Poland, Ecclesiastical History of
Poland, Ecclesiastical History of The Polish historians Naruscewicz, Friese, Lelewel, and others assert that Christianity was introduced into the Slavic countries at a very early period by some disciples of Methodius from Moravia. Lelewel, upon very unsafe grounds, admits a bishopric of Posen anterior to the time of king Micislas I. According to Thietmar of Merseburg, the latter, under the influence of his wife Dambrouska, daughter of the Bohemian duke Boleslas, established the Christian religion in Poland in 965, prevailed upon his subjects to destroy the idols, and founded as early as 966, with the assistance of the German emperor Otho the Great, the bishopric of Posen (Poznani), over which, together with the bishoprics of Cizi, Misni, Merseburg, Brandenburg, and Havelberg, etc., jurisdiction was given to the archbishop of Magdeburg, at the Council of Ravenna, in 967. It follows that the year of foundation, 968, given by Boguphalus and the Annales Poznan., has been accepted erroneously. The diocese of the bishop of Posen extended over the dominions of duke Boleslas, the boundaries of which cannot be ascertained for want of documents. Posen was the only Polish bishopric up to the year 1000, when the emperor Otho III, at the time of a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Adalbert at Gnesen, founded the archiepiscopal see of Gnesen (nesna), and subordinated to it the bishoprics of Colobrega (Kolberg), Cracow, and Wratislavia (Breslau), all then situated in the duchy of Polonia. Stanislas Lubienski's assertion that Cracow was the seat of the oldest Polish bishopric is thus proved to be erroneous, as it could not, as an archbishopric, have been a dependence of (Gnesen.
Early Period. — We know little about the ecclesiastical development of Poland in its first Christian century. Pope Gregory VII complained in 1075 of the small number of the bishops in proportion to the population; the dioceses were too large, and the bishops had not even fixed residences; nothing definite had been decided about the limits of the diocese of Gnesen and its dependent bishoprics, among which was then counted the bishopric of Lebus, founded by Micislas in 965; but as the city passed continually from Poland to Germany, and vice versa, its existence was a precarious one. It is believed that the papal legate AEgidius founded it a second time in 1123, and subordinated it to Gnesen; documents relating to it date only from 1133. Another episcopal see dependent upon Gnesen was the bishopric of Plock, whose foundation is referred to Boleslas the Great. It was formerly called Ep. Masovice. Callus (Chronicles Pol. ad ann. 1110) mentions a bishop Simeon: he seems to have been ordained in 1107, and to have died in 1129. A great victory of the Poles over the Prussians and Pomeranians is attributed to his intercession. And still another dependent bishopric was that of Leslau, which was founded by Micislas II, son of Boleslas the Great, and originally called Episc. Cujaviensis, because it was intended for the province of Cujawia; extended afterwards over the largest part of Western Prussia, on the left bank of the Vistula; reached in a northerly direction the Baltic Sea; and was bounded west by the archbishopric of (Gnesen, which it also encircled on the south. Gallus (Chronicle) mentions bishop Paulas, who died in 1110. The bishopric of Ermeland, founded in 1243, came to Poland only in 1466. After the reign of Micislas II (1023-34), general anarchy ensued, and at the same time a general apostasy from the Christian faith. Bishops and priests were without authority, some were killed, and external and civil wars robbed Poland of its wealth, and of a considerable part of its population. In 1039 the Bohemians destroyed Posen and Gnesen, and took away the body of St. Adalbert. A multitude of Poles crossed the Vistula and took refuge in Masowia; wild beasts established their lairs in the churches of St. Adalbert and St. Peter. Kasimierz (Casimir) in that great distress arrived with a body of five hundred soldiers from Germany, and by his bravery and intelligence freed the country from foreign occupation. He retained the power until his death, which occurred in 1058. He promoted the interests of Christianity by all the means in his power. He was succeeded by his son, Boleslas II, whose feats were not inferior to those of his ancestors; but his ambition and pride caused his ruin. At Christmas, 1076, he put the diadem on his head, and was anointed by the bishops of the kingdom. About the same time Gregory VII sent a legate to Poland. A few years afterwards, in 1079, the king, being put under interdict by St. Stanislas, bishop of Cracow, avenged himself by the murder of the prelate. Hereupon the nobility expelled him, and he was obliged to take refuge in Hungary, where he died. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Boleslas Wladislas Hermann, who lived in peace with his neighbors and the clergy, to whom he granted rights and privileges. Having lived many years in childless matrimony with the Bohemian princess Judith, a son was granted him, in consequence of the intercession, it was believed, of St. AEgidius. This son was afterwards Boleslas Krzywousty. At this time Otho, afterwards the apostle of Pomerania, lived at the Polish court. He was instrumental in bringing about Wladislas Hermann's second marriage with Judith, the widowed sister of the emperor Henry IV. In 1099 the bishops of Poland dedicated the cathedral of Gnesen. On the day previous to that ceremony St. Adalbert is said to have appeared to the Poles in a battle with the Pomeranians, and given them victory. Wladislas divided his states during his lifetime between Boleslas and another illegitimate son, Zbigniew. The latter had revolted a few years before, and was pardoned at the intercession of the bishops.
