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Archbishop of Gnesen and Primate of Poland, born about 1526; died at Lowicz,in the Government of Warsaw, 25 May ( al. , 8 June), 1603. As early as 1563 (according to Gams not until 1568) he was named Bishop of Wlozlawsk (Wladislavia, Kalisch), and rendered great service to religion and education by founding, besides several schools, a seminary for priests in his episcopal residence. By order of the Synod of Petrikau (1577), he made a new collection of synodal laws under the title "Constitutiones synodorum metrolpitanae ecclesiae Gnesnensis provincialium" (Krakow, 1579). His politicaland religious influence in contemporary Poland was great. Under King Sigismund II August (1548-72) the Reformation made great progress in Poland,especially the Calvinist teaching, while the Lutherans and Socinians bitterly opposed each other. When Sigismund died, Henry of Valois, later Henry III of France, was elected King of Poland. On his entry into Meseritz, Karnkowski welcomed him in the name of the Polish estates. The archbishop also attended the coronation (1574), and tried to keep the throne new king in Poland, but in the same year the French throne fell vacant and he returned to France. Karnkowski then urged the election of Stephen Báthori, Prince of Transylvania. The latter was suspected of favouring the Reformation, but under the influence of Karnkowski he declared openly for Catholicism, and was crowned king 1 May, 1576, by Karnkowski, as Uchanski, Primate of Poland and Archbishop of Gnesen, had refused to crown him.
Uchanski died 5 April, 1581, and Karnkowski was named his successor in the same year (21 April) in the archiepiscopal See of Gnesen and Primacy of Poland ; as such, he governed Poland after the death of Stephen Báthori (12 Dec., 1586). Eventually he succeeded in electing as king Sigismund III Vasa (1587-1632). Through this young king, formerly Crown Prince of Sweden, and reared a good Catholic by his mother Katharina, Karnkowski hopedto stay the progress of the Reformation in Poland. After Cardinal Hosius, the archbishop was the most prominent opponent of the Polish Reformation. He favoured the Jesuits in every way, built a college for them at Kalisch, and a seminary at Gnesen. He established an institute for twelve noble students, which is still extant, under the direction of the cathedral chapter of Gnesen. It was he who urged the Jesuit Jacob Wujek to translate the Holy Scripture into Polish; this translation was approved by thepope and is still regarded as a classic (Sommervogel, "Bibl. de la C. deJ.", VIII, 1234 sp.). Karnkowski wrote several important works, mostly theological ; among them are: "Eucharistia", forty discourses in Polish on the Blessed Sacrament (Krakow, 1602); Polish Sermons on the Messias or the Redemption (Krakow, 1597); "De jure provinciali terrarum civitatumque Prussiae" (Krakow, 1574); "Liber epistolarum familiarium et illustrium virorum" (Krakow, 1584). He is buried in the Jesuit church at Kalisch.
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