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Arcybiskup Zaleski misjonarz Indii Wschodnich

Henryk Jagodziński


Archbischop Władysław Zaleski the missionary of the East Indies

The author of the article is presenting the figure of Władysław Michał Bonifacy Zaleski (1852 – 1925), who was a Catholic archbishop, Apostolic Delegate to the East Indies and Latin Patriarch of Antioch, as a missionary.

Archbishop Zaleski was born on 26 May 1852 in Wielona, presently Lithuania, in a noble Polish family. He was the son of Leon Zaleski and Gabriela of Dombrowicz. In 1880 he joined the Warsaw Theological Seminary, and in 1881 he moved for further studies to the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles, where he received diplomatic training, and contemporary to the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in Theology. He received the priestly ordination in 1882 in Florence. In 1885 he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Spain, and a year later for the first time he went to the East Indies, accompanying Archbishop Antonio Agliardi, the first Apostolic Delegate to India. In 1887, Pope Leo XIII appointed him as his personal representative to the 50th anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria. For a time, he remained employed in the Roman Curia, as consulter for Eastern affairs at the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Propaganda Fide). From 1889 to 1890 Msgr. Zaleski worked at the Apostolic Nunciature in Paris. In 1890 he returned to India, where on 5 March 1892, he replaced Archbishop Andrea Aiuti as the Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies. Along with the nomination for the Apostolic Delegate in the East Indies, Msgr. Zaleski was elevated to the dignity of Archbishop and was appointed as the Titular Archbishop of Thebes.

Archbishop Zaleski ended his mission in India in 1916. After returning to Rome he was nominated as the Patriarch of Antioch by Pope Benedict XV. Archbishop Zaleski was in Rome for the rest of his life, where he died on 5 October 1925.

In India, he was engaged in promoting the local hierarchy and clergy, he personally consecrated many local bishops, created new dioceses and apostolic vicariates. He sought to give a local character of the Church in India, while at the same time ensuring that the unity of the Church was not compromised. He was very open to meeting people belonging to other cultures and religions, always remembering what is most important in the priest's mission, namely the salvation of souls. He was a perpetual traveler, traveling constantly on his territories as well as outside. He also visited China, Japan, Indo-China, Java and the Philippines.

            Patriarch Zaleski's missionary vocation was particularly discovered and realized in India. Not only did he consider himself a missionary, but he emphasized the importance of mission at every step and specifically supported them. He also personally engaged in the preaching of the Gospel and baptized those who wished to become Christians. In his numerous publications he tried to mobilize the faithful to help the missions. Upon his return to Rome, his missionary nature was inactive. He even wanted to go to Africa for missions, and he asked the Holy Father for it, however, because of his age, his request was not taken into account. In his many missionary writings, he emphasized that the duty of evangelization is the very nature of the Church.

Słowa kluczowe

Władysław Zaleski ; missiology ; Indies

Pełny tekst:



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Kieleckie Studia Teologiczne - Kielce Theological Studies

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