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Some key dates of religious history

The birth of Christianity on the Polish land

966: Baptism of Poland: Mieszko I (Duke of Polan) was baptised on the occasion of his marriage with the Bohemian princess Dabrówka (Dobrava)
968: Foundation of the first diocese on the Polish soil (Poznan)
1000: Foundation of the metropolis of Gniezno including dioceses in Kraków, Kolobrzeg and Wroclaw

Republic of Both Nations (Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów)

1569: Union in Lublin (Unia Lubelska): creation of the so-called Republic of Both Nations (Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów)
1570: Agreement of Sandomierz (Zgoda Sandomierska) between Lutherans, Calvinists and Bohemian Brothers as a common defense against counterreformation.
1573: Confederation of Warsaw (Konfederacja Warszawska): guarantee of the religious peace between various religious denominations.
1596: Union of Brzesc (Unia Brzeska): union between part of the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church: foundation of the Byzantine Ukrainian rite
1655/1656: victorious defense of the Pauline monastery of Częstochowa on the Jasna Góra against the Swedish army
1658: Constitution of the Polish parliament to expel the Polish brothers (Arians, Anti-Trinitarians) from the country
1724: Religious conflict in Torun (between Catholics and Lutherans)
1791: Constitution of 3rd May, the Preamble included the following Invocatio Dei: "In the name of God within the Trinity"; Article I stated: “The dominant national religion is and will be the Holy Roman Catholic Faith with all its rights. The change from the ruling religion to any other confession will be punished as apostasy. Yet, because our same belief orders us to love other brothers we shall offer all people of any confession religious peace and government protection, and we guarantee the freedom of all rites and religions in Polish territories according to the laws”.
1795: Loss of the independence as a consequence of the third partition of the Poland made by three countries: Empire of Russia, Austria and Prussia (1795-1918).

The Republic of Poland (1918-1939)

1918: A new democratic country was formed after 123 years of partition of Poland
1921: The Constitution of 17th March contained a short Invocatio Dei: "In the name of the almighty God", by way of a compromise in the recognition of the Jewish and Muslim communities. The model of the relation between the State and religious denominations appear in Article 114: “Roman Catholic religion as a religion of the vast majority of the people in the State has got supreme position among the other religious denominations”.
1925: Concordat with the Holy See, 10th February
1939 World War II: invasion of Poland by the Nazi Army (1 September) and Soviet Red Army (17 September)

People’s Republic of Poland (1945-1989)

1945: Poland was incorporated into part of the Soviet alliance countries as an effect of the Conferences in Jalta
1945: Resolution of Council of Ministers established that the Concordat with the Holy See (1925) is not in force any longer
1950: Establishment of the Office for Religious Affaires (UdSW), the central organ of the government administration. It was created to work in many different ways against religious denominations
1950, 1956: Agreements between representatives of the authorities of People’s Republic of Poland and the Polish Episcopal Conference
1952: Constitution of People’s Republic of Poland of 22nd July. According to the art. 82 par. 2: “Church and State are separated”
1953, 1956: Decree introducing the supervision of the state authorities over creating, transforming, abolishing and taking ecclesiastical posts and making it possible to remove priests from their positions
1961: Establishment of the law of the development of the educational system and education, which was the last step of the exclusion of the teaching of religion from public school
1966: Celebration of the Millennium of Polish Christianity
1978: Election of a new Pope, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who took the name John Paul II
1979: First official visit of the Polish Pope John Paul II on the Polish land (other visits followed in 1983, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2002)
1984: Murder of a very popular Polish priest, Jerzy Popieluszko (chaplain of the "Solidarnosc" movement)

Republic of Poland (from 1989)

1989: New ecclesiastical laws: the guarantees of the freedom of conscience and religion, the relations of the State to the Catholic Church, the social security of the priests (in force until 1998)
1989: Amendments of the Constitution of People’s Republic of Poland
1989: Resumption of diplomatic relations between Holy See and the first Polish democratic government
1990: Reestablishment of the teaching of religion in public schools
1991/1994/1995/1997: new ecclesiastical laws concerning the State relating to religious denominations other that the Catholic church
1993/1998: Signing and ratification of the Concordat
1997: Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2nd April
2005: Death of the Polish pope John Paul II

D 28 September 2012    APiotr Stanisz

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