Popiel (Chosciak Popiel) Wincenty Teofil (1825-1912), archbishop metropolitan of Warsaw. Born on July 21, 1825 in Czaple Wielkie (Miechow County), he was the youngest son of Konstanty and Zofia of Badeni, Onufry's (vide) nephew, Pawel's (vide) brother. At the beginning he had a private tutor, a Dominican monk Gwalbert Leszczynski and since 1835 he was attending a private school of Jozef Kremer in Krakow. After graduation he started the law school in Warsaw and upon graduation in 1845 started his court training. He stopped upon his father death and returned to Czaple Wielkie to help his mother in administering the estate. In 1847 he was admitted to the Seminary in Kielce, where he befriended a priest, rev. Ireneusz Lubienski. Popiel was ordained in Sandomierz on August 5, 1849. After that he left Poland for Louvain, where he studies at the Catholic University and graduated as a Bachelor of St. Theology submitting his thesis: Theses quas annuente summo numine..., (Louvain 1851).  After graduation he left for Rome and in 1852 he became a Theology doctor. Staying abroad he was strongly interested in the Catholic Church situation i Belgium and Italy and in the contact between Polish emigration and Rome. Every vacations he used to spend home. In August 1853 Popiel came back to Poland and was appointed a secretary of the consistory and a professor of the moral theology in the diocesan seminary in Kielce, and later became a vice-regent. Earlier, in 1850, Popiel was appointed a canon at the Krakow cathedral. Also, since 1856 he was a honorary canon at the Lublin cathedral. With the suppoprt from rev. K.I. Lubienski, the archbishop Zygmuny Szczesny Felinski appoined Popiel as a rector of the Ecclesiastical Academy in Warsaw, where Popiel stayed till summer of 1863. On 3-11-1863 the pope Pius IX appointed Popiel as a bishop for Plock. Popiel arrived to Plock on 8-24-1863 and with the pope's consent started administering the diocese before consecration. In the meantime, archbishop Felinski who supposed to be the main consecrator, was deported into Russia. Also, the secret National Government protested with the church against Popiel's consecration as he was thought a supporter of margraph Aleksander Wielopolski and in opposition to the war against russian oppressors (January Uprising). The Kujawy-Kalisz bishop Jan Marszewski declined taking part in consecration and finally Popiel was consecrated in Plock on 12-6-1863 by only one bishop, Henryk Plater.

archbishop Wincenty Popiel

Marble plate in the St. John carthedral in Warsaw Old City, where archbishop Popiel has been buried.

In spite of the political conciliating (as first he abolished on January 1, 1864 in his diocese mouring related to the bloody events of February 27, 1861) Popiel soon got himself into a conflict with the government on religious matters. After dissolution of the monasteries and convents Popiel ordered the parsons to help the monks and deploy them throughout the parishes (memorandum of 12.12.1864). The government deducted because of that significant amounts from his pay over two years period. In 1867 he did not agree to appoint a delegate from his diocese to the Spiritual College in Petersburg, and in turn he became the first member of the episcopate of the Kingdom being persecuted by the authorities. On August 28, 1869 he was deported to Nowogrod. He stayed there seven years and during his deportation he wrote Memories and The Life of the Savior... (Krakow  1877; 2 wyd., W 1881, 3 wyd., L. 1907). In 1875 Popiel returned to Poland, however, he was denied overtaking the Plock diosese. The pope appointed him Kujawy and Kalisz bishop and Popiel lived in Wloclawek till 1882. He started the restoration of the Wloclawek cathedral. In 1879 he protested against the government decree that forbade the clergy travelling beyond the parish borders withot the passport, and later he protested against prohibition of giving recollection and lecturing in Russian. On March 15, 1883 the pope Leon XIII appointed Popiel the archbishop metropolitan of Warsaw. The metropolitan pallium Popiel received in Petersburg on May 6, 1883. Popiel's ceremonial ingress to the St. John cathedral in Warsaw, which was without a metropolitan for twenty nine years, happend on Jue 10, 1883. Not earlier than ten years afterwards Popiel was allowed by the government to visit the pope in Rome (1894), where Leon XIII discussed with him the matters of the unification of the Eastern and Roman churches.

