Archbishop Adam Stefan Sapiecha

Appointed  18 February 1946
Term ended  21 July 1951
Parents  Adam Stanislaw Sapieha
Grandparents  Leon Sapieha
Installed  18 February 1946
Name  Adam Sapieha
Consecration  December 17, 1911
Great-grandparents  Aleksander Antoni Sapieha

Adam_Stefan_Sapieha_(1867-1951) image www.sapiecha.com

Predecessor  Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko
Successor  Eugeniusz Baziak (apostolic administrator)
Other posts  Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria Nuova
Died  July 21, 1951, Krakow, Poland
Similar People  Wladyslaw II Jagiello, Anna Jagiellon, James Cromwell, Wladyslaw IV Vasa, Jadwiga of Poland

Prince Adam Stefan Stanislaw Bonifacy Jozef Sapieha ([ˈadam ˈstefan saˈpʲexa]; 14 May 1867 – 23 July 1951) was a Polish cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Krakow. Between 1922–1923 he was a senator of the Second Polish Republic (Polish Rzeczpospolita). In 1946, Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal.

archbishop adam sapiecha later in life image www.sapiecha.com

Sapieha was born in 1867 in the castle of Krasiczyn, then part of the Austrian Empire. His family, originally from Lithuania, were members of the Polish nobility. He was the youngest of the seven children of Prince Adam Stanislaw Sapieha-Kodenski and Princess Jadwiga Klementyna Sanguszko-Lubartowicza, daughter of Wladyslaw Hieronim Sanguszko.

Education

archbishop adam sapiecha image www.sapiecha.com

After graduating from gymnasium in Lwow in 1886, he enrolled in the Law Department at the University of Vienna, starting simultaneously law studies at Institut Catholique in Lille. In 1887 on the basis of his certificate from the University of Vienna Sapieha continued studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. After two years he passed the examination and returned to Vienna for further studies, where he remained until 1890, obtaining the certificate of completion. In the same year he began theological studies at the University of Innsbruck, and in 1892 signed up for the third year of seminary studies in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lviv.

Early vocation

After returning to the home country in 1897, he was designated vice-rector of the diocesan seminary in Lwow, where he worked until 1901. He resigned because he was discouraged by the imposed rules of education of young priests. After a half-year trip across the United States of America, he was designated a vicar of the St. Nicholas congregation in Lwow in October 1902. In 1905 Sapieha was appointed a papal chamberlain, and sent to Rome where he was a consultant on matters concerning the Roman Catholic Church in Poland, in the annexed territories, the realization of an idea by Lwow Armenian Catholic Archbishop Jozef Teodorowicz (who was the Sapieha’s long-term friend) to have a representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland at the Roman Curia.

archbishop adam stefan sapiecha image www.sapiecha.com

He was educated at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he was also ordained as priest on 1 October 1893 by Bishop Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko (later Bishop of Krakow and Cardinal). Father Sapieha did pastoral work in the Diocese of Lemberg, in whose seminary he served as a faculty member for four years until becoming its rector. In October 1895 he started further studies in Rome, where he obtained a doctorate of civil and canon law at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. At the same time he studied diplomacy at the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles.

Bishop

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Sapieha was appointed Bishop of Krakow on 24 November 1911 and was consecrated by Pope St. Pius X in the Sistine Chapel on 7 December of the same year. In 1915, he established a relief committee for victims of World War I.

After World War I, Sapieha became a vocal opponent of the new concordat negotiated between the Holy See and the newly resurrected Polish state. He argued that the Polish Church should be completely independent of the state and that its primate should be the Archbishop of Warsaw. This attitude led to a conflict with Cardinal Achille Ratti, Pope Benedict XV’s nuncio who himself later became Pope, during the first post-war congress of Polish bishops in Gniezno held 26–30 August 1919. Sapieha thought that the Polish should decide its affairs without outside influence and asked Ratti to leave the conference room. Sapieha was not elevated to the cardinalate by Ratti after he became Pope Pius XI in 1922.

In 1922, Sapieha was elected senator from the Christian Union of National Unity party. He ordered a memorial service and issued a proclamation on the assassination of Gabriel Narutowicz. It was the only speech he delivered as a senator because papal mandate at the time prohibited clergy from holding public office. He resigned on 9 March 1923.

Sapieha was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop in 1925 when the Diocese of Krakow was elevated to the rank of Archdiocese. He received a degree honoris causa from the Jagiellonian University in 1926. In September 1930, after opposition leaders were arrested and placed in confinement at Brest Fortress, Archbishops Sapieha and Teodorowicz strongly criticized the government. Despite this, and other occasional disagreements with the government, Sapieha was awarded the Order of the White Eagle in 1936.

