Stephan Schiwietz (Siwiec) – uczeń w szkole Maxa Sdralka
Stephan Schiwietz (Siwiec) – pupil of Max Sdralek
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Stefan Schiwietz (Stefan Siwiec), 1863-1941 – a Roman Catholic priest, Doctor of Theology, historian of the Eastern Orthodox Church, pedagogue – was born in Miasteczko Śląskie (Georgenberg) on 23th August 1863. He studied theology at the University of Wrocław for 3 years (1881-1884) under H. Laemmer, F. Probst, A. König and M. Sdralek, among others, and then continued his theological studies in Innsbruck (1884-1886), where he was a pupil of J. Jungmann and G. Bickell. The seminarist spent two years (1885-1886) in Freising in Bavaria, where in 1886 he took his holy orders. Siwiec published his doctoral thesis in Wrocław in 1896, so at the time when Sdralek took the chair of Church History. The subject of the Silesian scholar’s dissertation concerned the monastic reform of Theodore the Studite De S. Theodoro Studita reformatore monachorum Basilianorum. Siwiec combined his didactic work as a religious and mathematics teacher in the public middle school in Racibórz with his academic studies on the history of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, especially on monasticism. The results of his research were published both in German and in Polish. His most significant work is a three-volume monograph Das morgenländische Mönchtum (Bd. 1: Das Ascetentum der drei ersten christl. Jahrhunderte und das egyptische Mönchtum im vierten Jahrhundert, Mainz 1904; Bd. 2: Das Mönchtum auf Sinai und in Palästina im 4 Jahrhundert, Mainz 1913; Bd. 3: Das Mönchtum in Syrien und Mesopotamien und das Aszetentum in Persien vierten Jarhundert, Mödling bei Wien 1938) on the history of the beginnings and development of Oriental monasticism in Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Persia, until the 4th century, which up to the present day has been cited in the world Patristic literature. Yet, Siwiec’s academic work still remains little known, especially in the circle of historians of antiquity and Polish patrologists. The equally little known figure of Max Sdralek, another Silesian (coming from Woszczyce) priest and academic, Rector of University of Wrocław, provides a significant context with the research methodology which this eminent scholar initiated, developed and tried to pass down to his pupils, among whom was also Stefan Siwiec. Sdralek strictly demanded that the principle of the priority of Church history over history of religion and psychology should be kept. In his works a description of socio-cultural factors and natural conditions determining the process of development of Christianity enables to see in a much clearer way how God’s plan has unfolded in history. The mutual dependence of Sdralek and Siwiec, the similarities and differences in their ways of studying and understanding Church history still remains an issue worth further exploration.
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