Abstract: Using Digital Copies in Teaching – The 1677 Parson’s Reports of the Prague Archbishopric and Their Editions
By Marie Ryantová
Abstract to the lecture of Marie Ryantová on 16th February 2016
Re-catholicisation, or catholic “reformation”, is a major phenomenon, not just in terms of Czech history. A more thorough renewal of Catholicism in the Czech lands could be started only after the end of the Thirty-Years War and the Peace of Westphalia, which gave the Habsburg monarchy international recognition of the right to re-catholicise the whole monarchy in line with the principle cuius regio, eius religio. Re-catholicisation was achieved namely through strengthening of church administration and organisation, as well as intensive operation of sufficient numbers of spiritual administrators. It was a priority to build and expand the parish network which was based on the so-called vicariates, sponsored by church patrons. The subsequent gradual but systematic effort of the Catholic Church, supported to variable extent by the authorities, but also conditioned, to a certain extent, by a generational exchange, gradually yielded its fruits. This is reflected in a rather interesting source called the Parson’s Reports (relationes) from 1677. They consist of answers to forty-two questions, which were asked and the reply to which was ordered by the Archbishop’s Consistory.
Providing answers, and drafting the reports (relationes) on the conditions of the beneficium was compulsory for every parish administrator. These were then submitted to the vicar, his superiore and the administrator of the vicariate. Reports from each vicariate, in the commonly used language of that time in church administration, i.e. Latin, was then sent to the consistory and created a single volume. The vicariate network corresponded to the division of Czech lands into regions, so that volumes from individual vicariates from regions are stored side by side.
The 1677 Parson’s Reports represent a very interesting source, in many ways. The answers give us detailed information on the condition of the archdiocese at the time of a rather well advanced re-catholicisation. Despite the documentary value of responses, they were largely neglected in the Czech historiography, and no edition of it has ever been published, not even partial.
It was for this reason that this material was used for training purposes with the students of the MA programme Archival Science at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. The material stored in the National Archive in Prague, is not processed by students in the original but they work with digital copies.
Foto from the author.
Ph.D. Marie Ryantová works since 2005 as associate professor (or senior lecturer) at the University of the South Bohemia, Faculty of Philosophy, since 2006 she is head of the Institute of Archival Science and Auxiliary Historical Sciences in this Faculty.