidelitate postposita, sponte et non coacti ad eundem woywodam defecissent eidemque se absque legittima causa subiecissent- ibid.)

and their estates were confiscated. After Polish victory in 1509/10 winter, when Bohdan was obliged by a treaty, to return all Ukrainians, those nobles came back excusing themselves that they joined Moldavian forces not by good will but being threatened and forced into it. Their excuses were accepted and consequently, their rights and estates were returned to them. It is, however, hard to believe their excuses. Some of the circumstances could be explained by certain relation of religious and cultural nature between Western Ukraine and Moldavia, however, there is no definite information on the subjest available. When we remember, though, that less than twenty years earlier there was also unclear movement related to certain Mucha, when the Pokucie and Red Rusyn peasantry were represented by a notorious Moldavian agent. A year after that the Moldavian palatine supports certain pretender (contemporary Polish chronicler named him Andrzej Borul), which called himself a rightful heir to the Rusyn throne, grabbed by Casimir [the Great]. The pretender, having Sultan's military help, tried to take over the Western Ukraine, but he was incidentally apprehended by the Michal Buczacki's servants.

(Monum. pol. hist. III, p. 239-40)

Twenty years after 1509 episode, during another Moldavian raid against Western Ukraine, the Rusyns again, almost unanimously subjected themselves to the palatine, which accepts their act gratefully, having killed the roman Catholics in meantime.

(Ad quem Rutheni illic paene omnes advolant et se illi gestibundi subjiciunt, quos ille benigne suspicit et tractat, eos vero, qui Romani ritus sunt occidi jubet. Acta Tomicina, XII, 393, list w grudniu 1530 r. )

Worth remembering is a king's act of 1511 requiring that the Red Ruthenia lords shall not attend the religious observances in Moldavia, since they - suscipiendorum ordinum, ut ipsi putant sacrorum, causa solent se conferre in Valachiam et alias exteras partes et plerumque de rebus et statu regni apud hostes disserere positionemque regni prodere (Corpus iuris polon. III, 71)

Of course, we have here in all those incidents of the end of 15th and first half of the 16th centuries, certain evidence of a Ukrainian - Moldavian irredentism, so unclear due to the lack of information sources.

Clearer, though, are some acts of the Ruthenian nobles in 17th century. In the Western Red Ruthenia for example, it was a fight going for almost half of a century after Kopystynski's death (1610), for the church of Przemysl lordship, between Orthodox  and Greek church members.

(See Dobranski's "Istorja episkopow eparchii peremyszlskoj", Lozinski "Prawem i Lewem" I, p. 294 et subs.), Golubiew "Piotr Mohyla", v. II, p. 135 et subs.)

The defense of the Eastern rite against Greek church was in that time considered as a matter of honor, not only in relation with religion but also with national pride. Local nobles were interested in it very much, since majority of the Orthodox church officers were and members of the local nobility, church lordship  including. Therefore all changes, both internal and in hierarchy of the eparchy were not neutral for those nobles. When after Kopystynski's death, also a local noble, who was firmly with Eastern rite, the king promoted to the eparchy a Greek church member and his protégée, Atanazy Krupecki, both clergy and nobility submitted a very strong protest and started annoy if not bully the eparch. The king Zygmunt took Krupecki unter his personal protection and ordered that a great deal of money, as much as 50,000 dukats (gold coins - sp) was deposited against possible harm to the eparch or other harmful action. The names of the eparch's adversaries were mentioned in the king's order, and there we have: Iwan and Mikolaj Chlopeckis, Marcin Rytarowski, Fedor Turianski, Andrzej and Iwan Sozanskis, Iwan Monastyrski, Iwan, Pawel, Iwan, Mikolaj, Lukasz, Adam, Wasyl, Samuel and Michal Kopystianscy, Wasyl Terlecki, Fedor Winnicki, Stefan and Bohdan Radylowskis, Marcin-Aleksander Farafunta Blazowski, Iwan, Fedor, Hryhory, Pawel and Hrycko Popiels, Martyn Jasieniecki, Hrycko Koblanski, Aleksander Uhernicki, Iwan and Wasyl Buntowieckis (!) (this surname could be translated as Rebel - sp) Fedor and Iwanko Kulczyckis, Piotr Rohozinski, Piotr and Aleksander Holatyckis, Iwan Czajkowski, Hrycko Janocki, Iwan Tustanowski, Fedor Koblanski, Bosko Chmytkowski, Fedor Kuniczkowski, Dmytro and Piotr Hordynskis, Iwan Ilnicki, Dmytro Sydorski, Dmytro Burda, Fedor Tatomir.

(The Przemysl Archives, 327, p. 18-19) (In later fight between Krupecki and Hulewicz, particular role played the Hulewicz's brothers  Aleksander and Daniel Hulewiczs, the Czernichow sandardbearer Andrzej Kossakowski, Andrzej Zahorowski, Semen Myszka Choloniewski, Teodor Winnicki and Piotr Szeptycki. -  Editor)

Among Orthodox contra-candidates, the nobles supported the eparch Hulewicz, an energetic man who was able to organize the nobles and take the eparchy estates and offices from Krupecki by force. The nobles, due to their persistence, obtained an amnesty act for Hulewicz, together with a lifetime lordship. After Hulewicz's death, the same nobles brought in by force the dead eparch Orthodox successor Winnicki, who successfully ousted Krupecki from the eparchy. Later, the nobles gave strong support to Winnicki in his fight with another kings protégée, Polish national and Greek church member Chmielowski, which caused that Chmielowski was not even able to take over the eparchy, but even live in there. Restlessly, the nobles initiated the local political assemblies acts in defense of Winnicki, instructed their representatives accordingly to act on Winnicki's behalf both in Parliament and before the king, which resulted in Winnicki's confirmation as the eparch. 

Not so unified and unanimous, however, very distinguished, was joining of the Red Ruthenia nobility, forces of Bohdan Chmielnicki's popular uprising. Variety of stances was caused by certain economic factors, as well as class interest. Main area of this movement was Halicz region (the movement was relatively weakly developed in Western Red Ruthenia), the local nobles particularly supported though the irredentism organized in Pokucie by Semen Wysoczan (perhaps one of Wysoczanskis). The nobles were there the chieftains, "colonels" leaders of the peasants and burghers which were a core of the Wysoczan's forces.

(see Tomaszewski's "Narodni ruchy w Halyckij Rusy 1648 r. " (in Zapyski nauk. tow. im. Szewczenki, v. XXIV et sep.), p. 39 et subs., comp. p. 121-3)

In this and in the other uprising details we can see a number of the Hrabowieckis, Holynskis, Berezowskis, Skolskis, Kniahinickis, Zurakowskis, Tatomirs, Drohomiereckis, Jazwinskis, Strutynskis, Medynskis, Hoszowskis, Popiels. The Poles in general, charged the Ukrainian nobility for supporting the uprising and ousting Poles from the lands, etc.

(Zerela IV, 42, 74, 83, 97, 152. V, 42, 63, 75. see  Tomaszewskis op. c. p.41)

Alas, lack of enunciation on the part of the uprising participants offers little possibility of recognizing the nobles' motives and nobility's understanding of the uprising origins and reasons.

Omitting such extraordinary episodes, even regular day-to-day life proves important meaning of the petty nobles in preserving of the Ukrainian element and national tradition. They were rather poor people, not well educated, without influence, however, still their material and social position was much higher than the deprived of any rights feudal peasantry. In spite of the poverty, there were numerous examples of  ut in substantia sic in moribus et claritate talented people growing above the level of fall of the Ukrainian element caused by Polish reign. Truly though, those growing became quickly enough in its majority strangers to their own nation and accepting outward cultural forms, assimilated with "cultural" Polish environment. Nevertheless, presence in the Ukrainian file of this a little more wealthy and mainly haughtier element, gave this file some moral power and in many instances it was a help to the contemporary national activist in their works. Reading aforementioned registers of the Red Ruthenia nobility families, the reader could remember the Balabans i Kopystynskis, Zeliborskis and Winnickis, Pletenieckis and Kalnofojsks, Radylowsks and Zurakowskis, which wrote their names into the Ukrainian history as remarkable activists of religious, educational and cultural life of their motherland. These petty nobles gave their members to clergy; better half of those families became with time clans, let's say dynasties of the high clergy. And great number of those names was written on the chart of the first hundred-year history of the contemporary Ukrainian Galicia national re-birth. (...) s. 15



To the National Convention of University Rectors and Faculty Members
Lvov, 12 May 2000

Paul Card. POUPARD
President of the Pontifical Council of Culture

Coming to Lvov in the Ukraine for the first time in recent years is coming to a city that has a history of its own. Dmytro Stepovyk recalled it in his address during the first Presynodal Symposium, Christianity and Culture in Europe. Memory, Awareness and Project held at the Vatican from 28 to 31 October, 1991. In the Ukrainians the civilisation of the second millennium of the Christian era has found one of the most religious peoples of Europe. Divided for more than seven centuries between the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Dukedom of Lithuania, the Dukedom and the Princedom of Moscow, which became the Empire of Russia, Hungary and Austria, you Ukrainians have preserved in the unity of language and culture, ethnic identity, and the culture of Christian rites rooted in Byzantium. With you, I give thanks to the Lord for this miracle due without doubt mainly to the millennial dedication to Christ and to the profound spiritual substratum of popular and artistic Ukrainian culture. In the Ukraine the Church has acquired the status of a State institution. The Christian temple becomes the inspiring Muse of architecture and painting, of book miniatures and engravings, of choral music and educational drama, of popular theatre, of the popular art of frills in the decoration of Easter eggs and the carvings that render homage to Jesus Christ, to the Mother of God, to the Saints and to the cult of the Church in the native Ukrainian language.(
1) Today Lvov, a major publishing and cultural centre, especially of Ukrainian culture, has developed considerably in the field of industry and is one of the populous cities of the independent Ukraine State. From this brief historical sketch, one can trace the road along which this nation has journeyed to arrive at its present status. But one remarkable and outstanding fact cannot be denied with regard to Lvov: the prominent and supportive role played by the Church, of which we can be legitimately proud, throughout the different and challenging phases of its growth, not only in conserving but also in promoting its cultural history and heritage. The Union of Brzesc in 1596 joined the Catholic Church and is presently known as the Greek Catholic Church.

As Rector emeritus of the Institut Catholique of Paris and President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, I feel honoured and privileged to address this august assembly of University Rectors and Faculty Members participating in this National Convention which has for its theme: Christianity: The Foundation of European Civilisation. My presentation this morning will pave the way for others to follow in the course of the day on the theme: Religion: The Foundation of Social Life in the Ukraine, a theme that puts in proper perspective your deliberations, for a religionless society easily tends to become a godless society, and a society that is godless lacks a foundation and is necessarily doomed to disaster for it collapses from within.

1. What is Europe?

If we are to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of Christianity to European civilisation we need but look at what Europe is today. The roots of the present lie buried in the past. A continent that forgets its roots cuts itself from its past, is unable to understand its present and is ill equipped to face its future. Europe cannot forget its roots, the history and heredity of its ancestors, the legacy it has received particularly from the great heralds of the Gospel, the brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, co-patrons of Europe. "The Brothers from Salonika were not only heirs of the faith but also heirs of the culture of Ancient Greece, continued by Byzantium. Everyone knows how important this heritage is for the whole of European culture and, directly or indirectly, for the culture of the entire world." Saints Cyril and Methodius were not only pioneers in the faith, in as much as they brought the Gospel to peoples who had yet not heard of Jesus, but also pioneers in the formation and development of cultures. "All the cultures of the Slav nations owe their ‘beginning’ or development to the work of the Brothers from Salonika. For by their original and ingenious creation of an alphabet for the Slavonic language the Brothers made a fundamental contribution to the culture and literature of all the Slav nations."(2) Indeed they are pioneers of what is today termed "inculturation", which in simple terms is but the cultural expression of our faith and the faith expression of our culture.

There is much talk today on the continent of a common market and currency. Frontiers of travel are being crossed, political differences are being ironed out, common educational and economic interests are being pursued and with the advance of instant communication technology, Europe like the world is shrinking into a "village". But the eurodollar alone cannot bond Europe. Important as this economic dimension is, a common Europe cannot be forged only at the level of trade and commerce or purely secular interests. Europe needs to dig into and explore its Christian and cultural roots, those roots that nourished its civilisation, those roots that have borne fruit in a vast variety of cultures, those roots the benefits of which we are enjoying today. What we have received is not meant to be pocketed and buried but rather cradled for further growth. The legacy handed down to us is to take up the challenge of building a new Europe, endowing it not merely with a geographical unity but enriching it with an ideal and a spirit, animating it with a soul because a true community cannot exist without cultural and spiritual values through which man’s dignity is recognised and respected.

In the Preface to Christ, The Source of a New Culture for Europe On the Threshold of a New Millennium, containing the proceedings of the pre-Synodal Symposium held last October at the Vatican, referring to the variety of participants who assembled during those days and shared their insights, I remarked: "This group really did seem representative of the whole continent, and it brought many perspectives into focus in an atmosphere of open discussion and an evident desire to make Europe work or, in other words, to give her back her soul."(3) Innocuous though it might seem, so as to be almost overlooked, that sentence is pregnant with meaning and loaded with a serious challenge. It makes us pause and ponder. If Europe, as I noted, has to be given back her soul, one might well ask: Has she lost it? Or, has she to be awakened? Is there need for a renaissance as we have crossed the threshold of and entered the new millennium? To my mind that remark draws our attention to the goal of Christianity, namely, to animate Europe with the vitality and vigour of the life and values of Christ. If this is required of every baptised Christian how much more necessary and urgent it is for those involved in the education and formation of students at these universities, which are seats of wisdom and learning wherein the minds, hearts and lives of future citizens are being shaped and moulded.

The task that faces Europe today is to assume the great values of Christian culture with the goal of transmitting them in the context of our times. Walls may crumble, regimes may collapse, and ideologies fall apart. But these in themselves will not bring about the type of unity that we desire. The unity that we seek avoids both extremes: that of a Europessimism that sees doom and disaster everywhere and is devoid of Christian hope as well as that of a Euro-optimism that is based on the shifting sands of passing fads and fancies that lack a firm and solid foundation.

What a glorious continent Europe is! Its geography crosses all borders and its unity lies in its multiplicity, a kaleidoscope of different cultures. It is a continent of the future that has inherited from the past, the cradle of Christianity, the melting pot of democracy, the motherland of philosophy and the matrix of sciences. That is the Europe of which we must feel proud, that is the Europe that we are called upon to consolidate and build, that is the Europe to which John Paul II made a passionate appeal which I want to echo and emphasise: "I, John Paul [...] successor to Peter in the See of Rome, the See that Christ chose to place in Europe whom he loves for the efforts she has made to diffuse Christianity throughout the world [...] I cry to you, old Europe, a cry full of love: Find yourself again. Be yourself. Discover your origins. Refresh your roots. Relive the authentic values that have made your history glorious [...] Rebuild your spiritual unity [...] Do not boast of your conquests to the point of forgetting their possible consequences. Do not be downcast at the quantitative loss of your greatness in the world, or at the social and cultural crises that afflict you today. You can still be a beacon of civilisation and a surge of progress in the world. The other continents are watching you and also waiting for you to give the response that St. James gave to Christ: ‘I can.’" (St. James of Compostella, 9 November, 1982).

2. Inculturation of the Gospel in a secular ethos

The challenge that faces Christianity today is to inculturate European civilisation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In season and out of season, welcome or unwelcome, Christ and His Gospel must be proclaimed from the housetops. Our housetops today are covered with television antennae that keep on beaming a contrary message. The relentless onslaught of the mass media has no barrier or barricades. It enters into the very privacy of the home and the family. We are stormed and inundated by the media; even more, our children, whose innocent impressionable minds and hearts lack adult discernment, are exposed to and endangered by an ethos that is secular. The challenge to Christianity today is not so much antagonism or open hostility to the Gospel and its perennial values, but a subtle indifferentism that ignores the saving message that it offers.

