The Buczacki and Jazlowiecki Families

 

This period in Podolian history must be viewed in context with the events that led to its incorporation into the Polish kingdom. Likewise, the history of Jazlowiec and nearby Buczacz are also inseparable component of the political changed involved the entire territory.

With the disintegration of the Ruthenian Principality, due as much to Tartar pressure from the east as to the internal friction among the boyars, its neighboring countries of Poland, Hungary and Lithuania began to compete for its land and establish their influence in the region.

The most viable contender was the Polish kin, Kazimierz the Great, who, as the nephew of the poisoned prince, Jerzy Trojdanowicz , had claimed over the lands due to the traditionally-recognized practice of inheritance to the throne. Thus, when the throne of the Wlodzimierz Principality became vacant, he immediately made claim to its territory and incorporated the province of Grody Czerwienskie (or "Red Ruthenia" as called by the Ruthenians) into Poland in 1340. This passed without opposition from Hungary and Lithuania. The issue of the two remaining territories of Volhynia and Podolia were to be resolved by political means, rather than a military solution.

The other chief contender, Hungarian King Louis the Great, agreed in a separate treaty with the Polish king, to leave these lands under Polish control on the condition that the Polish kingdom would pass unto him or his descendants after the death of the childless Kazimierz. The Polish king, now armed with the support of his powerful neighbor, proceeded with the acquisition of the remaining lands in the face of active Lithuanian opposition. Due to the Polish king's tolerant rule and political wisdom, he gained the cooperation of the Ruthenians, who saw in him their savior from the Lithuanian and Tartar threats. One of his chief supporters in the area was the powerful Buczacki family.

In trade for their support, the king granted them a big chunk of land on both sides of Strypa River, which included the town of Jazlowiec. This also suggests that prior to this time, Jazlowiec and the neighboring land was in the possession of the princes of Halicz, which became the king's property after his acquisition of Podolia.

Under King Kazimierz's wise rule, the whole Poland prospered, but the greatest changes and improvements were in the newly-acquired lands. The king, recognizing the importance of this region to the economy and defense of Poland, proceeded to energetically implement his policies. New settlements and roads were built, towns and cities received new protective walls, and at least thirty new castles of stone were constructed. Also, by giving special privileges to merchant and craftsmen's guilds, he patronized trade and industry and by doing this improved the economic conditions of the country. He also took care of the ethnic minorities like the Armenians and the Jews, granting them special rights, or by confirming their existing privileges.

Soon after the Armenians became subject to his rule, the king recognized their religious, administrative and judicial autonomy. Eleven years later, he authorized the bishops of the Armenian Church to exercise the spiritual jurisdiction over their respective communities. The Jewish minority, which had escaped persecution in Germany and had migrated in great numbers to the territories under the king's rule, also became the subject of his benevolent attentions. In 1334, he confirmed the provisions of Boleslaw' Pious Statute, which granted the Jews freedom to practice their religion and certain autonomy rights; and also those of his own statue, known as the Wislicki Statute, extending the Jew' privileges into the areas of trade and commerce. In both instances, the communities in Jazlowiec became the beneficiaries of the king's ethnic policies.

By then Jazlowiec, as an important post on the East-West trade route, already had a well-established cosmopolitan community in which the Armenians played a major role. The Jews, engaged in trade and commerce and enjoying the king's protection, also became an integral part of the town's population. There have to have been a certain Polish and Ruthenian representation, and also most probably a small group of Tartars. As an organized municipality, the town would have received the new laws, generally known as Magdeburg Law, which became the standard judiciary and administrative pattern for all towns and cities in Poland. Finally, under the king's rule, the old wooden structures which may have lain in ruin, were replaced with castles built of stone as a part of his fortification plan for Podolia and which later proved to be one of the most effective defense systems in the country.