Wladislas died in 1102, at Plock. The new ruler, Boleslas III (1102-1139), married a Russian princess, and undertook expeditions, considered in the light of crusades, against the pagan Pomeranians. In 1103 Walo, chosen bishop of Beauvais, and, after his return, bishop of Paris, came to Poland as the legate of pope Paschal II, and in his zeal for justice deposed two bishops—" nullo vel prece vel pretio subveniente." In 1109 Boleslas reported such a complete victory over the Pomeranians that. of their 40,000 warriors, 10,000 only escaped; he took the stronghold of Nakel, thus preparing the way for the spiritual expedition undertaken soon afterwards by Otho, bishop of Bamberg. In 1109 the emperor Henry V was utterly defeated in his attempt to submit Poland a second time to the empire. In 1110 Boleslas fought successfully against the Bohemians: the bishops, as usual, accompanied the troops, and distributed the Eucharist to the whole army on the eve of an engagement. In 1120-1121 the Pomeranians, after a desperate struggle, were completely subdued and Stettin was taken. The conquered foe promised tribute and conversion. It was then that Boleslas besought Otho of Bamberg to instruct tile Pomeranians. SEE POMTERANIA. The last years of the great king were less successful. In 1135 Boleslas recognized at Merseburg the emperor Lothair as his liege lord for Pomerania and Rügen; promised a tribute for twelve years, and carried the sword of the emperor as the imperial procession proceeded to church. In 1139 he divided his dominions among the four oldest of his sons, and (tied Oct. 28, 1139. In 1123 the papal legate AEgidius, bishop of Tusculum, sent by Calixtus II, had to establish more distinctly the limits between the dioceses, and this division of the temporal sovereignty in nowise affected the Church. But the Church was far from enjoying in Poland the privileges she possessed in other parts of Christian Europe. Her goods and subjects stood under the secular laws; there was no immunity from taxes, and the bishops were altogether dependent on the princes. Still at the beginning of the 13th century the princes disposed of the prebends of' the cathedrals, and took hold of the goods of the bishops at their demise, as the patrons did of the heritage of curates. A number of priests lived in concubinage. There were churches, the charges of which had become, in some sense, the possession of certain families. The dissensions of the successors of Boleslas, as was to be expected, dismembered the empire after a century of bloodshed. Prussians, Lithuanians, Mongols, and other tribes devastated the country. The authority of the Church grew among those ruins. Papal legates appeared more frequently, synods became more frequent too, and altogether the Church sought for herself the rights she had long attained elsewhere. The Templars, assisted by Crusaders from the West, attacked the pagans of Prussia, and the voice of the popes constantly called the Western Christians to arms against the barbarians. In 1157 the emperor Frederick I indicted a crusade of the Germans against Poland, to re-establish the tie of vassalage that once united the land with Germany. The Poles were defeated, and Boleslas appeared at Kryszkowo before the emperor barefooted, and with a naked sword tied around his neck. Wladislas died in Germany, and was succeeded by Boleslas IV, who died in 1173, leaving an only son, Leszek: but it was his brother licislas who succeeded him. The people, led by Getka (Gedcon), bishop of Cracow, revolted against Micislas, and his younger brother, Casimir Sprawied liwy (the Just), was put in his place. In 1180 there was a synod of Polish bishops. They threatened with interdict whoever should rob the peasants of their stores, appropriate the heritage of an ecclesiastic, or refuse to restore within a given time whatever of Church property had been taken. After Casimir, who died May 4, 1194, at table, while talking with the bishops about salvation-"non sine veneni suspicione"—Fulko assembled the primates, and prevailed upon them to recognize the sons of Casimir. Helena, Casimir's widow, made arrangements with Alicislas, and, in the name of her minor sons, recognized him as archduke, and left him Cracow: her son Leeszek was to be his successor. This Micislas died in 1202 at Kalisch, and Leszek waived in favor of his son Wladislas his own rights to Cracow. In these years the endeavors of the popes for the reformation of the Polish Church were crowned with some success. Clement III sent in 1189 cardinal Giovanni Malabranca to collect contributions for a crusade, and reform the clergy of Poland; several regulations for that purpose were agreed upon at the Synod of Cracow. Cardinal Peter came in 1197; but when he published at Prague the edict against the matrimony of clergymen, the wrath of the clergy was so great that his life was put in danger. He held another synod at Cracow, where he insisted on the same views; journeyed through the bishoprics, giving his attention to a dereliction of sound morals more deplorable than the marriage of ecclesiastics, and traditional with the Poles: for he besought the laymen to seek some consecration for their wild copulations. He made slow work of it, and it required all the energies of archbishop Henry Kentlitz to establish, little by little, a more Christian-like state of things. In 1212 bishop Peter was freely elected by the chapter of Posen. The dukes at that time promised to touch nothing of the heritage of prelates save gold, silver, etc., and waived their judiciary rights on clergymen and their subjects. In 1231 Wladislas Odonicz became the only ruler of Great Poland. At this epoch some crusades against the Prussians took place, and the Poles, though slowly and reluctantly, had a part in them. We find the same bishoprics in the 13th and 14th centuries, but not in those firm metropolitan relations which the interest of the Church required (see Gregory VII, Epist. (ad Boleslauum, Pol. rgeqeml, 73). The first bishop of Posen, Jordan, and the duke Boleslas Chrobry distinguished themselves by their successful attempts to expand the Christian faith; Bodzanta, archbishop of Gnesen, in the 14th century, by the conversion of the barbarians of Lithuania and Samogitia. This prelate extended his diocese, augmented by a half, over Pomerellia and Neringia, and added Silesia to his spiritual dominions: in one word. the country between the Netze River, the sources of the Vistula, the grand-duchies of Moscow and Semgallen, constituted the territory of his archiepiscopal see. In consequence of these aggrandizements the new bishoprics of Whilna, in the grand-duchy of Lithuania, and of Wornie or Miedniki, in the duchy of Samogitia, were established-the first in 1387, the latter in 1417.
The Reformation Period and Since. — In order to make clear the history of the Polish Church in the Reformation period, it is necessary to retrace our steps to the 11th century. It was then that the neighboring churches of Germany acquired a great influence over the Poles, while priests and monks flocked from France and Italy, but particularly from Germany, to Poland, built everywhere convents and churches, and at the same time used the Romish ritual in opposition to the simple worship of the Polish national churches, which, however, maintained their ground till the 14th century. The Hussites (q.v.) from Bohemia found a favorable field in Poland for the propagation of their peculiar tenets, and the Romish clergy in consequence took active measures for the purpose of checking the spread of the obnoxious doctrines. With this view the parish priests were ordered to seize and bring before the bishops all who were suspected of holding Hussite sentiments. Severe enactments were passed for the punishment of the heretics. But in the face of all opposition the new doctrines were embraced by some of the most influential families in the land, and the reforming party indeed was very numerous when their leader was slain on the field of battle. But although the doctrines of Huse had found many supporters in Poland, the national feeling was still in favor of the dominant Church. We append an account of the progress of Protestantism in Poland dependent largely on Gardner, Dictionary of Religions, p. 670 sq.
