The Geography of Religious and Confessional Structures in the Crown of the Polish Kingdom in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century
Prof. Michael Müller: "The book represents a methodologically most innovative, and empirically very rich, contribution to at least three fields of study: historical geography, religious history and historical demography. For the first time, we get a full, and reliable, picture of the churches of all Christian denominations and of the synagogues (and of the religious institutions and organizations behind them) that existed in the lands of the Crown prior to the first partition of Poland."
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Preface to the English Edition
- 1. Subject Matter and Purpose
- 2. Sources and Studies
- 3. Method and Structure
- Chapter I Małopolska Province
- 1. Małopolska
- 2. Crown Ruthenia
- 3. Podlasie
- Chapter II Wielkopolska Province
- 1. Wielkopolska
- 2. Royal Prussia
- 3. Mazowsze
- Chapter III Religious and Confessional Regionalization of the Crown
- 1. Geographical Range of Religions and Denominations
- 2. Density of Sacral Facilities
- 3. Borders and Borderlands – Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Confessional Areas
- List of Abbreviations
- List of Tables
- List of Maps
- Series index
Preface to the English Edition
The contents of this English-language monograph differ in a few respects from the Polish edition published in 2010 by the Publishing House of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. Some changes were necessary to adapt the text to the requirements of the English language, some are due to errors in the Polish edition detected in the course of translation. The geographical and substantive scope of the work made it necessary to adopt homogeneous linguistic rules when translating proper names and terminology.
There is no single way of rendering into English the names of localities and regions of Central and Eastern Europe that would be satisfactory to everyone and at the same time completely consistent. Therefore, most proper names used in this translation remain the same as in the original Polish text. Only the names of present-day state capital cities are in English (Warsaw, Minsk, Kiev, Vilnius or Vienna). The names of those localities that in the eighteenth century were situated outside the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and which do not have a neutral English-language equivalent are offered in a language corresponding with the cultural and state realities of the epoch (Königsberg, Breslau). Offered in English are also the names of such regions as Podolia, Ruthenia, Volhynia, or Silesia that in the eighteenth century were situated outside the Wielkopolska and Małopolska proper, as well as the names of the palatinates located there at the time. Some regions such as Pomerania or Prussia were divided between the Crown and the Kingdom of Prussia in the eighteenth century. In respect to the former, its Polish name of Pomorze (Eng. Pomerania) is used, whereas in the case of the latter – Prussia (Pol. Prusy). Sometimes the name of the same locality is provided in Polish, where the context is historical: archdiocese of Lwów in 1772, or in English, where it is contemporary: Central State Historical Archive in Lviv. Otherwise, when a city or region is first referred to, its English or German names are offered in the brackets, e.g., Małopolska (Little Poland), Wielkopolska (Great Poland), Mazowsze (Mazovia), Podlasie (Podlachia), Warmia (Ermland), or Lębork (Lauenburg).
The monograph follows homogeneous terminology referring to various types of state and church administration units. In respect to state administration the following are used consistently: a palatinate instead of voivodeship (Pol. województwo) and powiat in lieu of poviat, districtus (Pol. powiat). Consistent terminology is also followed with regard to the units of religious administration of the Latin and Uniate Churches – accordingly, at the same level of the church ← 7 | 8 → organization there is the Latin diocese (Pol. diecezja) and Uniate eparchy (Pol. eparchia); the Latin archdeaconry (Pol. archidiakonat), deaconry (Pol. dziekania) and provostship (Pol. prepozytura) and the corresponding Uniate officialate (Pol. oficjalat); the Latin deanery (pol. dekanat) and the Uniate governorship (Pol. namiestnictwo) and protopopy (Pol. protopopia).
The second volume of this publication contains an extensive Annex with a list of all places of worship in the territory of the Crown circa 1772 including sources of information about each of them. The description of each place of worship is schematic, comprising many abbreviations which have not been translated into English and are in the form offered in the Polish version. There is a list of abbreviations explaining the meaning of each of them in English. The Annex if offered by the publisher on-line: http://dx.doi.org/10.3726/b16032 (unlocking code: PL19Dx27V).