The mission of the Christian in a Europe that is clearly pluralistic is to courageously take on anew with fresh vigour the goals outlined over three decades ago by the Second Vatican Council of acting as a leaven in social and political life as bearers of joy and hope and animating Europe from within, by being to this continent which is our heritage what the soul is to the body. I wish to recall here what was said of the early Christians: "Though they are residents at home in their own countries, their behaviour there is more like transients [...] For them, any foreign country is a motherland, and any motherland is a foreign country [...] To put it briefly, the relation of Christians to the world is that of a soul to the body."(4)

The Christian is called to be the leaven in the dough, the salt of the earth that preserves, the light of the world that drives away the darkness of despair. The tragedy of modern man is that he has entombed himself, walled himself up. If this "entombing" of man was a kind of self-enclosure it would be bad enough. But what is worse is that man has walled himself up and entombed himself outside himself, losing his own identity and personal worth and dignity. The tragedy of modern man is that he is obsessed with having more than with being. He fails to understand that being is more important than having or doing. Modern man hungers today to have and in the process forgets who he is, or worse still, that he is still alive. In his search for happiness, modern man craves to own and possess and forgets the fundamental truth that happiness lies not in having what you want, but in wanting what you have, and that happiness is the art of making bouquets with the roses within one’s reach. All education is the discovery of this art, a discovery of heredity, of a past, of one’s roots. All education is an exploration of heredity that results in self-enrichment. It is precisely from the discovery of this heredity that love is born. A horizontalism that is devoid of the vertical dimension, whereby man can be himself and in the depths of his being relate to God, to others and to the world, can only cause man to sink. Indeed, culture is what guides and leads man and saves him from being lost. I have a dream, as I address this illustrious gathering of educators at this high level of learning, wherein men and women will be inspired to assume the challenge of this discovery and exploration of heritage. I have a dream when Europe will shed its blinkers and open its horizons to a vision that is fully human and Christian. I have a dream wherein the many university institutions of this historic city of Lvov will network to create structures that will not only promote and preserve the cultural heredity of Europe, but will also propagate and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ who came not to abolish but to fulfil, a Jesus Christ who is not against cultures but touches and transforms them reforming, renewing and revitalising them from within. I have a dream wherein the Gospel will become Good News not only for Europe but for all cultures. Europe needs to be renewed by the Gospel. Europe needs to be renewed by being rooted in Christ for "not only is all the reality that is around suffused with the acquisitions of Christian culture and civilisation, but without those it cannot even enter human comprehension, since all the channels of communication used by modern man, independently of religious or cultural affiliation, have been formed within Christianity. All the languages and subtexts of international, intercultural and interreligious communication have been formed under the influence of Christian values."(5)

3. The rediscovery of the Christian meaning of man as God’s image

Europe indeed has some golden and glorious chapters in her history. But there are also besides some dark pages and some obscure footnotes that mar its history. Together with a Europe of civilisation and culture, of her great philosophical and theological minds, of the men and women who have contributed to the treasury of her artistic and religious heritage that make her stand out among the other continents on the face of the earth, there is also the Europe of tragedies, of blood baths, of tears and groans, of mourning and weeping, of peoples and races oppressed and obliterated, of wars and violence, of the trampling upon of human rights, of man’s cruelty to man. Like the field in the Gospel parable of the sower, Europe is a mix of good and evil. Together with the good seed, there are tares sown by the evil one that tend to suffocate, strangle and suppress the growth of what is good. We need to preserve Europe from future man-made catastrophes of this sort.

The image of man, the centre piece of creation, fashioned in God’s likeness and endowed with intellect and free will, is at the root of civilised Europe. What is called for is a true Christian Humanism where man’s basic dignity will be recognised, respected and revered. That is a truth that the Church has consistently preached and tried to practise.

In his very first Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis in a celebrated text Pope John Paul II speaks of how for the Church all ways lead to man. "The Church cannot abandon man, for his ‘destiny’ that is to say his election, calling, birth and death, salvation or perdition, is so closely and unbreakably linked with Christ [...] Each man in all the unrepeatable reality of what he is and what he does, of his intellect and will, of his conscience and heart. Man who in his reality has, because he is a ‘person’, a history of his life that is his own and, most important, a history of his soul that is his own [...] this man is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission: he is the primary and fundamental way for the Church, the way traced out by Christ himself."(6)

We have a task to perform, a duty to fulfil and a mission to accomplish. We need to collaborate and co-ordinate with all men of good will to build a new Europe, a Europe that takes cognizance of its past, lives fully the present and looks to the future with hope. We are not alone in accomplishing this mission. In fact, the mission is His, for Jesus Christ sends us out in His name. We need not fear for He is with us as He promised to be even to the end of time. And He is faithful.

I would like to conclude by citing the Opening Remarks I made at the Pre-Synodal Symposium held at the Vatican last October on Christ: The Source of a New Culture for Europe on the Threshold of a New Millennium wherein I stated: "Nonetheless, those who wish to construct a new Europe remain attentive to the signs of the times, and the dawn of the new millennium is indisputably one of the most notable signs that God, the Lord of History, gives us at the close of a tragic century. Two millennia ago, God became man in the womb of the Virgin Mary so that man by Him could become God – as the Fathers of the Church from East to West have never tired of repeating. And by a mysterious plan of Providence, faith in Christ from out of the East made the West this Europe which is ours, to the point that at St. James of Compostella on 9 November, 1982, John Paul II could say: «European identity is incomprehensible without Christianity. For it is in Christianity that European identity finds its common roots, roots that have nourished the civilisation of the old continent, its culture, its dynamism, its entrepreneurial genius, its capacity for constructive expansion to other continents too»."(7)

To build a new Europe, taking stock of its past, of the rootedness of its culture and civilisation in Christianity and drawing on this heritage to construct the Europe of the future, meeting the challenges of a secular ethos with Christian hope that comes from the assurance of the presence of Christ in our midst, that in brief is the mission to which we are committed as persons involved in University education.

At the dawn of the third millennium, Europe finds itself before seven great challenges: the democratic challenge, the economic challenge, the intellectual challenge, the challenge of nationalism, the challenge of solidarity, the cultural challenge and the spiritual challenge. These are enormous challenges for the very identity of Europe. There is no Europe that is not European in its heredity brought together by the West and the East. Only the fruitful putting together of this fundamental unity will give Europe its fullness. Here emerges the fundamental problem of the formation of the human person. In fact, from ancient Greco-Latin times till our own days, Europe presents itself as a continent of the human person. The culture that moulds Europe is marked by the Christian vision of man, created in the image and likeness of God. This culture which forges Europe has always stretched towards "a beyond" of its present experience, which thus becomes the principle of new scientific and technical progress, the elevation of the tenor of life and the betterment of health, the development of the means of communication, the deepening of the philosophical and religious reflection, the elaboration of a juridical system that has been tried and tested and the immense effort to safeguard and transmit the millennial cultural patrimony.

Hence, great indeed is the task of the University to transmit the fundamental values that have formed the Continent, particularly its conception of the human person, his dignity, his rights and his responsibilities. To attain this goal, education, the true challenge for the University, must be renewed in its methods, developing together the general culture with the scientific and technical knowledge, the faculties of the imagination and assimilation, the criteria of judgement and responsibility before the unity of Europe at the dawn of the third Millennium: political unity, cultural unity, religious unity, Christian unity, Catholic unity. "Europe is Christian in its very roots. The two forms of the great tradition of the Church, that of the West and the East, and the two forms of culture reciprocally integrate themselves like the two lungs of the same organism."(8)

Way back in 1948 the American poet Thomas Stearns Eliot wrote: "It is the common Christian tradition that has made Europe what it is. It is in the bosom of Christianity that our art has developed. Against the Christian background our thought acquires its meaning. If Christianity goes, with it goes also all our culture. For centuries this culture is the true bond between us, and no political or economic organisation can substitute this cultural unity."(9)

Your Excellency, illustrious Rectors and Professors, and my dear Students, this is our European memory. This is the knowledge of the strictest link between faith and culture in the human person. In fact, there is no faith outside the realm of culture, just as there does not exist a fully human culture that is not open to the dimension of faith. And this is our project at the dawn of the third millennium: to make of our culture a universal mirror of the beauty, the truth and the goodness of God, the Creator and Lord of the Universe and of man created in his image and likeness.(10)

-  -  -

Dans son discours aux Recteurs d’université et aux membres des diverses facultés d’Ukraine, le Cardinal Paul Poupard a souligné la contribution du christianisme à l’identité de l’Europe. En partant de la demande " Qu’est-ce que l’Europe ? ", il a encouragé ses auditeurs à redécouvrir leurs origines et leurs racines, et les a invités à s’engager dans l’inculturation de l’Évangile dans la société actuelle. Ce n’est qu’en redécouvrant l’homme, créé à l’image de Dieu, que peut être édifiée une culture qui reflète Dieu dans le monde.

En su discurso a los rectores universitarios y miembros de diversas facultades de Ucrania, el Cardenal Poupard presenta la aportación del cristianismo a la identidad de Europa. Partiendo de la pregunta ¿qué es Europa? invita a los presentes a redescubrir sus orígenes y raíces y las anima a comprometerse en la inculturación del Evangelio en la sociedad actual. Solo redescubriendo al hombre, creado a imagen y semejanza de Dios, podrá crearse una cultura que refleje a Dios en el mundo.

Nel Suo discorso, indirizzato ai Rettori delle Università e ai membri delle diverse facoltà d’Ucraina, il Cardinale Paul Poupard presenta il contributo del cristianesimo all’identità d’Europa. Partendo dalla domanda "cos’è l’Europa?", ha incoraggiato a riscoprirne le origini e le radici e ha chiamato i presenti ad impegnarsi nell’inculturazione del Vangelo nella società odierna. Soltanto riscoprendo l’uomo, creato a immagine di Dio, si può creare una cultura che rispecchi Dio nel mondo.

*   *   *


Abbé Robert POUSSEUR
Secrétaire de Arts-Cultures-Foi, France

(texte abrégé)

Le document du Conseil Pontifical de la Culture Pour une pastorale de la culture définit ainsi la culture : " cette façon particulière dont les hommes et les peuples cultivent leur relation avec la nature et leurs frères, avec eux-mêmes et avec Dieu afin de parvenir à une existence pleinement humaine (Gaudium et spes n° 53). Il n’est de culture que de l’homme, par l’homme et pour l’homme. C’est toute l’activité de l’homme, son intelligence, et son affectivité, sa quête de sens, ses coutumes et ses repères éthiques. La culture est si naturelle à l’homme que sa nature n’a de visage qu’accomplie dans sa culture. L’enjeu d’une pastorale de la culture est de le restituer dans sa plénitude de créature "à l’image et la ressemblance de Dieu" (Gn 1,26) en l’arrachant à la tentation anthropocentrique de se considérer indépendant du Créateur " (n° 2).

Cette définition rejoint ce que Jean-Paul II avait proclamé lors de son discours à l’Unesco, le 2 juin 1980 : " La culture est ce par quoi l’homme en tant qu’homme devient davantage homme, "est" davantage, accède davantage à l’être " (n° 7).

Pour que la gloire de Dieu éclate, pour que l’Église marche sur les mêmes routes que les hommes, le concile Vatican II dit combien il est important pour l’Église d’être très présente à la vie littéraire et artistique contemporaine. " À leur manière aussi, la littérature et les arts ont une grande importance pour l’Église. Ils s’efforcent en effet d’exprimer la nature propre de l’homme, ses problèmes, ses tentatives pour se connaître et se perfectionner lui-même ainsi que le monde… Il faut donc faire en sorte que ceux qui s’adonnent à ces arts se sentent compris par l’Église au sein même de leurs activités… Que les nouvelles formes d’art qui conviennent à nos contemporains, selon le génie des diverses nations et régions, soient aussi reconnues par l’Église… Ainsi la gloire de Dieu éclate davantage ; la prédication de l’Évangile devient plus transparente à l’intelligence des hommes et apparaît comme connaturelle à leurs conditions d’existence. Que les croyants vivent donc en très étroite union avec les autres hommes de leur temps et qu’ils s’efforcent de comprendre à fond leurs façons de penser et de sentir, telles qu’elles s’expriment par la culture. " (Gaudium et spes, 62-6).

En scrutant le bouillonnement culturel et artistique, en interrogeant les rapports de la foi et de l’Église avec la culture, une double question se pose : est-il important que de nouvelles initiatives pastorales soient prises dans ces domaines, quelles initiatives devraient être prises ?


I. La Culture et la Foi

Toute foi ne s’exprime que dans un langage humain. Elle a besoin de la culture d’un peuple pour pouvoir s’exprimer, car toute culture porte en elle une part de vérité. " L’homme vit d’une vie vraiment humaine grâce à la culture " (Jean-Paul II à l’Unesco, n° 6). La foi peut donner une dimension insoupçonnée à cette culture.

A. Tout homme est cultivé

Jean-Paul II nous demande de porter un regard de foi, d’avoir un regard respectueux et lucide sur la recherche culturelle et la création artistique. " Chacun d’entre nous garde en lui la hantise de quelques questions essentielles et en même temps garde dans son esprit au moins l’ébauche de leurs réponses " (41).

B. Tout homme dans son langage et dans sa culture
porte en lui une part de vérité

" Toute vérité dite par qui que ce soit vient de l’Esprit Saint ", rappelle Jean-Paul II en citant saint Thomas, Jean-Paul II attire aussi notre attention sur un point difficile à accepter par ceux qui baignent dans une tradition catholique: ne pas savoir apprécier une autre façon de croire que la leur. " Dès la naissance, l’homme se trouve intégré dans différentes traditions, dont il reçoit, non seulement, le langage et sa formation culturelle, mais aussi de multiples vérités auxquelles il croit presque instinctivement. L’homme, être qui cherche la vérité, est donc aussi celui qui vit de croyance " (31-32). Ces paroles sont une invitation à avoir un regard profondément respectueux sur l’autre : celui vers qui je tourne mon regard peut me partager sa lumière.

1. La culture peut rassembler les hommes

Lors du colloque sur les centres culturels à Bologne, colloque organisé par le Conseil Pontifical de la Culture, les responsables des centres du Maroc, d’Algérie, d’Égypte… ont souligné combien la Culture pouvait donner l’occasion à des hommes et des femmes de tout bord de se rencontrer, d’échanger, de faire des recherches ensemble sur des problèmes culturels alors que des fossés sociologiques et religieux les séparaient.

Noël 98 : lors d’une émeute de jeunes à Toulouse en décembre 98, la municipalité demande à deux Imams d’aller parler aux jeunes qui sont révoltés par la mort de leur camarade, tué par un policier témoin du vol d’une BMW par ce jeune. Les Imams s’adressent à ces jeunes en arabe, les jeunes leur tournent le dos en leur disant: " Nous voulons être français et être respectés comme tout le monde. Nous voulons faire la fête à Noël comme tout le monde. "

2. La culture peut aveugler

" Le créationisme est l’expression d’un littéralisme aveuglant. Les créationistes ne veulent pas comprendre que la foi se développe à l’intérieur d’une culture. Elle s’est exprimée initialement dans une culture "fixiste" (la création s’est faite dans une durée limitée et n’a plus à bouger). La compréhension que nous avons aujourd’hui du monde ne permet plus de dire que la foi au créateur passe par une lecture littérale de la Genèse ". (interview du P. Valadier à propos de l’interdiction d’enseigner l’évolutionnisme dans certains États américains, La Croix, ler septembre 1999).

3. La culture peut devenir un élément de résistance

Combien de régimes totalitaires ont voulu imposer un art, une culture en voulant étouffer toute création originale, signe que l’art et la culture ne peuvent se développer que dans la liberté. En Tchécoslovaquie, le théâtre a été le seul moyen de contestation du régime.

4. La foi peut donner une nouvelle dimension à la culture d’un peuple

Mgr Lustiger, dans son dernier livre Pour l’Europe (PUF, 1999), souligne l’importance de comparer les cultures européennes aux cultures de l’Extrême-Orient : cette comparaison permet de mesurer l’impact de la Révélation sur la culture du continent européen (p. 3s). Plus loin, l’auteur souligne que " la présence des musulmans provoque à vivre une autre altérité: à cause de l’Incarnation du Fils, nous n’avons pas le même sens de la dignité humaine " (p. 35-52).