"In the commencement of the 15th century a powerful impulse was given to the cause of Polish education and literatim by the establishment of the University of Cracow, and the encouragement given in that seminary to native scholars. Already a goodly number of accomplished literary men had issued from the University of Prague, some of whom were chosen to fill the chairs at Cracow; these again were generally selected to supply the vacant episcopal sees, and thus in a short time they were found in the Polish Church not a few prelates distinguished alike for their piety and learning. The enlightened views which some of these ecclesiastical dignitaries entertained were speedily manifested in various projects started for reforming the Church. Thus Martin Tromba, the primate of Poland, ordered the liturgical books to be translated into the national language, that they might be understood by the great mass of tile people. But the boldest step in the direction of Church reform at this period was taken by Ostrotwo, palatine of Posen, who presented to the Polish diet of 1459 a proposal for introducing improvements of such a vital character that, had they been adopted, a separation of the Church of Poland from Rome would have been the immediate result. 'In this plan,' says count Krasinski, 'of reforming the Church of Poland he maintained that, Christ having declared that his kingdom was not of this world, the pope had no authority whatever over the king of Poland, and should not even be addressed by the latter in humble terms, unbecoming his dignity; that Rome was drawing every year from the country large sums under the pretence of religion, but, in fact, by means of superstition; and that the bishop of Rome was inventing most unjust reasons for leaving taxes, the proceeds of which were employed, not for the real wants of the Church, but for the pope's private interests; that all the ecclesiastical lawsuits should be decided in the country and not at Rome, which did not take "any sheep without wool;" that there were, indeed, among the Poles people who respected the Roman scribblings furnished with red seals and hempen strings, and suspended on the door of a church; but that it was wrong to submit to these Italian deceits.' He further says: 'Is it not a deceit that the pope imposes upon us, in spite of the king and the senate, I don't know what, bulls called indulgences? He gets money by assuring people that he absolves their sin; but God has said by his prophet, "My son, give me thy heart, and not money." The pope feigns that he employs his treasures for the election of churches; but he does it, ill fact, for enriching his relations. I shall pass in silence things that are still worse. There are monks who praise still such fables. There are a great number of preachers and confessors who only think how to get the richest harvest, and who indulge themselves, after having plundered the poor people. He complains of the great number of monks unfit for the clerical office, saying, "After having shaven his head and endowed a cowl, a man thinks himself fit to correct the whole world. He cries, and almost bellows, in the pulpit, because he sees no opponent. Learned men, and even those who possess an inferior degree of knowledge, cannot listen without horror to the nonsense, and almost blasphemy, uttered by such preaches." "These sentiments avowed by a Polish senator in the assembly of the states, plainly indicated that public opinion, even in the 15th century, was prepared for the great ecclesiastical reformation which commenced a century later in Germany and Switzerland. As if still further to pave the way for that important movement, treatises were at every little interval issuing from the press in Poland containing opinions which Rome has always been accustomed to brand as heresies. One work, in particular, was published at Cracow in 1515, which openly advocated the great Protestant principle that the Holy Scriptures must be believed, and all merely human ordinances may be dispensed with.
The date of the appearance of this these ways two years before Luther publicly avowed his opposition to Rome. No sooner, accordingly, did the German Reformer commence his warfare with the pope than he was joined by many Poles, more especially belonging to the towns of Polish Prussia; and so rapidly did the principles of the Reformation spread in Dantzic, the principality of that province, that, in 1524, no fewer than five churches were occupied by the disciples of the Wittenber reformer. A very large part of the inhabitants of Dantzic, however, still adhered to the old Church; and, anxious to restore the ancient order of things, they dispatched a deputation to Sigismund I, who at that time occupied the throne of Poland, imploring his interposition. The monarch, moved by the appeal made by the deputation, who appeared before him dressed in deep mourning, proceeded in person to Dantzic, restored the former state of things, and either executed or banished the principal leaders of the new movement. But while for purely political reasons Sigismund in this case acted in the most tyrannical and oppressive manner, he allowed the doctrines of Protestantism to spread in all the other parts of his dominions without persecuting those who embraced them. Even in Dantzic itself, when Lutheranism, in the course of a few years, began to be again preached within its walls, he refused to take a single step to check its progress, so that in the subsequent reign it became the dominant creed of that city, without, however, infringing upon the religious liberty of the Roman Catholics.
"The works of Luther found many readers, and even admirers, in Poland, and a secret society, composed of both clergymen and laymen, met frequently to discuss religious subjects, including those points more especially which the rise of the Reformation brought prominently before the public mind. It was in connection with his society that Antitrinitarian opinions were first adopted as a creed by several individuals, and the foundation laid in Poland for that sect whose members were afterwards known by the name of Socinians (q.v.). The spread of this heresy, however, was limited to the upper classes of society, while among the great mass of the people the scriptural views of the Reformers found ready acceptance; a result in no small degree owing to the arrival of Bohemian Brethren, to the number of about a thousand, who had been driven from their own country, and found a home in the province of Posen. This event happened in 1548, and the public worship of the Brethren being conducted in the Bohemian language, which was intelligible to the inhabitants of Posen, attracted towards them the sympathies of multitudes. The Romish bishop of Posen, alarmed at the influence which the Brethren were exercising over the people of his diocese, applied for and obtained a royal edict for their expulsion from the country. This order they immediately obeyed, and proceeded to Prussia, where they found full religious liberty. Next year, however, some of them returned to Poland, where they had formerly received so much kindness, and continued their labors without being molested in any form. Their congregations rapidly increased, and in a short time they reached the large number of eighty in the province of Great Poland alone, while many others were formed in different parts of the country.
"A circumstance occurred about this time which was providentially overruled for the still wider diffusion of Protestant principles in Poland. The students of the University of Craucow, having taken offence at some real or imagined affront offered them by the rector, repaired to foreign universities, put particularly to the newly erected University of Königsberg, from which the great majority of them returned home imbued with Protestant principles. The Reformed doctrines now made extraordinary progress, particularly in the province of Cracow. In vain did the Romish clergy denounce the growing heresy; all their remonstrances were unavailing, and at length they convened a general synod in 1551 to consider the whole subject. On this occasion Hosilis, bishop of Ermeland, composed his celebrated Confession, which has been acknowledged by the Church of Rome as a faithful exposition of its creed. The synod not only decreed that this creed should be signed by the whole body of the clergy, but petitioned the king that a royal mandate should be issued ordering its subscription by the laity. It was now resolved that violent persecution should be commenced against the heretics, and this determination was strengthened by an encyclical letter from Rome, recommending the extirpation of heresy. Several causes of bloody persecution occurred; but the nobles, aroused to jealousy by the high-handed measures of the clergy, openly declared their wish to restrict the authority of the bishops, and the people were unanimous in expressing a similar desire.
