Europe Poland Torun
Colloquium Charitativum 1645
"brotherly conversation"

* King Ladislaus IV (Wladyslaw IV, Vasa), born June 9, 1595, Kraków, died May 20, 1648), king of Poland (1632-48), hoped to bring peace between Calvinists, Catholics, and Lutherans.  Any weakness was dangerous, because Poland fought war after war against the Swedes, the Russians, the Ottoman Turks.
Therefore the Bishop's Council of Warsaw and King Wladyslaw IV invited the leaders of the different churches to come at Torun for a Colloquium Charitativum ("brotherly conversation") on 10 October 1644. After some troubles the Bishops and the beleaguered king convened a religious conference at Torun (Thorn), - the Thorny Conference -, on August 28, 1645.


The choice of this city was historic. Founded by Teutonic Knights in 1231, it became the birthplace of one of Poland's most famous sons (Nicolas Copernicus). At Torun, peace had been signed between the Teutonic Knights and Poland in the fifteenth century, and it became an important city in the Hanseatic league.

Now 26 Catholic theologians, presided over by J. Tyszkiewicz, bishop of Samogitia; and in the name of Andrzej Szotdrski, the bishop of Poznan, also two Dominicans. They had a priory with church in Torun.  28 Lutheran theologians were invited, among them A. Calov (16.04.1612-25.02.1686), presided over by J. Bergius (24.02.1587-19.12.1658), and 24 Calvinist theologians, attended meetings there. Among those who attended were notable men such as the Moravian educator John Amos Comenius (28.03.1592-15.11.1670) and the Lutheran George Calixtus (1586-1656).


Like Calixtus, Ladislaus hoped for reunion of the church, but his wish was doomed to disappointment. Most of the delegates only wanted to show how wrong each of the other doctrinal positions was. Discussion continued until November, but by then it was apparent that no progress could be made. Reconciliation was out. On November 21, 1645, the negotiations ended.

Three years later, Ladislaus died. He had failed in his efforts to control his nobles (who sided with different religious factions). And at the time of his death, Poland was facing yet another woe: the Cossacks of the Ukraine region were in revolt.

Information by Magister Bogdan Michalak in Gabriel (Germany) 1996, nr 2, p. 34-35.


Honouring 350th anniversary of the Colloquium Charitativum in Torun, 1645-1995. The council in the main hall of the Town Hall of Torun in the period 28 August till November 21, 1645. The engraving is from the Chronicle of Torun by J.H. Zernecke.
In the postmark the statue of King Wladyslaw IV.

Poland 1995, post-card.

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