The author of this book is most grateful to Professor Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski for his proofreading work and substantive consultations regarding names and terminology. ← 8 | 9 →
At the XVI General Congress of Historians in Wrocław held on 16 September 1999, during a session devoted to the Transformations of the Historical Landscape Stanisław Litak delivered a paper titled “The Map of Religions in the Commonwealth circa 1772 (Religions – Denominations – Churches – Method of Study)”.1 Without going into specifics on the subject of the importance of that project – which subject may be examined based on the publications quoted herein – it is worth focusing on its main objectives and ensuing methodological premises. The author assumed that such study would provide “possibly the most accurate picture of relations between the religions in Poland and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania preceding the First Partition”.2 Most disputable are two aspects of the above approach. The first one is of a methodological nature and pertains to the fact that the historical contents of the proposed map have not been sufficiently defined. Litak interchangeably uses such terms as “religious group” and “religious community” when in fact he refers to a place of worship as a religious centre of such community and its regional structures which arranged and organized its functioning. The second question is whether it is correct and legitimate to claim that the structure and distribution of places of worship and organizational units of religions and denominations reflect the actual relations between religions and adequately demonstrate the quantitative proportions between individual denominations. The above approach stands in contrast with ← 9 | 10 → works in which the study of religious and ethnic relations is based on demographic statistics, as represented mainly by Zdzisław Budzyński.3
Both these reservations are related to the premises of this dissertation. Its main and direct objective is to present the territorial organization of religions and denominations in the Crown part of the Commonwealth before the First Partition. However, one cannot avoid a more general problem and a question about the actual quantitative (statistical) and spatial (geographical) relations between the adherents of individual religions, denominations and rites who lived in the Crown. Such a more general approach makes it necessary to carry out the analysis along two lines. The first one, which may be referred to as the main one, will focus on a group of issues related to the distribution of places of worship and territorial units of religions and churches in which they functioned before the First Partition. The second one, of more methodological nature, will be an attempt to critique the adopted method. The results of the analysis of the distribution of places of worship and territorial administration structures will be selectively compared to demographic data. That should allow us to answer the question of to what degree the distribution of sacral facilities and units of religious administration reflects the actual demographic relations between the adherents of individual denominations. It is an important question in so far as the work covers the period preceding the Partitions, that is, the so-called prestatistical era for which there are no surviving general and homogeneous population census data covering the analysed area or its major parts. It is therefore impossible to examine the situation of religions based on demographic data.
The term “territorial organization” or “territorial structure” places the scope of the subject matter in the category of historical geography rather than strictly legal and institutional studies.4 The analysis covers the territory of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in its administrative borders from the second half of the eighteenth century, before the territorial changes resulting from the First Partition of Poland in 1772/73. It is quite problematic to determine in formal and legal terms the status of the areas held in pledge or as fiefs. That applies to the starosty of Spisz (Zips, Spiš), which was mortgaged to the Commonwealth by the Kingdom of Hungary, the Duchy of Siewierz, which was the property ← 10 | 11 → of the bishops of Kraków, the starosty of Drahim (Draheim) and the lands of Lębork (Lauenburg) and Bytów (Bütow) which were mortgaged to the King in Prussia by the Commonwealth. Since both the sources and studies ascribe different administrative affiliation to the above-mentioned areas, they were treated separately in consolidated statistics, that is, they were not included in any of the Crown’s 23 palatinates.
The analysis excludes only the Episcopal Duchy of Siewierz which remained a separate legal and administrative entity and was incorporated by the Crown as late as 1790. There were also problems with the treatment of the Episcopal Duchy of Warmia (Ermeland) either as an independent unit inside the Crown or as a part of the Malbork (Marienburg) palatinate. Due to the duchy’s high degree of independence (even though in formal terms it did not enjoy the status of duchy) and due to a completely different confessional situation, it was treated as a separate unit of Royal Prussia.