"Such was the state of matters in Poland when the diet of 1552 was convened; and scarcely had its deliberations been commenced, when a general hostility was evinced by the members to episcopal jurisdiction. The result was that at this diet religious liberty for all confessions was virtually established in Poland. At the diet of 1555 the king was earnestly urged to convoke a national synod over which he himself should preside, and which should reform the Church on the basis of the Holy Scriptures. It was proposed, also, to invite to this assembly the most distinguished Reformers, such as Calvin, Beza, Melancthon, and Vergerius. But the expectations of the Protestants in Poland were chiefly turned towards John a Lasco or Laski, who had been instrumental in promoting the cause of the Reformation in Germany, Switzerland, and England. For to long time he remained within the pale of the Romish Church, in the hope that it would be possible to effect a reformation without seceding from her communion. In 1540 he declared his adherence to the Protestant Church on the principles of Zwigli. The high reputation which Lasco had already gained, both as a scholar and a Christian, attracted the marked attention of the Protestant princes in various parts of Europe, several of whom invited him to take up his residence in their dominions. The sovereign of East Friesland, anxious to complete the reformation of the Church in that country, prevailed upon Lasco to allow himself to be nominated superintendent of all its churches. To carry out the object of his appointment was matter of no small difficulty, considering the extreme reluctance which prevailed to the entire abolition of Romish rites, but by energy, per severance, and uncompromising firmness he succeeded, in the brief space of six years, in rooting out the last remains of Romanism, and fully establishing the Protestant religion throughout the whole of the churches of East Friesland. In 1548 Lasco received an earnest invitation from Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, to join the distinguished Reformers who had repaired to England from all parts of the Continent, that they might complete the Reformation of the Church in that country. Having accepted Cranmer's invitation, the Polish Reformer left Friesland and went to England, where he was appointed, on his arrival in 1550, superintendent of the foreign Protestant congregation established at London. In this important sphere he continued to labor with much comfort and success, until the demise of Edward VI and the accession of Mary arrested the progress of the Reformation in England, and compelled Lasco with his congregation to leave the country. This little band of exiles, headed by the Polish Reformer, were driven by a storm upon the coast of Denmark, where, on landing, they were received at first with hospitality and kindness, but, through the influence of the Lutheran divines, they were soon obliged to seek an asylum elsewhere. The same hatred man, the part of the Lutheran clergy was shown to the congregation of Lasco at Lubeck, Hamburg, and Rostock. At length the remnants of the congregation found in Dantzic at peaceful asylum, while Lasco himself retired to Friesland, where he was received with every mark of respect and attachment. In a short time, however, finding his position by no means so comfortable as at first, he removed to Frankfort-on-the-Mainm, where he established a church for the Belgian Protestant refugees, and made various attempts, without success, to unite the Lutheran and Protestant churches.
"Throughout all his wanderings Lasco's thoughts were habitually turned towards Poland, and he maintained a constant intercourse with his countrymen, and also with his sovereign, Sigismund Augurstus, who entertained a high regard for him lie returned to Poland in 1556, and no sooner did his arrival become known than the Romish clergy, taking the alarm, hastened to implore the king to banish from his dominions a man whom they described as an outlawed heretic, and the source of troubles and commotions wherever le went. To this representation the king paid no regard; and, to the annoyance of the bishops and the papail nunicio, Lasco was soon after entrusted with the superintendence of all the Reformed churches of Little Poland. Through his influence the tenets of the Swiss Reformers were extensively adopted by the higher classes of his countrymen. The chief objects, however, which he kept steadily in view were the union of all Protestant sects, and the ultimate establishment of a Reformed National Church modeled on the plan of the Church of England, for which he had conceived a high admiration. But his exertions in the cause of reform were much weakened by the rise of Antitrinitarian sentiments in some of the churches which he superintended. He struggled hard, and not without success, to check the progress of these opinions. In the public affairs of the Church he took an active part, and assisted in preparing the version of the first Protestant Bible in Poland. In the midst of his unwearied labors in the cause of the Polish Reformation, Lasco was cut off in 1560, before he had an opportunity of fully maturing his great designs.
"One of the last objects on which the Polish Reformer had set his heart was the speedy convocation of a national synod. This proposal, however, met with violent opposition from Rome and its partisans. The pope, Paul IV, dispatched a legate to Poland with letters to the king, the senate, and the most influential noblemen, promising to effect all necessary reforms, and to call a general council. Lippomali, the papal legate, was an able man, and a devoted servant to the see of Rome. The Romish clergy were much encouraged by the presence of this dignitary in the country, who endeavored, but without effect, to prevail upon the king to adopt violent measures for the extirpation of heresy. The crafty emissary of the pope succeeded also by his intrigues in fomenting discord among the Protestants. He assembled a synod of the Polish clergy, which, while it lamented the dangers which threatened the Church, both from within and from without, passed many resolutions for improving its condition and coercing tile heretics. The extent to which the synod, instigated by Lippomani, pushed their jurisdiction may be seen from their proceedings in a case of alleged sacrilege recorded both by Romish and Protestant writers. Dorothy Laszecka, a poor girl, was accused of having obtained from the Dominican monks of Sochaczew a host, feigning to receive communion. It was said that she wrapped that host in her clothes, and sold it to the Jews of a neighboring village, by whom she had been instigated to, commit this act of sacrilege by the bribe of three dollars and a gown embroidered with silk. This host was said to have been married by the Jews to the synagogue, where, being pierced with needles, it emitted a quantity of blood, which was collected into a flask The Jews tried in vain to prove the absurdity of the charge, arguing that, as their religion did not permit them to believe in the mystery of transubstantiation, they never could be supposed to try a similar experiment on the host, which they considered as a mere Wiafer. The synod, influenced by Lippomani, condemned them, as well as the unfortunate woman, to be burned alive. The iniquitous sentence could not, however, be put into execution without the exequatur, or the confirmation of the king, which could not be expected to be obtained from the enlightened Sigismund Augustus. The bishop Przerembski, who was also vice-chancellor of Poland, made a report to the king of the above- mentioned case, which he described in expressions of pious horror, entreating the monarch not to allow such a crime committed against the Divine Majesty to go unpunished. Myszkowski, a great dignitary of the crown, who was a Protestant, became so indignant at this report that he could not restrain his anger, and was only prevented by the presence of the king from using violence against the prelate, the impiety and absurdity of whose accusation he exposed in strong language. The monarch declared that he would not believe such absurdities, and sent an order to the starost (chief magistrate or governor) of Sochaczew to release the accused parties; but the vice-chancellor forged the exequatur, by attaching the royal seal without the knowledge of the monarch, and sent an order that the sentence of the synod should he immediately carried into execution. The king, being informed of this nefarious act of the bishop, immediately dispatched a messenger to prevent its effects. It was, however, too late, and the judicial murder was perpetrated.' This atrocious affair excited, of course, a pleat sensation throughout Poland, and awakened such feelings of hatred against Lippolani that he lost no time in quitting the country, a step which was absolutely necessary, indeed, as his life was in danger.