Au colloque sur Foi et raison à l’Unesco, sous l’égide du Conseil pontifical de la culture, le 16 septembre 1999, un des intervenants, professeur au Collège de France, a insisté sur le rôle de la foi chrétienne dans l’évolution du monde : " Le christianisme avec sa capacité d’émerveillement, la recherche intellectuelle dans les universités étudiant dans la même langue, facilitant ainsi les échanges, ont permis la naissance, durant le Moyen Âge, du monde moderne. À la même époque, la Chine était aussi avancée dans les découvertes et les recherches que l’Europe mais les démarches religieuses étaient différentes : l’impact de la religion chinoise sur la culture a fait que la Chine s’est arrêtée en chemin. "

On peut souligner combien il est important pour l’Église d’être attentive à la dimension culturelle de la vie et de la foi car :

  • Tout problème religieux a une dimension culturelle : on ne peut résoudre une question religieuse que si on clarifie sa dimension culturelle.
  • Tout acte pastoral est porteur d’une culture.

Ces deux aspects ont été mis en relief au concile Vatican II, notamment dans Gaudium et spes.


II. La Culture et l’Église

Jean-Paul II rappelle que, pour l’Église, il n’y a pas une culture exemplaire, que toute culture risque de s’enfermer sur elle-même, de ne pas être apte à recevoir un apport extérieur. Mais, " lorsqu’elles sont profondément enracinées dans l’humain, les cultures portent en elles le témoignage de l’ouverture de l’homme à l’universel et à la transcendance " (70).

A. " Pour une pastorale de la culture "

Le 23 mai 1999, le Conseil pontifical de la culture a envoyé à toutes les Églises locales un texte intitulé : " Pour une pastorale de la culture ". Pour ce Conseil, la pastorale de la culture doit faire signe que l’Église veut vivre en communion respectueuse avec la recherche, la création des hommes, mais aussi qu’elle doit provoquer une rupture culturelle.

1. Une pastorale de la culture est signe de communion…

  • quand elle rejoint ce qui est au cœur de la vie des hommes : " La foi en Jésus-Christ met au cœur de la vie la personne et l’amour. Le Christ est la source de cette civilisation de l’amour dont les hommes portent de la nostalgie " ;
  • quand elle emprunte des éléments culturels, signe de respect pour les chemins divers qu’empruntent les hommes pour chercher à exprimer leur dignité : " La construction du Royaume ne peut pas ne pas emprunter des éléments de la culture et des cultures humaines. Il est nécessaire d’annoncer l’évangile dans le langage et la culture des hommes " (n. 4) ;
  • quand elle met en lumière ce qui reste caché : " L’annonce de Jésus-Christ met en lumière les semina Vérbi cachés et parfois comme enfouis au cœur des cultures " (n. 4).

2. La pastorale provoque aussi une rupture culturelle

Le texte du Conseil pour la culture insiste sur la rupture culturelle que provoque l’accueil du Dieu unique qui vient à la rencontre d’Abraham : " La rupture culturelle par laquelle s’inaugure la vocation d’Abraham. "Père des croyants" traduit ce qui advient au plus profond du cœur de l’homme lorsque Dieu fait irruption dans son existence, pour se révéler et susciter l’engagement de tout son être. Abraham est spirituellement et culturellement déraciné pour être, dans la foi, planté par Dieu dans la Terre promise. Mieux, cette rupture souligne la fondamentale différence de nature entre la foi et la culture. Contrairement aux idoles qui sont le produit d’une culture, le Dieu d’Abraham est le Tout Autre. C’est par révélation qu’il entre dans la vie d’Abraham. Le temps cyclique des religions anciennes est caduc avec Abraham et le peuple juif commence un nouveau temps qui devient l’histoire des hommes en marche vers Dieu. Ce n’est pas un peuple qui se fabrique un dieu, c’est Dieu qui donne naissance à son peuple comme Peuple de Dieu. La culture biblique tient, de ce fait, une place unique. Elle est la culture du Peuple de Dieu, au cœur duquel il s’est incarné. La promesse faite à Abraham culmine dans la glorification du Christ crucifié. Le Père des croyants, tendu vers l’accomplissement de la Promesse, annonce le sacrifice du Fils de Dieu sur le bois de la croix. Dans le Christ venu récapituler l’ensemble de la création, l’amour de Dieu appelle tous les hommes à partager la condition de fils. Le Dieu Tout Autre se manifeste en Jésus-Christ Tout-Nôtre. "Le Verbe du Père éternel ayant pris la chair de la faiblesse humaine, s’est fait semblable aux hommes" " (Dei Verbum, n° 13).

Quelle est la cause de cette rupture ? " Il s’agit non seulement de greffer la foi sur les cultures mais aussi de redonner vie à un monde déchristianisé dont souvent les seules références chrétiennes sont d’ordre culturel " (n. 1). S’agit-il de rompre avec la culture actuelle ?… de créer une nouvelle culture ? " La foi a le pouvoir de rejoindre le cœur de toute culture pour le purifier, la féconder, l’enrichir et lui donner de se déployer à la mesure sans mesure de l’amour du Christ. La réception du message du Christ suscite ainsi une culture dont les deux constituantes fondamentales sont, à un titre tout à fait nouveau, la personne et l’amour " (n. 1).

De quelle nature est cette rupture? La réponse dépend en grande partie de la manière dont une culture particulière met l’amour et la personne humaine en son centre. La relecture des initiatives prises dans les diocèses donnera quelques éléments de réponse (voir n. 1).

B. L’urgence d’une " inculturation "

1. Les synodes continentaux soulignent la rupture entre Évangile et cultures qui ont chacune leurs propres richesses et sont marquées par le péché

Les quatre synodes continentaux (Amérique, Asie, Afrique et Océanie) soulignent que " la rupture entre Évangile et culture est sans doute le drame de notre époque ". C’est donc à juste titre que les Pères synodaux ont estimé que la " nouvelle évangélisation requiert un effort lucide, sérieux et ordonné pour évangéliser la culture ".

Le synode d’Asie a rappelé avec force que évangéliser la culture demande de savoir prendre du recul par rapport à ce qui s’est vécu en Occident : " Les Églises plus récemment établies doivent perdre leur aspect de copie conforme des Églises dans les sociétés occidentales ".

Le continent asiatique abrite nombre de races et de peuples formant quasiment les deux tiers de la population mondiale. Le plus remarquable dans le contexte asiatique, c’est le fait que l’Asie soit la maison commune de pratiquement toutes les grandes religions du monde telles que l’hindouisme, le bouddhisme, le judaïsme, le christianisme et l’islam. Elle est aussi le berceau d’autres traditions religieuses et sociales telles que le taoïsme, le confucianisme, le zoroastrisme, le jaïnisme, le sikhisme, le chamanisme, etc. Les évêques décrivent les maux qui ravagent ce continent. Ils demandent que l’Église devienne non seulement une Église pour les pauvres mais aussi une Église avec les pauvres. La présence du péché profondément ancré dans le cœur des peuples et les cultures exige la Rédemption, la libération et le salut. Les évêques soulignent aussi les richesses de ce continent marqué par une grande soif des valeurs spirituelles et religieuses, de la liberté, de la dignité humaine et du progrès (synode d’Asie).

2. La réponse pastorale à cette situation : 1’" inculturation "

" Le don de son Esprit et de son amour s’adresse à tous et chacun des peuples et des cultures pour les unir entre eux, à l’exemple de l’unité parfaite qui existe en Dieu un et trine. Pour que ce soit possible, il est nécessaire d’inculturer la prédication de manière que l’Évangile soit annoncé dans le langage et la culture de ceux qui l’entendent " (Synode d’Afrique).

a – Une définition de l’inculturation. " L’inculturation est le processus par lequel la foi s’incarne dans les cultures locales en assumant, en purifiant en anoblissant les éléments de la philosophie, de l’art et de la spiritualité des peuples dans la mesure où ils sont compatibles avec les valeurs de l’évangile. L’inculturation s’applique à la théologie, la liturgie, l’art sacré, la spiritualité et à l’organisation sociale des églises. Elles ont besoin d’étudier et de connaître les cultures asiatiques " (Synode d’Asie). De cette manière, l’inculturation devient un moyen d’évangélisation, de développement et d’enrichissement mutuel des Églises en Asie, Afrique, Océanie, des Amériques et de l’Église universelle.

À propos de l’inculturation : ce concept a été forgé par analogie avec l’incarnation. Cette notion a sans doute permis de se dire que les cultures méritaient considération, que la transmission de la révélation chrétienne ne se confond pas avec la transmission des valeurs occidentales. Mais peut-on parler d’inculturation de l’Évangile? Cela supposerait, en caricaturant un peu, que l’Évangile puisse être sorti de sa gangue occidentale pour être réintroduit dans une autre culture… et que s’opère une sorte d’alchimie entre l’Évangile et cette nouvelle culture. Il en va différemment pour l’inculturation que pour l’incarnation du Logos. On ne peut détacher l’Évangile des cultures dans laquelle il a pris forme et donc ce sera toujours dans un rapport de culture à culture que quelque chose de l’Évangile se véhiculera. Il se communique dans une communication des cultures, dans une interculturalité, dans un dialogue culturel…, dans une interaction peu pensée jusque-là. En outre, l’Évangile ne pénètre pas une culture comme si elle était l’âme d’un corps. Car dans toute culture se trouve déjà des semences du Verbe.

C’est pour ces raisons que certains préfèrent parler d’acculturation : " "Le contact culturel, écrit Fortes, ne doit pas être regardé comme le transfert d’un élément d’une culture à l’autre, mais comme un processus continu d’interactions entre groupes de cultures différentes". Le terme d’acculturation a été inventé justement pour désigner cet ensemble d’interactions réciproques, dans leurs déroulements et leurs effets " (Encyclopédie universelle).

b – " L’inculturation " exige un dialogue respectueux et ne permet aucune concession. Donc, il est très important pour l’Église en Asie d’être conscient de ce contexte socio-religieux dans lequel elle doit remplir sa mission. Le contexte culturel et religieux de l’Asie présente à l’Église un défi, une tâche et une opportunité unique, à la différence de ce qu’elle avait rencontré dans le passé. Privée de précédents historiques pour la guider, elle doit entrer en profond dialogue avec les cultures et les autres religions asiatiques en " s’inculturant " de manière authentique en théologie, en liturgie et en spiritualité de façon à vivre et annoncer le message de Jésus-Christ en Asie. Pareil dialogue et " inculturation " exigeront une fidélité à notre propre foi chrétienne, le respect des croyances religieuses d’autrui, de la sincérité, du discernement, du courage, de la prudence et de la patience de la part de tous les intéressés. " L’inculturation " de la christologie en Asie est une nécessité urgente mais elle ne peut se faire aux dépens de l’intégrité de la foi chrétienne.

c – Les saints, témoins de la foi vécue dans la culture de leur peuple. Certains ont reproché à Jean-Paul II de canoniser trop de saints. Mais le pape, en tournant notre regard vers tant d’hommes et de femmes différents par la culture, ne voulait-il pas faire un signe au peuple de Dieu ? Les saints sont la manifestation que des hommes et des femmes du cru ont vécu l’Évangile dans leur culture. L’Église, en les reconnaissant comme témoins de la foi, veut enrichir l’Église universelle de leur expérience apostolique bien diverse.

3. Instrumentum laboris pour le synode d’Europe

Dans l’Instrumentum laboris, l’évolution de l’Europe durant ces dix dernières années est décrite dans tous les aspects de la vie religieuse, culturelle…

À propos de ce qui est dit de la vie culturelle, on ne peut qu’être frappé par l’insistance sur le pluralisme : " On voit se créer, d’année en année, une situation toujours plus pluraliste pour ce qui est des conditions ethniques, culturelles, religieuses et sociales " (8). " L’Europe apparaît comme une réalité profondément pluriculturelle et plurireligieuse dans laquelle croît la présence de l’islam, outre une indifférence religieuse " (51 ). L’unité de l’Europe est menacée : " Un mur invisible fait de peur et d’agressivité, de manque de compréhension pour les hommes d’origine différente, de couleur de peau différente, de croyances religieuses différentes " (2). Ce pluralisme interroge la mission de l’Église.

Le texte relève deux obstacles à la " nouvelle évangélisation " :

  • " Face au pluralisme de foi et de culture qui se propage toujours plus, certains qui ont été formés dans une sorte de monoculture chrétienne occidentale ne sont pas préparés à lire les signes des temps " (20). Plus loin, le texte soulignera la chance que peut représenter la rencontre des différentes cultures : " Pour cela, il faut unifier les aspects dispersés… "une manière d’être et de penser européenne et chrétienne", est née de la rencontre entre les Grecs, les Latins, les Barbares et les Slaves avec le Christ. Elle constitue l’un des modèles les plus significatifs d’inculturation de la foi et l’une des synthèses les plus riches entre la foi et la raison, entre l’adhésion au Christ et l’appartenance à un peuple et à une tradition. "
  • " La mission est souvent réduite à l’ordinaire de la vie et de la pratique ecclésiale, selon une pastorale de conservation. Une lassitude à sortir de soi... une sorte de fermeture des Églises particulières sur leurs nécessités " (36). " Une Église qui ne communique pas, n’évangélise ni ne fait la culture " (58).

Le texte souhaite que les Églises locales parlent avec " un nouveau langage, plus incisif : un langage qui naît d’une écoute silencieuse des Écritures et des personnes en se laissant remettre en question par leurs problèmes et leurs opinions " (57).

-   -   -

Rev. Robert Pousseur, the secretary of the Arts-Culture-Foi working group in France, offers a reflection on the theme "Culture, art and the Church". The focus in the first part of his essay is on the relationship between culture and faith. In the second it is on the links between culture and the Church. This study brings together the Church’s "cultural doctrine", with abundant references to texts of the Magisterium.

El P. Robert Pousseur, Secretario del grupo de trabajo Arts-Culture-Foi, de Francia, propone una reflexión sobre el tema "Culturas, arte e Iglesia". La primera parte de su artículo contiene una reflexión acerca de la relación entre la cultura y la fe. En la segunda, se profundiza en los lazos entre la Iglesia y la cultura, con numerosas referencias al Magisterio.

Don Robert Pousseur, Segretario del gruppo di lavoro francese Arts-Culture-Foi, propone una riflessione sul tema "Culture, arte e chiesa". Nella prima parte del suo saggio riflette sul rapporto tra la cultura e la fede, nella seconda sul legame tra la cultura e la Chiesa. Lo studio offre una buona sintesi della "dottrina culturale" della Chiesa. Infatti, fa numerosi riferimenti ai documenti del Magistero.

*   *   *


XVII Curso de Verano "Universidad... ¿Para qué?", 5 de julio de 2000
Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares.

Mons. Péter ERDŐ
Obispo auxiliar de Székesfehérvár, Hungría


1. Delimitación del problema

En los últimos decenios, por razones militares y políticas, se mencionaba con el nombre de Europa del Este a todo el territorio comprendido entre el ‘telón acero’ y los Urales. Pero desde la desaparición del Pacto de Varsovia y del sistema mundial comunista se ha hecho evidente que de ninguna manera es esta un área homogénea, sino que –excepto algunos territorios menores de situación muy particular– desde el punto de vista cultural e histórico consta de dos grandes regiones:

1) los países de cultura occidental latina, donde la religión de la mayoría era católica o protestante con rito tradicionalmente latino, y que en parte ya son miembros de la OTAN y se espera que pronto ganen también su adhesión a la Unión Europea, y

2) los países de la ex Unión Soviética, y los estados europeos sudorientales de legado cultural bizantino.