This great Polish king died in 1370 as a result of an accident while hunting in the vicinity of his beloved city of Lwow. According to the terms of his earlier treaty, his kingdom passed into the hands of King Louis of Hungary. He therefore became the first ruler in history of an empire stretching from the Mediterranean to the Baltic seas. After being crowned in Krakow, the capitol of Poland, as ruler of the combined Polish and Hungarian kingdom, he returned to his country, leaving the affairs of the Polish state in the hands of his mother, Elizabeth, which proved to be an unfortunate arrangement. The queen had no experience in ruling a country, and allowed the old rivalries between the provincial princes begin anew, the result being that most of the country returned to turmoil. The Lithuanians, taking advantage of the situation, invaded Volhynia and part of Podolia, which they immediately incorporated in their state.

The situation was further aggravated when King Louis himself tried to annex the rest of Podolia into his kingdom. Meeting strong opposition from the Polish nobility, he temporarily abandoned the plan, and in 1379 appointed Polish prince Wladyslaw Opolczyk as governor of Podolia. This man proved to be an able administrator, but not very tolerant on religious matters of other than the people of Christian faith. This adherent follower of Roman Catholic faith is remembered in history as the founder of the convent in Chestochowa, a revered place in Poland. Under his rule, however, Podolia fared much better than the rest of the country. A few years later, in 1382, the Hungarian king then proceeded with his earlier plans and incorporated Podolia and the Principality of Halicz into the Hungarian state.

The situation remained unchanged until his daughter Jadwiga became the Queen of Poland and in 1386 married the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Wladyslaw Jagiello, who by the marriage became the first Polish king of Jagiellonian Dynasty. A year later, the queen personally led her armies against the Hungarians to recover the land incorporated into his state by Louis the Great. The local nobility and the population, whose delegation asked them to keep their province permanently aligned with Poland, warmly received the Polish royal pair. During their reign, they confirmed to the towns the privileges granted to them by the King Kazimierz the Great, introduced the Magdeburg Law and opened the land to Polish colonization.

During this period, a prominent family name was added to the roster of the nobility in Podolia. The Buczackis, known as supporters of the Polish cause in the region, emerged as local leaders. Their original and primary residence was in the town of Buczacz, however, after receiving a land grant from Kazimierz the Great, a family branch moved to Jazlowiec and some time later adopted the town's name for their family surname. From that time on, the landlords of Jazlowiec with a large estate around it became known as the Jazlowiecki family.

While this new branch of the family was establishing itself, the members of the main branch of Buczackis were playing an even greater role in securing Podolia for Poland. After the death of his young queen, King Wladyslaw Jagiello, uncertain of his Polish throne, relinquished Podolia to Lithuania in 1411. The Podolian nobility, in opposition to their new rulers, engaged in a long, twenty year struggle against the Lithuanians. Under the leadership of Michal Buczacki, they took up arms against them and took possession of several towns in the name of Poland. In retaliation, Lithuanian prince Swidrygiello detained the Polish king while he was visiting his native land. This brought open confrontation between Poland and the forces of Swidrygiello which ended in two Polish victories, the first at Kopystrzyn in 1432, and the second at Wilkomierz in 1435. This finally resolved the Polish-Lithuanian conflict over Podolia and made Podolia part of the Ruthenian land under the rule of the Polish king.

Until this time, the names of the members of the Buczacki family who resided in Jazlowiec had not been confirmed in written record. But in all likelihood, their presence must have dated back at least to the mid-14th century, when this land was to the Buczacki family by the Polish king. As landlords of the prosperous town, they had to have resided in the stone castle built at the time of Kazimierz the Great as part of the Polish defense system. The family name first appears in the records with the name of Teodoryk Buczacki, the brother of Michal, mentioned earlier in this text. Written testimony is found in a Roman Catholic parish document relating to the properties bequeathed by Teodoryk Buczacki to the Catholic church in Jazlowiec. The lengthy document lists several details and provides us with a decent insight into the local conditions prevailing at the time, mainly relating to the nobility and the Roman Catholic parish.