"The Polish Reformation went steadily forward in spite of all the opposition of Rome and its emissaries. In Lithuania particularly it received a strong impulse from the influence exerted in its favor by prince Radziwill, who had been entrusted by the monarch with almost the sole government of that province. Taking, advantage of the facilities which he thus possessed for advancing the good work, he succeeded in establishing the Reformed worship both in the rural districts and in many towns. He built also a splendid church and college in Vilna, the capital of Lithuania. To this enlightened and pious nobleman, besides, is due the merit of having caused to be translated and printed, at his own expense, the first Protestant Bible in the Polish language. It was published in 1564, and is usually known by tie name of the Radziwilliain Bible. The death of Radziwill the Black as he was termed, which happened in 1565, was a severe loss to the Protestant cause in Lithuania: but happily his counsel and successor, Radziwill the Red, was also a zealous promoter of the Reformed religion, and founded a number of Protestant churches and schools, which he endowed with landed property for their permanent support. The king of Poland was strongly urged, by a portion of the clergy, to reform the Church by means of a national synod, but he was of too irresolute a character to take a step so decided. He adopted, however, a middle course, and addressed a letter to pope Paul IV, at the Council of Trent, demanding the concession of the five following points:
(1) The performance of the mass in the national language; (2) The dispensation of the communion in both kinds; (3) The toleration of the marriage of priests; (4) The abolition of the annates or first-fruits of benefices (5) The convocation of a national council for the reform of abuses, and the union of different sects.
These demands, of course, were rejected by his holiness. But the Protestants in Poland, far from being discouraged by the conduct of the pope, became bolder every day in their opposition to the Romanists. At the diet of 1559 a proposal was made to deprive the bishops of all participation in the affairs of the government, on the ground that they were the sworn servants of a foreign potentate. This motion, though strenuously urged upon the acceptance of the diet, was not carried; but a few years later, in 1563, the diet agreed to convoke a general national synod, composed of representatives of all the religious parties in Poland-a measure which would, in all probability, have been carried into effect, had it not been prevented by the dexterity and diplomatic craft of cardinal Coinmenidoni, who succeeded in dissuading the king from assembling a national council.
"The establishment of a Reformed Polish Church was much impeded by the dissensions which divided the Protestants among themselves. At that time, in fact, no less than three parties existed in Poland, each adhering to its own separate confession. Thus the Bohemian or Waldensian Confession had its own ardent admirers chiefly in Great Poland; the Genevese or Calvinistic Confession in Lithuania and Southern Poland; and the Lutheran or Augsburg Confession in towns inhabited by burghers of German origin. Of these the Bohemian and the Genevese Confessions were so completely agreed on almost all points, that their respective supporters found no difficulty in forming a union in 1555, not indeed incorporating it into one body, but holding spiritual fellowship together, while each Church retained its own separate hierarchy. This union being the first which took place among Protestant churches after the Reformation, caused great joy among the Reformers in different parts of Europe. The two churches thus united wished to include the Lutherans also in the alliance, but the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession on the subject of the Eucharist seemed likely to prove an insuperable obstacle in the way of any union with the Lutheran churches. An attempt, however. was made to effect so desirable an object. For this purpose a synod of the Bohemian and Genevese churches of Poland was convoked in 1557, and presided over by John a Lasco. At this synod overtures were made to the Lutherans to join the union, but to no effect, and they still continued to accuse the Bohemian Church of heresy. The obstacles thus thrown in the way of a union among the Protestants of Poland only roused the Bohemians to exert themselves still more actively for its attainment. They forwarded copies of their Confession of Faith to the Protestant princes of Germany, and to the chief Reformers, both of that country and of Switzerland, and received strong testimonials of approval- so strong, indeed, as to silence for a time the objections of the Lutherans. Shortly, however, the good understanding which had begun was interrupted by the unreasonable demands of some Polish Lutheran divines that the other Protestant denominations should subscribe the Confession of Augsburg. The Bohemians, therefore, in 1568, submitted their confession to the University of Wittenberg, and received from that learned body a strong expression of their approbation, which so operated upon the minds of the Lutherans that from that time they ceased to charge the Bohemian Church with heresy.
"The long desired union was at length effected in 1570. A synod having assembled in the town of Sandomir, in April of that year, finally concluded and signed the terms of union under the name of the Consensus of Sandomir (q.v.). This important step excited the utmost alarm among the Romanists, who endeavored to bring it into discredit. But the union itself was essentially hollow and imperfect. The confessions, between which a dogmatic union had been effected, differed on a point of vital importance the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The union, accordingly, was rather nominal than real; and many Lutherans directed their whole efforts towards bringing about a disruption of the alliance which had been established at Sandomir. This hostility of the Lutherans to the other Protestant confessions was very injurious to the interests of Protestantism in general, and a number of noble families, followed by thousands of the common people, disgusted with the bitter contentions which raged among the Protestants of different denominations, renounced the principles of the Reformation, and returned to the Church of Rome. Another circumstance which tended to weaken the Protestant Church of Poland was the rise and rapid spread of a party who denied the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sonme learned divines of the Reformed churches combated these Antitrinitarian doctrines, and at length, in 1565, the professors of these doctrines seceded from their brethren, forming themselves into a separate ecclesiastical organization, called by its members the Minor Reformed Church of Poland. The arrival of Faustus Socinus in Poland in 1579 led to the tenets of the Antitrinitaians being thrown into a definite form, and to the formation of Socinian congregations, chiefly composed of nobles, among whom there were manly wealthy landowners.
"When the Consensus of Sandomir was concluded in 1570, Protestantism in Poland had reached its highest state of prosperity. Many churches and schools, belonging to Protestants of various denominations, had been established; the Scriptures had been translated and printed in the national language; and religious liberty was enjoyed in Poland to a degree unknown in any other part of Europe. These favorable circumstances attracted great numbers of foreigners, who sought an asylum from religious persecution. Among these, besides many Italian and French refugees, there were also a great number of Scotch families settled in different parts of Poland, whose descendants are found there at this day.
"At the period at which we have now arrived Romanism had, to a great extent, lost its hold of the Polish nation. The most influential portion of the nobility were on the side of Protestantism, while many powerful families, and the population generally, of the eastern provinces belonged to the Greek Church. Nay, even within the national Church itself, not only was the primate favorable to Reformed principles, but many even of the inferior clergy, and a considerable proportion of the laity, would have welcomed any proposal to correct the flagrant abuses which had in course of time crept into the Church. In the senate, also, the great proportion of the members were either Protestants or belonged to the Greek Church and even the king himself showed a decided leaning towards the adherents of the Protestant faith. The Roman Catholic Church in Poland, indeed, was on the verge of utter ruin; but in this hour of its extremist danger it was mainly saved by the exertions of cardinal Hosius, one of the most remarkable men of his age. This zealous Romish dignitary had early made himself conspicuous by his hostility to the Protestants, and now that he had been nominated a cardinal, he used every effort to check the progress of the Reformation in Poland. Finding, however, that his own Church was fast losing ground, and that Reformed principles were almost certain ere long to obtain the ascendancy, he called to his aid the newly established Order of Jesuits, several of whom arrived from Rome in 1564, and by their intrigues and agitation the whole country was made for a long period the scene of the most unseemly commotions.