The area covered by the study totals 424 358 km2, of which:
• the Małopolska (Little Poland) province – 304 390 km2
– Małopolska – 57 656 km2
(of which the starosty of Spisz – 679 km2)
– Crown Ruthenia (Ruś Koronna) – 235 227 km2
– Podlasie (Podlachia) – 11 507 km2
• the Wielkopolska (Great Poland) province – 119 968 km2
– Wielkopolska – 59 842 km2
(of which the land of Drahim (Draheim) – 651 km2)
– Royal Prussia (Prusy Królewskie) – 26 452 km2
(of which the land of Lębork (Lauenburg) and Bytów (Bütow) – 1857 km2 and Warmia (Ermland) – 4316 km2)
– Mazowsze (Mazovia) – 33 674 km2.
It is also necessary to specify the chronological scope of the study referred to in the title. The “second half of the eighteenth century” refers to the period which was the focus of the basic source query. In order to arrive at the most homogeneous picture possible, in terms of time, of the structure of religions and denominations in the territory of the Crown an attempt has been made to indicate the situation closest to the First Partition of the Commonwealth, in full awareness of the changes that were occurring in the second half of the eighteenth century in respect to the organizational development of individual denominations. It was particularly dynamic, especially in the 1760s and 1770s, in the border areas of the Bracław and Kiev (Kijów) palatinates where the Orthodox and Uniate ← 11 | 12 → Churches predominated. The main intention behind the choice and selection of source information was to feature the situation of religious structures in the last decade of the Commonwealth’s existence in its borders prior to the First Partition. If there is a clear discrepancy between the information coming from 1765 and from the 1780s or 90s, the more valuable for the entire picture is the former one. This has not ruled out the use of data from after 1772 in the absence of earlier information.
When it comes to the sacral facilities covered by the analysis, they included places of worship and territorial administration units of all religions, denominations and rites which existed in the area of the Crown and which developed organizational structures that could be identified in the sources. The group of Christian places of worship included the Catholic churches of three rites (Latin, Greek and Armenian), Orthodox, Lutheran (Evangelical Augsburg), Mennonite, Calvinist (Evangelical Reformed) and Bohemian Brethren (in spite of a strong tendency to unify with the Calvinists, the Bohemian Brethren were treated separately5). Given the formal criterion formulated above, namely that the analysis covered those denominations which had their churches in the territory of the Crown in the second half of the eighteenth century, this work does not cover the communities of Old Believers. Their major centre in the lands of the old Commonwealth was at Wietka situated in the powiat of Rzeczyca in the Minsk (Mińsk) palatinate in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. There was an Orthodox church of Popovtsy dedicated to Virgin Mary (Pokrowy). But there is no information available about the churches of Old Believers who settled in the palatinates of Kiev, Volhynia (Wołyń) and Podolia (Podole).6 When it comes to non-Christian religions the work is mainly focused on Jewish synagogues. There were few Muslim mosques and Karaite places of worship (kenesas) in the Crown. ← 12 | 13 →
In this Introduction the research and sources are discussed together due to the fact that many studies, especially in the form of lists and inventories, will serve in this work as the basis of both geographical and statistical analysis. If the conclusions of this work are to be assessed adequately, it is necessary to take into account that the sources used herein are highly diverse both in terms of the period of their origin, typology and information value. No new or unknown materials of particular importance have been discovered. This work is based on the materials which have been used on various occasions and which provide systematized information about the structures and distribution of sacral buildings of religions and denominations in the territory of the Crown. It should be emphasized that when it comes to the compilation of data the main effort did not consist so much in the systematic research into the sources, which had been done earlier as part of the work on the structure of individual denominations, but in supplementing and verifying the data they included. It took much work to prepare cartographic information and materials in the case of those religions for which they did not exist (for example, a map of synagogues), or which were outdated (for example, the map of Protestant churches).
