court, their familial relations, and their seats in the Senate all made them exponents of a 'national' church, a church which was very different from the other European churches, and which contrasted markedly with both German Protestantism and Russian Orthodoxy.

After the strong impact of the Tridentine reforms, inspired by Cardinal Hosius, the Archbishop of Warmia, the Polish bishops of the mid-seventeenth century had become profoundly different from their predecessors. Under the reign of Jan Sobieski (1674-96), the liberator of Vienna from the Turkish siege, the earlier crisis of revolts and wars seemed to come to an end. There followed a long constructive period, which facilitated a second phase of Tridentine reforms within the Polish episcopate, especially under the monarchs of the House of Saxony, Augustus II (1697-1733), and Augustus III (1733-63). In this climate, ecclesiastical culture appeared more sensitive to a particular kind of 'Catholic Enlightenment', supported by the bishops and by some religious orders such as the Jesuits and the Piarists. Renewed difficulties arose, however, in the later eighteenth century, with the suppression of the Society of Jesus, and with the political and constitutional crisis which led to the three successive territorial partitions of Poland in 1772,1793, and 1795.

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