Al primer grupo pertenecen principalmente la República Checa, Polonia y Hungría, pero podríamos incluir también a Eslovenia, Eslovaquia, Croacia, además de los países bálticos. Los países que se extienden hacia el Este, y hacia el Sudeste, pertenecen a la otra región, aunque en la vida cultural de Rumanía, incluso Ucrania o Bosnia, también está presente la huella del legado occidental y éste no siempre se relaciona exclusivamente con las minorías polaca, húngara o croata. Cabe mencionar que esta mitad oriental de la Europa Central de cultura latina ya fue tratada por los papas de la Edad Media como única región y a menudo enviaron legaciones cuya misión apuntaba a los territorios de Hungría, Bohemia y Polonia. Y no hace mucho, las guerras balcánicas de la última década sucedieron en torno a la línea divisoria político-cultural que desde Diocleciano había separado el Este del Oeste.

En lo que sigue me ocupo más bien de las universidades de Europa Centro-oriental que de la verdadera Europa del Este, aunque a veces también me refiero a las segundas por razones comparativas o de diferenciación.

En el tema de la situación cultural y humana deseo abordar los factores que hacen de la vida de la comunidad humana un conjunto razonable. Se incluyen aquí la lengua, el arte, las ciencias, la vivienda, el arte culinario, costumbres y formas de actividad, e incluso la concepción de mundo, que se trasmite también comunitariamente y que constituye el núcleo de la unidad de todo ello y principalmente la religión.

En el marco de la situación humana prestaría mayor atención a las preguntas sobre la concepción y conducción de la vida individual, a las relaciones personales entre los hombres.

2. El cambio de las relaciones entre la sociedad y la educación superior,
sus consecuencias estructurales

a) El marco general

El período del socialismo estuvo caracterizado por la economía planificada. La educación superior debía ajustarse a las exigencias de la economía, del aparato estatal y de la política. Esto implicaba también que la educación superior era un monopolio completamente estatal – o casi en su totalidad, como es el caso de Polonia. El número de candidatos a la universidad se decidía estrictamente según instituciones, facultades y especialidades, y se mantenía bajo. Por encima de este número no se podían aceptar más alumnos ni siquiera costeándolo personalmente. De modo que el principio de gratuidad de la enseñanza superior se correspondia con una estricta limitación en el número de las plazas vacantes. A causa de este número limitado en la mayoría de las universidades se observaba, de una parte, una sobredemanda de solicitudes, y de otra, una rigurosidad en los exámenes de admisión, principalmente las últimas décadas de la era comunista. Fuera de esto, entre los criterios de admisión conllevaba una ventaja o desventaja codificada en la ley la pertenencia a algunas clases sociales. Estaba determinado el porcentaje de candidatos de origen obrero o campesino que debían admitirse. Para los hijos de ciertos funcionarios comunistas o de poseedores de sus distinciones había normas jurídicas que les otorgaban privilegios en los ansiados exámenes de selección universitaria.

El resultado fue que en estos países la proporción de los participantes en la educación superior fue mucho menor que en los paises de Europa occidental. Al mismo tiempo, esta situación tenía también su lado positivo. Los graduados tenían asegurado su lugar de trabajo, si bien los salarios y las circunstancias laborales a menudo eran miserables. Otra consecuencia de las estrictas limitaciones fue que los que se graduaban se constituían en miembros de una suerte de élite –la intelectualidad– que sustituía a la burguesía. Este hecho gozaba de elevado prestigio social. Diez o quince años atrás, en los anuncios matrimoniales de los periodicos todos buscaban pareja con diploma. Actualmente esta condición va perdiendo importancia al respecto.

Los cambios políticos de los años 1989-1990 han corrido parejos con la instauración de la economía de mercado. En Europa Centro-oriental casi todos los partidos políticos y gobiernos anunciaron como programa oficial la adhesión a la Unión Europea o por lo menos la nivelación con la educación superior de Europa occidental. Su tema principal era plantearse el objetivo de aumentar el número de estudiantes. Además, desde el comienzo declaraban que para que la Unión Europea apoyara o el Banco Mundial secundara con créditos el desarrollo de la educación superior en la región, era necesario crear unidades mayores, unir e integrar muchas instituciones.

El número de participantes en la educación superior verdaderamente ha aumentado considerablemente en toda la región estos últimos años. Pero esto no ha sido resultado del desarrollo orgánico de la sociedad y la economía, sino, en parte, demanda espontánea de la gente una vez suprimidas las limitaciones administrativas, y, en parte, la política gubernamental que ha querido acercar al nivel occidental el número de estudiantes. En el tramo inicial de la transición lo característico fue la caída general de nivel de vida y la crisis económica; de esta manera, las duras medidas fiscales más bien substrajeron también recursos económicos a la educación superior. En los últimos 2 ó 3 años en las regiones de Europa Centro-oriental (de cultura latina) fue atenuándose lentamente esta restricción económica, pero no por eso la grave falta de financiación ha dejado de ser característica.

Dentro de esto, también se ha retirado incluso parte de la financiación anterior de cuota general o simplemente la cuota determinada según número de estudiantes y por concepto de estudios, y hoy se reparte por concurso, o se han abierto ciertas posibilidades para participar en los concursos europeos. Para los docentes, mal remunerados y no preparados para ello, esta situación representa un enorme trabajo adicional. Los investigadores bien formados se ven obligados a invertir la mayor parte de su tiempo en quehaceres administrativos.

Además, los concursos no promueven de verdad la mejora cualitativa, puesto que para el control de los compromisos el Estado no cuenta con el aparato debido. La creación de un organismo así absorbería las sumas repartibles del concurso.

Una parte del dinero obtenido en los concursos europeos representan un beneficio insignificante a la institución concursante; son más bien las instituciones copartícipes occidentales las que le sacan provecho, las mismas que envían numerosos docentes –no siempre de mejor nivel que los locales– y consumen los fondos obtenidos.

Por otro lado, los créditos del Banco Mundial concedidos al gobierno para tales fines incrementan más bien las deudas de estos países, por lo que los gobiernos ofrecen a las instituciones de enseñanza superior grandes desarrollos a cuenta de estos recursos, pero prefieren postergar la toma de créditos.

Otra fuente importante del incremento de la población estudiantil es la formación pagada por el propio estudiante. Esto se hace posible también para las universidades estatales, donde por encima de los estudiantes estatalmente financiados se reciben otros de pago. (…)

El diploma y el sistema de calificación científica también han cambiado básicamente esta última década. En la era comunista las universidades no podían otorgar grado académico. El título de doctorado en Teología lo reconocía el Estado, pero este terreno estaba vedado a la vida científica estatal. Los juristas y médicos podían usar su título de doctor en muchos países del área, y hoy también, una vez recibido su diploma universitario, pero este grado, conocido en el medio como "pequeño doctorado", no tiene rango científico. Los grados científicos (candidatus scientiarum, doctor scientiarum) podían concederlos solamente las academias de ciencias de los respectivos países, instituciones que formaban parte del sistema del estado-partido. Estos cuerpos científicos a menudo supervivientes de antes de la II Guerra Mundial sirvieron en gran medida como filtro político de la gente que trabajaba en la esfera científica. (…)

Los últimos años han aumentado las filas de las academias de ciencias con una nueva generación de científicos, lo que ha mejorado su prestigio, aunque ello no se ha visto acompañado de ninguna transformación decisiva. Al mismo tiempo en la financiación de la enseñanza superior se han vuelto a tomar en cuenta los títulos concedidos por estas academias, ya que el número de profesores que disponen de ellos se considera indicador de la calidad. Hay quien opina que esta situación afianza las posiciones de la capa docente postcomunista con vistas a una nueva generación. (…)

b) Reestructuración institucional

Junto a las instituciones estatales en numerosos países de la región han nacido también instituciones de educación superior eclesiásticas y privadas. Sin embargo, entretanto se efectuó también otro cambio importante: en varios países del área han aparecido muchas nuevas universidades estatales pequeñas (por ejemplo, en Eslovaquia); en otros puntos han abierto numerosas nuevas universidades privadas, en su mayoría pequeñas (por ejemplo, en Rumanía). (…)

En algunos países de la región toda institución de enseñanza superior figura con el nombre de universidad; aunque, por ejemplo, en Eslovaquia, está en marcha una modificación de la ley de educación superior que diferenciaría las distintas categorías de universidades, y calificaría a algunas como unidades de exigencia científica y a otras como de exigencia no científica. Cabe preguntarse, por supuesto, si se justifica en el segundo caso utilizar la denominación de universidad. En otros países, por ejemplo en Hungría, existen dos tipos de instituciones de educación superior: universidades y escuelas superiores. Las universidades deben impartir educación y realizar investigación de nivel científico, además de estar obligadas a brindar formación doctoral científica. Como por cada estudiante las universidades reciben una financiación mucho mayor que las escuelas superiores, se observa esa tendencia a elevar considerablemente el volumen estudiantil principalmente en las escuelas superiores, ya que esto le resulta más barato al Estado. (…)

c) Reestructuración del profesorado. Evolución de la situación personal docente

En los países del área ha disminuido drásticamente la importancia de las investigaciones en el terreno de las ciencias naturales. En el sistema del Consejo de Ayuda Mutua Económica (COMECON) los países de Europa Centro-oriental recibían como tarea un área especializada determinada para la realización de investigaciones básicas y aplicadas que regía para toda la comunidad económica. Las grandes empresas industriales socialistas y los institutos de investigación estatales llevaban a cabo el grueso de estos estudios, pero participaban en ellos también las universidades. En todo caso, en ciertos sectores la formación de científicos a nivel universitario disponía de mercado receptor también en el interior del país. (…)

En la esfera de las ciencias sociales, el cuerpo docente universitario, principalmente en el sector del Derecho y de la Economía, ha abandonado la enseñanza en gran medida, ya que su labor se necesitaba urgentemente en la renovada política, en las oficinas de gobierno, en las instituciones orientadas a la Unión Europea, en todos los terrenos de la economía privada en desarrollo, pero lo mismo en toda la serie de nuevo tipo de tareas de defensa y asistencia legal paralelamente con un sistema jurídico en transformación. Los últimos diez años han visto por lo general reducirse el interés por las diferentes especialidades de Letras y Humanidades, puesto que ofrecen mínimas posibilidades salariales y de conseguir empleo. Esta región es el mundo de los estados naciones, que no obstante su pequeño tamaño disponen de una cultura relativamente desarrollada, de lengua propia y fuerte identidad. El nuevo nacionalismo se difundió en esta área de manera relativamente tardía, por lo que hasta nuestros días es fuente potencial de ciertos conflictos. Junto a este trasfondo psicológico y social, muchos viven dramáticamente el hecho de que las culturas vinculadas con la literatura y la lengua nacional se han devaluado económicamente. Son una excepción hasta cierto punto los países que solamente después del cambio de sistema obtuvieron su soberanía, tal es el caso de algunos países de la ex Unión Soviética, Ucrania, por ejemplo. En estos países la lengua nacional tenía un rol secundario anteriormente, pero ahora se ha constituido en primera lengua del Estado, así su cultivo también ha recibido nuevo impulso.

d) Las posibilidades vocacionales de los estudiantes: perspectivas

La juventud de toda la región ve claramente que las posibilidades de colocación en la vida crecen decisivamente si siguen estudios en el extranjero, en Occidente. Esta movilidad estudiantil constituye para los jóvenes del área un imperativo mucho más categórico que para sus contemporáneos occidentales. Como sabemos, estos últimos generalmente reciben su formación ya en una gran lengua occidental, y a menudo en sus universidades la formación doctoral se imparte también en inglés. Las demás condiciones de enseñanza son de nivel elevado. Frente a esto, los alumnos de nuestra región realizan sus estudios en su lengua nacional. Y estas, salvo el ruso, son lenguas pequeñas y de muy limitada utilización científica. Hay muchas posibilidades de becas también en las universidades occidentales, aunque generalmente de breve duración, de medio año o un año hacia el término del período de la formación gradual. Con todo, estas becas significan gran ayuda, y a largo plazo refuerzan la cooperación.(…)

Como la demanda de diplomados cambia frecuente y drásticamente, la mayoría de estudiantes tiende a obtener varios diplomas, carece de una imagen de carrera concreta o de perspectivas sobre su propio futuro profesional. Muchos cambian con frecuencia el rumbo de sus estudios y también de institución de enseñanza. Casi podemos decir que la flexibilidad se ha convertido en la estrategia de esta generación. Esto puede resultar útil si se trata de ganarse la vida a corto plazo, pero después de unos años para alcanzar una categoría científica o profesional más elevada es necesaria una profundización mayor en una especialidad concreta. Esta carencia muy a menudo provoca en la vida del joven una crisis existencial. Sólo muy pocos reconocen que es imprescindible, e incluso a largo plazo rentable, asumir el riesgo de la elección y profundización profesional concreta. (…)

3. La situación cultural y humana

a) La mentalidad de los estudiantes

Como hemos señalado, la mayoría estudiantil está caracterizada por una gran incertidumbre profesional, científica y humana. Comparado con la situación anterior ahora abundan los alumnos con talento. A qué se debe este fenómeno es algo que merecería estudio aparte. Puede ser que la mayor libertad de estudio tenga algún papel en esto. Al mismo tiempo, se manifiesta también mucha agresividad e interés económico, porque muchos jóvenes consideran que sin esto no tendrá posibilidades en la vida. Muy a menudo se observa como piden dinero por cualquier esfuerzo especial. Hasta la organización de las actividades estudiantiles autónomas son consideradas por ellos como fuente de ingresos, e incluso es la razón por la que quieren ingresar en organismos de este tipo. Muchos estudian paralela o sucesivamente, varias especialidades, en varias universidades. Con frecuencia al mismo tiempo trabajan, ganan dinero. Generalmente quieren ganar mucho más que los mayores que trabajan allí. Y generalmente lo consiguen, aunque se quedan poco tiempo en un mismo lugar y no resultan mano de obra de confianza.

A la incertidumbre en los estudios ha contribuido también el hecho de que en muchos lugares se obligó por norma jurídica a introducir el sistema de créditos, algo que muchas veces ni los jefes, docentes o administradores entendían o aplicaban con la debida prudencia. Esto con frecuencia deposita en los docentes cargas exageradas, implica una caída de nivel, y hace posible que los alumnos quiten del plan de estudios asignaturas fundamentales. En muchos lugares se introdujeron cursos facultativos en gran número y en forma asistemática. Lo que a menudo justifican señalando que debería elevarse la cultura general de los estudiantes, pero no pocas veces la verdadera causa fue que los docentes que estaban en buenas relaciones con la dirección universitaria tuvieran acceso a ingresos parciales además de su puesto principal. Por otra parte, las asignaturas que dan la cultura general son cada vez más necesarias en la universidad, dado que últimamente vienen deteriorándose al respecto las escuelas medias de Europa Centro-oriental, las cuales tradicionalmente tenían un buen nivel: son muchas las clases, es enorme la carga que pesa sobre los niños, para ingresar en las universidades buenas se necesitan tales conocimientos especializados, resultados científicos y rendimientos extra que obligan a los estudiantes de secundaria a realizar trabajos que se prolongan hasta la noche. De modo que la educación humana y la obtención de cultura general (literatura, arte, música, deportes, visión de mundo, conducta) se debilitan. Esto tampoco puede compensarlo la universidad ni siquiera a pesar de sus esfuerzos.

La ventaja que hoy tiene la educación secundaria y universitaria es que ha mejorado la enseñanza de lenguas. Entre ellas, incluso la situación del latín observa un ligero impulso. Pero es el conocimiento del inglés el que principalmente se hace casi general, aunque en Europa Centro-oriental es importante también la enseñanza del alemán. El francés sigue mostrando una declinación, mientras aumenta el interés por el italiano y el español. La enseñanza del ruso, antes obligatoria en todos los lugares, prácticamente ha desaparecido. Ya se percibe algo del comportamiento y de los hábitos de vestirse del mundo occidental. Ha aparecido un estrato intelectual de empresarios jóvenes, de ingresos relativamente elevados. Algunos representantes de esta capa tienen también exigencias intelectuales más altas. Pero a este respecto todavía no alcanzan el nivel de las élites de Europa Occidental. Parte considerable de ellos son de filiación ex-comunista o de su descendencia, aunque en algunos países, especialmente en la República Checa, la reaparecida antigua aristocracia ha ganado también algunas posiciones.

