The conditions and the environment of the mendicant religious orders (Dominicans, Franciscan Conventuals, Franciscan Observants, Carmelites, and Augustinians) in the holdings of the Teutonic Order in Prussia differed from those in Western Europe. In newly built castles and newly founded cities, German and Polish-speaking communities predominated; while Prussians, unfamiliar with the basics of Christianity, prevailed in rural territories. The network of parish churches declined towards the eastern and northern boundaries of the state. Therefore, the mendicant orders operated there on a different model. An examination of its characteristics is carried out by means of an analysis of the stages, development and dynamics of the settlement of mendicant orders in Prussia. An attempt is made to identify the organisation of their provision and the supporting milieu. Particular attention is paid to the impact of mendicant orders on the deepening of the faith of the local Prussian population in the eastern part of the Teutonic Order’s holdings.
This article surveys evidence of Lithuanian social and religious life during the long fifteenth century as revealed by consistory court records from the sees of Płock, Gniezno, Lutsk and Cracow. The dynamics of church court evidence coincide with those of other aspects of Catholic life in the Grand Duchy. Building churches, chantry chapels, funding mansionary priests, selecting particular Masses to be celebrated by your chantry priest (Salve sancta Parens, the Five Wounds of Christ, the Seven Joys of Our Lady), going on pilgrimage, taking part in a procession, venerating the Blessed Sacrament, sending supplications to Rome to obtain permission to own a portable altar or choose a confessor all become much more common in the later decades of the fifteenth century. Cases before the consistory courts in Płock, Gniezno, Vilnius and Lutsk involve a wide social group and deal with a broad range of issues (not just matrimonial disputes or the hiring out of benefices between priests). What we do not find is any obsession with paganism, no use of pagan as an insult, no account of ‘pagan’ practices (or even folk customs, which later become tarred with an ideological brush). Lithuanian dioceses are clearly integrated into the Polish metropolitan sees (Gniezno and also to a lesser degree, Lwów).
The article examines the role of the last Jagiellonian monarchs, Sigismund I (1506-1548) and his son Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), in promoting and securing religious peace in the multi-confessional society of the 16th-century Rzeczpospolita. The author argues that the Jagiellonian dynasty, which ascended to the Polish throne in 1386 and ruled until 1572, contributed significantly to the rise of religious pluralism in Poland and Lithuania, and paved the way for a mechanism of tolerance which made it possible for religious groups to live together and to respect their religious diversity. The author analyses the anti-heretical laws passed by Sigismund I in the 1520s, and Sigismund II in the 1550s, which were intended to suppress the dissemination of Reformation ideas. In these documents, both monarchs declared their loyalty to the Roman Church, and threatened followers of the Reformation with severe penalties. All these documents give an insight into the religious policy of the Polish kings. Anti-heretical legislation was just one part of a more complex and sophisticated policy of the Jagiellonian kings, which aimed at preserving the religious status quo in the multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Rzeczpospolita.
Mobility and journeys were an integral part of the life of intellectual elites, including the clergy, in the Early Modern Period. Taking to the road was often the outcome of the functions they performed: arrival at the destination was the main aim. In the case of pilgrimages, both the destination and the route were important. Itinerant clergy in search of sustenance became a disciplinary problem for their superiors. This article is based on records of journeys undertaken by canons and prelates of Vilnius Cathedral.
The paper analyses the relationship between the growth of the transit infrastructure and the developments in Tilsit in the period 1514 to 1552. The place of Tilsit in the competition between the merchants of Gdansk, Königsberg and Kaunas for the transit of goods by the River Neman is discussed. The paper reveals how, due to the geo-political circumstances, Königsberg managed to establish itself and to subordinate Tilsit to its trading system. It examines how and why Tilsit turned from being an outer castle settlement (Flecken) to the first town established in the Duchy of Prussia. The dynamics of the growth of the number of inns in Tilsit, their ownership, and the official and family relationships of the owners are examined, as is the weight and the role of innkeepers in the process of Tilsit turning into a town.
The core of Gdańsk patricians consisted of a limited number of families. Some of them managed to build up and maintain their power for as long as 300 years. There were different ways of establishing patrician families and of emphasising their social status. The story of the rise and accession to the nobility of the Ferber family reveals the practical side of the strategy and tactics of the implementation of such goals. Due to purposeful actions and the exploitation of favourable circumstances, the sons of Johann Ferber attained the highest posts in the region, with Maurice becoming the Bishop of Warmia, and Eberhardt the most distinguished Burgomaster of Gdańsk. In 1515, the family were accepted into the nobility by the King of Poland Sigismund I and the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. This was made possible not only by the family belonging to the economic elite of the country, but also by the strong and supportive environment. This paper seeks to highlight the environment by analysing the kinship, social, and official relationships of the Ferbers in the 15th to the 16th centuries before and after their accession to the nobility.