Kozacy i szwedzki ślad

Szwedzkie konszachty z Chmielnickim są mi znane, ale nowością były dla mnie dużo wcześniejsze ślady:

Interestingly enough, the presence of the religious factor in the uprising of 1630 was noted not only by Polish–Lithuanian official circles, the Muscovite government, and the Eastern patriarchs but also by representatives of Swedish diplomacy. Sweden was attempting to undermine the Commonwealth’s position in the Thirty Years’ War and to prevent the use of Cossack contingents against its own forces. In this context, the transformation of the Cossacks from potential enemies into potential allies in the struggle with the Commonwealth was entirely congruent with Swedish political interests. Since religious allegiance was the usual basis for identifying allies and enemies in Europe of the day, one of the ways to achieve an understanding with the Cossacks, from the viewpoint of Swedish diplomats, was to promote anti-Catholic solidarity between Protestant Swedes and Orthodox Cossacks. At first, Swedish diplomatic agents sought to incite actions against the Commonwealth on the part of the Muscovite tsar in defense of the Orthodox in the Commonwealth; later, they attempted to establish direct contact with the Cossacks.

In a letter of June 1631 from the Swedish agent in Riga to the Ukrainian Cossacks, they were encouraged to turn to the Swedish king, who was represented as an enemy of the Jesuits and a supporter of the Greek religion. It was claimed that Cossack devotion to the faith had been commended to the king by none other than Patriarch Kyrillos Loukaris of Constantinople. The attitude of the Cossacks to this Swedish agitation was ambiguous. As noted in a contemporary Muscovite report, the Cossack rank and file was prepared to respond to the Swedish appeal on the basis of the wrongs done to their ‘true faith’ by the Poles, but the officers greeted the Swedish envoys rather coldly and ultimately turned them over to the authorities. In all likelihood, this was an attempt on the part of the new officers, installed after the uprising of 1630, to show their readiness to collaborate with the government.

A great new Cossack uprising took place in 1637–8 under the leadership of Pavlo But (Pavliuk), Karpo Skydan, and Dmytro Hunia. Like the previous uprising of 1630, the war of 1637–8 was waged at least in part under the banner of the defense of the Orthodox faith. Fortunately, there is much better information available about the use of the religious factor in Cossack agitation during the uprising of 1637–8 than about similar actions in 1630. Several proclamations issued by leaders of the uprising, most notably Karpo Skydan and Dmytro Hunia, have come down to the present; some of them make direct reference to the religious issue. Judging by the early proclamations and correspondence of the first leader of the uprising, Pavlo But, it began with a call for the defense of Cossack liberties, with no reference whatever to religious freedom. The situation changed, however, when news reached the Dnipro region that the Crown army was headed for the Trans-Dnipro region, the Left Bank, in order to take up quarters there. Under these conditions, it was not only the Cossacks but also the local residents who felt themselves directly threatened. Ultimately, as in the uprising of 1630, this made conditions ripe for the mobilization of the masses under the slogan of the defense of the Orthodox faith. …

Appeals in defense of the faith were not, of course, the only instrument employed by the Cossacks for the mobilization of the masses. Skydan’s proclamations also made mention of Cossackdom’s ‘knightly renown’, of its rights and liberties, and of the Polish forces’ intention not only to spill Christian blood but also to violate the Cossacks’ wives and children and make captives of them. In appealing to the Cossacks to protect either reli- gion or their liberties, Skydan in fact targeted the same group of well-to-do Cossacks from the settled area. Their position was no doubt crucial to the success of the revolt, as may be assumed on the basis of a ‘Discourse’ written by Adam Kysil for Hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski in 1636, on the eve of the revolt. In that memorandum, Kysil divided the Cossacks into three categories—officers, ‘honorable’ Cossacks with families, and ‘wild rebels’. Kysil characterized the Cossacks belonging to the first group as ones whose loyalty could easily be purchased and those in the second group as people who ‘have God in their hearts, who are to some degree pious in religion, to whom freedom, wife and children are dear’. He claimed that when it came to the third group (the ‘rebels’), ‘reason, piety, religion, liberty, wives, and children mean nothing to them’.

Whether Kysil’s assessment of the ‘rebels’’ religiosity was right or wrong, there is little doubt that they did not hesitate to use religion to justify their revolt. Characteristically, the split within the ranks of the Cossack officers that facilitated the Polish victory over the rebels was represented in the accounts of Cossacks and peasants who crossed the Muscovite border as a betrayal of Orthodoxy by some of the officers: ‘many of their Cherkasian officers have betrayed the Christian faith and converted to the Latin and papist faith’. There is little doubt that the religious factor was significant in shaping contemporary perceptions of the uprising, and the Muscovite voevodas reported to the tsar on the basis of their interrogations of Ukrainians crossing the border to Muscovy that ‘in the Lithuanian towns the Poles are executing, in a variety of ways, Cherkasians of the Ruthenian faith, and Lithuanian people of all kinds, and their wives and children who do not apostatize and convert to the papist faith’. Such were the notions of rank-and-file Cossacks and commoners who fled across the Muscovite border to escape the Polish forces.