Form this document, dated February 3, 1436, we learn that Teodoryk Buczacki was the sole owner of the Jazlowiec estate, which included several villages around the town. The owner and his family were of the Roman Catholic faith, as were many members of local nobility who witnessed the bequest. It is not evident in the document where the beneficiary, the parish of St. Mary Magdalene was located, but it had to have been in a low-lying area, because the waters of the Olchowczyk stream reached its steps. Furthermore this parish belonged to the diocese of Kamieniec Podolski, together with nearby parishes of Petlikowce and Czerwonogrod. This definitely infers that the Roman Catholic faith was well established in the area.

The main item of the bequest was the village of Niezbrody (later called Znibrody) with all its farmlands, woods, fish ponds and local industries, such as flour mills. From the document's lesser details, much can be deducted about Jazlowiec itself; the predominant of the town's citizens was agriculture, there were four flour mills and a brewery in town, the latter on the main road between the marketplace and the main gate. In the valley of the streams there were two fish ponds and a bathing place, reserved for castle personnel only. The town's population is referred to as 'citizens' (mieszczanie) which implies that most of them were engaged in trade and commerce. Tolls were collected from travelers at the gate, indicating that a main thoroughfare passed the town. And among the town's population there were some common laborers. There is no direct reference to Armenians, Jews and Ruthenians, possibly for the reason that they, as members of different religious denominations, were not contributors to the Roman Catholic church.

Teodoryk Buczacki, the master of Jazlowiec, died in 1456, leaving three sons; Bartosz, the subprefect (head of the county) of Kamieniec Podolski who died in battle in 1457; Michal, also subprefect of Kamieniec Podolski, who divided his father estate between himself and two brothers (Bartosz and Jan) in 1469, assigning to himself Jazlowiec and Czerwonogrod, and who died as chamberlain of Halicz in 15ll; Jan, mentioned in records as master of Monasterzyska and the first one to use the name of Monasterski (another branch of Buczacki family like Jazlowiecki). Michal, the master of Jazlowiec, left one son, named Teodoryk, who distinguished himself many times on various battlefields and was prominently active person in the country.

When a conflict ensued in nearby Moldavia between two Woloch leaders, the Polish king appointed Bartosz Buczacki chief of the expeditionary forces raised to establish peace in the area. In a fierce battle, in which the Polish forces defeated the rebellious Woloch's leader, Bartosz lost his live in 1457. (Some of the chronicles assign the leadership and his death to Michal Buczacki). The loss of the brave leader soon affected the entire population of the southeast Polish territories. The Tartars once again began their devastating incursions into the Polish frontier provinces, this time with no reprisal from poorly organized Polish territorial forces.

The next incursion by the Tartars, in 1452, brought the name of another Teodor Buczacki, into Podolian records. For lack of precise documentation, it has to be presumed that this person was the son of Michal, the master of Jazlowiec. According to available evidence, Teodor Buczacki was accused of negligence in securing the frontiers and as result, the Tartars looted and burned the town Row (later called Bar). This accusation implies that Teodor held some high military position, which made him responsible for the defense of southeastern lands of Poland.

The success at Row was an incentive to the Tartars to continue the aggression into Polish territories. Although defeated by the Podolians at Trembowla in 1455, two years later they were back in full force - plundering, looting and taking captives in various parts of the area. Bartlomiej Buczacki, another master of Jazlowiec and the chief commander of the Podolian territorial army, hastily collected his forces to make a stand against the aggressors. In a fierce battle, the Polish commander and his second in command, Jan Luszcz, were killed and the Polish forces defeated. This put the entire defense system in jeopardy and the consequence of this was Tartar incursion into several areas, some reaching as far west as the city of Lwow. Several other Buczackis, for example, Muzylo from Buczacz, the voivod of Podole, and Michal and Jan from Jazlowiec, fought against them with varying degrees of success.

The name of Buczacki once again became prominent when Michal, the administrator of the Sniatyn district (who resided in Jazlowiec), was appointed chief of the Polish forces assembled to check Turkish and Tartar invasions into Moldavia. The troops under his command, which included the besieged Wolochs, inflicted a decisive defeat upon the invading armies from the southeast. In this battle they took, according to records, one hundred military standards. This would indicate that a substantial Turkish and Tartar force had been defeated.

