Zofia Katarzyna Branicka Odescalchi – The First “Polish Pope” Cover Image

Zofia Katarzyna Branicka Odescalchi zwana pierwszym „polskim papieżem”
Zofia Katarzyna Branicka Odescalchi – The First “Polish Pope”

Author(s): Agnieszka Bender
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, History, History of Church(es), Modern Age, Theology and Religion, 19th Century
Published by: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL & Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II
Keywords: Zofia Katarzyna Branicka Odescalchi; Rome; Vatican; Polish pope; Polish affairs

Summary/Abstract: Zofia Branicka (1821-1886) was a Polish wealthy noblewoman who married Italian Prince Livio III Erba Odescalchi (1805-1885) in 1841. From then on until her death she lived in Rome. Thanks to her opulent dowry, Odescalchi family could buy back among others, the Bracciano castle (near Rome) from the Torlonia family. Zofia was very well educated and a polyglot. From the very first years of her stay in Rome, she started to organise famous soirees at her salon in Palazzo Odescalchi. In this way Princess Zofi gathered the elite of aristocracy, diplomacy and the clergy, from diff European countries. Soon she had a possibility to get to know the pope Pius IX, with whom she would maintain a real and close friendship. Zofia had informed the pope about the complex situation of Poland, partitioned by her neighbours. From the beginning of her stay in Italy she was involved in charity work. The princess was very involved in financial and organisational help to Polish people in Italy (emigrees, insurgents, priests, artists as Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Leopold Nowotny, Roman Postempski etc.). She closely co-operated with The Congregation of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ in organising the Polish Seminar in Rome in 1866. That was an event of a great importance for Polish people who at that time had no country of their own. Thanks to her deep religiosity and patriotic activity Princess Zofi was known among her contemporaries as “the Polish pope”. Nobody at that time could have imagine that after one hundred years Karol Wojtyła would become the first actual Polish pope.

  • Issue Year: 48/2020
  • Issue No: 4S
  • Page Range: 213-233
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: Polish
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