The Association (Society) SZLAK BRACI POLSKICH (Polish Brethren' Trail) - www.szlakbracipolskich.pl has many objectives, among them:
- Collecting and archiving all available historical data and information about Polish Brethren in XVI-XVIII centuries.
- Scientific research related to the Polish Brethrens.
- Support for actions that promote knowledge about the achievements of the Polish Brethren.
- Promotion of historical places, buildings and objects related to Polish Brethrens'.
Polish Brethren represented not only people of a specific religious group. They represented also the socio-cultural formation which attracted many progressive and highly educated people Kingdom of Poland for almost a hundred of years in 16th century.
Polish Antitrinitarianism was developed in years, 1562-1563 in the effect of a split in Reformed (Calvinist) Church of Little Poland in Southeast Poland. The group of believers who left the existing church was called a "Lesser Church" (ecclesia minor) to distinguish from the remaining "Greater Church" (ecclesia maior). The members of a "Lesser Church" called themselves "Christians" or "Polish brethren".
Although Polish Arianism was established in Poland it was significantly influenced by foreigners, mainly Italians, who found in Poland a safe place against religious persecution in their home countries. In the beginning Polish Arianism was inhomogeneous structurally and ideologically. There were many formations (sects) united only by a rejection of the Holy Trinity dogma. The rejection of Trinity was clearly differentiating them from other Christian sects and became eventually a reason of the massive counterattacks. After many debates and research the uniform Anti-Trinitarian formation was united and was performing until the expulsion in 1658.
Fausto Sozzini, known also under Latin name: Faustus Socinus, 1539-1604, was an Italian theologian, who settled in Poland. He is credited for the unification of theAntitrinitarianism in Poland, both structurally and ideologically. After Sozzini died, Polish Brethrens were called also Socinians from his name. Polish Brethrens supported rationalism, social justice and fraternity. They supported religious tolerance, national culture and education and were opposed to feudal injustice. He is credited for the unification of the Antitrinitarianism in Poland, both structurally and ideologically. After Sozzini died, Polish Brethrens were called also Socinians from his name. Polish Brethrens supported rationalism, social justice and fraternity. They supported religious tolerance, national culture and education and were opposed to feudal injustice.
Polish Brethren were disbanded in 1658 by Sejm (Polish Parliament). They were ordered to convert to Roman Catholicism or leave Poland.
In the USA Prof. Marian Hillar studies the influence of Polish Socinians into the American Constitution. You can read his study in English:
Polish Brethren Society achieves their goals through several projects:
- this is the first project of this kind in the world, with purpose to collect, to computerize and then to allow public access to any information and historical memorabilia that are still available. Polish Brethren sect was called "Polish faith", with disdain. This also suggests its Polish roots, although the refugees from the Western Europe played a significant role.
- Information Website: www.szlakbracipolskich.prv.pl
- Contains information about the places related to Polish Brethrens, their bibliography, works and actions in Poland and abroad; their social and religious research and historical background. It includes the biographical information about the important people representing the Polish Brethrens community.
- Film Studio "Polish Brethren": http://www.youtube.com/user/SzlakBraciPolskich - documentary of the historical locations, sites and objects related to Polish Brethren.
- Polish Brethren Trail - a professional tourist route was prepared to help visit all locations, sites and objects related to Polish Brethren during their activities in XVI - XVIII centuries. The trail includes also the other historical objects important for the reformation and the world history.
Our society, www.stowarzyszenieszlakbracipolskich.prv.pl, carries also many other activities for documentation and popularization of Polish Brethren's achievements.
Rakow - Polish Brethen Printing House - Representatives of Unitarian Church from the US in front with Jagoda Urban-Klaehn (text translator)
In the present time all Internet websites are available only in Polish language version. We hope to add the English version thanks to the sponsors. There is also the facebook website.
The center of our activities is located in Swietokrzyski province, since it is a concentration of the majority of post-Arian historical objects. In XVI century the whole region of river Nida was covered with a network of Arian chapels, schools and libraries. Town Pińczów became a center of Arian (Polish Brethren) movement since 60s of XVI century until 1586. It was equipped not only in Arian's chapel but also the library, archives and the printing house managed by Daniel of Łęczyca. After Piotr Myszkowski, Bishop of Krakow bought this town, he removed Polish Brethren from Pinczów. The Arian's cultural center was then moved to Raków, a town established in 1569 by Jan Sienienski. Already in 1575 a printing house was opened there. In 1602 a famous Raków Academy was established. The efforts of Jakub Zadzik, a Kraków's bishop caused the closing of Polish Brethen's activities in Raków. The last location of Arian's in Poland was in Czarkowy, which belonged to Moskorzowski's family. In 1659 the last secret synod took place there.
Robert J. Paliga
Robert P. Płaski