Later chronicles mention other Buczackis who were active in the country's affairs. Jakub Buczacki, nominated to the voivodship of Podolia in 1485, his son, Jan, who was a member of the king's delegation to Moscow which concluded a six year peace with the Czar; and another Jakub, who was the bishop of Plock. After these, the name of Buczacki disappears, replaced by Jazlowiecki, which became prominent in the southeast territories of Poland. The family name also brought greater recognition to the town of Jazlowiec, and a higher profile in the country as a whole.

The first mention of Jazlowiecki appears in relation to Waclaw Jazlowiecki, who became famous for gaining several victories over the Tartars. During the time he held the office of the Podolian voivodship, there were at least five major invasions by the Tartars - in 1450, 1452, 1453, 1469 and 1474. There may also have been minor incursions which were not recorded, but which nevertheless would have added to the strain of the defense of the frontier. Waclaw resigned his office in 1477 and became a hermit, spending the remained of his life in prayer and meditation. Considering that he held such a lofty position prior to his resignation, it can be presumed that he participated in public life in his earlier years, but in minor positions.

In the beginning of the 16th century, however, the name of Mikolaj Sieniawski, a known king's advisor, is mentioned in the town's records. He could not have been the town's landlord, as the name Jazlowiecki was also present on the records. The only rational explanation is that the king delegated to him some business matters relating to the state treasury. Apparently, King Zygmunt I granted Sieniawski the concession to collect quarterly toll taxes due the king's treasury. Because this contract went to one of the king's most influential courtiers, it carries the inference that toll collecting in Jazlowiec must have been a lucrative business. This directly confirms that a major highway passed through the town, and that its busy traffic was a source of substantial revenue. It also gives credence to the fact that at this time of its history, Jazlowiec was a very prosperous town. The documentation, written in the form of a letter to the Podolian tax collector, refers to the taxes collected in the old and new town. This is evidence that the town increased in size, with its newer portions being called "new town", again confirming the fact that the business was good at the time.

Another document which relates to Sieniawski indicates that the king gave his permission to the town to hold and annual trade fair on the day of St. Catherine. This would naturally benefit the king's treasury, since the increased traffic would also increase the tax revenue. Still another document, the king's decree in response to Sieniawski's request, permitted a second trade fair to be held on the day of the parish's patron saint, Mary Magdalene. All of this provides good evidence that the town was recognized for its business activities and potential state revenues.

The time lapse between Waclaw's Jazlowiecki's resignation and the next appearance of his family name in Podolia indicates the existence of his descendant, not clearly reported in contemporary records. The most logical successor was Jan Jazlowiecki, often recorded as Jan Buczacki. The premise that he was the grandson of Michal, master of Jazlowiec, and the father of Jerzy, a famous name in Podolia's and Polish history and the timing itself, clearly indicate that he was the Commander Jan Jazlowiec to whom famous Polish poet, Jan Kochanowski, dedicated his epic "Proporzec".

He had to be a well known person who distinguished himself in the king's service, but for some reason his exploits were not recorded or lost if recorded.

The name Jazlowiecki regained prominence when Jerzy, grandson of Waclaw the Hermit, appeared on the public scene in Podolia. Jerzy Jazlowiecki, one of the most colorful Polish military leaders and statesmen of his time, left a rich legacy of powerful stories about his many achievements in various fields of public endeavor. As a young man, he followed the custom of the times and enlisted in the service of the famous Polish Commander, Michal Kamieniecki. While serving under him, young Jerzy distinguished himself in many actions against the Tartars, and in spite of his youth, was often entrusted with defense of the frontier lands. In 1528, when still in early manhood, he wiped out a Tartar force of over one thousand men. A few years later, at the village of Oczkow, he crushed the Tartar force under Khan Aslan which led to a personal feud between the two commanders.

During one of the periodic lulls in the fighting, the Tartar khan, following the terms of local chivalry, invited the young Polish commander to a reception in his camp. The Polish commander obliged him, but when he arrived, he was forcibly detained and held hostage. He was eventually released (after his family paid a substantial ransom), but this breach of etiquette in the traditional rules began a personal vendetta by Jerzy Jazlowiecki against the khan and the Tartars in general.

