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MOHILEFF


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MOHILEFF


Stanislaus Siestrzencewicz Bohusz, Auxiliary Bishop ofVilna (1773). At first Pius VI refused to recognize this see, mainly on account of the empress's arbitrary action and her persecution of the Uniats, but finally appointed the bishop vicar Apostolic of the new dio- cese. In 17S2 Catharine arbitrarily raised the bish- opric to an archdiocese. After some negotiations, the pope recognized the new Archdiocese of Mohileff by the Bull "Onerosa pastoralis officii" of 1.5 April, 1783, which reserved to the pope the foundation of other dioceses in the territory of the archdiocese, extending from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean. At the second partition of Poland (1793) five Latin sees fell to Rus- sia, Kamenetz, Kieff, Livonia, Lutzk, and Vilna. Although Catharine had promised in the Treaty of Grodno (1793) to maintain the status quo as regards the Catholic Church, she arbitrarily suppressed these dioceses and founded two new ones in places with hardly any Catholics. Part of the property of the suppressed bishoprics was confiscated by the State and the rest given to favourites of the empress.

Catharine's son and successor, Paul I, began, di- rectly after his accession, negotiations with Pius VI, with a view to reorganizing the Latin and Uniat Churches. Four of the five suppressed dioceses (Kamenetz, Vilna, Lutzk, and Livonia, the last under the title of Samogitia) were restored, and the new Dio- cese of Minsk was founded to replace Kieff. Part of the confiscated property was restored to the Church. The four old dioceses, with the new Diocese of Minsk, were made suifragans of Mohileff, which now became a proper ecclesiastical province. Pius VI confirmed this arrangement on 15 November, 1798, by the Bull "Maximis undique pressi", which forms the substan- tial basis of the constitution of the Latin Church in Russia to-day. The Archdiocese of Mohileff did not escape the persecutions to which both the Latin and Uniat Churches were almost constantly exposed, es- pecially during the reigns of Nicholas I and .Alexander II (see Russia). In the hope of weakening the Catho- lic religion, which it hated and barely tolerated, the Government regularly selected aged or compliant men for Mohileff, leaving the pope no option but to con- firm its choice. The first archbishop, Siestrzencewicz (b. 1730; d. 1 Dec, 1826), was one of its most pliable tools. Sprung from a noble but impoverished family of Lithuanian Calvinists, Siestrzencewicz, after serv- ing in the army, became acquainted with Bishop Mas- salki of Vilna, and through his influence entered the Catholic Church and became a priest. Massalki, who never recognized Siestrzencewicz's lack of charac- ter, made him a canon and Auxiliary Bishop of Vilna.

Ambitious, uninfluenced by motives of honour or conscientious scruples, and greedy for power, Siestr- zencewicz's sole aim was to curry favour with the secu- lar authorities and thus secure despotic power over the Catholic Church in Russia. To limit as far as possi- ble the power of his clergy, he persuaded Tsar Paul I to establish the "College of the Roman Catholic Church", to decide, as final court of appeal, all im- portant matters concerning the Catholic dioceses. Its decisions had to receive the approval of the ruling senate, and it was furthermore declared the duty of the clergy to submit unconditionally to the will of the emperor in all matters, secular or ecclesiastical. The presiding officer of the college was Siestrzencewicz, who now established an absolute ecclesiastical despo- tism, appointing to the council only unworthy and subservient men. He granted unlawful divorces for money, induced Alexander I, Paul's successor, to ex- pel tlie nimcio (who had reported to Rome the arch- bishop's unscrupulous conduct), and did not enter the feel>lesl protest against the expulsion of the Jesuits from the capital in 1815, and from Russia in 1820. Casper Casimir Kolumna Cieciszewski_ (b. 1745), Bishop of Lutzk, succeeded Siestrzencewicz (28 Feb- ruary, 1827; d. 16 April, 1831). His great age pre-


vented him from doing much in face of the series of oppressive measures of Nicholas I, a fanatical adher- ent of the Orthodox Church. These measures which were intended to reduce the Catholic Church to a con- dition of servitude, and if possible to exterminat(> it completely in Russia, were furthered by the practice of leaving the archdiocese vacant for long periods — ■ e. g. after the death of Cieciszewski and of Ms succes- sor, Ignaz Ludwig Pawlowski (1841-42; b. 1775).