In 1937, Sapieha, who had opposed the Pilsudski regime (sanacja), made the controversial decision to move Pilsudski’s body, within Wawel’s Cathedral, from St. Leonard’s Crypt to the crypt under the Silver Bells.

In 1939 he asked Pope Pius XI to accept his resignation due to age and failing health, but the pope refused. After the death of Pius XI, he repeated his request to the new pope, Pius XII on 19 June 1939. In anticipation of the upcoming war and at Jozef Beck’s instigation he withdrew his resignation.

Activities during the Second World War

During World War II, while Primate August Hlond was in France, Sapieha was the de facto head of the Polish church in jurisdictions directly annexed by the Third Reich (primate Hlond was represented by Walenty Dymek, auxiliary bishop of Poznan) and was and one of the main leaders of the nation. One of the most important organisations to which he belonged was the National Council of Welfare, created on the model of Caritas. From the war’s start of the Nazi occupation, he was an independence activist, working with the Polish government-in-exile.

In August 1944, Sapieha was forced to operate the Polish seminary in secret because the Germans began killing seminarians whenever they found them. He moved his students (including the future Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla) into the Bishop’s Palace in Krakow to finish their training during the Nazi Occupation of Poland.

Sapieha’s biographer, Jacek Czajkowski describes the circumstances of the archbishop being invited by Governor Hans Frank to Hitler’s birthday party in April 1942. He told the German official: No! They are not going to change anything, but they will take a photograph of me and write that a Polish bishop arrived at Hitler’s birthday party with best wishes. Tell him I will not come. Another such anecdote recalls when governor Hans Frank ordered the archbishop to hand him the keys to the Wawel Castle. Sapieha replied: But don’t forget to give them back to me when you will be leaving Wawel.

Cardinal

In March 1945, he initiated the publication of Tygodnik Powszechny. He was created Cardinal-Priest, of the title of Santa Maria Nuova, on 18 February 1946. On 1 November 1946 he conferred priestly ordination on Karol Wojtyla in the chapel of his episcopal residence.

After the Kielce pogrom he provided aid for the affected Jews.

Sapieha knew Karol Wojtyla (later John Paul II) was destined to become a priest when a young Karol delivered a welcoming speech during the archbishop’s visit to his school. Some people consider him a mentor of Pope John Paul II. In 1949, he proposed that Stefan Wyszynski, Metropolitan Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw since 12 November 1948, should be termed Primate of Poland. The following year, 1950, he wrote letters to then-Polish president Boleslaw Bierut protesting Bierut’s repression of the church. Sapieha died on 23 July 1951, and his funeral on 28 July turned into a political demonstration. He was buried in the Wawel Cathedral, in a crypt under the confessional of St. Stanislas.

Portrayal

In the 2005 CBS miniseries Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Sapieha was portrayed by American actor James Cromwell.

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Henry Sapieha

 

1964: Karol Wojtyla Becomes Archbishop of Krakow then becomes the Pope

archbishop-wojtyla-in-1964 image www.sapiecha.com

It is interesting that Karol Wojtyla, before he became archbishop of Krakow, was the Titular Bishop of Ombi in Egypt.

On this day in 1964, Karol Wojtyla became Archbishop of Krakow in Poland. His elevation to the honor of Archbishop was done by the decision of Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini). Karol Wojtyla was also born on the territory of the Archdiocese of Krakow, in 1920, and

*** Was ordained a priest in that archdiocese during the time of Archbishop Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapiecha (who was in fact, by birth, a Polish prince i.e. a prince from the distinguished aristocratic family Sapiecha).

It is interesting that Karol Wojtyla, before he became archbishop of Krakow, was the titular Bishop of Ombi in Egypt. Ombi is an old name for Kom Ombo, where a historically important temple dedicated to the god Sobek (Egyptian god with the head of a crocodile) is located. Kom Ombo is located on the River Nile, a little to the north from the famous Aswan High Dam.

Why was Karol Wojtyla titled a bishop of a diocese in Egypt? This occured because, in the Catholic Church, auxiliary bishops of major dioceses are awarded the title of Bishop of former historic diocese. These used to be called dioceses “in partibus infidelium”, meaning “in the lands of unbelievers”.

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Henry Sapiecha

Monarchs of Poland over the centuries

Uploaded on Sep 11, 2009

Poland has a long and colorful royal history. Since the 9th Century Poland was ruled by dukes, high dukes and kings at various times. Sometimes hereditary the Polish monarchy was more often elective, the throne often passing back and forth between competing forces. From 1386 to 1572 the Jagiellon dynasty provided the Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania. After that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth came into being and was, for a time, a major force in central Europe at one point even threatening to dominate Russia. In 1795 it all ended with the partition of Poland between Prussia, Austria and Russia. During World War I the Germans and Austrians set up a Kingdom of Poland under a regency but after their defeat a new republican Poland was established.