But fighting Tartars was not his only military objective. Whenever necessary, he made himself available for other theaters of military action. When the Voivod of Moldavia invaded Poland's southern territories, Jerzy Jazlowiecki rushed his forces across the Dniestr River to fight alongside the Polish commander, Jan Tarnowski. In two battles, at Gwozdziec and Obertyn in 1531, the Woloch army was decisively defeated and forced to retreat. This was regarded a major Polish victory and in one in which the Voivodship of Moldavia once again became subject to Polish rule.

The preoccupation of Poland with the war against the Russians (1534-1537) acted as an incentive for the Tartars to increase their pressure on the southeast Polish territories. Border units under the command of Jazlowiecki successfully defended the Polish land against Tartar incursions in 1535, 1536 and 1537. The Tartar attacks stopped until 1549, when their forces managed to penetrate Polish territory as far west as the town of Tarnopol, where they were severely beaten by the field commander, Jan Tarnowski. The Tartars then turned their attention toward their northern neighbor, the Moscow state. When Jazlowiecki learned that the common enemy had plundered Moscow (1552) and were returning with captives and spoils to the Crimea, he hastily gathered his forces to intervene. But the enemy unfortunately escaped by using secret travel routes in the steppe.

He fought the Tartars again in 1566, when Polish border guards under his command defeated their invading forces. In 1573, by order of the king, he again took command of a substantial force and was ordered to intervene in the Moldavian revolt and bring peace to the territory. Even in his later years, he was given command over the Polish border forces during the election of the new king, when the Tartars twice invaded Polish land (in 1574 and 1575). Although their powerful forces brought great destruction to Ruthenia and Podolia, Jazlowiecki managed to check their advance at the borderlands before pushing them back into Crimea.

His military service was only a part of his commitment to public life. The Polish king, in recognition of his leadership abilities and faithful service to the country, nominated him to various high public offices, including the Voivodship of Podolia, the Voivodship of Ruthenia and in 1569 as the Commander-in-Chief of the King's Armies (Hetman Koronny). Giving recognition to his expertise in eastern affairs, the king sent him twice as the head of a Polish delegation to the Turkish Sultan to conclude arrangements normalizing Turkish-Polish relationship.

Soon after his last encounter with the Tartars, Jerzy Jazlowiecki died in 1575 in his castle in Jazlowiec, leaving four sons and two daughters. He was buried in the castle's tomb, which now may be buried under a deep layer of rubble in the disintegrated structure. Buried with him lays much of Polish history of his period, a history of unending struggle to keep Poland and the western countries of Europe from the eastern threat.

Jerzy Jazlowiecki, as a public figure and military leader, enjoyed great popularity and respect among his countrymen and was held in high esteem by the last two Jagiellonian kings of Poland. His opinions on affairs of the state always carried weight and well received by the king's court and Polish nobility. Among the lower class, he became a mythical leader who kept them free from the Tartar menace and thus enabled them to live in peace and prosperity. The only section of the community at whom he was at odds was the Catholic clergy. They would not forgive him for his conversion to Calvinism and propagation of this branch of Reformation in Poland.

The conflict between Jazlowiecki and the clergy began when he gave in to his wife's (a devout Calvinist) religious convictions, and removed the Catholic pastor from the Jazlowiec parish and replaced him with a Calvinist clergyman. This was regarded as heresy among the Dominicans in nearby Czerwonogrod and their followers. For voicing their disapproval of him openly and widely, Jazlowiecki ordered them to vacate their monastery in Jazlowiec and confiscated their accumulated wealth. The new religious movement did not take deep roots to survive for very long in Jazlowiec and the entire country. Jerzy's son, Mikolaj, brought the Dominicans back to the town in 1583, installing a Catholic priest in the town's wooden church of St. Mary Magdalene.

