|| Catholicism » Ogranization and authority » Vatican and papacy
The papacy and the birth of the Polish-Russian hatredAuthor of this text: Mariusz Agnosiewicz
Translation: Katarzyna Goliszek
Niniejsze tłumaczenie fragmentu mojej publikacji, która jest częścią
tomu Kryminalnych dziejów papiestwa, ukazało się wraz z komentarzem
Czesława Białczyńskiego, pt.
Reconciliation Poland — Russia, back in the years of 1610-1612 and the
For Anti memory of Piotr Skarga
Pope Paul V (1605-1621), began his pontificate by pushing Poland for
anti-Russian dymitriads, one of the most stupid and most tragic episodes of our
history, and ended it when his circulatory system sustained a joyous overload
during the procession in honor of the massacre of Czechs in the Thirty Years'
The participation of the Papacy and the Jesuits in the tragic Polish
anti-Russian rows is usually passed over in silence. For Russia's resurgent
power it was a historically traumatic event that put a strain on the entire
subsequent Polish-Russian relationships, and should never be ignored while
remembrance of the partitions of Poland. When in 2005 Russia replaced their old
national holiday commemorating the outbreak of the October Revolution with the
Day of National Unity commemorating the liberation of Moscow from the Poles in
Russia in 1612, the Vatican expressed concern that it could be of the
anti-Catholic nature. The Pope must have worried whether the invasion of Poles
and their trampling of the native culture would not be an opportunity to recall
that it had been a formal crusade and the invasion aimed at making Russia
Polish-Muscovite War called Dmitriads
Polish occupation of Moscow was preceded by Dmitriads, i.e. the Polish-papal
attempts to enthrone the usurpers of the throne of Moscow, called False Dmitriys.
In the final stage of the Dmitriads, the Polish invasion and the
Polish-Muscovite War (1609-1618) took place. Pope Paul V committed himself to
this project and shortly after the conclave, he played an important role in it.
 It is not clear under what circumstances the alleged son of Ivan the
Terrible turned up in Poland but it is distinctive that the first mention of him
appeared on 1 st November 1603 in the Nuncio Claudio Rangoni's letter to Pope
Clement VIII.  The case then went to the Roman Inquisition and Camillo
Borghese who worked on it and who was due to become the new Pope one and a half
A few months later the False turned up before the king in Krakow, trying to
convince Sigismund III Vasa to support his trip to Moscow. He agreed to marry
and enthrone the daughter of the governor of Sandomierz as a tsarina. This
initiative met with a devastating critique of the Polish statesman Jan Zamoyski,
who considered the project of enthroning Maryna Mniszech as a tsarina worthy of
Plautus's comedy. As a result, Parliament unanimously rejected the idea of Polish
involvement in this row.
The matter would certainly have been over if the nuncio and Jesuits had not
engaged in it. The primate Jan Tarnowski and the Jesuits's protector the bishop
of Krakow, the later primate Bernard Maciejowski, persuaded the king to consider
the Usurper favourably.  It was then that the conversion of the Usurper to
Catholicism was agreed. The Jesuits baptised him on 17 th April 1604. On 24 th
April the nuncio gave the new „sheep" Communion and Confirmation. On the very
same day the convert wrote to the pope promising him to make Russia Catholic and
to organise a crusade against the Turks. In the view of Parliament's refusal the
governor of Sandomierz organised advenurous troops with the Jesuits' support as
Several days after the conclave a letter from Rome was sent to the nuncio
requesting him for a detailed report on the progress of the campaign of Dmitryi
and the Polish king's relationship towards him. Soon after that, the usurper
triumphantly entered Russia. He was promised to have a triumphant fresco in the
Sala Regia of Vatican. Shortly after the coronation of the new tsar, the Pope
sent some official letters to: Sigismund III, Cardinal Maciejowski and the
governor of Sandomierz asking them to give the new ruler of Russia all necessary
assistance in the „restoration of Muscovites to Church". It turned out, however,
that the Polish king's support for the campaign was smaller than the Jesuits
were presenting it to the Pope because the king did not want to recognise the
Tsar title of Dmitryi.
Russia's new tsar established diplomatic relations only with the Vatican. On
11 th September 1605 the Pope sent him a congratulatory letter on the occasion
of the coronation again reminding him of the task he was to do. In reply to the
Pope's letter, the tsar outlined his project in which he said that he would like
to move with the emperor and the king of Poland on a crusade against Turks.