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Henry Sapiecha

THE LEW SAPIECHA FAMILY MEDIEVAL PALACE IN POLAND DONATED TO CONVENT

At Ostra Brama SAPIECHA FAMILY PALACE DONATED TO THE CONVENT

Ostra Brama MEDIEVAL SAPIECHA PALACE IMAGE www.sapiecha.com

The place where the image of the Merciful Jesus was displayed for the first time – the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Ostra Brama – is also important. In the 16th century Ostra Brama was built along with the city walls – it was the first gate to Vilnius. There was a route which led to Medininkai, Ashmyany and Minsk through it; therefore, at first the gate was called the Medininkai Gate. It was also called ‚Zaranna Gate’ [the Gate of Dawn] and, later it was named ‚Aštra’ [in Polish: ‚Ostra’, in English: ‚Sharp’] – because of the name of the southern end of the city. In the gate a picture of Our Lady was put up – it was greatly venerated as early as in the 17th century, and Carmelites who served in Saint Teresa’s Church,the church adjacent to Ostra Brama, started to take care of the image. In 1671 a wooden chapel was built, however, after less than fifty years it burnt down. In its place a new one was erected in 1829 – it was made of brick and built in the neoclassical style. The inhabitants of Vilnius have loved Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn a lot, which, for instance, a large number of votive offerings prove. As early as in the 18th century Our Lady received a beautiful dress made of gold-plated silver, which was probably given by a goldsmiths’ guild. In the 20th century the picture was crowned twice (papal crowns) and the title of the Mother of Mercy was conferred on Our Lady of Ostra Brama.

In March, 1936, Sister Faustina left Vilnius for good, however, Rev. Sopoćko continued her mission in the city. By every possible means he tried to propagate the devotion to the Divine Mercy and he also broadened his theological knowledge of the mystery. Therefore, in Vilnius there are places which are not so much connected with Sister Faustina herself as with the mission entrusted to her by the Lord Jesus. Saint Michael the Archangel’s Church is worth-mentioning because it was there that the image of the Merciful Jesus hung since 1937 till 1948 – the year when the church was closed down. In place of the church and the

***Bernardine Sisters’ convent there used to be a medieval palace of the Sapiecha family. Lew Sapiecha, who was a grand hetman [the second highest military commander] of Lithuania and a governor of Vilnius province, donated the palace to the Bernardine Sisters and adapted it for the needs of the convent.***

In 1594-1596 he had Saint Michael the Archangel’s Church built next to the palace. In 1933 the church and the convent were renovated. However, unfortunately, in 1948 the church was closed down and since 1956 it has been a museum of architecture.

After the closure of Saint Michael’s Church its equipment, therefore, also the image of the Merciful Jesus was transferred to the Holy Spirit Church. Originally, it was a wooden church erected in King Władysław Jagiełło time. After a fire in 1441 Casimir the Jagiellonian had it rebuilt and since the beginning of the 16th century the church was in the charge of the Dominicans, who had been brought to Vilnius by Alexander the Jagiellonian. In the second half of the 18th century the church was rebuilt again and its present outward appearance dates back to that time. Since the convent was closed down by the tsarist authorities in 1844 the church has since functioned as a parish one. Inside there are numerous frescos and pictures, including the valuable painting ‚The Holy Spirit’s Apotheosis’, which dates back to the 19th century. Initially, the image of the Merciful Jesus was stored there as a deposit of Saint Michael’s Church and since 1985, for ten years, it was displayed for public worship on a side altar.

On the 28th September, 2005, through the decision of the Archbishop of Vilnius, A. Bačkis, the image of the Merciful Jesus was transferred to the Holy Trinity’s Church. In that place there was a church as early as in the 15th century and at that time probably it was a wooden one. There is no reliable information about the date when the brick church was erected. In 1536 King Sigismund I funded a hospital attached to the church and at the beginning of the 19th century the authorities converted the church into an Orthodox one. After it was rebuilt, its initial appearance changed almost completely. One hundred years later the church was returned to Catholics, who had it renovated. Today the Holy Trinity’s Church is a shrine of the Divine Mercy.

Sr M. Natanaela Czajkowska O.L.M.

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‚Divine Mercy Newsletter’, no. 68 (2008) and 69 (2009), pp10-11.

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Henry Sapiecha