kids encyclopedia robot

Adam Stefan Sapieha facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
His Eminence Prince Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha
Archbishop of Kraków
Appointed 18 February 1946
Enthroned 18 February 1946
Reign ended 21 July 1951
Predecessor Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko
Successor Eugeniusz Baziak (apostolic administrator)
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria Nuova
Ordination 1 October 1893
Consecration 17 December 1911
by Pope Pius X
Created Cardinal 18 February 1946
Personal details
Birth name Prince Adam Stefan Stanisław Bonfatiusz Józef Sapieha
Born (1867-05-14)14 May 1867
Krasiczyn, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austrian Empire (now in Poland)
Died 21 July 1951(1951-07-21) (aged 84)
Kraków, Poland
Nationality Polish
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Adam Stanisław Sapieha-Kodenski
Jadwiga Klementyna Sanguszko-Lubartowicza
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Adam Stefan Sapieha
Coat of arms Lis coat of arms Herb Sapiehów.PNG
Family Sapieha
Styles of
Prince Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha
Card Sapieha COA.png
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Kraków

Prince Adam Stefan Stanisław Bonifacy Józef Cardinal Sapieha (Polish pronunciation: Script error: No such module "IPA".; 14 May 1867 – 23 July 1951) was a senior-ranking Polish prelate of the Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Kraków from 1911 to 1951. Between 1922 and 1923, he was a senator of the Second Polish Republic (Polish Rzeczpospolita). In 1946, Pope Pius XII created him a Cardinal.

Early life

Sapieha was born in 1867 in the castle of Krasiczyn, then part of the Austrian Empire. His family, originally from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, were members of the Polish nobility. He was the youngest of the seven children of Prince Adam Stanisław Sapieha-Kodenski and Princess Jadwiga Klementyna Sanguszko-Lubartowicza, daughter of Prince Władysław Hieronim Sanguszko. His elder brother, Prince Władysław Leon Sapieha, is the great-grandfather of Queen Mathilde of the Belgians.

Education and early vocation

After graduating from gymnasium in Lwów in 1886, he enrolled in the Law Department at the University of Vienna, starting simultaneously law studies at Institut Catholique in Lille. In 1887 on the basis of his certificate from the University of Vienna Sapieha continued studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. After two years he passed the examination and returned to Vienna for further studies, where he remained until 1890, obtaining the certificate of completion.

In the same year he began theological studies at the University of Innsbruck, and in 1892 signed up for the third year of the Major Roman Catholic Theological Seminary in Lviv. He was then educated at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he was also ordained as priest of Lviv (Lwów, Lemberg) on 1 October 1893 by Bishop Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko (later Bishop of Kraków and Cardinal). Father Sapieha was despatched first to Jazłowiec (college) to act as chaplain to the school and to the attached convent in Yazlovets in the Archdiocese of Lwów, before, in October 1895, he started further studies in Rome. There he obtained a doctorate of civil and canon law at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. At the same time he studied diplomacy at the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles.

After returning to the home country in 1897, he was designated vice-rector of the diocesan seminary in Lviv and eventually became its rector. He resigned because he was discouraged by the imposed rules of education of young priests. After a half-year trip across the United States of America, he was designated a vicar of the St. Nicholas congregation in Lviv in October 1902. In 1905 Sapieha was appointed a papal chamberlain, and sent to Rome where he was a consultant on matters concerning the Roman Catholic Church in Poland, in the annexed territories, the realization of an idea by Lviv Armenian Catholic Archbishop Józef Teodorowicz (who was the Sapieha's long-term friend) to have a representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland at the Roman Curia.


Sapieha was appointed Bishop of Kraków on 24 November 1911 and was consecrated by Pope Pius X in the Sistine Chapel on 7 December of the same year. In 1915, he established a relief committee for victims of World War I.

After World War I, Sapieha became a vocal opponent of the new concordat negotiated between the Holy See and the newly resurrected Polish state. He argued that the Polish Church should be completely independent of the state and that its primate should be the Archbishop of Warsaw. This attitude led to a conflict with Archbishop Achille Ratti, Pope Benedict XV's nuncio who later became pope, during the first post-war congress of Polish bishops in Gniezno held 26–30 August 1919. Sapieha thought that the Poles themselves should decide their affairs without outside influence and asked Ratti to leave the conference room. After Ratti became Pope Pius XI in 1922, he did not make Sapieha a cardinal even though his two predecessors as bishop of Krakow had been honored with that title, and not even after Krakow became an archdiocese.

