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2000 | 74 | 177-234

Article title

Katalog husytów i osób podejrzewanych o husytyzm w piętnastowiecznej Polsce



Title variants

Catalogue of Hussites and persons suspected of Hussitism in fifteenth century Poland

Languages of publication



Despite long-lasting research on the Hussite influences in late medieval Poland, carried out by Polish and Czech historians, it is still hard to evaluate the scale of this historical phenomenon. In contrast to a roughly continuous line of historical research in the nineteenth century and in the interwar period, Marxist historiography strove to prove a wide range of Hussite penetration in fifteenth century Poland. Recent studies, however, have questioned these findings and by means of careful analysis of available sources demonstrated a limited number of Polish advocates of Hussite ideas and an ephemeral functioning of their main centres in Great Poland and Cuyavia. Geographical proximity, language similarity and multifold mutual contacts created good opportunities for an easy spread of Hussite ideas from Bohemia in Poland. The reformatory activity of Jan Hus, the founder of the Bohemian Reformation, enshrined an intensive discussion on structural and moral reform of the Church and on the ways of putting an end to the Great Schism in the Western Christendom, The debate in Prague gained much interest among Polish intellectuals. Close links which bound Cracow professors with the Charles University in Prague facilitated the trans-mission of reformatory ideas from Bohemia to Poland. Polish students returning from Prague brought to Poland sermons of pre-Hussite preachers and provided first-hand information about the teaching of Jan Hus. Contrary to Bohemia, where Hussite preaching stimulated the growth of Czech literature, in fifteenth century Poland, the circulation of anticlerical writings in the vernacular had a very limited scale ,,The Eulogy of John Wyclif", written by Andrew Galka of Dobczyn (d. after 1451), Cracow professor, remains the best-known example of popularising anticlerical ideas in the Polish vernacular. Any attempt at evaluating the spread of Hussite ideas in Poland is hindered by patchy and incomplete ecclesiastical registers from the fifteenth century, which pro-vide the most precious data about Poles suspected of Hussitism. The main fault of these materials results from their considerable devastation and the lack of complete records of the trials against persons who were denounced as Hussites or heretics. Due to fragmentary and laconic notes in the ecclesiastical registers, the broadest definition of Hussitism was adopted in my research. Therefore, any person who either declared his/her support for Hussite doctrine, Jan Hus and other Hussite reformers, or adhered to any of the Four Prague Articles from 1420 (which created the core of Hussite doctrine accepted by various Hussite groups), is considered an advocate of Hussitism. Such a broad definition does not take into account a specifity of the ecclesiastical registers, in which various terms related to Hussite articles and in general to heresy were used interchangeably. Some of them refer directly to Hussitism, Hussites, Czechs, or to Jan Hus. The other refer to hazy charges of heresy. According to the recent findings and my own research on the available sources (mainly the ecclesiastical registers of four dioceses: Gniezno, Poznan, Pock and Wloclawek), the list of 198 Poles suspected of Hussitism can be drawn out for the whole fifteenth century. This number includes both vague charges of heresy, which through careful examination, can be attributed to Hussitism, and explicit accusations of Hussitism. Due to the patchy records only the charges against 94 persons can be verified by means of their interrogations before the ecclesiastical courts. The ecclesiastical registers provide little information about the ideas held by Polish Hussites. Recorded charges usually consist of one or two questions concerning Hussite articles. In the catalogue of Hussite ideas produced for the use of ecclesiastical inquisitors, Utraquist Communion came first and remained a distinctive sign of the attachment to Hussite ideas. Most persons suspected of Hussitism were interrogated about the administration of the chalice to the laity. Those who supported the Communion in both kinds for the laity or claimed it necessary for salvation were prosecuted by ecclesiastical jurisdiction as Hussites. Almost half of all charges of heresy, namely 99 (40 against priests and against 59 lay people), which can be drawn out from the ecclesiastical records, were related to Utraquism. Another article, termed Hussite, referred to poverty of the Church. Polish advocates of a poor Church, demanded the secularization of ecclesiastical property, and claimed that secular authorities had the right to take away ecclesiastical property. Only a few of them claimed that a priest should possess no personal belongings, except for clothing and food. A separate group of charges includes those persons who supported the teaching of Jan Hus and praised other Hussite leaders such as Jokoubek of Stíbro and Jan Rokycana. Hussite ideas had a little impact upon the Polish society. Contrary to the Marxist historiography which attempted to present Polish Hussitism as a strong religious and social movement, the available sources provide little evidence that the Hussite religious doctrine did not attract many followers in fifteenth century Poland. Hussite ideas gained some popularity only in the Hussite groups which emerged in Great Poland (Zbąszyń, Kębłowo) and Cuyavia (Pakość, Inowrocław, Nowa Nieszawa) under the protection of Utraquist nobles. The Catalogue of Hussites and persons suspected of Hussitism in fifteenth century Poland is an integral part of my book on Polish Hussites (Husyci w piętnastowiecznej Polsce, Lublin 1998). In order to examine the scale of Polish Hussitism I analyzed all the available sources. My findings were collected in a computer data-base. Social and geographical scale of Hussite articles have been thoroughly analyzed in my book on Polish Hussites. The Catalogue provides information about persons who in ecclesiastical registers were denounced as Hussites and heretics or at least were suspected to be Hussites. The collected data refer to any person suspected of Husstitsm and consist of his/her name, surname, family, place of living, diocese, social status, profession or office. They also include information about his/her articles, which were labelled heretical or erroneous, and the course of trial in ecclesiastical court (interrogation, verdict, penalties). The data are based upon primary and secondary sources which are listed at the end of each note. The Catalogue presents the data in an alphabetical order. Persons whose names remain unknown are listed in the first part of the Catalogue. Variant forms of personal and geographical names are given in brackets. The printed below Catalogue varies a bit from the list of Hussites and persons suspected of Hussitism in fifteenth century Poland, which was published in my book. New data, marked by asterisk, have been introduced mostly to include recent genealogical findings. The research of Janusz Bieniak, Jolanta Szweda and Adam Szweda enabled to identify some of the persons from Cuyavia who were accused of Utraquism. The Catalogue has been a bit extended in comparison to the list published in my book. It includes three new notes on the persons who were suspected of Hussitism: two Utraquist priests Jana of Poznań. (Catalogue, no. 57), Mikołaj, probably vicar in Kościelna Wieś. (Catalogue, no 96), Małgorzata, wife of Łazarz Lubrański (Catalogue, no 163).







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