Nieznany dokument papieski dla Andrzeja, pierwszego biskupa Seretu i Wilna, i powstanie biskupstwa wileńskiego

Marek Daniel Kowalski



An Unknown Papal Document Issued to Andrzej, First Bishop of Seret and Wilno, and the Foundation of the Wilno Bishopric

Papal chancery registers in the Registra Lateranensia series include a bull issued by Boniface IX, addressed to Andrzej Jastrzębiec, the first Catholic bishop of Seret (Moldavia), and heretofore unexamined by historians. The “Rationi congruit” type bull features the date 9 November 1389, but was issued by the papal chancery in the second half of 1390 (after 30 May). In it, the pope expressed his consent for Andrzej to cumulate two lower benefices together with the indigent bishopric of Moldavia. A pertinent supplication had been considered by Urban VI already on 20 February 1386, but the supplicant succeeded in having the bull dispatched four years later, already during the successor’s pontificate. Historians agree that Andrzej Jastrzębiec was the first bishop of Wilno as early as the middle of 1388, an opinion negated by the titles used in the document. Sources concerning the beginnings of the Wilno bishopric are extremely scarce. The bishopric lacks a foundation act and the opinion about the establishment of a Lithuanian diocese in the middle of 1388 is based on an undated letter by the Bishop of Poznań Dobrogost of Nowy Dwór, whom the pope supposedly commissioned to perform its canonical erection. This letter, known solely as a copy devoid of a date and an eschatocol, and featuring a curious grammatical form, cannot be recognised as a document and does not provide foundations for determining the time of the origin of the bishopric and the translatio of Andrzej from Seret to Wilno. Jastrzębiec does not appear in preserved sources with the title of the bishop of Wilno until 30 August 1391. The bull issued by Boniface IX thus imposes the acknowledgement that the foundation of a bishopric in the capital of Lithuania took place either in the second half of 1390 or in the first half of the following year, i.e. two years later than has been assumed until now. The reasons for such a long delay in creating a diocese in Lithuania still remain unclear.

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