The main difficulty, which resulted in quite “unbalanced” information about individual denominations, presented itself when it was necessary to select and use a different source base in respect of each of them. Moreover, not all religious institutions left behind equally homogeneous and comprehensive inventories and lists coming from the second half of the eighteenth century. This was due to the destruction and tragic history of Polish archive collections as well as the fact that not all religious groups produced such sources. The knowledge of the centralized and well-supervised Latin rite of the Catholic Church is by far most complete, mainly owing to the surviving protocols of canonical visitations, lists of benefices or any other inventories necessary to administer the church properly. Quite well documented are Protestant communities which were regularly describing their organizational status, shrinking as they were in the eighteenth century. A little less is known about the organization of Eastern churches, though in this area a key role is played by the exploration of sources. The third most numerous religious group – the Jews – either did not produce regular registers of their properties or they are unknown. This is due to a completely different organizational structure of those communities which were much more centralized than the Christian ones. The first complete census of Jewish organizations in the Crown and in Lithuania was a result of a project launched by the state in ← 13 | 14 → the second half of the eighteenth century to change the tax system covering this group of people.
The basic studies of the organization of the Latin Church in the Commonwealth in the second half of the eighteenth century were carried out by Litak over many decades. His work was crowned with three basic synthetic descriptions of its structure: Territorial Structure of the Latin Church in Poland in 1772 (Lublin 1980), The Latin Church in the Commonwealth circa 1772. Administrative Structures (Lublin 1996) and Atlas of the Latin Church in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th Century (Lublin 2006). Apart from the data about the administrative affiliation and character of the localities where parish and filial churches were situated, the author of these studies offered information about their dedication, building materials and patronage. Each index item included the source base. The main task in respect to Litak’s findings was to sort out the relations between parish, filial and monastery churches.7 But on the whole only minor corrections of his conclusions were necessary and they mainly regarded specific information, such as the type of patronage over some churches and their dedication, or administrative affiliation of individual localities.8
The discussion of the boundaries and development of the Latin Church’s organization in the territory of the Crown was based on both studies of syn ← 14 | 15 → thetic nature, where the work by Bolesław Kumor on the boundaries of Polish metropolitan provinces and dioceses9 continues to play a fundamental role, and a number of monographs on dioceses10 or smaller units of church administration.11 Due to the medieval origins of most of the territorial administration units it was necessary to invoke a number of classic works on the shaping of the Latin Church system and organization in Poland.12 Equally helpful were the consecu ← 15 | 16 → tive volumes of the Historical Atlas of Poland, where its authors regularly dwelt on issues of the Latin Church’s territorial administration.13
Owing to the studies on the structures of the Uniate Church conducted in the last two decades, especially by Ukrainian researchers, it was possible to supplement and verify the findings presented by Witold Kołbuk in two works including the lists of the Uniate churches at the time of the First Partition of the Commonwealth.14 Equally important are the works by historians from Lviv15, Rzeszów 16, ← 16 | 17 → Lublin17 and Siedlce.18 Systematic exploration of the archives opened access to new sources which had been partly published,19 and thus it was possible to correct the data on the number of the administrative units of the Uniate Church in the Crown and their boundaries, included in a monograph by Ludomir Bieńkowski, and the enclosed map of the “Latin Catholic and Uniate Church Dioceses in Poland circa 1772.”20 By far most acute are the shortages of data regarding Volhynia in respect of which it was not possible to find sources allowing to reproduce the affiliation of individual Uniate churches with protopopies (governorships), apart from a list of Uniate churches and deaneries in 1791-1792 in a part of the Łuck-Ostróg diocese published by Jurij Kondratiuk.21
