Birth. May 30, 1800, Paris, France. His mother was Dutch and his father French. He initially embraced Protestantism for his education. At 18, he converted to Catholicism. Baptized sub conditionem, September 13, 1819.
Education. Studied in Nimeguen; later, at Collège de Rouen; then, studied law in Paris; and finally, at the Seminary of Strasbourg.
Early life. In 1822, he was received into the Royal Court of Paris. Entered the magistrature and was substitute in Andelys and then in Rouen. Royal prosecutor in Neufchâtel-in-Bray. Substitute of the prosecutor-general in Bourges. Advocate-general in Riom. Attorney-general for the district of Besançon, 1830. On the advice of Louis-François-Auguste de Rohan Chabot, archbishop of Besançon, he gave up the magistrature and entered the seminary.
Priesthood. Ordained, December 21, 1833, Strasbourg. Professor at the Seminary of Strasbourg. In Besançon, professor of sacred eloquence, School of Higher Studies; preacher, and apostolic missionary. Rector of the royal church of S. Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, 1844-1847. Honorary canon of the metropolitan chapter of Cambrai, April 13, 1847.
Episcopate. Elected bishop of Carcassonne, January 17, 1848. