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Roman Catholic labor movement in Grodno province (last third of XIX – beginning of XX century.)

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Roman Catholic labor movement in Grodno province

(last third of XIX – beginning of XX century)

There was nothing surprising in the fact that the Roman Catholic Church
in the person of Pope Leo XIII addressed the issue of working
relationships with owners, employers. The spirit of revolutionary change
has gone beyond the economy, and its influence felt in politics, culture
and religion. Epistle of the Roman Pope Leo XIII “On the situation of
workers” on May 15, 1891, also known as the encyclical “Rerum novarum”,
was a response to the challenge of modernity, primarily directed against
the Socialists, who thought to destroy private property with the
transfer of personal property under the jurisdiction State or local
authorities. The Church tried to make physic through the establishment
of Catholic workers’ associations, fraternities, unions. And the
predecessors of the Christian societies, church workers called
pre-existing fraternity society with religious institutions, and
monastic orders [1, pp. 20].

Working in the archives of Grodno, have discovered that in 1886 there
were g. Belostoke guild Brotherhood of the following workshops:
carpenter, blacksmith and metal worker, who had a charter granted to
them in 1759 by Count Jan Branitsky Clemens and his wife, written Polish
on parchment. Diploma was defined as the cost of entering the shop and
other charges, and therefore, according to literacy, in every shop had a
separate stored in the selected workshop fiduciary account, which were
made by craftsmen and apprentices fees, no more than one ruble three
months. Of the total collection took place the following expenses:
funeral of each of the insolvent master, his wife and children, masters
granting benefits to priiskaniya work in the shops to buy candles, which
are used in the memorial church service for the dead masters. In
addition, each of these departments had banners that are stored in a
local church and are in full possession of the clergy [2, pp.31].
Bialystok guild of the Roman Catholic fraternity twice a year, ordered
the Liturgy: the opening day of workshops and a funeral in memory of the
deceased shop [2, pp.7].

In 1886, the tsarist police were able to identify and close following of
brotherhood: Gozhskom church in Grodno district, established 40 years
ago and has 18 members, with church Mezhirechskom Volkovysk County,
numbering 8 peasants in Grodno Bernardine Church Fellowship of the brick
plant, has 36 members, plant woodcutters and brotherhood that existed
more than 20 years, with 34 members, with Ross Fellowship Church, which
consisted of 14 peasants in the Bryansk church Belsky County brotherhood
tanners, blacksmiths, shoemakers [2, pp.12, 20, 53]. Up to 1863 active
in the fraternity were Slonim cobbler, carpenter, paint and blacksmith
shops, based on the literacy of King John Casimir. By 1887 among these
brotherhoods continued to exist only to collect money, but not in a
certain amount, but depending on the state, when issuing certificates of
title of master and apprentice. Expenditures from this collection were
made at the discretion of the craft to the needs of elders only
belonging to the shops, in most cases, the organization of banquets [2,
pp.39-40].

Revolution 1905-1907 gg. opened up new opportunities for organized
labor. April 3, 1907 in the register of societies and unions in the
Grodno province had been made “Christian Workers’ Union. In this
society, working as composed out of the political parties, all sorts of
political debate excluded. Activities of the society spread to Grodno
province [3, pp.1]. Founding members of this organization were as
follows: Stepan Yulyanovich Pushkevich, Adam Osipovich Artsipievsky,
Ignatius Osipovich Prokopchik, Leonard Arutkowski, Ignatius Ignatievich
Dashuta, Valerian Petrovich Sacra – all born in Grodno. Chairman of the
society was a priest Stanislaw Bernice [3, pp.1, 42]. At the invitation
of Chairman of the society began to buy into his library books,
newspapers and magazines in Russian and Polish languages [3, pp.43].
During the existence of the library was donated 480 volumes of books,
which resulted in the order of a board member of B. Sacra [3, pp.54,
105].

Union members were divided on the real, honorable and sorevnovateley.
The real member of society could become every honest, sober behavior of
worker-Christian. Honorary Fellow – the man who once brought the benefit
of society 50 rubles, or doing any other substantial donation.
Member-sorevnovatelem – who every year brought into the public treasury
three rubles. Wishing to enter in the number of actual members of the
organization was obliged to apply to the Board of society and provide a
guarantee of two full members. Name of the candidate and the sign was to
be guarantors in the Company premises within two weeks. The protest by
members of the alliance against the candidate told privately personally
rule over the same two weeks. If the board refused to accept, it is not
obligated to explain the reasons for its resolution. The
responsibilities of each member were respected and faithfully the duties
of a Christian: to develop the virtues of their class, mainly
temperance, diligence, frugality, solidarity and integrity [3,
pp.12-14].

