Medvedev, Kirill Maximovich. The cult of Josaphat Kuntsevych in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century: Between religious intolerance and proselytism

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For citation: Medvedev, Kirill Maximovich. The cult of Josaphat Kuntsevych in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century: Between religious intolerance and proselytism, in Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana. 2023. № 1. Pp. 39-54. DOI

Title of the article The cult of Josaphat Kuntsevych in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century: Between religious intolerance and proselytism

Medvedev, Kirill Maximovich — Research Assistant, Institute of History, St. Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia, Orc ID 0000-0002-7495-905X; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the section  Commentarii / Articles
Year 2023 Issue 1 Pages 39-54
Type of article RAR Index UDK; BBK UDK 94(438).04; BBK 63.3(0)5 Index DOI

The research was funded by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 21-48-04402): «Saints and heroes from Christianization to Nationalism: Symbol, Image, Memory (Nord-West Russia, Baltic and Nordic countries)»

In the article within the framework of traditional ideas and concepts associated with the phenomenon of martyrdom in Western Christianity the discursive construction, formation and evolution of the cult of the Catholic martyr Josaphat Kuntsevych is considered in the context of intense inter-confessional confrontation and «Wars of Religion» in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century. It is noted that the cult of the Uniate Archbishop of Polotsk, killed by the Orthodox, was actively used in the confrontation with the «gentiles», especially with adherents of the Orthodox Church, justifying the struggle and violence against them and, in particular, against the most convinced and stubborn enemies of the Catholic Church and the Church Union with Divine wrath and «revenge» for the shed blood of the martyr. At the same time, the cult of Josaphat had a pronounced proselytizing character, aimed at spreading Catholicism among the «gentiles». Both of these hypostases did not contradict each other, since within the framework of the Christian tradition it was believed that the martyrs, accepting death for their faith, contribute to the victory of Christianity over its enemies and its spread, because by their martyrdom they put a choice before their tormentors: either believe in the true God or be doomed to eternal suffering. Secondly, Christian authors of the Middle Ages and early modern period traditionally noted that both preaching and coercion (even violence) are equally important for the spread of the «true faith», and within the framework of the cult of Josaphat Kuntsevych this belief was vividly reflected.

Keywords Josaphat Kuntsevych, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Catholicism, Uniatism, Union of Brest, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, cults of saints, martyrs, historical memory, identity
Full text version of the article Article language  Russian

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Tags: identity, religious studies, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, COMMENTARII / ARTICLES, veneration of saints, Rzecz Pospolita, cultural studies, 17th century, regional studies, Orthodox and Latins

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