Traditions across Europe-an eTwinning project

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, TRADITION and myth frame our response.” (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.)

Tradition of religious tolerance in Poland May 29, 2008

Filed under: tradition of tolerance — ligregni @ 10:56 pm

While Europe was experiencing religious wars Poland (as a multinational country) also had many conflicts, wars but they were never provoked by religion.
Poland could actually be seen, according to Jan Drewnowski a professor of Polish University in London as a kind of pioneer of tolerance. Even in medieval times Jews found religious tolerance and economic opportunity in Poland.

from the

Under King Sigmund II. (1548-1572), the teachings of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin and of the Bohemian Brethren found followers throughout Poland. The diet of 1555 introduced FREEDOM OF CONFESSION (TOLERANCE); Poland discontinued to pay St. Peter’s Penny [ which was a Papal tax on all Christians which went straight to Rome] Protestantism had it’s most ardent followers in the cities of Danzig, Thorn and Elbing, which still were German in character. The majority of Poland’s nobility had converted to protestantism. Poland’s tolerance policy attracted those who were persecuted because of their confession, from the Netherlands, France, Silesia.
The policy of tolerance resulted in political gains : Lutheran LIVONIA (with Courland) in 1561 asked for Polish protection (against Russian incursions) and became an autonomous region within the Kingdom of Poland. In 1569, the Estates of Catholic/Protestant Poland and Catholic/Greek Orthodox Lithuania established the UNION OF LUBLIN, merging the two countries and their institutions. Religious tolerance was a necessary precondition for the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian state.

From Wikipedia (

In 1573 the Warsaw Confederation formalized, in the newly formed Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the freedom of religion that had a long tradition in the Kingdom of Poland. The first extensive Jewish emigration from Western Europe to Poland occurred at the time of the First Crusade in 1098. Under Boleslaus III (1102–1139), the Jews, encouraged by the tolerant régime of this ruler, settled throughout Poland, including over the border into Lithuanian territory as far as Kiev. The Tatars who settled in Lithuania, Ruthenia and modern-day eastern Poland were allowed to preserve their Islamic religion in exchange for military service.

John Paul II was the first pope was also an advocate of religious tolerance promoting peace and reconciliation in the world. He was the first pope to enter a mosque (in Syria) and the main Jewish synagogue in Rome. He was the first to go to Greece and establish relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church after a thousand years of no relations between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman churches.

Ewa A. Golebiowska examined Poles’ present attitudes toward four religious minorities: Jews, Muslims, Russian Orthodox Christians, and Protestants. The study demonstrates that Poles, as a group, are highly tolerant of religious minorities. A. Glebiowska writes: ” (…) extent of their [Polish people”s] tolerance varies with the group and activity to be tolerated. How tolerant or intolerant Poles are depends, in addition, on their social circumstances (education, age, and religiosity) and political (interest in politics and perceptions of threat to Poland’s independence) and psychological (xenophobia) characteristics.”

designed by a Polish artist Piotr Młodożeniec for a competition organised by “The Museum on the Seam for Dialogue, Understanding and Coexistence” in Jerusalem and made famous by Bono from U2

Gimnazjum nr 18, Poland


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s