Priest S. Bernice remained honorary chairman of all meetings of the
accounting society. S. Bernice glorified by the fact that the
organization opposed the staging of performances in Russian. May 2, 1908
Prince-V. A. Drutsko Mrs. Lyubetsky for services and donations for the
benefit of society was unanimously elected an honorary member [3, pp.46,
49].

In 1907, “The Christian Workers’ Association” consisted of 114 members,
of them – 4 honorary. During this year the organization held two family
evenings with dancing and three plays. For members of the society was
accepted as follows: in the case of the death of his wife were given
relief in the amount of 20 rubles to the deaths of children under age 17
– 10 rubles; death in children older than 17 years of age and fit for
labor – the money was not given because they may be members society [3,
pp.54]. In 1908 it was decided to reduce the contributions for full
members and 40 kopecks. Tariff for members sorevnovateley remained the
same – three rubles. In addition, doctors for the treatment of members
of society to pay the fee in full from the inaugural fund. The patient
pays only a cab [3, pp.52].

June 15, 1907 on their way to Roman Catholic procession in the street
Kupecheskaya Grodno on the balcony of the house № 17 Calixto Avgusevicha
in which the rule was “Christian Workers’ Union, members of the society,
and K. V. Sacro Avgusevichem initiated by the priest in. Bernice was
arranged altar. However, according to the imperial order of January 29,
1904 and on 13 September 1907 of the Vilna governor-general of all that
related to religious processions, without the prior permission of the
provincial leadership suppressed: the perpetrators were fined 500
rubles, or arrest for up to three months. Grodno region governor,
instead of directly punishing the guilty, did not approve the company’s
charter bakeries and bakery on shares in the “Christian Workers’ Union”
[3, pp.73]. In 1908, the society also forbade dancing nights and carry
the Christmas tree, which made the main income of the organization: more
than 300 rubles a year. Grodno governor also banned the company’s
charter to change [3, pp.73]. By 1911 is the last mention of the Union,
has only 38 full members and 37 members sorevnovateley [3, pp.105]. Most
likely, the existence of society gradually disappeared as a result of
progressive restrictive actions by the civil authorities.

The aim of society is to raise education among workers in the
religious-moral, intellectual and social relations. In order to
implement the intended target organization has the right to organize
regular meetings at which they were made instructive reading, friendly
carnivals and other allowable entertainment, organize libraries and
reading rooms, mediate contentious issues and helped pacify
misunderstandings between employers and workers, contributed to the
device funeral fund, auxiliary-savings and other similar institutions,
as well as consumer stores, planned and publishing their own newspapers
[3, pp.41].

According to the regulations of the Union appeared that a member of
society could be anyone who has paid three-ruble fee, and each member of
the board enrolled in the society. In addition, the board could appoint
outsiders to the post of secretary and librarian at the meetings of the
society, which were delivered public lectures and readings, to attend
outsiders, and this in turn did not like the police [3, pp.45].

June 15, 1907 on their way to Roman Catholic procession in the street
Kupecheskaya Grodno on the balcony of the house № 17 Calixto Avgusevicha
in which the rule was “Christian Workers’ Union, members of the society,
and K. V. Sacro Avgusevichem initiated by the priest in. Bernice was
arranged altar. However, according to the imperial order of January 29,
1904 and on 13 September 1907 of the Vilna governor-general of all that
related to religious processions, without the prior permission of the
provincial leadership suppressed: the perpetrators were fined 500
rubles, or arrest for up to three months. Grodno region governor,
instead of directly punishing the guilty, did not approve the company’s
charter bakeries and bakery on shares in the “Christian Workers’ Union”
[3, pp.73]. In 1908, the society also forbade dancing nights and carry
the Christmas tree, which made the main income of the organization: more
than 300 rubles a year. Grodno governor also banned the company’s
charter to change [3, pp.73]. By 1911 is the last mention of the Union,
has only 38 full members and 37 members sorevnovateley [3, pp.105]. Most
likely, the existence of society gradually disappeared as a result of
progressive restrictive actions by the civil authorities.

Thus, under constant police surveillance of the Roman Catholic
associations were forced to adapt, find a qualitatively different form
of existence. Roman Catholic workers’ organizations in the Grodno
province failed to unite the workers and act on the objectives outlined
in the statutes. In many respects this policy contributed to the civil
authorities, aimed at preventing similar societies, as well as the
actual departure of the unions from the goals outlined in the statute.

List of sources and literature

1. Rerum novarum // 100 years of Christian social doctrine. – London:
House of Mary, 1991. – 65 pp.

2. The point of habeas data Vilna governor-general in what churches
today are Roman Catholic fraternity / National Historical Archive in
Grodno. – Fund.1. – Op.8. – D.1831.

3. The thing about the society of Christians working in the city of
Grodno // National Historical Archive in Grodno. – Fund.1. – Op.9. –
D.96.

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