John a Lasco.
Archbishop of Gnesen and Primate of Poland, b. at Lask, 1456; d. at Gnesen,
19 May, 1531. In 1482 he entered the service of the royal arch-chancellor
Kurzowcki, who made him provost of Skalmirez and of the cathedral church in
Posen, and canon of Krakow. In 1502 he became royal arch-secretary, in 1505
arch-chancellor, in 1509 coadjutor of Archbishop Boryszewski of Gnesesn, and,
after the death of the latter in 1510, Archbishop of Gnesen and Primate of
Poland, whereupon he resigned as arch-chancellor in 1511. In 1513 he took part
in the Fifth General Council of the Lateran, when he delivered an oration in
which he urged upon the pope to take measures against the Teutonic Knights, who
had been openly and secretly intriguing against Poland ever since 1466, when it
had taken West Prussia and Ermland from them and begun to exercise its
suzerainty over East Prussia. During the progress of the Lateran Council, Leo X
conferred upon Laski and his successors in the archiepiscopal See of Gnesen the
title of legatus natus. The Bull conferring the title is dated 25 July, 1515,
and is still preserved in the archives of the cathedral chapter of Gnesen (no.
625). It was reprinted in Korytowski's
Arcybiscupi Gnieznienscy, II (Posen,
1888), 662. Laski's elevation to the cardinalate by Pope Leo X is aid to have
been prevented by King Sigismund. Archbishop Laski was a zealous upholder of
ecclesiastical discipline within his archdiocese, and a strenuous opponent of
Protestantism in Poland. To put a stop to various ecclesiastical abusues, he
held two provincial synods at Piotrkow (1510, 12) and a diocesan synod of Gnesen
(1513). The seven other provincial synods which he held were intended chiefly to
stem the spread of Protestantism in Poland. Four of these were convened at
Lencicz in the years 1522, 1523, 1525, and 1527, and three at Piotrkow in 1526,
1532, and 1533.
Many of the legislative measure passed at these synods are printed in the
Constitutiones synodorum metropolitanae ecclesiae gnesnesis (Krakow, 1630).
Most of the canons and decrees of the earlier synods Laski edited in his
Sanctiones ecclesiasticae tam expontificum decretis quam ex constitutionibus
synodorum provinciae excerptae, in primis autem statuta in diversis
provincialibus synodis a se sancita (Krakow, 1525), in his
provincialia (1512), and
Statuta provinciae Gnesnensis (1527). After the
marriage of King Sigismund of Poland with Barbara Zapolya, in 1512, Archbishop
Laski entered into friendly relations with John Zaploya, a brother of Barbara
and an aspirant to the crown of Hungary. He sent his nephew Jerome Laki to
Hungary to assist Zapolya, with money and troops in his opposition against the
rightful King Ferdinand of Hungary. If we maky believe his enemies (especially
Cardinal Gattinara), he continued to support his nephew even after the latter
allied himself with the Turkish Sultan Soliman with the purpose of marching upon
Viennna. In 1530 he was cited to Rome by Clement VII to give an account of his
actions. His departure was, however delayed by King Sigismund, and he died the
following year after expressing his desire to resign his see. Besides collecting
the synodal legislations mentioned above, he made a compilation of the most
important laws of Poland while he was arch-chamcelor. The work is entitled
Commune inclyti Poloniae regni privilegiorum, constitutionum et indultuum,
etc., and was jpublished at Cracow in 1506. His
Liber beneficiorum archidioces
Gnesnesis was by Korytowski (Gnesen, 1880-1).
ZEISSBERG, Johann Laski, Erzbischof von Gnesen, und sein Testament (Vienna, 1874); HIRSCHBERG, J. Laki als Verbündeter des türkischen Sultans (Leinberg, 1879); BUKOWSKI, Dzieje reformaclyi w Polace (Krakow, 1883).
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