Dekret Fryderyka Augusta z 23 III 1811 r. w sprawie zasad łączenia klasztorów liczących poniżej 12 zakonników, uproszczenia egzaminów do nowicjatu oraz zniesienia zakazu przyjmowania braci laików
Frederick Augustus’s decree from 23 March 1811 on rules regarding mergers of monasteries housing less than 12 religious, simplification of novitiate entrance examinations, and cancellation of the ban on admission of lay brothers
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The edition presents a little-known document, of considerable significance, however, for the study of the relations between the state and the Church in the Duchy of Warsaw. The document, issued by Frederick Augustus, King of Saxony and Duke of Warsaw, is a decree from 23 March 1811 concerning mergers of small monasteries as well as examinations and the admission of converse brothers. The objectives of the decree were meeting some of the claims of the Polish episcopate. The document was drawn up on the initiative of J. P. Łuszczewski, minister of the interior, who pointed out to the monarch the need to tackle the most urgent issues in face of the protracting work on a comprehensive Church reform. Article 1 of the decree allows the merger of monasteries of poor financial standing, which was not tantamount to dissolution. It only pertained to monasteries housing less than 12 friars. The monarch reserved the right to take the final decision, after the attempts to save a declining monastery failed, and the consent of the ecclesiastical authorities was obtained. The endowment was also supposed to be merged in this process. In article 2, Frederick Augustus was overturning the Prussian ban on the admission of lay brothers, thus opening the possibility for the number of monks to increase, and for the costs of maintenance to drop (since domestic service was no longer to be kept). The same article simplifies the entrance examination to the novitiate, which was now limited to the question about the independence of the decision to pursue monastic life; it also prohibits attempts to discourage candidates.
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