The Orthodox clergy apparently had a different view of the uprising. When interrogated by Muscovite voevodas,

the monks of the Hustynia Monastery stated openly that the Cherkasians did not want to be under the rule of the nobles and became unruly as before, and killed and robbed officials, Poles, and Jews in the towns, and burned Roman Catholic churches in the towns. That is why the Poles are killing them, the Cherkasians, and not for the faith.

It is clear from the voevoda’s report that this interpretation of events was based on the words of the brother of Crown Field Hetman Mikołaj Potocki, Stanislaw, who visited the monastery at the time. Nevertheless, the very fact this view was accepted by monks of the Hustynia Monastery, located far to the east, who cultivated notions of resettling in Muscovy, testifies to a serious degree of estrangement between Cossackdom and the Orthodox clergy during the uprising, as well as to skepticism on the part of the clergy about the Cossacks’ sincerity in the use of religious slogans. Even as they complained of Mohyla’s alleged conversion to Catholicism and his acceptance of the patriarchal title from the pope (a reference to plans for a universal union initiated by the palatine Aleksander Sanguszko), the Hustynia monks, who were influenced by the long-time supporter and protégé of the Cossacks, Isaia Kopynsky, did not side with the Cossacks, but looked to Muscovy for deliverance.

If the uprising of 1630 impressed itself on the consciousness of the Lviv chronicler as a religious war, that of 1637–8 held no such significance for him. In describing the events of 1637 in Ukraine, the chronicler wrote as follows about the actions of the Cossacks prior to the arrival of the Commonwealth forces:

And in Ukraine the Cossacks rebelled and treated the Poles with contempt, killed the Germans like flies, burned towns, slaughtered the Jews like chickens, some burned monks in Roman Catholic churches, while others threshed grain, rode about seizing herds, and salted meat in barrels, preparing food for themselves.

It would appear that the chronicler did not condemn Cossack attacks on Poles, Germans, and Jews, who represented non-Orthodox confessions, but neither did he respond to them with enthusiasm.

The role of the religious factor in the uprising of 1637–8 was quite different from its role in the previous revolt of 1630. One of the differences was that even the apparent unity of the Orthodox hierarchy and the Cossack officers, which still existed in 1630, had vanished completely by the middle of the decade. In the mid-seventeenth century some Polish authors retrospectively attributed the uprising of 1637–8 to Cossack dissatisfaction with the ecclesiastical reforms of Petro Mohyla. An anonymous author of a treatise on ways to put an end to the Khmelnytsky Uprising presented the history of the rebellion of 1637–8 as follows: the Cossacks became angry with the metropolitan and then with the nobility, which led the Commonwealth to intervene and put down the uprising by force of arms. He enumerated the positive changes enacted by Mohyla and noted that because of them, the metropolitan had been suspected of introducing the Union. The Cossacks had allegedly wished to drown Mohyla in the Dnipro because he erected a cross resembling a Catholic crucifix opposite St Sophia’s Cathedral and added a cupola like that on a Roman Catholic church to the restored Church of the Holy Savior. Mohyla allegedly had to flee Kyiv for his life.

Cossackdom’s growing tendency to exploit religion in order to legitimize anti-government revolts inevitably disturbed not only official circles but also the Orthodox hierarchs, who were attempting to free themselves from the Cossacks’ embrace and reach a compromise with the government. Thanks in part to this common denominator in the attitudes of the government and the Orthodox hierarchy toward the Cossacks, the two sides managed to achieve a long-awaited compromise during the metropolitanate of Petro Mohyla. Even so, this success in relegating the Cossacks to the periphery of relations between the Kyivan Orthodox metropolitanate and the Commonwealth government proved only temporary. Considering in retrospect the stages of Cossack politics from the hetmancy of Petro Sahaidachny to the great revolt led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky, one may conclude that Cossackdom needed a religion irreconcilable with the Catholic faith of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth so as to legitimize its opposition to that state and its ultimate armed uprising against it. The Cossacks also required a religious consciousness with a powerful national component in order to mobilize support for their revolts in Ruthenian society by means of religious and ethnic appeals.



2 myśli na temat “Kozacy i szwedzki ślad”


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