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Justus Ludwik Decjusz

Photo from the archives of Villa Decius

Justus Ludwik Decjusz

Franciscan Albert Fontinus killed by friars

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Read by Marta Meissner, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
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English translation: Justyna Sułek
 
It was not long ago that the Franciscan friars’ superior Albert Fontinus, an Italian by birth, a great scholar and saintly man, came to Poland as a papal legate. Since he was curbing the insubordination of Cracow monks more harshly than they would desire it, they devised a scheme against him. On the night of 4 to 5 September [1516] they broke the door, attacked him while he was asleep and dragged him naked out of bed. Allegedly they were just going to take him on a cart and carry him away to Bohemia. But the persecutors changed their mind and the preacher cruelly killed Albert with his own hands, cutting his throat. And that is how he laid down his life for the faith. The wrongdoers ran away but ten days later, thanks to the strenuous efforts of Jan Konarski, the bishop of Cracow, all of them, except the main culprit, were caught, put in fetters and sent to Lipowiec where in the local castle there was a prison for clergymen. (...) When the case was handed over to the Roman Curia, [king] Sigismund was making great efforts there and sent a letter to the Pope in which he demanded punishment for the culprits. In 1517 a letter with the sentence pronounced by the Pope reached Cracow. In the month of February the four culprits were bereft of their holy orders, as it was the custom, by the local clerical authority; two of them were beheaded, and the rest got a life sentence. Shortly after, in the Bohemian town of Bardewo, which belonged to Wilhelm Berstini, the main culprit was traced and caught. With Berstini’s permission the murderer was captured and brought back to Cracow, on 15 May deprived of his holy orders and on 12 May decapitated. And those who were sentenced to spending the rest of their days in a prison, which was supervised by the bishop of Cracow, already on the second day freed themselves from the fetters and fled.
English translation: Justyna Sułek
 
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Justus Ludwik Decjusz

(Jost Ludwig Dietz, ca 1485–1545) came from Alsace but he lived in Krakow from 1507 or from 1508. He was the true man of the Renaissance: at once a talented businessman, diplomat and humanist. He was responsible for the monetary politics of the Polish Kingdom. He was the manager of the Krakow and Toruń mints. For his virtues, the king Sigismund I the Old ennobled him. He went on diplomatic missions all over Europe, meeting there such eminent figures as Erasmus of Rotterdam, Martin Luther and the emperor Maximilian I. His excellent Renaissance villa, surrounded with a garden, is situated in Wola Justowska (today – a district of Krakow).
Decjusz, the sixteenth-century financier, was also a writer. He wrote in Latin, mainly historical prose and letters. His most important work is the three-volume chronicle published in Krakow in 1521. It presents a history of Poland, the genealogy of the Jagiellonians and the reign of Sigismund the Old. Decjusz wrote also a humanist Latin treaty on monetary reform.
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