Piotr Skarga 1536-1612

He was born on 2 February 1536 in Grójec and studied at the Kraków Academy (1552–1555). From 1555 to 1557, he was rector of the parish school at St. John’s Church in Warsaw and then taught the sons of Castellan of Kraków Andrzej Tęczyński (1557–1562). From 1563, he was cathedral canon in Lviv where he was ordained (1564), and in 1565 he became the chancellor of the chapter. In 1566, he moved to Gorliczyn, to the court of J. K. Tarnowski. From 1568 to 1570, he was in Rome where he joined the Jesuit Order and completed his theological studies. Having returned to Poland, he was preacher and lecturer in Pułtusk and Vilnius. From 1574 to 1579, he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Vilnius Jesuit college and in 1579, he became the first Vice-Chancellor of the Vilnius Academy; he remained in that post until 1584, when he moved to Kraków. At the beginning, he was the superior of the Jesuit house of St. Barbara and founded charitable societies, including the Archconfraternity of Mercy and the Brotherhood of St. Lazarus; finally, he became the court preacher of Sigismund III Vasa in 1588. He exerted considerable influence on the king and his entourage. The famous Kazania sejmowe (“Sermons Before the Sejm”) date from that period. These sermons are among the most important works in the history of Polish thought, harshly criticising the political culture and practice of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and warning about the possible crisis of the state if the mistakes were not corrected; the warning was not heeded. He died on 27 September 1612 in Kraków.


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