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Letter #2119

Ioannes DANTISCUS to Tiedemann GIESE
Heilsberg (Lidzbark Warmiński), 1539-03-19

English register:

Having perused the copy of the Gdańsk Town Council’s letter to the King, received from Giese, Dantiscus reassures the addressee that the stance of the Gdańsk Council being different from their own does not pose any threat, and could even help Giese win favour with the King.

Dantiscus writes at length about his actions regarding the scandal caused in his diocese and chapter by the marriage of Alexander [Sculteti] and his begetting of progeny as well as the growing opinion that Alexander is an atheist and Sacramentarian.

Called upon by Dantiscus to dismiss the harlot and progeny, Alexander promised to comply if the others [canons Leonard Niederhoff and Nicolaus Copernicus] did the same. The concubine of one of them [Niederhoff] is no longer alive, while the other [Copernicus] has promised to comply if Alexander does not rebel – but the latter is carrying on as if Dantiscus had no jurisdiction in spiritual matters. That is why Dantiscus has exercised his judicial power against him and will not neglect any legal means available; therefore if it comes to a trial, Alexander’s madness and Dantiscus’ powers will be proved.

The Bishop expects that, having considered the matter, Giese will not support a resumption of the trial, which would give Alexander freedom to continue sinning. But if the trial needs to take place in Rome, Dantiscus is sure of the support of the King, the Episcopate and also God, whom he begs to bring Alexander to his senses.

Dantiscus is especially outraged by Alexander’s wish that his concubine be allowed to live in the house built with the Chapter’s money and vacated after the death of Felix [Reich]. This is supposed to be a way of (ostensibly) sending away the concubine.

Dantiscus does not share Giese’s fears that using Church censure against Alexander will disturb the holy time [of Easter] and could harm the Church. In his opinion, tolerating scandals will bring even greater outrage upon the Church. Dantiscus emphasises that he is not guided by bitterness but by the fear of God, by conscience and a sense of duty. He thinks activity harmful to the soul should not be tolerated for reasons of friendship or someone’s meritorious service. He asks the addressee to view this letter as being sincere and friendly.

An envoy of the Duke [Albrecht I von Hohenzollern-Ansbach] has just handed Dantiscus Giese’s letter containing a copy of Giese’s reply to the Duke’s letter. Dantiscus intends to write the Duke a reply in the same tone.

He wishes Giese a good trip to the cathedral [in Kulmsee]. He fears that if he were to celebrate Easter at his own cathedral in the current situation, probably none of the canons would be willing to accompany him.

Dantiscus recounts freshly received news of Samuel Maciejowski’s appointment as vice-chancellor and of the dispatch of envoys: [Jakub Wilamowski] to the Sultan [Suleiman the Magnificent], [Andrzej Tęczyński and Jan Wilamowski] to the Roman King [Ferdinand I of Habsburg] and [Hieronim] Łaski to the Elector of Brandenburg [Joachim II Hector of Brandenburg].

Dantiscus is sending Giese a poem he wrote recently [Carmen paraeneticum ad Constantem Alliopagum], asking for his corrections. His inspiration in writing the poem was an epigram dedicated to Dantiscus that Giese wrote during the pontificate of Fabian [Luzjański].

Manuscript sources:
1fair copy in Latin, autograph, address in secretary's hand, BCz, 245, p. 149-154
2register with excerpt in Latin, Polish, 20th-century, B. PAU-PAN, 8243 (TK 5), a.1539, f. 9-11
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