Stanisław Orzechowski 1513-1566

Stanisław Orzechowski was born on 11 November 1513 in Przemyśl or in nearby Orzechowiec. He attended a cathedral school in Przemyśl, and then studied at the Kraków Academy from 1526 to 1528. In 1528, he went abroad and studied in Vienna, Wittenberg, Leipzig, Padua, Bologna, Rome, and Venice for several years. In 1541, he returned to Poland and was ordained. Subsequently, he became a parish priest in Żurawica near Przemyśl. His works soon began to gain recognition. He was first noticed for his writings on Turkish affairs (De bello adversus Turcas suscipiendo and Ad Sigismundum Poloniae regem Turcica secunda – from 1543 and 1544, respectively). He was associated with Piotr Kmita’s court in Wiśnicz. He opposed King Sigismund II Augustus’ marriage with Barbara Radziwiłł. He became conflicted with Church authorities: in particular, he criticised celibacy (in his work De lege coelibatus of 1547, among others) for personal reasons, namely his desire to marry Anuchna of Brzozów; ultimately, he married Magdalena Chełmska and they lived together for many years. His declarations and life choices became famous all over the country, and his conflicts with the Polish Church authorities had to be resolved by Popes Julius III and Pius IV. Finally, despite his failure to observe celibacy, Orzechowski switched from being a critic of the Church authorities to the Counter-Reformation Camp. He criticised supporters of the Executionist movement; among others, he attacked Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski. In the final years of his life, he wrote his most important political treatises: Rozmowa albo dyjalog wokół egzekucyjej Polskiej Korony [“Conversation or dialogue concerning the execution of the Polish Crown”] (1562), Quincunx, to jest wzór Korony Polskiej… [Quincunx, i.e. a model for the Polish Crown”] (1564) and the unfinished Policyja Królestwa Polskiego… [“Political system of the Polish Crown”] (1564–1566). He died in Żurawica.


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