The problem of the Uniate Church structures in the Crown has to be discussed together with the history of the Orthodox Church administration. This mainly applies to the Bracław, Kiev and Podolia palatinates where the hierarchies of the Orthodox and Uniate Churches competed in the second half of the eighteenth century. The conflict produced lists, inventories and reports which were intended to consolidate the supremacy of both administrations over their churches.22 ← 17 | 18 → But they have not as yet been subject to detailed analysis which would allow to establish administrative affiliation of individual churches in the 1760s and 1770s. Both earlier studies23 and the more recent ones24 confine themselves to a general number of protopopies and parishes of the Perejasław-Boryspol diocese which established its supremacy over the Orthodox churches of the Crown. The only specific list of the Orthodox churches in the Crown is still the inventory published by Kołbuk who features the situation from the beginning of the 1760s, before the haidamak rebellion (Koliyivshchyna).25
Owing to the relatively thorough literature on the subject and in view of the small number of churches there were no major problems with the collection of statistical and geographical material on the structures of the Armenian Catholic Church. A review of the state of research on the history of Armenians, including the works by Polish historians but, first and foremost, the most important studies by Armenian authors, was published in 1983 by Juliusz Bardach.26 Apart from a general history of the Armenian Church before and after its union with Rome, the works offer information about all or some Armenian communities in the territory of the Crown. They cover both the studies published in the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century (Tadeusz Gromnicki,27 Czesław Lechicki28), and present-day historiography (Mirosława Dubasowa-Zakrzewska,29 Wartan ← 18 | 19 → Grigorjan,30 Grzegorz Petrowicz,31 Jurij Smirnow32). Apart from the list included in Kołbuk’s33 study, the main body of information about individual communities which was used when the index was prepared is offered by Sadok Barącz34 and Krzysztof Stopka35.
The state of research and source base regarding the geography of Protestantism in the Crown in the second half of the eighteenth century falls clearly into two, mainly territorially determined, groups: the Wielkopolska and the Pomorze (Pomerania) ones. Of great significance in both cases were the Latin Church visitations which regularly collected information about religious dissenters. In respect to the Lutherans of Wielkopolska, visitations in the Poznań diocese were conducted in 1778-177936 and in the Gniezno diocese in 1760-1790.37 This has largely allowed us to supplement the data included on the basic, though a little obsolete, map of the Old Poland from the Point of View of the Evangelical Church and the accompanying list of the churches prepared by Henryk Merczyng.38 Of significance to the determination of the network of Lutheran churches was a work written in the middle of the eighteenth century by the Lutheran pastor and general senior, Christian Siegmund Thomas, which, apart from a description of the organization of the Lutheran Church, also offers a list and short histories of individual churches.39 That information was verified based on the list published by Albert Werner,40 but fundamental to a more complex presentation ← 19 | 20 → of the territorial structures and organization of the Church were the monographs by Arthur Rhode41 and Wojciech Kriegseisen.42
In respect to the churches located in Royal Prussia, apart from the visitations by the Pomorze archdeaconry and Chełmno (Kulm) diocese conducted between 1766-1795,43 the most important source was their inventory made in the first half of the nineteenth century by an Evangelical pastor and university professor at Königsberg (Królewiec, now Kaliningrad) Ludwik Rhesa.44 In the ample literature on the subject both in German and Polish especially useful, mainly due to specific information about individual churches, have been the lists of church books,45 monographs of the history of Lutheranism in Prussia by Ernst Müller and Aleksander Klemp,46 and also the so-called Mortensens’ map with the attached list of churches included in the Historical-Geographical Atlas of Prussian Lands.47
The number and geographical range of the structures of other Protestant denominations was definitely more modest. For obvious reasons most studies focused on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, stressing the gradual organizational decline of the groups of Calvinists and Bohemian Brethren. The situation of Mennonite communities was different, because their importance was rising owing to the Dutch and German settlement (Olędrzy) mainly in Royal Prussia and Wielkopolska. Due to the significant dispersal of the communities of Calvinists and Bohemian Brethren it was necessary to use diverse sources. Apart from the above-mentioned ones regarding Lutheranism, including information about other Protestant denominations, I also used, inter alia, the visitations of the ← 20 | 21 → Latin dioceses in Kraków,48 Włocławek (Pomorze archdeaconry), Gniezno and Poznań,49 but also the lists of Evangelical communities located in the Bohemian Brethren collection at the State Archive in Poznań.50 The data on the structure of communities and churches are also included in monographs, of which particularly noteworthy