An expostulatory address presented by Pope Greg- ory XVI to the tsar during his \'isit to Rome in 1845 led to a Concordat, ratified by Russia in 1848 and promulgated by Pius IX, in accordance with which the Diocese of Tiraspol, with Saratoff as its see, was founded for the Cathohc colonists in Southern Russia and made a suffragan of Mohileff. In December, 1848, Casimir Dmochow.ski (b. 1772; d. 11 January, 1851) was appointed archbishop. He was succeeded by Ignaz Holowinski (1851-5) and Wenceslaus Zy- linski (1856-63), a tool of the government. Persecu- tion, suppression, and confiscation continued even after the Concordat, especially under Alexander II. The Diocese of Kamenetz was arbitrarily suppressed in 1866, and Minsk has been vacant since 1869. Under Nicholas II free exercise of religion was granted in 1905, wliile the echcts of toleration of 17 April and 17 October, 1905, weakened in some meas- ure the privileged position of the Orthodox Church. These alleviations have, however, been since whittled down by the arbitrary conductof subordinate officials, acting with the tacit approval of the government. The recent archbishops are: Antonius Fialkowski (1871-83) ; Alexander Casimir Dziewaltowski Gintowt (1883-9); Simon Martin Kozlowski (1891-9); Boles- law Hieronymous Klopotowski (1901-03); George Joseph Elesiius a Slup6ff Szembek (1903-5); Appolin- aris Wnukowski (1909), and Vincentius Klucznski (appointed 5 June, 1910).

II. Statistics. — The suffragans of Mohileff are: Samogitia, Lutzk-Zhitomir, Vilna, and Tiraspol. From 1866 Kamenetz has been administered by the Bishop of Lutzk, and from 1869 Minsk by the arch- bishop. The ecclesiastical province is the largest in the world, including three-fourths of European (the ecclesiastical province of Warsaw is excluded) and the whole of Asiatic Russia (5,450,400 sq. miles). Ac- cording to the diocesan statistics for 1910 the archdio- cese contains 28 deaneries, 245 parish churches, 399 priests, 1,023,347 Catholics. The administrators of thirty-four other parishes and chapels are immedi- ately under the jurisdiction of the archbishop. Among these the most important are: Chernigoff (10,600), Tashkent (15,000); and in Siberia: Krasnoyarsk (13,- 000), Tomsk (10,000), Vladivostok (10,500), etc. The see of the archdiocese is St. Petersburg. The arch- bishop presides over the Roman Catholic Collegium, which regulates the relations between the resjjective dioceses and the Department of Public Worship, and administers the property of the Catholic Church. The Metropolitan Curia consists of a secretary and four other members; the archdiocesan chapter of a provost, dean, archdeacon, and six canons; the General Con- sistory of an official (secular administrator for the bishop), vice-official, three assessors, visitor of monas- teries. Defensor matrimonioTum, and twelve lay mem- bers. The Roman Catholic ecclesiastical academy at St. Petersburg has a rector, spiritual director, sixteen clerical and seven secular professors, and .58 students. The seminary has 2 provi.sors, a rector, spiritual direc- tor, inspector, 14 clerical and 5 secular i>r(ifessors, 33 theological students, .59 philosophical, and :!1 in the preparatory course. There are no statistics as to the monasteries of the diocese. From 1908 a Catholic monthly has been published at St. Petersburg.

Theiner, Die neueslen Zn /.i ,'. /, l.illiol. Kirche beider Ritua in Polen u. Ruiifilnnd (\\li.'^hr, ;■ 1 -1 I i^r(EVll, L'Sglise cathol. en Pologne sous le gourrrn . . : ;-lS7e (Paria. 1876);

-PiEBLiNO, La Russie et Ic .s./.;,/ ,s,, /. ( 1 vuU., Paris, 1896-1907);