La consecuencia psicológica de todo esto ha sido la debilitación de la solidaridad, la competencia recíproca (entre profesores, instituciones, alumnos), la búsqueda del interés político, y además la reaparición de conflictos de grupo. Debe subrayarse que el interés político generalmente no nace del idealismo, sino viene motivado por el usufructo de intereses a corto plazo, intereses que se alimentan en el terreno de la apatía básica. No porque la política de algún partido sirva al interés de un grupo social, sino, por la expectativa de un puesto estatal o mejor empleo. Es llamativa la inseguridad en el terreno de la elección del partido. Se prolonga mucho el período de estudios y el de la subsistencia incierta. A la vez son cada vez mayores las exigencias sociales en cuanto a las condiciones materiales (vivienda, etc.) frente al matrimonio y a la vida familiar. Esto conduce a desplazamiento en la edad de los enlaces matrimoniales y, como ya hemos dicho, al alarmante descenso de la población.

Las relaciones con el alumnado extranjero y el intercambio estudiantil ofrece un cuadro bastante desigual. Son pocos los alumnos extranjeros que vienen a estudiar en estos países. Aunque se organiza formación en lengua extranjera. Si se trata de formación básica, generalmente participan en ella occidentales como estudiantes de pago que en su país han quedado fuera del numerus clausus. Hay algunos cursos de doctorado donde una institución determinada recibe estudiantes procedentes de los países del área examinada, por ejemplo, en Polonia en la Facultad de Derecho Canónico de la Universidad Católica de Lublín estudian numerosos alumnos ucranianos y eslovacos, o también en la Facultad de Derecho Canónico de la Universidad Católica de Budapest, donde vienen estudiantes procedentes de Rumanía, Ucrania, Eslovaquia y Alemania.

b) El ambiente intelectual general

El ambiente intelectual general de Europa Centro-oriental cambió significativamente en las universidades y círculos intelectuales por el hecho de que con el cambio de sistema se abrieron plenamente las posibilidades de publicar. Todo lo que antes no se podía publicar ahora ve la luz: trátese de valores científicos, de productos literarios insignificantes o de tono extremista. Especial importancia tiene la traducción de la literatura científico-cultural occidental. En Hungría, por ejemplo, esto era posible ya en las últimas décadas del comunismo, pero las obras traducidas debían pasar por el tamiz de la política cultural. En Rumanía y otros países la posibilidad fue incluso menor. Y ahora es cuando inundan a la vez el mercado bibliográfico de estos países los valores y las extravagancias, las corrientes dominantes, de la ciencia y la cultura humanista nada menos que de hace 50 años. Muchas veces la presencia de algunas tendencias u obras no corresponde a la importancia cultural de los escritos en cuestión, sino que refleja solamente la fuerza económica de sus patrocinadores. Doctrinas religiosas esotéricas y teología católica auténtica, clásicos de la literatura protestante y ortodoxa, historiadores franceses del círculo Annales, psicólogos y politólogos anglosajones; hoy se tiene acceso libre a las obras de pensadores y filósofos de todas las orientaciones. Por supuesto, han irrumpido en el mercado también en gran medida la literatura fantástica, la violencia y la pornografía. Casi simultáneamente con el cambio político, pero de manera independiente de ello y como resultado del desarrollo tecnológico, se hizo posible en todo hogar el acceso a los canales de TV vía satélite. Esto en sí mismo también ha transformado el modo de pensar de amplias masas. La élite y los medios universitarios, por su parte, reaccionaron con más entusiasmo ante las posibilidades de la prensa escrita. Los teatros han caído en seria crisis económica en la región; sin embargo en sus programas puede apreciarse la libertad y la misma riqueza experimental que en el campo de la literatura. Es muy característico de la región la rápida difusión de los grandes centros comerciales. No pocos de ellos cumplen también el papel de lugar de esparcimiento con cine, campo deportivo, librería y sala de ordenadores. Claro está, estos centros sirven más bien para la diversión de los estratos populares. Su impacto cultural directo en el mundo universitario es insignificante.

La característica general de la intelectualidad joven es la total incertidumbre en cuanto a su visión de mundo. En Europa Centro-oriental tampoco durante el comunismo la ideología oficial daba el hilo conductor del pensamiento de la intelectualidad, pero en ciertos países funcionaban fuertes subculturas que determinaron también la orientación conceptual y cultural de la mayoría. Es el caso, por ejemplo de Polonia, donde era, y hasta cierto punto hoy también es, muy fuerte la cultura humana de inspiración católica. Al mismo tiempo, es mucho más secularizada la intelectualidad no sólo germano-oriental sino también la checa. En este respecto, ciertas comunidades y grupos están caracterizadas por la unidad personal, por la amistad solidaria, así como por la misma concepción de mundo. Grupos así se adhieren a alguna pequeña iglesia norteamericana, a algún movimiento espiritual católico, o a algún círculo de pesamiento laico. La trascendencia y valor de estas agrupaciones puede medirse, por otra parte, si tomamos en cuenta que la mayoría de universitarios se caracteriza por su marcado aislamiento. Así tales indicios de ánimo asociativo, a no ser que corra parejo con un contenido conceptual y cultural, muy rara vez representan valor en nuestra sociedad.

El rasgo característico de nuestro estado general es que considera importante el rendimiento, pero más importante todavía, el llamado éxito. El calificativo más de moda entre los intelectuales de la región es el de "exitoso". Al mismo tiempo, el reconocimiento o la valoración social del rendimiento no es lógico, resulta más bien inseguro, imprevisible, a menudo subjetivo. Es decir, puede ganarse dinero y reconocimiento no necesariamente con el desempeño más intenso o ni siquiera con el trabajo más importante para la sociedad. Esto fue así también con el feudalismo, pero entonces la procedencia era lo que decidía la situación pecuniaria y social del hombre. Hoy por hoy, aunque han cesado las antiguas discriminaciones comunistas practicadas según el origen, gana cada vez más importancia el papel de la procedencia. Quién y dónde pueda estudiar, qué puesto pueda recibir con su diploma, son cosas que no en pequeña medida dependen de la posición económica de su familia o de sus contactos. A pesar de eso no se ha constituido aquí en este sentido ninguna inmovilidad como en el mundo tradicional. Por eso cunde el desmoralizador impacto que significa supeditarse a la correlación imprevisible entre el rendimiento y el éxito. Esta puede ser también la causa de que se abstengan de elegir un solo oficio, incluso del afán de obtener más de un diploma, o de empezar a trabajar cuanto más tarde posible.

En la mentalidad de nuestra juventud también podemos observar fenómenos postmodernos auténticos. Las grandes utopías sociales han perdido ampliamente su crédito y fuerza movilizadora. Reacciones sentimentales sin ninguna lógica ni relación o brutalidad pueden observarse en el pensamiento y la actividad de mucha gente. Si lo pensamos bien, esto también es una forma del celebrado pensamiento débil y fuerte postmodernista.

Particular fuente de inseguridad procede de que muchos interpretan que en las democracias simplemente se trata de aprobar la opinión de la mayoría, puesto que la verdad objetiva se ignora también en los interrogantes conceptuales, políticos, y a menudo incluso en cuestiones científico-sociales y científico-naturales. Frente a esto, aparece de manera casi inorgánica en la mentalidad pública el respeto a los derechos fundamentales, a los derechos humanos. Es que, como sabemos, la determinación o reconocimiento de su contenido presupone una imagen más o menos objetiva y firme sobre el hombre y la sociedad, imagen que en tiempos de la Ilustración generalmente aceptada, pero que en nuestros días ha desaparecido casi por completo. De este modo, si la mayoría en algún país es nacionalista, no respetuosa de la vida humana o acaso partidario de criterios racistas, se hace general la incertidumbre sobre quién o a base de qué pueda criticar contra lo aceptado por la mayoría. No cabe duda de que en estas sociedades las Constituciones no son resultado del trabajo de una Asamblea Constituyente democráticamente elegida, sino que en el marco del tránsito pacífico para salir del socialismo se redactaron o modificaron según diferentes acuerdos y pactos. Así, principalmente los primeros años después del cambio, en la región entera se cuestionó la legitimidad de todo el poder estatal. Este problema se ha atenuado algo en la mitad occidental del área; el lento ordenamiento de las relaciones cotidianas, considerando la fuerza de los hechos, ha legitimado en parte el orden vigente, atestiguando ante los ojos de la población que también con un ordenamiento así se puede vivir igualmente una vida normal. Pero esto, desde luego, está todavía lejos de ser un sistema o convicción conceptuales. A este respecto –particularmente en los medios estudiantiles de la intelectualidad con base cultural católica– para muchos ha sido alentadora la enseñanza del Papa Juan Pablo II contenida, por ejemplo, en su Fides et ratio. La fe católica como tradición de retorno a Cristo, y la Iglesia, como comunidad de referencia de los fieles, pueden robustecer el sentimiento de seguridad del hombre, su confianza en la posibilidad de reconocer la verdad. La fe depositada en Dios creador y revelador puede ser también fuente de la confianza depositada en el reconocimiento del mundo, del hombre y de la sociedad.

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Bishop Péter Erdő, the rector of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest in Hungary, describes the cultural situation in universities in Eastern Europe. He gives an overview of the political changes that have taken place in the last few years in the region. After analysing the effect of these changes on the university system, he reflects on the mentality of students and the intellectual climate in general.

Mgr Péter Erdő, Recteur de l’université catholique " Pázmány Péter " de Budapest, en Hongrie, présente la situation culturelle des Universités d’Europe orientale. Il dresse un panorama des changements politiques intervenus dans la région ces dernières années, pour analyser ensuite leurs conséquences sur le système universitaire. Dans une seconde partie, il propose une réflexion sur la mentalité des étudiants et sur le milieu intellectuel en général.

Mons. Péter Erdő, Rettore dell’Università Cattolica "Pázmány Péter" di Budapest, Ungheria, presenta la situazione culturale delle Università dell’Europa Orientale.
Offrendo una panoramica dei cambiamenti politici avvenuti in questi ultimi anni nella regione, analizza, nella prima parte del suo studio, il loro effetto sul sistema universitario. Nella seconda parte propone una riflessione sulla mentalità degli studenti e dell’ambiente intellettuale in generale.

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Rare Polonica in the NYPL: Books of the 15th-18th Centuries 0883540401

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From The New York Public Library's
Slavic, Baltic, and Eurasian Resource Series

Documenting one of the most significant collections of its kind in the United States, Rare Polonica is an important guide for scholars, librarians, and bibliophiles to 514 volumes dating from the 15th through the 18th centuries held by The New York Public Library.

The NYPL's Polonica collection goes back to the Astor and Lenox Libraries of the 19th century from which the NYPL was formed, and, endowed in part by the William Falencki Book Fund for Polish Materials, continue to grow via purchase and through generous donations. Rare Polonica describes the volumes in this important collection, including books printed in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; books printed outside the homelands by Polish printers; titles by ethnic Polish authors, regardless of place of imprint or language of publication; and works by foreign authors printed in the Polish language, or on subjects connected with Poland and/or the Rzeczpospolita.

The catalogue includes incunabula and 62 works of the 16th century. The NYPL's holdings include many early 16th century editions published in the Kraków shops of Jan Haller (1467-1525), Florian Ungler (d.1536), Hieronim Wietor (plus 7 of his Viennese imprints), and Marek Szarffenberg (d.1545). The majority of the titles date from the 17th (231 entries) and 18th (214 entries) centuries, in many languages including Latin, Polish, French, German, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Czech. Printers in Vilnius and Kraków are particularly well-represented.

Reflecting the library's broad acquisitions policy, the collection covers many fields. Holdings of Reformation literature, and editions of the Bible in Polish translation are particularly important. The latter category includes the so-called Brzesc or Radziwill Bible that was translated and published by Polish Calvinists (1563), as well as two editions of the Gdansk Bible printed in 1660 and in 1726. Other collection strengths include many outstanding historical works, including books by Maciej of Miechów (1475-1523), Aleksander Gwagnin (1543-1614), Stanislaw Kobierzycki (c.1600-1665), Szymon Okolski (1580-1653), Pawel Piasecki (1579-1649), and Maciej Stryjkowski (1547-c.1582). The literary works of Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) and Stanislaw Orzechowski (1513-1566), and legal works of Jan Herburt (c.1524-1577).

Each bibliographic entry is provided with a separate record, each of which was constructed according to the Polish standard for the description of early imprints, issued in 1994. The checklist contains multiple indexes. Rare Polonica is an important guide for scholars, librarians and bibliophiles, documenting one of the most important collections of its kind in the United States.

Hardcover, 227 pages.



With the death of Zygmunt, the last of the Jagiellonians in 1574, there was nobody who could legally convene the Sejm. An “interrex” (Regent), the Archbishop of Gniezno, was appointed by the Senate and a special “Convocational Sejm” was called which decided to let the “szlachta” (nobility) the elect a king in a free election. Prior to his coronation the king-elect had to swear to uphold the Constitution and all “szlachta” privileges. In 1573, Henri de Valois, younger brother to Charles IX of France, was elected king by an overwhelming majority. In May 1574 Charles died suddenly and Henri had become King of France. It was generally agreed that he should hold both crowns and go back to France in the autumn but, in his impatience Henri slipped away early. Affronted, the Poles presented him with the ultimatum of returning by May 1575 or the throne would be declared vacant.

In December, under the influence of Jan Zamoyski, Stefan Batory (b. Szilagysomlyo, Transylvania 1533; d. nr Grodno 1586), Prince of Transylvania (1571 - 76) was elected king of Poland (1575 - 86) by the szlachta (the nobility). Batory was the son of Istvan Bathory, governor of Transylvania for the Habsburg king of Hungary. He won renown as a soldier with John Sigismund Zapolya, prince of the newly independent Transylvania and was elected as Zapolya’s successor (1571). As king of Poland, Batory carried out important reforms, encouraged further overseas trade and creating the first regular Polish infantry by conscripting peasants from the Royal estates. He was also the first to employ Cossacks on a regular basis. He overcame the revolt of Danzig (1577), which was given autonomy in its internal affairs (at a price) and in a war with Muscovy (1579 - 82), after a successful campaign and a brilliant victory at Pskov, Batory defeated Ivan the Terrible in the Livonian War (1558 - 83). By the Treaty of Vam Zapolsky, Ivan returned all Lithuanian territory it had captured and renounced his claims on Livonia; Livonia joined the Commonwealth and Poland was now recognised as the greatest power in Central Europe and only the Turkish Sultan ruled over more extensive territories. In 1579 he created the University at Wilno. By the 1550s eighty per cent of the world’s Jews lived in Poland. Batory gave the Jews their own national assembly drawn from the local self-governing communities (Kahal). In 1583 Batory granted the postal monopoly to Sebastian Montelupi who organised a regular postal system both internally and abroad. After his sudden death, Batory was succeeded, in the 1587 election, by Sigismund (Zygmunt) Vasa, son of John III Vasa of Sweden.


The Vasa were a dynasty of Swedish Kings whose name is derived from the family estate around Uppsala. The founder of the dynasty was Gustav Eriksson Vasa who became, firstly, Regent of Sweden (1521) and then King Gustavus I Vasa (1523 - 60). After the unexpected death of Batory in 1586, there was a major crisis when the pro-Hapsburg Zborowski faction forced through the election of Archduke Maximilian and almost brought the nation to a state of civil war. The great Renaissance politician (and staunch anti-Austrian), Jan Zamoyski confronted Maximilian and held Krakow for the Swedish crown prince, grandson of Gustavus I and son of John III of Sweden, Zygmunt III Vasa (b. Gripsholm, 1566; d. Warsaw,1632), who came to the throne 1587 - 1632. There would eventually be three Vasa Kings and the period would see long rivalry and wars between Poland and Sweden for the control of the Baltic. Under Zygmunt’s reign the Polish magnates (great lords) rose to a position of power and would eventually destroy Poland through their greed; he was also in constant struggle with Jan Zamoyski, the Chancellor (1587 - 1605) whose diplomatic and military successes he regarded with suspicion. Zygmunt was forced to work with Zamoyski when he overreached himself in arranging a secret marriage with the Austrian Archduchess Anna (1592) and was subsequently humiliated by the Inquisition Diet of 1592. In the same year he received the Sejm’s permission to become King of Sweden but was only crowned (1594) after promising to uphold Swedish Lutheranism.

