Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas:  jgo.e-reviews 8 (2018), 1 Rezensionen online / Im Auftrag des Leibniz-Instituts für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung in Regensburg herausgegeben von Martin Schulze Wessel und Dietmar Neutatz

Verfasst von: Gregory L. Freeze


Marek Inglot, S.J.: How the Jesuits Survived Their Suppression. The Society of Jesus in the Russian Empire (1773–1814). Edited and translated by Daniel L. Schlafly. Philadelphia, PA: Saint Joseph's University Press, 2015. XVII, 305 S., 65 Abb. ISBN: 978-0-91610-183-1.

This volume is a translation of Marek Inglot’s 1997 dissertation, published in Italian as La Compagnia di Gesù nellImpero Russo (1772–1820) e la sua parte nella restaurazione generale della Compagnia (Rome 1997). It seeks to explain how the Society of Jesus survived a papal ban in 1773 (precipitated by French and Spanish pressure), why the Russian Empire provided refuge, and how the Vatican slowly amended and ultimately annulled the ban in 1814. The author provides a detailed account of the several decades when the Society of Jesus, despite the papal ban, took refuge in the Russian Empire, continued its educational projects and missions, slowly reestablished a presence in Italy, and finally won papal recognition. Although Catherine II and Paul favored the Society of Jesus (appreciating its utility in cultural development and education), Alexander I was less disposed and in 1820 altogether suppressed the order. But by then the Jesuits were well on their way to restoring their presence, in schools and missions, around the globe, from Chile to China, from Calcutta to Canada. And in those initial decades Jesuits who had been recruited or who had taken refuge in the Russian Empire (chiefly Belorussia) played a major role in launching the restoration.

Adding significantly to what was already a prodigious volume of scholarship, the author draws upon five archives (primarily the main Jesuit archive in Rome) and comes to several main findings. First, the 1773 ban was the result of relentless diplomatic pressure that eventually forced the papacy to acquiesce – not only reluctantly but also conditionally: since its qualified ban was not urbi et orbi, it left room for independent action in Russia and Prussia. And the retreat from the ban was soon coming: in 1783 and 1799 the papacy made two oral declarations, followed in 1801 by a brief Catholicae Fidei, and then a full abrogation in the papal bull of 1814. Second, the Jesuit refuge in the Russian Empire, concentrated in Belarus, attracted Jesuits from many other countries, and these refugees comprised the majority (54 percent) of the “Belarus” Jesuits (p. 202). Third, these same Jesuits played a major role in the Jesuit revival across the Catholic world, first in Italy in the 1790s, and later in the four case studies examined here – England, the United States, Holland, and Belgium. The exposition is rich, not least because of the prolix quotation from primary sources – sometimes running on for more than a single page. It was, obviously, no simple task to render multiple foreign languages in idiomatic but accurate English, but the editor obtained professional assistance to produce a text at once reliable and readable.

The editor has also substantially enhanced the text, chiefly by expanding the scholarly apparatus. In some cases the editor substituted sources that were missing from the original edition (for example, inserting references and translations from the original text in the Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi Imperii. Pervoe sobranie [45 vols. St. Peterburg, 1830]). The editor also inserted some updates to the text – for example, in the reference to the Jesuit status in Russia in 2014 (p. 204). This new volume, printed on glossy paper, also offers 65 high-quality color plates (with images of key figures, institutions, and maps). The new version also includes a useful Biographical Appendix, with 110 vignettes of key and bit players, chiefly Jesuits. Whereas the original version had no bibliography at all, this one includes not only those cited in the footnotes of the original dissertation, but more than fifty titles that have appeared since. The English edition also adds a Bibliographical Note, succinctly describing the main works and archival collections. To accommodate all this, the editor elected not to reproduce the texts given in Appendix I of the original dissertation (a compendium of thirty documents), presumably because many are quoted at great length in the text itself. For the convenience of readers, however, those texts are posted – in the original languages – on an internet site accessible to the general public. Whereas the original published dissertation had no index at all, this translation provides a meticulous list of names, institutions, and places cited in the text (pp. 283–305).

While valuable as an “internal history” of the Russian interlude in Jesuit history, the volume is stronger on the Jesuit than the Russian side. It does not consult the rich literature on the Russian state or religious policy, especially the sophisticated scholarship produced in the post-Soviet era (both in Russia and abroad), and therefore it makes no attempt to shed light on how the Jesuit case fit into the larger framework of imperial policy and ecclesiastical politics. The bibliography is extensive, but not exhaustive. For a comprehensive bibliography of older and recent scholarship, one must look elsewhere – for example, in the uncited dissertations by V. P. Lušpaj (Iezuity v Rossii vtoroi poloviny XVIII veka, kandidatskaia dissertatsiia, Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi gumanitarnyi universitet, 2002) and M. A. Bulavina (Pravovoe polozhenie katolicheskoi tserkvi v Rossii v XVIII veke, kandidatskaia dissertatsiia, Rossiiskaja Akademiia gosudarstvennoi sluzhby, 2008). Although this study made extensive use of the main Jesuit archive and the Vatican archive in Rome (along with occasional references to Jesuit materials in London, Madrid, and Cracow), it does not include Russian state archives, such as the Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical Collegium (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv, fond 822), just one of the many manuscript collections tapped in the (uncited) doctoral dissertation by O. A. Litsenberger (Rimsko-katolicheskaia i Evangelichesko-liuteranskaia tserkvi v Rossii, doktorskaia dissertatsiia, Saratovskii gosudarstvennyi universitet, 2005).

Nonetheless, this study presents a reliable account of the suppression, survival, and revival of the Society of Jesus, and how it managed to operate so successfully under the “enlightened absolutism” of the Russian Empire. The editor-translator and press deserve high praise for investing so much so well.

Gregory L. Freeze, Waltham. MA

Zitierweise: Gregory L. Freeze über: Marek Inglot, S.J.: How the Jesuits Survived Their Suppression. The Society of Jesus in the Russian Empire (1773–1814). Edited and translated by Daniel L. Schlafly. Philadelphia, PA: Saint Joseph's University Press, 2015. XVII, 305 S., 65 Abb. ISBN: 978-0-91610-183-1, http://www.dokumente.ios-regensburg.de/JGO/erev/Freeze_Inglot_How_the_Jesuits_Survived.html (Datum des Seitenbesuchs)

© 2018 by Leibniz-Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien in Regensburg and Gregory L. Freeze. All rights reserved. This work may be copied and redistributed for non-commercial educational purposes, if permission is granted by the author and usage right holders. For permission please contact jahrbuecher@ios-regensburg.de

Die digitalen Rezensionen von „Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas. jgo.e-reviews“ werden nach den gleichen strengen Regeln begutachtet und redigiert wie die Rezensionen, die in den Heften abgedruckt werden.

Digital book reviews published in Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas. jgo.e-reviews are submitted to the same quality control and copy-editing procedure as the reviews published in print.