In 1922, Sapieha was elected senator from the Christian Union of National Unity party. He ordered a memorial service and issued a proclamation on the assassination of Gabriel Narutowicz. It was the only speech he delivered as a senator because papal mandate at the time prohibited clergy from holding public office. He resigned on 9 March 1923.

Sapieha was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop in 1925 when the Diocese of Kraków was elevated to the rank of Archdiocese. He received a degree honoris causa from the Jagiellonian University in 1926. In September 1930, after opposition leaders were arrested and placed in confinement at Brest Fortress, Archbishops Sapieha and Teodorowicz strongly criticized the government. Despite this, and other occasional disagreements with the government, Sapieha was awarded the Order of the White Eagle in 1936.

In 1937, Sapieha, who had opposed the Pilsudski regime (sanacja), made the controversial decision to move Piłsudski's body, within Wawel's Cathedral, from St. Leonard's Crypt to the crypt under the Silver Bells.

In 1939 he asked Pope Pius XI to accept his resignation due to age and failing health, but the pope refused. After the death of Pius XI, he repeated his request to the new pope, Pius XII on 19 June 1939. In anticipation of the upcoming war and at Józef Beck's instigation he withdrew his resignation.

Activities during the Second World War

During World War II, while Primate August Hlond was in France, Sapieha was the de facto head of the Polish church in jurisdictions directly annexed by the Third Reich (primate Hlond was represented by Walenty Dymek, auxiliary bishop of Poznań) and was one of the main leaders of the nation. One of the most important organisations to which he belonged was the National Council of Welfare, created on the model of Caritas. From the war's start of the Nazi occupation, he was an independence activist, working with the Polish government-in-exile.

Before the war, Sapieha referred to Jews as a "depraved race" and blamed them for both capitalist exploitation and Communism. He made no condemnation of the Holocaust while it was occurring either publicly or in private communications with the German authorities.

In August 1944, Sapieha was forced to operate the Polish seminary in secret because the Germans began killing seminarians whenever they found them. He moved his students (including the future Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła) into the Bishop's Palace in Kraków to finish their training during the Nazi Occupation of Poland.

Sapieha's biographer, Jacek Czajkowski describes the circumstances of the archbishop being invited by Governor Hans Frank to Hitler's birthday party in April 1942. He told the German official: "No! They are not going to change anything, but they will take a photograph of me and write that a Polish bishop arrived at Hitler's birthday party with best wishes. Tell him I will not come." Another such anecdote recalls when governor Hans Frank ordered the archbishop to hand him the keys to the Wawel Castle. Sapieha replied: "But don't forget to give them back to me when you will be leaving Wawel."


In March 1945, he initiated the publication of Tygodnik Powszechny. He was created Cardinal-Priest, of the title of Santa Maria Nuova, on 18 February 1946. On 1 November 1946 he conferred priestly ordination on Karol Wojtyła in the chapel of his episcopal residence. After the Kielce pogrom he demonstrated his anti-Semitic attitudes when he reportedly stated that the Jews had brought it upon themselves but then provided aid for the affected Jews. According to witness, he and the church complained there were too many Jews in the government.

Sapieha knew Karol Wojtyła (later John Paul II) was destined to become a priest when a young Karol delivered a welcoming speech during the archbishop's visit to his school. Some people consider him a mentor of Pope John Paul II. In 1949, he proposed that Stefan Wyszyński, Metropolitan Archbishop of Gniezno and Warsaw since 12 November 1948, should be termed Primate of Poland.

The following year (1950), he wrote letters to the then Polish president, Boleslaw Bierut, protesting against Bierut's repression of the church. Sapieha died on 23 July 1951, and his funeral on 28 July turned into a political demonstration. He was buried in Wawel Cathedral, in the crypt under the confessional of St. Stanislas.


In the 2005 CBS miniseries Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Sapieha was portrayed by American actor James Cromwell.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Adam Stefan Sapieha para niños

kids search engine
Adam Stefan Sapieha Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.