However, in order to do so, the Pope has to urge the Polish king and send a few
military experts. Paul V promised to do his best.
After some time, however, the tsar stated that his religious mission was
beyond his capabilities. Polish Catholics acted in Moscow as in a conquered
territory. The Pope began to lose his patience, and asked the tsar to declare
war on Turkey himself and war nuncios would send the message about the war all
over Europe.  After 11 months of the usurper's rule, boyars made a successful
plot on his life. Also at the same time a massacre of several hundred of Poles
was committed. The usurper's body was put into the cannon and fired in the
direction of Poland, but it rather should have flown to the Vatican.
The Jesuits soon began to proclaim that Dmitryi had been able to escape, thus
preparing the ground for a new Dmitriad. The new papal nuncio in Poland
Simonetta tackled the issue. The Vatican sustained that belief. The new Dmitryi
Uzurper started operations from July 1607, again supported by the Polish army.
Maryna Mniszech publicly „recognized" her husband in him. There were no promises,
however, to convert Russians.
Then the Jesuits started to have hard times in Poland. The nobles formed the
Rebellion of Sandomierz against the king, and one of its main blades was aimed
at the Jesuits. It was claimed that under the Jesuits's influence the king was
discriminating people of different faith — dissenters, Protestants by giving
wealth, dignity, offices and constantly blocking the issue of implementing
regulations for Warsaw Confederation that introduced tolearnce in Poland as well
as was not responding to religious riots mainly inspired, anyway, by the Jesuits
themselves. Nobility were also worried about a shift in international policy and
rapprochement with the Habsburgs, who had been figting the so-called Long War
under the patronage of „Holy Father" for several years against Turkey, which
meant involvement of Poland in the crusade against the Turks to which the church
state was pushing by granting dispensation to the Polish king to marry his
former wife's sister Constance of Austria. The Pope considered the marriage „a
thing enormously helpful to Christianity" . Soon Constance became the „main
ensign of militant Catholicism" (Jasienica) cooperating with Piotr Skarga in
this work. In 1606 Piotr Skarga published a propaganda pamphlet for the
formation of a Christian knight (Soldier devotion). Later history showed that
the nobility's concerns were justified as Poland engaged in a costly war against
Turkey after finishing the war with Moscow.
|1. Sigismund III Column in Castle Square in Warsaw is one of the most
emblematic monuments of the capital city. The king of the big cross and the
sword well reflect the policy of the monarch|
Not without reason Sigismund III was called „the Jesuit king." The main
direction of his policy in Poland making a sharp Counter Reformation course was
attributed to the Jesuits, in particular to the Royal preacher, illustrious
Piotr Skarga. The papal diplomat and a Jesuit Antonio Possevino (he supported
the first Dmitryi Usurper), did not value the Polish ruler's intellectual assets
much. According to Antonio Possevino, the Polish ruler was „ of a slow wit and
languid, not too smart temper". From the very start of his reign Piotr Skarga as
his court preacher cared about himm spiritually rousing Catholic fundamentalism
Catholic historiography presents the rebellion of nobility as a movement to
maintain anarchic „golden freedom", a rebellion against strengthening of royal
power which could improve the Republic. Except that this „improvement" meant
suppressing Protestantism by force and next involving in the European Counter
Reformatory policy and the crusade against Turkey. On the one hand, these were „petty"
interests of noblemen. On the other hand, that was the Pope's Counter
Reformatory and crusade policy. King Sigismund himself wanted to strengthen his
power in order to gain the throne of native Sweden. Prince Władysław who was
crowned during his father's lifetime and a governor ruling instead of him would
stay in the country...as an Austrian Archduke.
Sweden, of course, could be conquered and brought back to fidelity of Rome.
Help would be given by Moscow conquered by the Usurper and induced to accept
Catholicism. In this way a great northern league capable of effective actions
against the Turks.would come into being. Intentions were huge and chimerical (...)
His Majesty the King „did not want to content himself with our nation. He strove
for total victory of Catholicism in the whole Europe distroying ethical
integrity of the state that had been relaible for ages, and for the Swedish
crown for himself. The Republic was supposed to comply with all those aims and
serve like a springboard" (Paweł Jasienica). The anti-royal opposition fought
with such a trend.
« Vatican and papacy (Published: 22-02-2013 )
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