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Loyalitätsprobleme von Protestanten in den Ostgebieten Polens

Author: Elżbieta Alabrudzińska
Year of publication: 2013
Source: Show
Pages: 189-209
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/npw2013211
PDF: npw/05/npw2013211.pdf

The Protestants in the Eastern Borderlands were a part of a diverse environment regarding religion – there were Orthodox Christians in Volhynian, Polesie and Nowogródek Voivodeships, Greek Catholics in Lviv, Stanisławów and Tarnopol Voivodeships, as well as Roman Catholics in Vilnius and Białystok Voivodeships. Members of the Evangelical Church were also strangers there when it comes to their nationality, since the society consisted mainly of Poles, Ukrainians, Jews and Belarusians. The role of churches was much more extensive than in other regions of the Second Polish Republic. In Volhynia it was particularly difficult to separate certain branches of the Church’s activity. With the absence of social, cultural, national or political organisations, the Church took over all their duties. The clergymen were the unquestionable leaders of the German community and the Church took up the task of organising the Germans nation-wide. Evangelical churches in the Eastern Borderlands were basically not politically active and they also showed a loyal attitude towards the Polish state. The fact that on the threshold of the Second Polish Republic they broke the reliance on foreign centres was very significant – this was not done for example by the Evangelical United Church in Greater Poland or Pomerania. Evangelical churches from the territories annexed by Russia and Austria had a positive attitude towards the issue of Polish nationality, which derived from the fact, that those churches were never privileged, as opposed to the Evangelical United Church. German Protestants were always living there, far beyond the reach of German authorities, apart from the German occupation period during the First World War. That is why they considered their status of a national and religious minority as completely natural. German Protestants lived there in harmony with fellow believers of other nationalities: Polish, Czech, Jewish and Ukrainian. This mosaic of nationalities distinguished churches in that region from those located in Western or Central Poland. This peaceful coexistence was interrupted only by single Polish-German incidents. They were mainly caused by the state authorities’ activities, who wanted to grant Polish Protestants greater control over churches. This happened for instance in Białystok and Lviv.

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