Returning to Poland, Zygmunt left his uncle, Charles Suderman, as Regent of Sweden. He then decided to move the capital from Krakow to Warsaw (1596), which was closer to Sweden and the junction of all major routes criss-crossing the Commonwealth. When his uncle rose in rebellion Zygmunt invaded Sweden (thus losing any support there was for him amongst the Swedish nobility) only to be defeated at Stangebro (1598). In 1599 the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) dethroned Zygmunt offering the crown to his four-year-old son, Wladyslaw, on condition that he would come to Sweden and accept Lutheranism. Zygmunt refused to accept these conditions and lost the crown of Sweden to his uncle (who was crowned Charles IX, 1604 - 11). Zygmunt never relinquished the throne and his foreign policy was, from that point onwards, directed at regaining the Swedish crown.

From 1605, after the death of Zamoyski, Poland became involved in internal problems as a result of Zygmunt’s absolutionist tendencies (the Zebrzydowski rebellion, 1606 - 8) and wars with Sweden (1617 - 29) and the Turks (1620 - 21). During the Swedish War, Gustavus II Adolphus (the son of Charles IX) seized Riga (1621) and almost all of Livonia. The Poles also, inevitably, became involved in the internal “troubles” of Muscovy (“Smuta”, 1605 onwards), usually at the request of the boyars, but the events surrounding the short-lived careers of the two “False Dimitris” did not benefit the Republic. In 1610, after a successful military campaign, Zygmunt proposed his own son, Wladyslaw, as candidate to the Muscovite throne but Wladyslaw’s refusal to convert to the Orthodox faith led to the driving out of the Poles and the enthroning of the first Romanov (1613). The devastation and loss of life were tremendous and Poland was only saved by a number of outstanding military commanders; Stanislaw Zolkiewski, Jan Karol Chodkiewicz, Stefan Czarniecki (b. 1599; d. 1665) and Stanislaw Koniecpolski who achieved some great victories (Kluszyn, 1610; Kircholm, 1605; Chocim, 1612).

This was also the period that saw the Republic at its greatest territorial extent and economically the nation was prosperous (but there were also new extremes of wealth and poverty). Religious tolerance was maintained despite Zygmunt’s own Catholic fanaticism (his greatest success was the establishment of the Uniates; the union of the greater part of the Ruthenian Orthodox Church with Rome in 1596 ratified at the Synod of Brzesc). The followers of Fausto Sozzini (Socinius, b. 1539; d. 1604), the Polish Brethren, founded a centre of protestant culture at Rakow (which became known as the Sarmatian Athens), between Kielce and Sandomierz, where they published the Rakowian Catechism (1604), the most well-known statement of Unitarian theology at the time and an important expression of radical thought. When the Hussites suffered the crushing defeat at the battle of White Mountain (1620) many were forced into exile, some making their way to Poland and influencing the Arian movement there. The Jewish community thrived and spread out from the cities into the provinces; but by linking their fortunes with greedy lords through the “arenda” system (whereby an estate would be leased out by an absentee lord to a manager who could exploit it and those who worked it) they exposed themselves to the hatred of the peasantry.

Zygmunt’s son, Wladyslaw IV (b. 1595; d. 1648), King 1632 - 1648, served as a youth in the Muscovite campaigns (1610 - 12 and 1617 - 18). On his accession to the throne he fought a war with Muscovy and won a victorious peace (1634). He made a favourable settlement with the Turks (1634) and with Sweden (1635). He was involved in serious disputes with the Sejm and unsuccessfully attempted to establish order in the last years of his reign. For some time the Arian movement had thrived in the climate of religious tolerance that Poland had offered but their own success led to their downfall. In 1641 all Arians were forced to convert or leave the country, resulting in mass exodus. A particular danger came from within when, in 1648, the Cossacks, mainly of Ruthenian and Polish origin, for a variety of reasons but chiefly due to the arrogance of the magnates who were treating the free Cossacks as serfs, broke their oath of allegiance to the Polish King under the instigation of their Hetman, Chmielnicki. Wladyslaw died whilst this revolt was still in force. Wladyslaw travelled widely visiting Florence where he was honoured by the Italian composer, Francesco Caccini who wrote a composition “La Liberazione di Ruggero dell Isola di Alcina” dedicated to him. He corresponded with Galileo, ordering telescopes from him, and modelled for Peter Paul Rubens in his studio in Antwerp.

Wladyslaw’s son, Jan II Kazimierz (b. 1609; d. 1672), was a Jesuit and Cardinal (1640) and had to be absolved of his religious vows by the Pope in order to be able to take on his duties as King 1648 - 1668. In the continued revolt of the Cossacks, Chmielnicki used the Ukraine as a pawn between the powers of Poland, Muscovy and Turkey which resulted in further wars, with the Tartars (1649), and a disastrous 13 - year war with Muscovy (1654 - 67). Janusz Radziwill, Grand Hetman of Lithuania, defeated by Tsar Alexei of Muscovy during Chmielnicki’s revolt (1654), appealed for help from Charles X Gustavus of Sweden, himself fearful of Muscovite expansion. He invaded Poland in 1655. This period in which the Republic was inundated by enemy forces, and the chaos that accompanied it, became known as the “Deluge” (“Potop”). The collapse of Polish resistance led to the desertion of many Polish officers and szlachta (the nobility) from Jan Kazimierz to Charles. In October Radziwill signed an agreement at Kiejdany which detached Lithuania from Poland, placing it under the protection of Sweden. In the following guerrilla war, where Polish forces were supported by Tartars fearful of the further expansion of Muscovy into the vacuum caused by the war with Sweden, and Danish and Dutch fleets came to the defence of Gdansk, it is the defence of Czestochowa, at the monastery of Jasna Gora, (1655), Poland’s most sacred shrine containing the picture of the Virgin Mary (the “Black Madonna”), by a small force led by Prior Kordecki and his monks against a besieging army of 9,000 Swedes, that actually changed the course of the war and became a signal for a general uprising that resulted in the eventual expulsion of the Swedes from the Republic. In 1658, at Hadziacz, an agreement between the King and the new Cossack Hetman, Wyhowski, was to enable Ruthenia to join the Commonwealth on equal terms with Poland and Lithuania but a further Cossack rebellion (1659) instigated by Muscovy (herself attempting to annex the Ukraine) and Polish involvement in war with Sweden (1655 - 60), meant that the agreement bore no fruit and in 1667, by the treaty of Andruszowo, the Ukraine was divided evenly along the Dnieper between the Commonwealth and Muscovy. For the Polish Commonwealth this was a disaster since it weakened an important frontier area and left a discontented people open to manipulation by Poland’s enemies.

The general decline was especially noticed in the Sejm; the parliamentary system grew awkward and ineffective as deputies used the notorious “Liberum Veto”, which allowed any deputy to prevent legislation since all resolutions had to be carried unanimously. The idea of consensus rule was, in principle, a good one but the “Liberum Veto” was first used in a manner that destroyed the working of the Sejm, in 1652, by a Jan Sicinski on the orders of Janusz Radziwill. It soon became obvious to Poland’s neighbours that the veto could be used to their own political ends and they soon clubbed together to “defend Polish freedoms”. The szlachta, themselves, becoming less influential as they lost their military valour and, in many cases, impoverished, saw the veto as the last symbol of their ability to play a role in the running of the Commonwealth.

This was also a period of great rivalry and suspicion between the pro-Bourbon factions (led by the Queen, Louise-Marie) and the pro-Habsburg szlachta (many of whom were in the pockets of Vienna. The need for reform had become obvious and the Jesuit preacher, Piotr Skarga, had blamed social injustice as the main cause of evil. The final indignity came when, as a direct result of attempting to introduce reforms that would modernise the state, Jerzy Lubomirski, the Grand Marshal, rebelled against the King. The royal faction was defeated at the battle of Matwy (1666) but not long afterwards Lubomirski came and begged for a pardon which was granted; the whole farce had merely served to damage the prestige of the crown. Shortly after his chief support, Queen Louise-Marie, died (1667) Jan Kazimierz took refuge in Silesia, resigned as King (1668) and retired to France as Abbe de Saint-Germain. The farcical elections that followed led to the appointment of a Polish nonentity despised by both Bourbon and Habsburg factions, Michal Korybut Wisniowiecki.


The Wisnioweckis were a noble Ukrainian family. During the early 1500s the idea of hiring the Cossacks to guard the Dnieper crossings by building fortresses on its islands was proposed but never developed, it was Dmitri (d.1563), a magnate from Southern Volhynia who independently founded the first Cossack fortress, Niz, at Chortyca, out of which grew the Sicz of Zaporoze. After a failed attempt to involve Poland-Lithuania in a war against the Tartars, he became heavily involved in Moldavian affairs only to be betrayed to the Turks and executed for piracy. Dmitri is credited with being the first to create a stable organisation for the Cossacks and for putting the Cossack-Ukrainian cause on the map. His son signed the Union of Lublin and his grandson led a notorious expedition to Moldavia (1616). His great-grandson was Prince Jarema (b. 1612; d. 1651), Voivode of Ruthenia and chief enemy of Chmielnicki.

The farcical elections that followed the resignation of Jan II Kazimierz, the last of the Vasas (1668), led to the appointment of a Polish nonentity, the favourite of the szlachta (the nobility) suspicious of foreigners and seeking a “new Piast”, despised by both Bourbon and Habsburg factions, Jarema’s son, Michal Korybut (b. 1640; d. 1673), king (1669 - 1673); he proved to be a weak monarch unable to control the magnates who nicknamed him “le Singe”. In 1672 the Turkish invasion of Podolia led to the fall of the fortress of Kamieniec Podolsk and, with the country in a state of chaos, the Poles sued for peace; at the Treaty of Buczacz the Poles lost what was left of Podolia and the Ukraine and had to pay a humiliating annual tribute. Michal Korybut died suddenly whilst a new invasion was in force, on the eve of Chocim; he was succeeded by the victor of that battle, Jan Sobieski.

Sobieski, Jan III (b. Olesko, nr. Lwow, 1674; d. 1696) the son of Jakub Sobieski, the Castellan of Krakow and Voivode of Ruthenia, Jan Sobieski was educated in Krakow. A great military leader, Sobieski entered military service in 1648, seeing action against both the Tartars and Cossacks (1651 - 52) and Swedes under Lubomirski and Czarniecki, although, along with many other officers who had deserted the royal cause in the dark days of the Deluge, he had briefly accepted a commission under Swedish King, Charles X (1655 - 56). He was first entered the Sejm in 1659. Sobieski was appointed Commander - in - Chief of the Polish Army (1665) and Grand Hetman in 1668. Besieged by an army of Cossacks and Tartars at Podhajce he raised 8000 men at his own expense and forced the enemy to retire. Later, when the Turks seized the fortress of Kamieniec (1672), Sobieski beat the Turkish forces back and virtually annihilated them at Chocim (1673), earning from them the nickname of the “Fearful Lion of the North”. He was elected King a few months later (1674 - 96). The climax of his career came in 1683 when, with 20,000 Polish troops he relieved the Turkish siege of Vienna. Unable to break into Europe through Poland, the Turks had invaded Hungary and Austria in 1683 and swept all before them. 130,000 Turks besieged Vienna and threatened to overpower Europe. Sobieski, at the request of the Pope, marched on Vienna through rugged mountain passes and sent the Husaria into their last great charge, taking the Turks unawares. It was a turning point in history. Combined with the Imperial Army, he drove the Turks back to the Raab. He was acclaimed as the hero of Christendom - Jan Matejko’s painting of “Sobieski at Vienna hangs in the Vatican. His later years were a failure, unable to overturn the political decline of Poland; he was unable to solve Poland’s problems on the Baltic or on the eastern frontier because the long years of campaigning and wars had drained her resources and, in 1686, in an unbelievably naive move, the Grzymultowski Peace literally gave away the entire Ukraine and transformed “Muscovy” into “Russia” - enabling her to emerge as the major power in Eastern Europe. He was a patron of science and literature and his marvellous palace at Wilanow, on the outskirts of Warsaw reflect his domestic grandeur. The elections after the death of Sobieski were contentious; his son, Jakub (b. 1667; d. 1737), was forced to withdraw for lack of funds, and the French candidate was cheated of victory by bribery and corruption so that the Elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus was elected king, Augustus II. It would be the beginning of the end. Sobieski’s granddaughter, Clementina (b. 1702; d.1735), married James Edward Stuart, the “Old Pretender”; their son was Charles Edward Louis Philip Kazimierz, the “young Pretender” - “Bonny Prince Charlie”.


The Wettins were a German dynasty that was active, in the Tenth century, in pushing Germany’s eastern frontier into Slav lands. By c.1100 they had acquired the Margrave of Meissen and extended their rule over Thuringia and Saxony. In 1485 the dynasty divided into the Ernestine and Albertine branches. The Albertines became the Electors of Saxony (1547) and provided two kings of Poland, Augustus II and Augustus III. The sixty-six years of Saxon rule, from 1697 - 1763, were a national disaster and drove the country to the brink of anarchy. The causes are twofold: firstly, from the outset the Saxon kings fell into a partnership with Russia in which they became more and more dependent on the support of the stronger partner; secondly, The Republic, which had been severely weakened by the period of warfare and internal strife of the seventeenth century, was reduced to the state of a helpless bystander in the wars of the eighteenth. The nation was further undermined as the powerful land-owning magnates began to look to the preservation their own self-interests in whatever manner they could, whilst the less powerful szlachta attempted to hang on to the only power they held - their traditional rights - even at the expense of important reforms. The Republic had no standing army, it was a citizen army with only a small core of professionals. Whilst Sobieski had carried out important reforms which had significantly improved the army’s tactical and technological stature there was a heavy reliance on foreign infantry and there was no centralised funding. There was, also, internal resistance to the idea of a regular army which could be used by an autocratic ruler to restrict personal liberties (as in Prussia, for example). Poland also became sandwiched between two rising powers; Russia, ruled by Peter the Great, and Prussia which the Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick III, was to declare a kingdom in 1701.

The Elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus (b. Dresden, 1670; d. 1733), who had unsuccessfully commanded the imperial Army against the Turks (1695 - 96), converted to Catholicism (the Republic was “worth a mass”) and was elected king Augustus II of Poland in 1697 after a contentious election which, in many ways, reflected the disintegration of the nation. His reign started auspiciously with the treaty of Karlowicz by which the former provinces of Podolia and the Ukraine, including the important fortress of Kamieniec, were restored to Poland by the Turks (1699). In the mistaken belief that Sweden was in decline and with the intention of acquiring Livonia for Saxony, Augustus entered into a disastrous three-way alliance with Frederick IV of Denmark and Peter I the Great of Russia (1672 - 1725) that would eventually embroil Poland in the Great Northern War (1700-21). Although the Sejm refused to support him, Augustus invaded Livonia and laid siege to Riga. The Swedish king, Charles XII (the “Lion of the North”, 1682 - 1718) defeated the Danes who had invaded Schleswig (1700), destroyed the Russian Army at Narva (November 1700) and raised the siege of Riga (1701). Charles then invaded Poland with the intention of deposing Augustus from the Polish throne as a punishment for his central role in the anti-Swedish alliance. He seized Warsaw and defeated Augustus at Kliszow (where the Polish Army, having failed in two charges against the Swedish infantry, refused to fight on, 1702) and Pultusk (1703). Charles XII then imposed his candidate, Stanislaw Leszczynski (1704 - 09), on the Polish throne.