During his lifetime, Jerzy Jazlowiecki made a considerable contribution to the development of the town and improvement to the well-being of its citizens. The business and trade sectors (mainly in Armenian and Jewish hands) prospered, and with it, the town in general thrived. Within his life, many new buildings were built and even the castle enlarged and its fortifications improved, making it the mightiest fortress in Podolia. He also improved upon the entire defensive system of southeastern part of Poland, increasing the defensive capabilities of its castles, including fortress in Kamieniec Podolski, the seat of the Podolian Voivodship.

His oldest son, Mikolaj, continued in his father's steps as an able military leader, politician and reformer. He began Public service at an early age and by the time of his father's death he was already a recognized authority on affairs of the state. At the time of King Stefan Batory election, he was called as a member to the electorate commission, which testifies to his high standing among the Polish nobility.

As a military man, he distinguished himself in the battle with the Russians at Krzywoluki in 1580; he quelled rebellion of Moldavian Hospodar in 1582 and 1591; and in 1595, he organized an expeditionary force against the Crimean Tartars to deal "once and for all with the eastern menace". During this undertaking, his forces entered Crimea, but just when the decisive battle had begun to shape up, the Cossacks and troops of the Siedmiogrod Principality reneged on the promise and the entire project collapsed. Disheartened by this failure, Mikolaj became ill and died soon thereafter.

Although basically known as a military leader, this landlord of Jazlowiec was also deeply involved in politics, social reforms and civic matters of the town and even those that involved the entire country.

As a politician, Mikolaj became involved in the reformatory movement propagated by the nobleman Samuel Zborowski. The basic support for this new political party came from the ranks of the nobility, who eagerly adopted the new ideas of the Western Reformation. The two main points of their political program was first to change election laws and second to confer equal rights to all religious denominations in the country. Their effort proved to be unsuccessful, however, as the majority of the nobility opposed such a reform program. A rebellion in 1584 ended in a battle on the fields of Krakow between the proponents and opponents of the reforms, in which Zborowski's followers were defeated and he was executed. After this disastrous encounter, Mikolaj Jazlowiecki made a hasty retreat to Podolia and organized a force there, in readiness should there be a future fighting. The peaceful intervention of the Roman Catholic Archbishop in Lwow persuaded him to abandon his rebellious plans, however, soon after he was forgiven by the king and returned to his favor.

One of the major appointments Mikolaj Jazlowiecki received from King Zygmunt Waza was to head the King's Commission on the Cossack matters. In this role, he brought peace between the Cossacks and the Moldavian Hospodar, while at the same time secured Polish domination over the Woloch lands. Later, he presided over another King's Commission to plan and oversee the construction a fortress in Krzemieniec to protect the citizens against continuing Tartar attacks. In recognition for his service to his country, he was invited to the king's wedding, and on another occasion was honored with the appointment to be one of the carriers of the king's canopy at some religious or state celebration.

After reverting back to Catholicism, and before the introduction of a new priest to the Jazlowiec parish, Mikolaj insisted that the priest, for which he, Mikolaj, would provide funding, should run a public school. He also instituted laws in the town for protection of the poor, and labor laws which forbade exploitation of serfs and servants on Sundays and religious holidays, as he declared these to be work-free days. He is further credited with building a hospital for the town's citizens and a home for the poor and invalid. Church chronicle records stated that "with his death, the light of Polish nobility vanished, the welfare of the poor and sick disappeared and the well of generosity evaporated." This last sentence is perhaps the best testimony to the achievements of the man who dedicated himself to the service of his country and of his people.

His brother and successor, Hieronim Jazlowiecki, was a man of great courage and great military skill, but he displayed neither the political mastery of his predecessor, nor the ability to understand the needs of his subjects. A historian writes that "battle was play for him, military camp was his home, armor was his daily clothing and fighting with Tartars was a dance". For these valor, he was appointed the Voivodship of Podolia, an office held for life.

However, due to his total lack of understanding of his civic duties, the reforms and improvements introduced by his brother were either neglected or altogether abandoned. Soon after inheriting the estate, Hieronim involved himself in a controversy with the local Catholic clergy, who tried to hold him to his brother's promises. This dispute would later develop into mutual disrespect and personal hatred between Hieronim and the clergy.

