SAPIEHA'S HOSPITAL FOUNDATIONS AS MANIFESTATION OF COMPASSION? (Sapiezynskie fundacje szpitali jako przejaw milosierdza?)
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Undoubtedly, in the Sapieha family it was Lew who should be considered the greatest founder. As he understood the hard situation of the poor and needy, there were also hospitals among his foundations. The Sapiehas, led by the idea of compassion, built hospitals adjacent to both Catholic and Orthodox churches. One of the main goals of the hospital foundation was the support of the poor and needy, resulting both from the Christ's teachings and the provisions of the Trident Council. Sapieha's foundational activity added also to the prestige of the family. Hospitals founded by the Sapiehas were located mainly in their own properties. As a new parish network was being created, it was indispensable to build also schools and hospitals. Due to a growing number of the poor, the political and economic situation as well as the new waves of plague affecting the Commonwealth, there was a necessity to found new poorhouses. Hospitals in the XVII century focused on giving their patients shelter; only few of them provided any kind of treatment. Patients were obliged to prey for their benefactors, do church service and cultivate plants in hospital gardens. Lew Sapieha's activity was continued by his descendants, but the Grand Chancellor and the Great Hetman of Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the leading founder.
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