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The décor of the Artus Court was the major artistic project prior to the legalizing of Protestantism in Gdansk. The rich programme combined the traditional Catholic topics, Antique motifs, and images testifying to the reception of Lutheranism. They were composed of the motifs related to the state, province, and the city, religion, civic responsibilities, as well as astrological subjects. Images containing astrological meanings constitute quite a substantial component of the décor. Their even arrangement in the interior turned them into an element integrating all the programme; additionally, astrological motifs appear in several separate enclaves in the décor (personifications of the seven planets of the cornice; the motifs on the capitals which refer to the relation between the universe and man as well as his environment; personifications of Moon and Venus located in the highest section of the stove; Sun and Moon in the late Gothic painting Ship of the Church; the impact of the various arrangements of the celestial bodies on the earth can be found in the late-Gothic painting Siege of Malbork as well as in Holofernes' Camp and the Siege of Malbork painted by Martin Schoninck). The presence of astrological images deeply rooted in the mediaeval tradition in the interior whose décor conveyed basically Lutheran thought, gives rise to the question to what extent Lutherans were ready to accept topics whose connotations referred to a suspicious, frequently condemned, but generally cultivated knowledge, to numerous abuses, and to what degree they filled them with new meanings. The reformers' attitude to astrology was not unanimous. Martin Luther did not favour it, meanwhile Philipp Melanchthon, friends with Luther, was of a different opinion with regard to astrology. He was not only a leading figure among the reformers, but also an outstanding personality at Wittenberg University. His assumption was that man being a creation of nature must be subject to the impact of stars which in their turn are subdued to God. As a reformer of the Church he followed the Holy Scriptures, as a reformer of astrology, in turn, he based himself on Ptolemy, while also drawing from Aristotle. At Wittenberg University he attracted quite a number of humanists, doctors, mathematicians, and astronomers who dealt with astrology. He himself and his followers agreed that only a pious scholar was able to read the heavenly signs and comprehend divine providence by means of astrology. The Wittenberg climate favourable to astrology may have affected Gdansk. The bonds between the two cities were quite close and many Gdansk residents, as well as individuals who were to settle later in Gdansk, such as the Protestant preachers.
The authoress deals with the situation when the considerable part of the Lutheran priests and teachers was exiled as the result of forced recatholisation. She tries to explain its causes, course and perception. In the 17th century various protestant groups (Anabaptists, the wave of exilians after the battle of Bila Hora) chose Hungary as a country of exile. After the disclosure of Palatine Wesselenyi's conspiracy the protestants, especially the educated elite (priests and teachers), were prosecuted on a large scale. Series of trials (1672-1674) aimed against supposed rebels led to the accusations and overall punishment. In this situation, exile was rather moderate form of penalty. In most cases exiled protestants left their country after signing the letter of renouncement, which was interpreted as renegation. The paper also deals with concequences of disagreement between this group of exilians and the protestants who were prisoned and sent to galleys to Napoli. Hereby the authoress focuses on the situation of exilians as reflected by the integrating society in Germany. The ambivalent situation forced Hungarians to explain the development in their own country and to defend their own theological attitudes. The analysis is mainly based on the sources little used before (as sermons, funeral speeches and memoirs). Its aim is to reconstruct the process of exile as an extreme situation which lasted for a long time: exilians were not able to integrate fully even in confessionally homogenous society (as for instance in Germany).
The communist regime after 1947 tried to divide the Lutheran community in Warmia and Mazury. This was to be achieved by arousing suspicion that the members of that Church were spies on behalf of various Western countries, especially the Scandinavian ones, as the Lutheran Church in Poland maintained vivid contacts with them. At the same time the Lutheran community was seen as pro-German and the clergy were accused of collaboration with the Germans in the times of World War II. They were blamed for the failure of the forced polonisation of the German population, which decided to stay in Poland after the war. In effect two Lutheran priests and several laymen were arrested. The authorities failed to prove the accusations of espionage and the priests and laymen were not sentenced, but they were not fully acquitted before 1957.
During the World War II Slovak communities in the „Lower Land“ (Dolná zem/Alföld) gained experiences with new states and political regimes. Due to aggression of Hungarian Kingdom which, as a German ally, annexed parts of Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia in 1938 – 1941, a large part of Lower Land Slovaks temporarily became Hungarian citizens. Other groups of ethnic Slovaks lived in Romania, Ustasha Croatia, occupied territories of Serbia and Bulgaria during the wartime period. Conditions for national and religious life of these communities differed depending on national policy of their new motherlands and local specifics in which they coexisted with other nations and nationalities of this multicultural region. Despite a resolute stance of Slovak Lutherans in Slovakia towards the ruling Hlinka´s Slovak People´s Party´s catholic-profiled regime, Lutherans who were a majority among the Lower Land Slovaks did not always share moods of their fellow believers from historical homeland of their ancestors. Lutheran Slovaks in Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria had not maintained a close contact with the Slovak Republic and its regime. Because of this factor, Hlinka´s Slovak People´s Party´s regime could not directly influence the Lower Land Slovaks and exert political or ideological pressure on them. Presented study analyzes to what extent did the unenviable position of Slovak Lutherans in Slovakia mirror in the life of the Lower Land Slovaks, in their perception of Hlinka´s Slovak People´s Party and in their attitudes to the Slovak statehood. Taking the local national, cultural and religious specifics of the Lower Land into consideration, it also debates the question why the Lower Land Slovak communities, in general, did not show a passionate pro-regime activism and joy over the independent Slovak State, why they held a neutral, negative or not clearly profiled stance to the political issues regarding the “New Europe” instead and why the traditional cultural aspects like Lutheran faith played a bigger role within their identity than a wartime nationalism.
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