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2010 | 36 | 3(137) | 49-63

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POLISH AND GERMAN TRADITIONS OF CATHOLICISM IN WARMIA (Polskie i niemieckie tradycje w katolicyzmie na Warmii)

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This historiography makes a distinction between German and Polish Warmia. It is based on the old structure of the population, and, broadly speaking, traditions and customs. The most visible sign of these was the language used in the south, predominantly Polish, and in the north - German, although in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Prussian authorities sought to unify it, in favour of the latter. Polish saints, especially St. Stanislaus, bishop and martyr, and St. Florian were taken into account in the liturgical calendar. The cult of Our Lady of Czestochowa enjoyed great popularity from the eighteenth century, and from the revelations in 1877 of Our Lady Gietrzwaldzka. Polish traditions also strengthened 'Gazeta Olsztynska', which was first published in 1886. However, after incorporating Warmia into East Prussia, Polish culture and traditions suffered a setback. The cult of saints, especially Roch, Valentine, Michael, Mark, Barbara and Rosalie still played a special role. Losiery (Opfergaenge) pilgrimages and (kiermasy) church fairs took place. Warminskie Vespers are still cultivated today. A typical warminski custom was pouring water over each other, not on Easter Monday, but on Ash Wednesday. The custom of sharing wafers and preparing many dishes as in the Polish tradition were not known. At Easter, food was not celebrated. Only funerals, weddings and baptisms were of folk character. Specific to the Warmia religiosity was the cult of the Passion of Christ, dating back to the days of the Teutonic Knights. In the People's Republic of Poland Warminskie traditions, both German and Polish, but cultivated before 1945, began to rapidly decline. It was a natural process associated with the change of population structure in these areas. In place of autochnons, Poles from different parts of the Second Republic, mainly from Eastern Poland, began to arrive, mainly from the Eastern Borderlands. In many parishes a new cult has grown up - the cult of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn - completely unknown before. People from Kurpiowszczyzna, and later Ukrainians, brought their own customs with them.



  • Andrzej Kopiczko, Uniwersytet Warminsko-Mazurski, Instytut Historii i Stosunkow Miedzynarodowych, ul. Kurta Obitza 1, 10-725 Olsztyn, Poland


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