Ignacy Krasicki

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Ignacy Krasicki (February 3, 1735 – March 14, 1801), from 1766 Prince-Bishop of Warmia (in German, Ermland) and from 1795 Archbishop of Gniezno (thus, Primate of Poland), was Poland's leading Enlightenment poet ("the Prince of Poets"), Poland's La Fontaine, author of the first Polish novel, playwright, journalist, encyclopedist, and translator from French and Greek.



Krasicki was born in Dubiecko, on southern Poland's San River, into a family bearing the title of count of the Holy Roman Empire. He was related to the most illustrious families in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and spent his childhood surrounded with the love and solicitude of his own family.

He attended a Jesuit school in Lwów, then studied at a Warsaw Catholic seminary (1751–54). In 1759 he took holy orders and continued his education in Rome (1759–61). Two of his brothers also entered the priesthood.

Returning to Poland, Krasicki became secretary to the Primate of Poland and developed a friendship with future King Stanisław August Poniatowski. When Poniatowski was elected king (1764), Krasicki became his chaplain. He participated in the King's famous "Thursday dinners" and co-founded the Monitor, the preeminent Polish Enlightenment periodical, sponsored by the King.

In 1766 Krasicki, after having served that year as coadjutor to Prince-Bishop of Warmia Adam Stanisław Grabowski, was himself elevated to Prince-Bishop of Warmia and ex officio membership in the Senate of the Commonwealth. This office gave him a high standing in the social hierarchy and a sense of independence. It did not, however, prove a quiet haven. The Warmia chapter welcomed its superior coolly, fearing changes. At the same time, there were growing provocations and pressures from Prussia, preparatory to seizure of Warmia in the First Partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Krasicki protested publicly against external intervention.

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