Missio Moscovitica: The Role of the Jesuits in the Westernization of Russia, 1582-1689

By Flynn, James T | The Catholic Historical Review, April 1997 | Go to article overview

Missio Moscovitica: The Role of the Jesuits in the Westernization of Russia, 1582-1689


Flynn, James T, The Catholic Historical Review


Missio Moscovitica: The Role of the Jesuits in the Westernization of Russia, 1582-1689. By Jan Joseph Santich, O.S.B. [American University Studies, Series IX, History, Vol.178.] (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.1995. Pp. xi, 255. $41.95.)

In the late 1960's, Father Santich planned a dissertation without access to Soviet archives to determine whether there had been clandestine Jesuit missions to Russia. His thorough search of the Roman archives made it clear that there was none.

There were, however, public missions which Santich describes in a detailed narrative history, from the Jesuits' first arrival in Poland in 1555 to 1620, when the Russian autocracy recovered from the bitter civil war tangled with foreign invasions known as the Time of Troubles, and expelled the Jesuits and all other Western influences. Russians took the Jesuit efforts at conversion and the Polish military-political intervention in Russia to be inseparable parts of a single movement.That conclusion was correct, for the Jesuits' work and that of the Polish Lithuanian state were inseparably linked.Westernization failed with the failure of Poland to conquer. Santich concludes, however, that the Jesuits "caused a sharp Muscovite reaction against [the West] .... and "quickened the efforts of the Muscovites to build up their own . . . capabilities in order to keep Jesuits, Catholics, and Poles out of Muscovy"These quickened efforts Santich finds evidence for "an active, though indirect, role [of Jesuits] in the Westernization of Muscovy"(p.195).

The Muscovites' quickened efforts receive little attention. …

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