Popiel started in Warsaw with common applause for his to-date pastoral deeds. Unfortunatelly, it was not for long time. Popiel was concerned mainly with the church matters and kept conservative, politically conciliating course. He was considered as excessively submissive towards the occupant authorities. His decision to publicly read a tzar Mikolaj II's manifesto on his ascending the throne, in Russian,   turned public opinion against him. This decision, criticized both by the clergy and the flock, Popiel himself considered later as imprudent. The society was convinced that Popiel was not able or capable of any resistance against the government's Russianization pressure. Popiel was a supporter of the Real Politics Party. During Russian- Japan war he organized a special railroad train ambulance, founded from the Polish society contributions. Broad spectrum of the society was against that idea. The National Democratic Party initiated action of cracking at and wrecking the parochial fund collection outposts. Popiel's apartment windows were broken by the protesters. New tensions happen during the students' strike, since Popiel appealed in his pastoral letter read in churches on July 27, 1905 for abandoning the Russian school boycott. With time, Popiel changed his mind on the matter of the language and wrote a letter to the tzar asking for reinstating Polish school in Poland. On December 12, 1901 Popiel wrote a pastoral letter in which he opposed socialists and in revolutionary 1905 he recommended that the parsons would speak in the churches against strikes, and after June fights on the streets of Lodz he issued another pastoral letter "To the workers and employers of Lodz", calling one party to stop strikes and the other to follow rules of caring employer.

In his pastoral work Popiel had great successes. During his office four new churches were built in Warsaw, and in the diocese more than twenty. He created many new parishes. During his time many Christian charity works were created, such as Educational Institution for poor youth run by rev. Jan Siemec and many hospices, poorhouses, shelters and orphanages. Popiel sponsored publication by rev. Zygmunt Chelmicki "The Christian Library" and "Church Encyclopaedia Reference Book". Popiel made possible moving rev. Ignacy Klopotowski's magazine "A Pole-Catholics" from Lublin to Warsaw. His activities were reachin far beyond his diocese. He was a major sponsor of Jasna Gora. After the fire there he rebuilt the tower. His initiative was rebuilding the stations of the Way of the Cross there. He remained in discreete contact with father Honorat Kozminski, the organizer of the secret, frock-less congregations, however, when the prohibition of monasteries and congregations was abolished in 1905, Popiel tried to subordinate these organizations under the diocese jurusdiction. Popiel was not for the Christian social movement based on the encyclicy "Rerum novarum", run among others by rev. Marceli Godlewski, the creator of the Christian Workers Society. He supported competitive, socially conservative Catholic Alliance, established in 1905 by Juliusz Ostrowski. Taking an adventage on the Mikolaj II's tolerance manifesto, Popiel established a Kingdom of Poland Episcopal Conference. The first one took place in Warsaw on December 14 to 17, 1906, the second on November 19 and 20, 1907, the third on December 1 and 2, 1909, and fourth and last one during his office on October 19, 1910. After 1905 Popiel became seriously sick, loosing his memory. Since then the diocese was under coadiutor Kazimierz Ruszkiewicz's care. Popiel celebrated his 25 anniversary as bishop in 1888, 50 anniversary of his priesthood in 1899 and in 1908 25 anniversary as archbishop. He died on December 6, 1912 in Warsaw and was buried in the cellars of the archcathedral in Warsaw.

The works published after his death were: "Listy z mlodosci 1847-53" (Kr. 1913) and 1862-1875 "Pamietniki" (Kr. 1915 I-II).