It is believed that due to the imposition of heavy taxes on the population of Jazlowiec, and mostly on the Armenian businessmen, he also gave cause to a dispute between himself and the Armenian bishop. According to the legend (which cannot be confirmed through Polish and Armenian records), Hieronim ordered the bishop's beard to be shaved, which was taken as a great insult to the Armenian people. From this, another legend developed, this concerning a supposed curse put on Hieronim by the Armenian bishop, in which his only son, when still a baby, fell into a deep well in the castle's courtyard and drowned.

About the same time the Armenians moved their bishopric from Jazlowiec to the city of Lwow. This would indicate that it was due to a decline in their numbers, forcing them to close the Jazlowiec bishopric and transferring the records to Lwow, because their bishopric in that city had been in existence much longer than the one in Jazlowiec. There is a local folklore that states that the bishopric was moved because of the dispute between the Armenian bishop and Hieronim Jazlowiecki, but evidence leads to other conclusions.

The town, lying on the main East-West route, lost much of its business due to the Turkish acquisition in 1484 of the northern Black Sea ports, closing the traffic to the east. In addition, continuous unrest in nearby Moldavia and Bessarabia, as well as Turkish influence there, deprived Polish merchants of the outlet for their agricultural commodities and their source of foreign goods, sought not only by Poland, but the rest of the West as well. With Jazlowiec off the east markets, it would have given merchants a good excuse to seek more favorable business conditions elsewhere.

The city of Lwow, although affected to an equal degree by the closing of the Black Sea ports and eastern markets by the Turks, also had a better developed business and trade climate, and offered newcomers greater opportunities to grow and prosper. By drawing business from other parts of Poland and as an intermediary center in the shipment of agricultural produce to the Baltic port of Gdansk, and from there to Western Europe, Lwow managed to retain some of its market vitality. It would have therefore attracted merchants and tradesmen from less prosperous places like Jazlowiec, as it offered not only better business conditions, but a much safer geographical position against the Tartar threat. These conditions would have attracted a business-oriented people like Armenians, but in all likelihood, the city of Lwow drew in only the most enterprising of them. For this reason their population declined in numbers and that would call for reduction of their religious representation.

Hieronim Jazlowiecki died in 1607, leaving no male descendants. He left the estate to his wife Eleanor, the former Princess Ostrogski, and the daughter of Janusz Castellian of Krakow. The widow first made peace with the clergy installing the Dominicans in the new church built by her brother-in-law, Mikolaj Jazlowiecki; and made good on some of the generous legacies bequeathed by Mikolaj to the local parish and the Dominicans. At some point later in time, she did get involved in a long dispute with the clergy, who had neglected their parish, devoting all their time and attentions to the affairs of their Order.

At some point, most likely when his husband was still alive, she began to actively involve herself in the civic activities and the welfare of the town. She did not display, however, as much dedication to these causes as her late brother-in-law and her achievements in that area are not as noteworthy as his. She also became interested in the arts and became a dedicated patron of music. The first Polish composer, Mikolaj Gomolka, was a frequent visitor to her court and enjoyed her enthusiastic support in his creative efforts.

According to available records, Mikolaj Gomolka was born in Krakow in 1564, where his talents were first recognized by the Catholic bishop. At the age of sixteen, he composed his first and the only surviving composition, "Psalterz Polski", which was published by the Archdiocese of Krakow. No other composition of his have survived, but it is known that his music was played all over Poland, and much of Lithuania as well. The chronicle mentions that during his time, he was very popular with nobility "as he pleased them with his talent". In twenty six years of artistic productivity, he must have created a great number of nonreligious compositions, but these were in general produced as single copies and had a lesser chance of survival than his church music.

