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White Eagle, Black MadonnaOne Thousand Years of the Polish Catholic Tradition$
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Robert E. Alvis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271702

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271702.001.0001

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Deluge and Illusions (1648–1764)

Deluge and Illusions (1648–1764)

(p.106) 5 Deluge and Illusions (1648–1764)
White Eagle, Black Madonna

Robert E. Alvis

Fordham University Press

In the years 1647–67 the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth endured a series of catastrophic conflicts, leaving it shrunken and weak. Many traced the country’s decline to its tolerant heritage, and they sought to curtail the rights of religious minorities. In this difficult era, the Catholic Church helped buttress the country’s fragile public order. Its cadre of priests and religious were largely responsible for public education and the care of vulnerable populations. Despite Poland-Lithuania’s troubles, the idea took root that the country’s Catholics constituted a new chosen people, uniquely blessed by God and uncommonly faithful to the church. As the “Age of Enlightenment” dawned in Europe, the commonwealth’s Catholics continued to inhabit an enchanted universe.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, intolerance, liturgical year, Russia, Sarmatian, Saxon Dynasty, Jan Sobieski, Sweden

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