Plyta z popiersiem w kosciele w Czaplach Wielkich; Fot. w: Pamietniki, (Kr. 1915 I-II); - Bibliogr. historii Pol. XIX w., Wr. 1976 II cz. 3 vol 2, Wr. 1968 II cz. 1; Podr. Enc. Kosc.; Chodynski S., Biskupi sufragani wloclawscy, Wloclawek 1906; Gams P.B., Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Graz 1957; PSB, XVIII (Lubienski Konstanty Ireneusz), XXVI (Ostrowski Juliusz); Uruski; - Bender R., Spoleczne inicjatywy chrzescijanskie w Krolestwie Polskim 1905 - 1918, L. 1978; Bodou A., Stolica sw. a Rosja, Kr. 1913 II; Chrzescijanstwo w Polsce, :. 1980 s. 271; Fajecki A., Z dziejow Archidiecezji warszawskiej, "Atheneum" R. 14: 1928 t. 22; Dzwonkowski R., Listy spoleczne biskupow polskich 1891 - 1918, Paryz 1974; Gajewski S., Diecezja plocka w latach 1864 - 1914, Studia Plockie, Plock 1975 III 309-10; Historia Kosciola w Polsce, P. 1979 II cz. 1; Kieniewicz S., Powstanie styczniowe, W. 1972; tenze, Warszawa w latach 1895 - 1914, W. 1976; Klopotowski I., Arcybiskup metropolita warszawski Wincenty Chosciak Popiel, W. 1912; Kozicki S., Historia Ligi Narodowej (okres 1887 - 1907), Londyn 1964; Kumor B., Ustroj i organizacja Kosciola polskiego w okresie niewoli narodowej 1772 - 1918, Kr. 1980; Kwiatkowski W., 150-lecie utworzenia diecezji warszawskiej 1798 - 1948, "Wiad. Archidiecezjalne Warszawskie" 1948 nr 1-2; Nowowiejski J., Plock. Monografia historyczna, Plock 1917; Orzechowski I., Kochanski A., Zarys dziejow ruchu zawodowego w Krolestwie Polskim (1905 - 1918), W. 1964; Peski A., Przed pol wiekiem, "Mies. Pasterski Plocki" 1913 nr 12 s 239-41; Pleszczynski A., Dzieje Akademii Duchownej rzymskokatolickiej warszawskiej, W. 1907; Pobog-Malinowski W., Najnowsza historia polityczna Polski, Londyn 1963 1; Popiel P., Rodzina Popielow..., Kr. 1936 s. 102-25, 129 (fot.); Tarnowski S., Ks. Wincenty Chosciak-Popiel arcybiskup warszawski, Kr. 1913; Urban W., Ostatni etap dziejow Kosciola w Polsce przed nowym tysiacleciem (1815 - 1965), Rzym 1966 s. 180, 261, 294; Werner M., O. Honorat Kozminski, kapucyn, 1929-1916, Poznan 1972; Wyczawski H.E., Abp Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski 1822-1895, W. 1975; - Carat i klasy posiadajace w walce z rewolucja 1905-1907 w Krolestwie Polskim. Materialy Archiwalne. Zebral i opracowal S. Kalabinski, W. 1956; Felinski Z.S., Pamietniki, Kr. 1897 I-II; Harusewicz M., Za carskich czasow i po wyzwoleniu, Londyn 1975; Kubicki, Bojownicy kaplani, III cz. 1; La correspondance des papes et des empereurs de Russie (1914-1978), [Wyd.] S. Olszanowska-Skowronska, Roma 1970; Marchlewski J., Pisma wybrane, W. 1956 II; Papiestwo wobec sprawy polskiej w latach 1772-1864, Wybor zrodel, Oprac. O. Beiersdorf, Wr. 1960; Polska dzialalnosc dyplomatyczna 1863-1864. Zbior dokumentow, Pod red. A. Lewaka, Wr. 1963 III; Popiel J., Opis uroczystosci jubileuszowej arcybiskupa warszawskiego ks. W. Popiela z powodu 25-letniej konsekracji biskupiej w dniu 4 grudnia 1888, Kr. 1888; Szlagowski A., Ostatnie piecdziesieciolecie. Mowa z okazji jubileuszu ks. W. Teofila Chosciaka-Popiela, W. 1889; Zdzitowiecki S., Mowa zalobna na pogrzebie sp. Wincentego Teofila Chosciak-Popiela, Wloclawek 1912; - "Gaz. Narod." 1922 nr z 10 XII; "Kur. Poranny" (W.) 1883 nr 120 (podob.); "Kur. Warsz." 1883 nr 114; "Tyg. Illustr." 1883 nr 11 s 161-2 (podob.) - Arch. Archidiec. Warsz.: Akta Konsystorza Warszawskiego 1889-1926 vol. 367.

Ryszrd Bender i Andrzej Galka

Translation from Polish to English: sp

 

 

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This site was created on June 15, 1998 and updated on May 13, 2007
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