The Leszczynskis were a noble Polish family which played a prominent part during the 16th. to 18th. centuries. The general, Rafael Leszczynski, was the father of Stanislaw I Leszczynski (b. Lwow, 1677; d. 1766), king of Poland (1704 - 09, and 1733 - 35). When Augustus II of Saxony and Poland allied himself with Russia (1700 - 1721) against Sweden in the Great Northern War, Leszczynski, the Voivode of Poznan, proved to be a staunch opponent and gained the support of Charles XII of Sweden. In 1704 Sweden won, Augustus was removed and Leszczynski was elected in his place. In 1709 the Russians defeated the Swedes at Poltava and Augustus was returned to the throne. Leszczynski settled in Alsace (1709) and, later, became governor of Zweibruken in the Palatinate (1718 - 25). In 1725, his daughter, Maria (b. Wroclaw, 1703; d. 1768), married Louis XV of France who ensured that, on Augustus’ death, in 1733, Leszczynski was again elected King. The War of Polish Succession (1733 - 35) followed, Stanislaw was supported by France and Spain, while Austria and Russia supported Frederick Augustus II, elector of Saxony, Augustus II’s son. Leszczynski was besieged at Danzig, receiving only moral support from France, while his rival received full military aid from Russia. Inevitably, he was obliged to flee from Danzig (1734) and accept the terms of the Treaty of Vienna (1735) by which he kept the royal title but renounced his actual rights in favour of Frederick Augustus. Leszczynski was awarded the Duchy of Lorraine and Bar (1737) by Francis I, the Holy Roman Emperor, in exchange for Tuscany and also received a pension from France. He maintained court at Luneville and Nancy which was a model of the Enlightenment. Leszczynski corresponded with the finest thinkers of his time, most notably with Rousseau who, on his request, drafted a new constitution for Poland. He wrote the influential reforming tract, “A Free Voice Insuring Freedom” (1749), and “Oeuvres du Philosophe Bienfaisant” (published 1767).

The unconstitutional manner of Leszczynski’s election (where a hastily thrown together Sejm had been surrounded by armed Swedish troops ready to enforce Charles’ will) divided the country into pro-Leszczynski and pro-Augustus camps; the Northern War had now, for the Poles, become a civil war. An attempt by Augustus to regain Poland was stopped at Fraustadt (February 1706). Charles XII invaded Saxony in August 1706 and seized Leipzig; Augustus sued for peace and abdicated the throne of Poland (Treaty of Altranstadt, 1706). Augustus was restored after the Swedish invasion of Russia failed at the battle of Poltava (1709) - in which an important role was played by Polish peasants harassing the Swedish columns, and the pro-Saxon Confederates of Sandomierz who prevented reinforcements from reaching the Swedes. By the end of this war Russia was able to interfere freely in the internal affairs of the nation. Augustus maintained a Saxon Army in Poland which reinforced the Polish view that he was intending to turn the Polish throne into that of an absolute monarch. Conflict between Augustus and the Sejm almost ended in civil war with the setting up of the Confederation of Tarnogrod (1715), only prevented by a Russian offer of mediation; 18,000 Russian troops surrounded the chamber where the deputies met, they were denied the right to speak whilst the Russian “mediator” dictated the Russian “ solution”. This Sejm became known as the “Dumb Sejm” and the Republic became little more than a Russian client state; a “Protectorate”.

The emasculation of both Augustus and the Sejm lead to the dissipation of power into the hands of a small group of magnates who ruled their own lands as princes making independent political alliances depending on the state of their finances or interests; “a state within the state”. The army had virtually disappeared as a fighting force; morale had collapsed, technical proficiency declined, corruption was rife, nobles absented themselves from duty or preferred to serve the magnates: all this at a time when the Republic’s neighbours were undergoing massive militarisation. In the Northern War Russia seized Livonia and began to dominate the Baltic; Augustus, awake to the Russian threat, entered into an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, and England (who both had their own reasons to be wary of the sudden rise of Russia) to cast off Russian interference in Poland (Vienna, 1719) but the Sejm rejected the treaty (1720), at which point Augustus condemned their shameful weakness. Now Augustus attempted to establish another treaty with Prussia aimed directly at the partition of Poland - but nothing came of this for Russia made a secret pact with Prussia at Potsdam (1720) to maintain the paralysis of law and order within Poland by protecting Polish “rights” such as the Liberum Veto.

It was in this period that intolerance towards religious dissidents was intensified and perhaps the lowest point in the history of the Republic came in 1724 when the mayor of Torun and nine other Protestants were executed because they had failed to prevent anti-Jesuit excesses. The English protested at this outrage and, when Poland was partitioned (1772), the image of a bigoted and intolerant nation put aside any feelings of sympathy that there might have been. The Russo-Prussian alliance of 1730 went so far as to pledge to protect religious minorities and to secure their former privileges (despite the fact that these two states refused to offer similar rights to their own religious minorities). The Convocation Sejm of 1733 was to bring Poland into line with the rest of Europe with its ending of religious freedoms and debarring of non-Catholics from holding office or acting as representatives in the Sejm; a move that was to have its repercussions in 1766 when Russia and Prussia would use their pledges to protect the rights of dissidents as an excuse to prevent reform and a revival of the Polish state.

Augustus was a patron of the arts, greatly embellishing his capital, Dresden, and created the Meissen china industry. He is also known as Augustus the Strong but this is more in reference to his numerous affairs and his prodigious number of, largely illegitimate, offspring.

On Augustus’ death, in 1733, the French candidate, Leszczynski, was again elected King; this sparked off the War of Polish Succession (1733 - 35) during which Polish resistance, the Confederation of Dzikow under the leadership of Adam Tarlo, was crushed by combined Prussian and Russian armies. The Russians sent in an army and reran the election; their candidate, Augustus’ son, Frederik Augustus II (b. Dresden, 1696; d. 1763) was elected king, Augustus III, in 1734. Augustus spent his reign almost exclusively in Dresden, only fleeing to Poland when the Prussians occupied Saxony during the Seven Years War; Poland was ruled by his adviser Bruhl and son-in-law, Mniszech. He supported Prussia in the first Silesian War (1740 - 42) but sided with Austria in the second Silesian War (1744 - 45), was defeated and forced to pay indemnity. The Electorate of Saxony was occupied by Prussia during the Seven Years War - the third Silesian War (1756 - 63); during this war, by which Prussia gained Silesia, Poland’s neutrality was ignored and she became a staging area for the deployment of the combatants. Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia recouped his war costs by flooding Poland with counterfeit money and imposing illegal tolls on the Wisla. Prussia and Russia continued to renew their alliances by which Poland would be kept weakened. At Augustus’ death, the Russians forced the election of Stanislaw Poniatowski, destined to become the last King of Poland.


The Poniatowskis were a noble family of Italian origin including; Stanislaw (b. 1676; d. 1762), a general and diplomat who joined Charles XII of Sweden in support of Stanislaw Leszczynski, and fought at Poltava (1709). He represented Charles at the Porte. Stanislaw was the brother-in-law of Michal and August Czartoryski and formed part of that powerful group aiming at reform, “the Family”. His son, Stanislaw II Augustus (b. Wolczyn, 1732; d. St. Petersburg, 1798), was a refined man who, after his education, spent a great deal of time in the West, mainly Paris and London. He was sent to St. Petersburg (1757) to gain support for the proposed overthrow of Augustus III but succeeded instead in becoming a lover of the future Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. On the death of Augustus III, Catherine used her influence to ensure that Stanislaw Augustus became King (1764 - 1795); Poniatowski was to become the last King of Poland.

On acceding to the throne Stanislaw Augustus attempted to show that he was no puppet by setting up a range of commissions and ministries aimed at improving the process of government, carrying out financial and educational reforms and establishing a military school (the Szkola Rycerska); it was obvious that a Polish revival was under way. At this point Prussia and Russia raised the whole issue of the rights of Lutheran and Orthodox dissidents knowing that this would stir up trouble (1766). The issue was discussed in the Sejm in chaotic conditions, the Papal Nuncio protested and the proposed changes were rejected. As a result two Confederations were formed, that of the Protestants at Thorn and the Orthodox dissidents at Slupsk strongly supported by Russian troops. More significantly the Confederation of Radom (1767) was formed by a number of Catholic szlachta who had been skilfully manipulated by Russian diplomats. Now a treaty was imposed on Poland and forced through the Sejm (1768), which hypocritically protected the rights of the szlachta to elect the king and maintain the “Liberum Veto” - thus using these ancient privileges as a means to make the state impotent. A number of representatives of the Sejm who opposed Russian demands were arrested and deported to Kaluga in Russia. A large number of the szlachta, disgusted at this turn of events, revolted by setting up the Confederation of Bar (1768 - 72). Russian attempts to put the rising down were hindered by having to repress a peasant uprising in the Polish Ukraine, and by the Ottoman Turks who declared war on Russia (1768). After four years struggle, during which Stanislaw Augustus was actually kidnapped by some of the Bar Confederates (though he managed to escape in the bungled affair), the rising was eventually crushed and over 5000 captured szlachta were sent to Siberia; among the few who escaped was Kazimierz Pulaski who was to play an important role in the United States’ struggle for independence.

The campaigns of 1768 - 72 so devastated Poland and weakened the government that the nation was unable to put up any meaningful resistance when Prussia, Russia and Austria agreed to annex parts of Poland in 1772. The Commonwealth lost 224,173.5 (29.5%) of her former territory and 4,020,000 of her population (a reduction by 35.2%): Prussia took the smallest, but economically best, area (5%) - cutting Poland off from the Baltic - and severed its feudal dependence on the Polish Crown; Austria took the most heavily populated areas (11.8%), whilst Russia took the largest, but least important (12.7%). To give the crime some legality the Sejm was forced to ratify the partition in 1773, despite the resistance of some Deputies, led by Tadeusz Rejtan. Amazingly some of the szlachta saw partition as a plot between Poniatowski and the Russians in order to introduce an absolute monarchy into Poland.

Despite the disaster of this first partition, Poland underwent a national revival in 1773, thanks to the efforts of Stanislaw Augustus. The first step was the creation of the “Komisija Edukacji Narodowej” (“Committee of National Education”), the first Ministry of Education in Europe; hundreds of schools were founded and the standard of education was raised. Writers, poets, artists and scholars were encouraged by the King and the ideas of the Enlightenment were taking hold. This was the period of Naruszewicz, Krasicki, Boguslawski, and Karpinski. Taking advantage of Russia’s involvement in a war against Turkey, the King launched a reform programme (1788-1792) and the task was carried out by the “Four-Year” or “Great Sejm” which established a new Constitution; the Constitution of the Third of May, 1791, in which the “Liberum Veto” was abolished, majority rule introduced, and personal freedoms guaranteed to all the people. The Constitution was hailed in the United States, England and France, but was seen as a threat to the absolute rulers of Prussia, Austria and, especially, Russia. In 1792, at Russia’s instigation, a handful of magnates led by Ksawery Branicki, Szczesny Potocki and Seweryn Rzewuski betrayed the Commonwealth and formed the Confederation of Targowica against the new Constitution and then “asked” for help. Russian troops crossed the borders and war broke out. The King’s nephew, Joseph Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a veteran of the American War of Independence, put up heroic resistance but all hope faded away when Stanislaw Augustus, under pressure from his ministers who could see the writing on the wall, declared his adherence to the Confederation of Targowica (August 1792). Meanwhile the Prussians attacked the Polish armies in the rear. The dismayed Army dispersed; many patriots were forced to flee. In 1793 Russia and Prussia signed the Second Partition Treaty, seizing more than half the country and about four million more of the population. The last Sejm of the Commonwealth, which met at Grodno, was forced to legalise the partition and abolish most of the reforms of the “Great Sejm”. Popular discontent led to Insurrection, proclaimed by Kosciuszko on 24 March 1794, followed by victory at Raclawice and Warsaw.

Tadeusz Andrzej Bonawentura Kosciuszko (b. nr. Slonim,
12 February 1746. d. Soleure, Switzerland,1817) is one of the giants of Polish history. At an early age Kosciuszko decided to join the military and studied at the Warsaw Cadet School, and in France, engineering and artillery. He volunteered to fight in the American War of Independence where he was appointed colonel of engineers in the Continental army (Oct.18 1776). During the southern advance of Burgoyne after the fall of Fort Ticonderoga (1777) he effectively delayed the British thus granting the Americans valuable time to build up their forces and he made important tactical decisions concerning the battle of Saratoga which followed. He was in charge of construction of the fortifications at West Point (1778 - 80) which made full use of the natural terrain and interlocking fields of fire. Kosciuszko proposed the establishment of a technical military school where all officers would be trained in engineering and the sciences which became the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was one of the founders of the Society of Cincinnati. In 1783 the American Congress awarded him citizenship and promoted him to the rank of Brigadier.

During the Russo-Polish War (1792- 93), or the War of the Second Partition, he defended the Bug at Dubienka for five days with only 4000 men against 18,000. After the Second Partition of 1792, following the growing humiliation of the nation by Catherine the Great, in an effort to stop the destruction of Poland, Kosciuszko went to France to propose a league of republics which would oppose the league of sovereigns. The French were vague in their response and Kosciuszko had to return empty-handed. When, on 21 February 1794 the Russians ordered a further reduction of the army and the arrest of suspected subversives, the seeds had been sown for a national uprising. Finding that Polish officers were already in the act of revolting against the limitation of the army to 15,000 men, his hand forced, Kosciuszko arrived in Krakow on 23rd March, proclaimed the Act of Insurrection on the 24th with his famous oath in the Rynek;

"I, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, swear in the sight of God to the whole Polish nation that I will use the power entrusted to me for the personal oppression of none, but will only use it for the defence of the integrity of the boundaries, the regaining of the independence of the nation, and the solid establishment of universal freedom. So help me God and the Innocent Passion of His Son."

and was appointed dictator and commander-in-chief. His army of peasants defeated a greatly superior force of Russians at Raclawice, as a result of which a national insurrection flared up in Lithuania and Warsaw. The red four-cornered caps worn by the Krakow peasants were adopted by the National Cavalry, and later worn by the Polish lancers in Napoleon’s army, after which they became traditional wear for lancer units in all European armies. At Szczekociny, on 6 May, Kosciuszko was outnumbered by the Prussians under Frederick William, and defeated, leaving the way open for the occupation of Krakow (which they entered on 15 June). On 7 May his Polanice Manifesto gave freedom to the peasants. The new government’s army could not withstand the combined forces of Austria, Prussia and Russia and was annihilated at the bloody battle of Maciejowice, 10 October, where Kosciuszko was seriously wounded and captured. In November, Warsaw was taken by the Russians who slaughtered the population of the suburb, Praga, including women and children. Then, in 1795, the Third Partition wiped what was left of Poland off the map. The King, Stanislaw Augustus, was forced to abdicate and taken captive to St. Petersburg (where he died in 1798).



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Diocese of Wladislaw


The historical origin of this diocese is not known precisely. The city of Wladislaw, or Wloclawek, in the government of Warsaw, contains more than 40,000 Catholics. The old Polish historians follow John Dlugosz, the fifteenth century annalist, who narrates that Mieczyslaw, the first Polish king (962-92), after receiving baptism in 966, founded the two Archbishoprics of Gnesen and Cracow, and seven dioceses, among which was Kruszwica, or Wloclawek. But as Dlugosz cites no historical document to prove his statement, no confidence can be placed in it. Bougufal, or Boguchwal, Bishop of Posen (d. 1253), another Polish chronicler, attributed the foundation of this diocese to Miecszyslaw II (1025-34), but again without documentary support for his statement. Julian Bartoszewicz, another Polish writer ("Encyklopedya Powszechna", Warsaw, 1860, III, 636), taking a Bull of Eugene III as his authority, places the foundation as far back as 1148; but this very Bull contradicts the assertion by mentioning this diocese as already existing in 1123, placing it under the special protection of the Holy See. Other historians attribute its foundation to Boleslaus the Brave (Chrobry) (922-1025); others again to Boleslaus the Bold (Smialy) (1058-80). This last opinion seems improbable, as the letter of Gregory VII to Boleslaus the Bold, dated 20 April, 1075, not only does not mention the Diocese of Kruszica or of Wloclawek, but deplores the scarcity of bishops in the Kingdom of Poland (see Bielowski, "Mon. Poloniae hist.", III, Lemberg, 1864, pp. 367-71). The only conclusion, therefore, by the light of historical documents, is that the Diocese of Wloclawek dates from the earlier half of the twelfth century. (See Fijalek, "Ustalenie chronologii biskupow wloclawskich", Cracow, 1894, pp. 7, 8.)