"During the life of Sigismund Augustus the Protestants indulged the hope that, although naturally of a wavering and undecided character, he might possibly decide on the establishment of a Reformed National Church; but the death of that monarch without issue, in 1572, put an end to all such expectations. The Jagellonian dynasty, which had governed Poland for two centuries, was now extinct.' An earnest struggle commenced, therefore, between the Protestants and Romanists, each party being anxious that the vacant throne should be filled by a zealous supporter of their Church. The Romanists, headed by cardinal Commendoni, 'were anxious to confer the crown upon the archduke Ernest, son of the emperor Maximilian II, and were even ready to secure their object by force. Coligiuy and the French Protestants had for some time, even before the death of Sigismund Augustus, entertained the project of placing Henry of Valois, duke of Anjou, on the Polish throne; and Catharine de' Medici, the mother of the duke, eagerly lent her approbation to the proposal.
"The diet of convocation assembled at Warsaw in January, 1573, for the purpose of taking steps for the maintenance of the peace and safety of the country during the interregnum. At this diet, notwithstanding the opposition of the Romish bishops, instigated by Commendoni, a law was passed establishing a perfect equality of rights among all the Christian confessions of Poland, guaranteeing the dignities and privileges of the Roman Catholic bishops, but abolishing the obligation of Church patrons to bestow the benetices in their gift exclusively on Roman Catholic clergymen. The election of a new monarch was arranged to take place on April 7, at Kaminietz, near Warsaw. The principal competitors for the throne of Poland were the two princes already mentioned; and although meanwhile the horrid massacre of St. Bartholomew had rendered the Polish Protestants somewhat afraid to commit their interests to a French prince, yet, being unwilling to involve their country in a civil war, they accepted Henry, duke of Anjou, who was accordingly elected king of Poland.
"A deputation of twelve noblemen were immediately dispatched to Paris to announce to Henry his election, and on Sept. 10, 1573, the ceremony of presenting the diploma of election took place in the church of Notre Dame. The circumstances attending the presentation are interesting as manifesting the intolerant spirit of the Polish Romanists. 'The bishop Karnkowski, a member of the Polish embassy, at the beginning of the ceremony, entered a protest against the clause for securing religious liberty inserted in the oath which the new monarch was to take on that occasion. This act produced some confusion, the Protestant Zborowski having interrupted the solemnity with the following words, addressed to Montuc: "Had you not accepted, in the name of the duke, the conditions of religious liberty, our opposition would have' prevented this duke from being elected our monarch." Henry feigned to be astonished, as if he did not understand the subject in dispute; but Zorowski addressed him, saying, "I repeat, sire, that if your ambassadors had not accepted the condition of liberty to the contending religious persuasions, our opposition would have prevented you from being elected king; and that if you do not confirm these conditions, you shall not be our king." After this the members of the embassy surrounded their new monarch, and Herburt, a Roman Catholic, read the formula of the oath prescribed by the electing diet, which Henry repeated without any opposition. The bishop Karnkowski, who had stood aside, approached the king after he had sworn, and protested that the religious liberty secured by the royal oath was not to injure the authority of the Church of Rome; land the king gave him a written testimony in favor of that protest.'
"Henry set out for Poland, but after what had passed the fears of the Protestants were far from being allayed, and they resolved carefully to watch the conduct of the new monarch at his coronation. Firley, the leader of the Protestant party, insisted that on that solemn occasion the oath taken at Paris should be repeated; and even in the midst of the ceremony, when the crown was about to he placed on Henry's head, Firley boldly advanced forward and interrupted the proceedings, declaring in the name of the Protestants of' Poland that, unless the Parisian oath was taken, the coloration would not be allowed to go forward. The scroll of the oath was put into the king's hand as he knelt on the steps of the altar, and Firley, taking the crown, said to Henry with a loud voice, If you will not swear, you shall not reign." The intrepid conduct of the Protestant leader struck the whole assembly with awe, and the king had no alternative but to repeat the oath. Thus the religious liberties of Poland were saved from utter overthrow, and the nation delivered from all impending civil war.
"The Polish Protestants were naturally suspicious of their new king, knowing that, having taken the oath by compulsion, he was not likely to respect their rights. The Rominish bishops, on the other hand, supported by the favor of the monarch, formed projects for extending their influence, and all impression rapidly spread through the country that Henry had become a ready tool in the hands of the priests. This feeling, combined with disgust at his profligacy, rendered him so unpopular, and his subjects so discontented, that the country would undoubtedly have been speedily plunged into a civil war had not the king fortunately disappeared, having secretly left Poland for France on learning that the death of his brother, Charles IX, had opened the way for his succession to the throne of France. The crown of Poland was now conferred upon Stephen Batory, prince of Transylvania, who had earned so high a reputation that, although an avowed Protestant, his election met with no opposition from the Romish clergy. The delegation which announced to Stephen his election to the throne was composed of thirteen members, only one of whom was a Romanist: but this man, Solikowski by name, succeeded in persuading the new monarch that, if he would secure himself on the throne, he must profess the Roman Catholic religion. Next day, accordingly, to the dismay of the Protestant delegates, Stephen was seen devoutly kneeling at mass. During, his reign, which lasted tell years, he maintained inviolate the fights of the Anti-Romanist confessions, while at the same time, through the influence of his queen, who was a bigoted Romanist, he openly engaged and patronized the Jesuits, by founding and endowing various educational institutions in connection with their order.