are the work by Kriegseisen mentioned above and a study on Bohemian Brethren in Wielkopolska by Jolanta Dworzaczkowa.51 There is also extensive literature on the subject, mainly in German, about Mennonites.52 It was frequently published by members of that religious group. Since the presence of Mennonites in Poland was connected with a specific type of settlement, that subject matter was also covered by social and economic histories of the early modern period.53 The most important work by Polish historians is by Edmund Kizik54 which offers a summary of the knowledge on the subject. Systemized information about the history of Mennonite communities is also provided on the Internet, especially by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online related to The Mennonite Encyclopedia published in 1955-1959, and the Catalogue of Mennonite Prayer Houses in Poland by Maciej Warchoł, available on the site devoted to Olęder architecture which is run by Jerzy Szałygin.55 ← 21 | 22 →
Among non-Christian religions most attention, due to the number of population and places of worship, was devoted to Judaism. Research on the territorial organization of the Jews in the eighteenth century was mainly based on tax censuses and registers, including the most important ones coming from 1764-1765.56 The censuses were conducted at the time when the Jewish autonomy was abolished in the Crown, that is, when the kahals were arranged according to the administrative structure of the state (falling into palatinates, powiats [Latin: districtus]). They are the main source of information about the kahal network in the Crown apart from various documents and privileges granted to individual communities.57 They have been used in the studies covering the entire Crown,58 and in the analysis of its individual parts.59 Systematic research on the history ← 22 | 23 → of Jewish communities is conducted by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw. It has produced, inter alia, an eight-volume encyclopedia of Jewish communities in Poland60 and a recently published Atlas of the History of Polish Jews which includes Jacek Wijaczka’s map of Jewish Communities in the Crown (1765).61 Also used to feature a network of synagogues were the works on synagogue architecture and building, with the major two-volume work by Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka62 about wooden and brick synagogues.
Regarding synthetic works which focus on the subject of settlement and organization of the Jews, including the geographic aspect of their presence in the Crown, still topical are the classical studies by Salo Baron,63 Majer Bałaban,64 Ig ← 23 | 24 → nacy Schipper65 and Mojżesz Schorr.66 The tradition of systemic and legal studies of the Polish Jews was recently followed by Anna Michałowska in her work on the communities in Poznań and Swarzędz.67 An attempt to clarify complicated relations of subordination and hierarchy of the Crown Jews may be found in the work on the Jewish council by Anatol Leszczyński68 and in many articles published in such collective studies as the Jews in Ancient Commonwealth69 and the Jews and Judaism in Modern Polish Research.70 More modest knowledge of the organization of the Jews in Royal Prussia included in the Polish historical literature has been partially supplemented by the works of German authors.71
Most of the representatives of the remaining two monotheistic religions, the Muslims and Karaites, lived in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the territory of the Crown there were no more than a few Karaite synagogues (kenesas) and mosques. The Crown and Lithuanian Karaites have recently become the subject of a comprehensive study by Stefan Gąsiorowski where one may find a summary of the research on that subject.72 A list of Tatar “parishes” may be found in the work published by Stanisław Kryczyński73 before World War II and a synthetic study by Jan Tyszkiewicz.74
As this work falls within the scope of studies on the geographical history of religions and denominations, it is necessary to present separately the sources as well as dictionary and cartographic studies which allowed us to identify and situ ← 24 | 25 → ate the localities in which sacral facilities existed. The oldest sources of this type, which also show the borders of state administration, include the maps by Karol Perthées75 and the map by Józef Jabłonowski and Giovanni Zannoni.76 Of the nineteenth-century cartographic works most useful was the Topographic Map of the Kingdom of Poland (the so-called Quartermaster’s Map) developed in 1822-43 (1:126 000) and a work by Wojciech Chrzanowski77 of special importance to the Crown Ruthenia. Invaluable in the search of minor localities and hamlets have been the maps of the Military Geographical Institute (of 1:100 000 scale).
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- 2019 (September)
- historical geography historical cartography church history Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth religious communities
- Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019., 458 pp., 25 fig. col., 56 tables