According to Dlugosz the first episcopal see of the Diocese of Wloclawek was at Kruszwica, a city in the territory of Kujawa. Under Bishop Onoldus (1161-80) the see was transferred to Wloclawek. But this notice, passed over by other historians (see Rzepnicki, op, cit. in bibliography, II, 1, 2), is contradicted by a Bull of Eugene III, dated from Reims, 4 April, 1148, "Venerabili fratri Warnero, Vlotislaviensi episcopo" (Rzyszczewski, "Cod. dipl. Poloniae", II, pt. I, Warsaw, 1848, p. 1-4). This Bull mentions that Ægidius, Bishop of Tusculum, afterwards cardinal legate in Poland under Callisus II (Probably in 1123), determined the boundaries of the Diocese of Wloclawek, which, must, therefore, have existed in the first quarter of the twelfth century. On the other hand, historical documents are lacking to show clearly whether Kruszwica ever had a bishop. Chodynski supposes that it may have been the seat of a parish priest invested with the episcopal dignity. But, as has already been pointed out, there are no positive data to establish this hypothesis.

In its historical beginnings the Diocese of Wloclawek comprised the whole territory of Kujawa (Ziemia Kujawska) divided into the two palatinates of Inowroclaw and Brest. Subsequently the territory extending from the left bank of the Vistula, and from the River Notec, to the Baltic was added. This added territory is called, in Polish, Pomerania; in German, Pomerella. Under Bishop Mathias Lubienski its territory was increased by the villages of Ciechocin, Dobrzejewice, Chelmica, Zaduszniki, Nowogrod, and Zlotoria, taken from the jurisdiction of Plock. This cession was confirmed by Urban VIII in 1640. In 1764 Bishop Antonius Ostrowski obtained from the Archbishop of Gnesen the city of Wolborz with adjacent villages and the church of the Franciscans at Smarzewice, an arrangement confirmed by the Holy See on 13 August of the same year. Kujawia was divided into two archdeaconries; Kruszwica and Wloclawek, while Pomerania, after the thirteenth century, formed a separate archdeaconry. These three archdeaconries existed until the first partition of Poland. According to an historical document of 1326 cited by Theiner (Mon. hist. Pol., I, 268), the archdeaconry of Kruszwica comprised 22 parishes; that of Wloclawek, 30; that of Pomerania, 9. In 1577 there were 118 churches in Kujawia; in 1633 there were 123, and 149 in Pomerania. In 1769 the diocese, harassed by wars and Protestantism, counted only 242; and in the same year there were 160,988 Catholic families.

In 1818 the Diocese of Wloclawek underwent a complete change of boundaries, pursuant to the Bull "Ex imposita nobis" of Pius VII. All Pomerania, with the cities of Kruszwica, Strzelno, Bydgoszcz, and Inowroclaw, passed under the dominion of Prussia. The new diocese took the name of Wloclawek and Kalisz (Vladislaviensis seu Calissiensis). Of its 344 churches only 59 belonged to the old diocese, the rest being taken from the Dioceses of Posen, Plock, Cracow, Breslau, and Gnesen. In 1912 the Diocese of Wloclawek and Kalisz comprised 13 deaneries (Wloclawek, Nieszawa, Kalisz, Kola, Konin, Sieradz, Slupca, Turek, Wielun, Piotrkow, Czenstochowa, Lask, Radomsk), with 352 parish or subsidiary churches. The total number of churches was 511, of which 286 were of stone and 125 of wood; the chapels numbered 176, of which 114 were of stone. The Catholic population was 1,461,147. The most important centres were Wloclawek, with 40,500 souls; Brest (Brzesc), famous for the councils held there, out of which grew the Ruthenian Uniat Church, 6000 Catholics; Sluzewo, 8500 Catholics; Kalisz, 22,000; Konin, 7200; Sieradz, 9600; Szadek, 7000; Zagorow, 8306; Turek, 11,100; Wielun, 7123; Piotrkow, 30,000; Czenstochowa, 70,000; Klobucko, 14,000; Truskolasy, 10,764; Pabjanice, 15,000; Radomsk, 20,514.

The first Bishop of Kruszwica -- which was the first episcopal see of the Diocese of Wloclawek according to Dlugosz -- was Lucidus, who died in 993. Between 993 and 1133 the old Polish historians give the names of eight bishops: Maurice, or Lawrence, Marcellus, Venatius, Andreas, John Baptist, Paulinus, Baldwin, and Suidger But this list is apocryphal and at most, according to Chodyneski, gives the names of the parish priests of Kruszwica or of the superiors of a monastery which existed there. The first Bishop of Wloclawek, whose name occurs in the Bull of Eugene III of 1148, is Warner. He was succeeded by Onoldus, an Italian by birth (1161-80). According to Chodynski's list, Onoldus was followed by two bishops, Rudgerus (d. 1170) and Wunelphus, or Wunulphus, or Onolphus (d. 1187). These two are omitted in Fijalek's list, and his authority is of greater historical value than Chodynski's. From 1187 to 1198 one Stephen, a German by birth, according to Rzepnicki, is called episcopus Cuiaviensis. Then followed Ogerius, an Italian (1207-12); Bartha, a Roman (1215-20), who took part in the Synod of Woborz (1215); Michael, a Pole (1222-52), who restored the archdeaconry of Kruswica, suppressed by Ogeris; Wolmir (1252-75); Adalbertus, Alberus, or Alber (1275-83); Wislaw (1284-1300); Gerward (1300-23), who had to contend with the efforts of the Prussian Knights of the Cross to wrest some of his territory from him; Mathias Golanczweski (1323-68), who abdicated in 1364; Zbilut Golanczweski (13364-83); Teodryk (1383-84); John, Prince of Opolis (1384-89; 1402-21); Henry, Prince of Lignica (1389-98); Nicholas of Curow (1399-1402); John Pella of Niewiesz (1421-28); John Szafraniec (1428-33), chancellor of the Kingdom of Poland; Ladislaus of Oporowa (1422-49); Nicholas Lasocki (1449-50), who died at Terni returning from Rome, whither he had gone as ambassador for Casimir Jagiellonczyk (1147-92); John Gruszczynski (1449-63), chancellor of the kingdom; John Lutka (1463-64); James of Siena (1464-73); Zbigniew of Olesnica (1473-80); Andrew of Oporowa (1481-83); Peter Moszynski (1484-94); Creslao (Krzeslau) of Kurozwenk (1494-1503), chancellor of the kingdom; Vincentius Przerenbski (1503-13); Mathias of Drzewice (1513-31); John Karnowski (1531-38); Lucas of Gorka (1538-42); Nicholas Dzierzgowski (1543-46); Andreas Zebrzydowski (1546-51); John Drohojowski (1551-57); James Uchanski (1557-61); Nicholas Wolski (1562-67); Stanislaus Karnkowski (1567-81), who published the documents of the provincial Synod of Gnesen (1578); Jerome Rozdrazewski (1581-1600), who died at Rome in the odour of sanctity; John Tarnowski(1600-03); Peter Tylicki (1604-07); Adalbert Baranowski (1607-08); Mathias Petrokowski (1608-09); Lawrence Gembicki (1609-15); Paul Wolucki (1616-22); Andreas Lipski (1623-31); Mathias Lubienski (1631-41); Nicholas Gniewosz (1642-54); Florian Czartoryski (1654-74); John Gembicki (1674-75); Stanislaus Sarnowski (1677-80); Bonaventure Modalinski (1681-91); Stanislaus Dambski (1691-99); Stanislaus Szembek (1699-1706); Felician Szanawski (1707-20); Christopher Szembek (1720-38); Adam Grabowski (1738-41); Valens Czapski (1741-51); Antonius Dembowski (152-62); Antonius Ostrowski (1762-66); Joseph Rybinski (1777-1806). On the death of Rybinski the See of Wloclawek remained vacant for nine years. Francis Malczewski was bishop from 1815 to 1818. In 1819 the Diocese of Wloclawek, with new boundaries determined by the Bull "Ex imposita nobis", received as its bishop Andrew Wollowicz (1819-22), who was succeeded by Joseph Stephen Kozmian (1823-31). The see then remained vacant until 1837, when Valentine Tomazewski was elected bishop (1837-50). He was followed by Nicholas Blocki (d. 1851); John Michael Marzewski (1856-57); Vincent Popiel (1867-83); Alexander Beresniewicz (1883-1902); Stanislaus Casimir Zdzitowiecki.

The see also had suffragan bishops; the first of whom there is any mention was Ubricus, suffragan of John, Prince of Opole (1402-21). Kreslaus of Kurozwenk obtained an edict in virtue of which the abbots of the Cistercian Monastery of Koronow had the dignity of suffragan bishops of their dioceses; but the decree was not obeyed. Mathias Drjewicki had the canon Alexander of Miszin consecrated as his suffragan bishop in 1515, with the title of Bishop of Margarita. Bishop Karnowski endeavoured, by means of a capitular constitution, to obtain that the suffragan bishops of his diocese should be elected from among the prelates and canons of Wloclawek. Bishop Ostrowski obtained from the Holy See a new suffragan bishop for Pomerania, but this suffragan see had only three incumbents: Cyprian Wolicki, Mathias Garnysz, and Ludovicus Gorski.

The religious orders were widely diffused in the Diocese of Wloclawek. In 1173 there arose in Pomerania the famous Cistercian monastery of Oliwa, and in 1251 the no less famous Abbey of Peplin. The Dominicans had monasteries at Dirschau and Brest; the Carmelites at Zakrzew, Marcowice, and Bydgoszcz; the Franciscans at Inowroclaw and Nieszawa. Other orders flourished in the various cities and villages of the diocese -- Paulines (Reformed) Fatebenefratelli (or Order of St. John of God), Jesuits, Piarists, Lazarists. Among the communities of women the most ancient are those of the Premonstatensian Nuns of Zukow, founded in 1210, and the Benedictine Nuns of Zarnowiec, founded in 1213. The convents are now nearly all extinct; the diocese, however, possesses the historic convent of Czenstochowa founded in 1382 and occupied by a community of Paulines, or Hermits of St. Paul. In this convent is a highly venerated icon of the Blessed Virgin, visited every year by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Czenstochowa is the national sanctuary of Poland. The Franciscans still possess monasteries at Kolo, founded in 1456, and at Wloclawek, founded n 1524; the Franciscan Sisters have a monastery at Wielun founded in 1682; the Dominican Sisters, one at Przyrow, founded in 1626. The Sisters of Charity were established at Czenstochowa, Kalisz, Konin, Piotrkow, Sieradz, Wielun, Turek, and Wloclawek. According to official statistics, the number of regulars in the diocese is 37; the number of religious women, 24, besides 55 Sisters of Charity. The present cathedral of Wloclawek was begun in 1340 and completed in 1411. It was extremely wealthy and at the end of the sixteenth century there were 100 clergy attached to it. The Divine offices were celebrated in it uninterruptedly, day and night. The cathedral chapter included eight prelates. At the beginning of the sixteenth century it was established that no one who did not possess a title of nobility could become a canon. Pius IX, in 1862, granted the canons of this cathedral the right to wear the violet mozzetta. The chapter now consists of four prelates and eight canons. At Kalisz there is also an ancient collegiate church to which three prelates and four canons are now attached. The diocese is divided into three general consistories: at Wloclawek, Kalisz, and Piotrkow.

The number of secular priests is 538. The diocesan seminary, founded in 1568 by Bishop Karnkowski, is in a very flourishing condition. The education of the seminarists was in 1719 entrusted to the Lazarists, who continued in the charge until 1864. There are 102 seminarists. In 1910 the professors of the seminary began the publication of a splendid monthly review, "Ateneum kaplanski", which, for solidity of learning and wealth of theological and religious contents holds the first place in the Catholic Press of Poland. The ancient Diocese of Wloclawek had much to suffer from Hussitism, and afterwards from Lutheranism. The negligence of Bishops Zebrzydowski, Drohiowski, and Uchanski contributed to the diffusion of the latter heresy. Pomerania was almost entirely lost to Catholicism. Numerous synods were convoked in the Diocese of Wloclawek. Chodynski mentions the acts and decrees of forty-six synodi vladislavienses, of which he publishes a large number. The first of these synods was held in 1227 and the last in 1641.

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DAMALEWICZ, Vitae vladislaviensium episcoporum (Cracow, 1642); RZEPNICKI, Vitae praesulum Poloniae, II (Posen, 1762), 1-86; MENTLEWICZ, Wiadomosc o biskupach kruszwickich, poczatek dziejow katedry kujawskiej (Warsaw, 1857); BARTOSZEWICZ in Encyclopedyia powszechna, III (Warsaw, 1860), 632-40; HILDERBRANDT, Wiadomosci niektore o dawniejszym archidyakonacie pomorskim (Peplin, 1862); CHODYNSKI, Mon. hist. dioec. Wladislaw, I-XI (Wladislaw, 1881-91); IDEM, Statuta synodalia dioec. Wladislav. et Pomeraniae (Warsaw, 1890); FIJALEK, Rozwoj i sklad kapituly wloclawskiej, pod koniec XIV i na poczatku X V wieku (Warsaw, 1892); IDEM, Ustalenie chronologii biskupow wloclawskich (Cracow, 1894); Ordo divine officii ac Missarum ad usum dioec. Wladislav. pro an. bissext. 1213 (Wladislaw, 1912).

Transcribed by Michael T. Barrett
Dedicated to the people of the diocese of Wladislaw



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Rare Polonica in the NYPL: Books of the 15th-18th Centuries 0883540401

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From The New York Public Library's
Slavic, Baltic, and Eurasian Resource Series

Documenting one of the most significant collections of its kind in the
United States, Rare Polonica is an important guide for scholars, librarians, and bibliophiles to 514 volumes dating from the 15th through the 18th centuries held by The New York Public Library.

The NYPL's Polonica collection goes back to the Astor and Lenox Libraries of the 19th century from which the NYPL was formed, and, endowed in part by the William Falencki Book Fund for Polish Materials, continue to grow via purchase and through generous donations. Rare Polonica describes the volumes in this important collection, including books printed in the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; books printed outside the homelands by Polish printers; titles by ethnic Polish authors, regardless of place of imprint or language of publication; and works by foreign authors printed in the Polish language, or on subjects connected with Poland and/or the Rzeczpospolita.

The catalogue includes incunabula and 62 works of the 16th century. The NYPL's holdings include many early 16th century editions published in the Kraków shops of Jan Haller (1467-1525), Florian Ungler (d.1536), Hieronim Wietor (plus 7 of his Viennese imprints), and Marek Szarffenberg (d.1545). The majority of the titles date from the 17th (231 entries) and 18th (214 entries) centuries, in many languages including Latin, Polish, French, German, English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Czech. Printers in
Vilnius and Kraków are particularly well-represented.

Reflecting the library's broad acquisitions policy, the collection covers many fields. Holdings of Reformation literature, and editions of the Bible in Polish translation are particularly important. The latter category includes the so-called Brzesc or Radziwill Bible that was translated and published by Polish Calvinists (1563), as well as two editions of the Gdansk Bible printed in 1660 and in 1726. Other collection strengths include many outstanding historical works, including books by Maciej of Miechów (1475-1523), Aleksander Gwagnin (1543-1614), Stanislaw Kobierzycki (c.1600-1665), Szymon Okolski (1580-1653), Pawel Piasecki (1579-1649), and Maciej Stryjkowski (1547-c.1582). The literary works of Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) and Stanislaw Orzechowski (1513-1566), and legal works of Jan Herburt (c.1524-1577).

Each bibliographic entry is provided with a separate record, each of which was constructed according to the Polish standard for the description of early imprints, issued in 1994. The checklist contains multiple indexes. Rare Polonica is an important guide for scholars, librarians and bibliophiles, documenting one of the most important collections of its kind in the
United States.

Hardcover, 227 pages.