"Stephen Batory died in 1556, and was succeeded by Sigismund III, in whose reign the Romish party acquired much strength, while many of the Protestants had become dissatisfied with the general confession, and sought to, renew the former controversies which had so much weakened their influence in the country. Poland was unhappily subjected to the rule of this infatuated monarch from 1557 to 1632, and throughout the whole of that long period his policy was uniformly directed towards the promotion of the supremacy of Rome. The Jesuits exercised an unlimited influence over the government; and all the offices of state land posts of honor were exclusively bestowed upon Romanists, and more especially upon proselytes, who, from motives of interest, had renounced the principles of the Reformation. The whole country was covered with Jesuit. colleges and schools, thus enabling the disciples of Loyola most effectually to exercise dominion over all classes of the people. 'The melancholy effects of their education,' says count Krasinski, soon became manifest. By the close of Sigismund III's reigns, when the Jesuits had become almost exclusive masters of public schools, national literature had declined as rapidly as it had advanced during the preceding century. It is remarkable, indeed, that Poland, which, from the middle of the 16th century to the end of the reign of Sigismund III (1632), had produced many splendid works on different branches of human knowledge, in the national as well as in the Latin language, call boast of but very few works of merit from that epoch to the second part of the 18th century, the period of the unlimited sway of the Jesuits over the national education. The Polish language, which had obtained a high degree of perfection during the 16th century, was soon corrupted by an absurd admixture of Latin; and a barbarous style, called Macaronic, disfigured Polish literature for more than a century. As t he chief object of the Jesuits was to combat the Anti-Romanists, the principal subject of their instruction was polemical divinity; and the most talented of their students, instead of acquiring sound knowledge, by which they might become useful members of society, wasted their time in dialectic subtleties and quibbles. The disciples of Loyola knew well that, of all the weaknesses to which human nature is subject, vanity is the most accessible; and they were as prodigal of praise to partisans as they were of abuse to antagonists. Thus the benefactors of their order became the objects of the most fulsome adulation, which nothing but the corrupted taste acquired in their schools could have rendered palatable. Their bombastic panegyrics, lavished upon the most unimportant persons, became, towards the end of the 17th century, almost the only literature of the country-proof sufficient of the degraded state of the public to which such productions could be acceptable. An additional proof of the retrocession of the national intellect and the corruption of taste under the withering influence of the Jesuits is that the most classical productions of the 16th century-the Augustan era of the Polish literature— were not reprinted for more than a century, although after the revival of learning in Poland in the second half of the 18th century they went through many editions, and still continue to he reprinted. It is almost superfluous to add that this deplorable condition of the national intellect produced the most pernicious effects on the political as well as social state of the country. The enlightened statesmen who had appeared during the reign of Sigismund III— the Zanoyskis, the Sapiehas, the Zalkiewskis, whose efforts counterbalanced for a time the baneful effects of that fatal design, as well as some excellent authors who wrote during the same period — were educated under another system; for that of the Jesuits could not produce any political or literary character with enlarged views. Some exceptions there were to this general rule; but the views of enlightened men could not be but utterly lost on a public which, instead of advancing in the paths of knowledge, were trained to forget the science and wisdom of its ancestors. It was therefore no wonder that sound notions of law and right became obscured, and gave way to absurd prejudices of privilege and caste, by which liberty degenerated into licentiousness; while the state of the peasantry was degraded into that of predial servitude.'
"Not contended with secretly imbuing the minds of the people with Romanist principles, the Jesuits connived at the ill-treatment to which many Protestants were subjected, and the courts of justice being wholly under Jesuit influence, it was vain for the injured to look for legal redress. Riotous mobs with complete impunity destroyed the Protestant churches in Cracow, Posen, Wiltna, and other places. The natural result of the adverse circumstances in which Protestants were placed inner this long but disastrous reign was that their numbers were daily diminished, and what was, perhaps, more melancholy still, those who held fast to Reformed principles were divided into contending factions; and although the Consensus of Sandomir maintained an apparent union for all time, that covenant even was finally dissolved by the Lutherans. An attempt was made without effect to manage a union between the Protestants land the Greek Church at a meeting convened at Wilna in 1599, and although a confederation for mutual defense was concluded, it led to no practical results.
"At the close of the long reign of Sigismund III the cause of Protestantism was in a state of tile deepest depression. But his son mad successor, Wadisla IV, was a person of many different character, and so opposed to the Jesuits that he could not allow a single member of that order to be near his court. He distributed offices and rewards solely according to merit, and, being naturally of a mild disposition, he discountenanced all persecution on account of religion. He endeavored in vain to effect a general reconciliation, or at least a mutual understanding, between the contending parties, by means of a religious discussion held at Thorn in 1644. But the early death of this benevolent monarch changed the whole aspect of affairs. His brother, John Casimir, who succeeded him, had been a Jesuit, and a cardinal; but the pope had relieved him from his vows on his election to the throne. From a monarch who had formerly been a Romish ecclesiastic the Protestants had everything to fear and little to expect. The consequence was that the utmost discontent begin to prevail among all classes, and the country having been invaded by Charles Gustavus, king of Sweden, the people were disposed to place him upon the throne of Poland. Elated, however, by the success of his arms, that haughty monarch declined to accept the sovereignty in any other mode than by conquest, whereupon the Poles, rising as one man, drove him from the country. Peace was restored by the treaty of Oliva in 1660 but not until the Protestants had suffered much during the war. The king had taken refuge in Silesia during the Swedish invasion, and on his return to Poland he committed himself to the special care of the Virgin Mary, vowing that he would convert the heretics by force if necessary. A considerable number of Protestants still remained after all the persecutions to which they had been exposed, and among them were several influential families, who besides were supported by the interest of the Protestant princes throughout Europe. The king, therefore, judged it best to direct the whole force of his persecution against the Socinianus, whom he banished from the kingdom, declaring it to be henceforth a capital crime to propagate or even profess Socinlianism in Poland.
"The ranks of the Protestants were now completely broken, and the Roman clergy acquired and exercised nearly uncontrolled power. John Soblieski, during his short reign, endeavored to put an end to religious persecution; but he found himself unable to maintain the laws which still acknowledged a perfect equality of religious confessions. Augustus II, also, who succeeded to the throne in 1696, confirmed, in the usual manner, the rights and libel ties of the Protestants, but with the addition of a new condition, that he should never grant them senatorial or any other important dignities and offices. This monarch had renounced Lutheranism in order to obtain the crown of Poland, and now that he had secured his object, he allowed the Romish bishops to treat the heretics as they chose. Augustus having been expelled by Charles XII of Sweden, Stanislaus Leszczynski was elected in 1704, and the accession of this enlightened monarch revived the hopes of the Protestants. The treaty of alliance concluded between Stanislaus and the Swedish sovereign usually guaranteed to the Protestants of Poland the rights and liberties secured to them by the laws of their country, abolishing all the restrictions imposed in later times. But such favorable circumstances were of short continuance. Stanislauis was driven from his throne by Peter, the czar of Russia, and Augustus II again restored to his kingdom. Civil commotions now arose, which were only terminated by the mediation of Peter the Great, who concluded a treaty at Warsaw in 1716, into-which the Romanists had sufficient influence to get a clause inserted to the following effect: 'That all the Protestant churches which had been built since 1632 should be demolished, and that the Protestants should not be permitted, except in places where they had churches previously to the above-mentioned time, to have any public or private meetings for the purpose of preaching or singing. A breach of this regulation was to be punished, for the first time by a tine, for the second by imprisonment, for the third by banishment. Foreign ministers were allowed to have divine service in their dwellings, but the natives who should assist as it were to be subjected to the above-mentioned penalties.'