During one of his visits at the court of Eleanor Jazlowiecki, he became ill and shortly thereafter died in her castle. As a commoner, he was buried in the Dominican churchyard in a plot near the surrounding wall. His grave in time became unrecognizable and forgotten. Much later in time, in mid-19th century, the owner of Jazlowiec discovered the grave and its plate restored. Some of his contemporary followers and admirers had a commemorative plaque set in his memory inside the entrance to the Dominican church. This plaque with the following Latin inscription was still readable on the wall before World War Two:

 

D.O.M

Gomolcam His lapis indicat sepultum

quem cum devorat atra mors choraulae

omnes ingemuere musicique

megatumouue domus stretere mutae

at recte cineres Tui quiescant

Gomolco hoc tumulo a Tuis parato

Obiit Anno D. MDCIX

die V Martis Aetatis XLV

 

In 1610, the widowed Eleanor exchanged marriage vows with Prince Jan Jerzy Radziwill, a powerful magnate from Lithuania. A year later, she and her new husband signed a document in which they gave the right of care of the parish church and its properties to the new pastor, Rev. Adam Makowski. But the most important document they co-signed, and which has survived, was the confirmation of the rights once granted to the Armenians. At the very beginning of this document, there is a statement which testifies that this was granted due to the request of the Armenians that the privileges granted to them by the late Hieronim Jazlowiecki be continued. This reference to the man who allegedly acted against the Armenians and their bishop, puts in doubt the legends about his conflict with the Armenians.

The intent of this document, as was clearly stated therein, and through its liberal provisions, was to increase the Armenian population in Jazlowiec by attracting newcomers to take advantage of the trade and business opportunities and by same to improve economic conditions in Jazlowiec. This testifies to the fact that business in the town had declined and needed to be revived.

The provisions of the document were indeed very generous to the Armenians and appeared to have been given at the expense of other national groups. First, the assurance had been given to the Armenians that they could move about at will in and out of town, and were to retain their traditional rights of self-government so that "they would govern themselves in civic and church matters like the Armenians in Kamieniec Podolski". Second, the town officials were forbidden to interfere in the activities of Armenian tradesmen and businessmen, and their households were to be free of taxation in both currency and kind. Finally it restored their former rights to properties like the woods, fields and meadows in the village of Porchowa.

Princess Eleanor, widow of Hieronim, wife of Prince Radziwill, was the last of the Jazlowiecki line to reside in the castle and care for its vast estates. We know very little of her later activities. The available documents pertain to the nobility, clergy and church affairs, and contain nearly nothing about Jazlowiec and its people.

Were it not for the bequest of Mikolaj Jazlowiecki, who so generously gave to various causes to improve the welfare of his people, we would not have known that the town had amenities such as military and civilian hospitals, homes for the poor and the invalid, and at least symbolic school run by the parish. We can be assured that the town had a large and influential Armenian population, and a smaller Jewish community, apart from Poles, and what we must presume a very small Ruthenian population, who might have even been identified along with the Poles.

Whatever documentation is available proves that Jazlowiec, at the end of Jazlowiecki era, was somewhat past its peak trade and business period. From a list of church contributions, collected in the form of taxes, we know that the Jazlowiec estate included several villages, some quite a distance from the town; and there was a brewery, a sweetener producing plant, the market place where Jews and Armenians competed for business, and some flour mills. On the debit side of the statement, we find, among others, payments to the parish school teacher, which proves that the school was indeed in existence.

Taking all of this into account, we can surmise that Jazlowiec was a well-organized town at the time, and in many ways surpassed many other towns in that area. Most probably, the only town which held greater importance was the provincial seat, Kamieniec Podolski. As we have seen, almost every Jazlowiecki was awarded the Voivodship of Podolia, which indicated that there must have been a close connection between Jazlowiec and Kamieniec Podolski. Both were considered the mightiest fortresses in the Podolian defense system, and the same Dutch architect brought in by Jerzy Jazlowiecki had fortified both. Jazlowiec's importance to both the defense of Polish frontiers and business aspects of the area was very obvious at the time.

After the death of Eleanor Radziwill (Jazlowiecki) in 1617, her vast possessions passed in inheritance to various distant relatives. The Jazlowiec estate, which at the time consisted of the town, 31 villages and several lesser properties, was left to Czurzylo, Bogusz, Kaszewski,Stanislawski and Tyszkiewicz families.....find moore in the next Chapter




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