"The terms of this treaty excited feelings of discontent and alarm, not only in the minds of the Protestants, but also of the more enlightened portion of tile Roman Catholics. Protests poured in from all quarters against the measure. But all remonstrance was vain; the Romanists continued to prosecute the Protestants with inveterate rancor, in some cases even to blood. The Protestant powers of Europe from time to time made representations in favor of the Polish Protestants; but instead of alleviating their persecutions, these remonstrances only increased their severity. In 1733 in an act was passed excluding them from the general diet, and from all public offices, but declaring at the same time their peace, their persons, and their property inviolable, and that they might hold military rank and occupy the crown-lands.
"During the reign of Augustus III, which lasted from 1733 to 1764, the condition of the Polish Protestants was melancholy in the extreme; and, despairing of relief from every other quarter, they threw themselves under the protection of foreign powers, by whose interference they were admitted, in I767, to equal rights with the Roman Catholics. This was followed by the abolition of the Order of Jesuits in 1773. Augustus had throughout his reign kept Poland in a state of subserviency to Russia, and that power placed his successor Poniatowski on the throne. Wlieu Catharine II, empress of Russia, obtained possession of the Polish Ralmu provinces, part of the people became members of the United Greek Church, and part joined the Russian Church. Even the most bigoted Romanists were gained over in course of time, u-, that at the Synod of Polotsk, in 1839, the higher clergy of Lithuania and White Russia declared the readiness of their people to join the Russo-Greek Church, and, accordingly, these Uniates, or United u Greeks, to the number of 2,000,000, were received back into the Muscovite branch of the Eastern Church on their solemn disavowal of the pope's supremacy, and declaration of their belief in the sole Headship of Christ over his Church." The unfortunate determination of pope Pius IX to force the infallibility dogma on the Church of Rome has had its damaging consequences to papal Christianity in Russia. After the encyclical of 1874 the czar's government saw itself forced to urge the union with the Russian Church of all Polish Christians not Protestant. Several popes had confirmed to the United Greeks the privileges of the use of the vernacular tongue and the marriage of the clergy. Ritualistic movements, however, had been introduced by some of the clergy, tending to assimilation to Rome, and the disputes engendered by the changes had infrequently been referred to the Vatican. When the encyclical came to the laity, only two ways seemed to lie upon either to submit to the new orders or openly defy them. In Sedletz the decision was prompt, and one sixth of the whole population of the government determined to ask the "White Czar" to admit them into his Church. Though the parish priests in no case commenced the movement, when it had once taken root they joined their flocks. The government took no notice of the first petition sent in till convinced that the movement was perfectly spontaneous, when the emperor authorized the governor-general of Warsaw to admit them into the Russian Church; and on Sunday, Jan. 24, the public ceremony was performed before an immense crowd in the town of Sedletz. Of the 50,000 people admitted, 26 were priests. The first parish entered was that of Bielsk, to which the archbishop of Warsaw proceeded, with all the convert priests and delegates from the forty-five parishes, and where a solemn service of consecration was performed in the parish church.
The Berlin correspondent of the London Times, under date of June, 1S75, writes: "The orthodox movement is steadily progressing in Poland, and will very shortly lead to the extinction of the United Greeks. Nearly 250,000 persons in the provinces of Siedice, Lublin, Suvalki, and Lomsa have already embraced the established faith of the empire. The Uniad remnant left is estimated at only 30,000, and as the priests who ale adverse to the movement are running away to Galicia, the last trace of the sect will soon disappear. The political advantage accruing t to the Russian government from this wholesale conversion of a religions community, half Roman Catholic and half Greek, cannot 'well be overrated. Not only are all their subjects of Russian blood brought within the pale of the national Church, but a number of Poles being likewise included in the sweeping change of creed, a way is paved to a further and even more comprehensive conquest in the same field." In 1876 the Russian government, feeling that the Papists were intriguing against the union movement, occasionally interfered by force for the transition of whole congregations from Rome. In consequence several of the bishops and priests were brought into rebellious conditions to the czar's government. More recently a concordat has been signed between the czar and the pope, which restores full diocesan authority to the bishops, together with the right to direct correspondence with Rome. The ukase of 1868 is abolished, and appeals of the bishops will henceforth be transmitted to Rome through the metropolitan of Warsaw, instead of being sent to the synod at St. Petersburg. On the other hand, the pope acknowledges the legal status of the St. Petersburg Synod, which is to form the council of a Catholic primate residing in the Russian capital.
It is computed that the Protestant Poles amount in round numbers to 442,000, the great majority of whom mare found in the Prussian portion. There is a considerable number of Protestants in Poland itself but these are chiefly German settlers. In that part of Poland which was annexed to Russia by the treaty of Vienna, it was calculated in 1845 that, in a population of 4,857,250 souls, there were 252,000 Lutherans, 3790 Reformed, and 546 Moravians. In Prussian Poland, according to the census of 1846, there were in the provinces of ancient Polish Prussia, in a population of 1,019,105 souls, 502,148 Protestants; and in that of Posen, in a population of 1,364,399 souls, there were 416,648 Protestants. As the Russian government is determined to make the Poles adopt its nationality, the Russian language only is tolerated in the churches where a popular tongue is used, and all hymn and prayer books, as well as schoolbooks, must be in the Russian tongue. The Prussian government, too, anxious to use all means of Germanizing its Slavonic subjects, caused the worship in almost all the churches of Prussian Poland to be conducted in the German language, and the service in Polish is discouraged as much as possible.
Lengich, Diss. de Religion. Christ. in Polonia initiis (1734); and Friese, Gesch. Polens (Breslau, 1786). On the Reformation: Stanislaus Lubieniecius, Hist. Reformationis Polonicea (Freistadii, 1685); Krasinski, fistoricul Sketch of the Reformation in Poland (Lond. 1838, 2 vols. 8vo), part 1 treating of the introduction and progress of Christianity in that country; Maclear, ist,. of Christian Missions in the Middle Ages; Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. (see Index in vol. 3); Brit. and For. Ev. Rev. 1843, p. 502 sq.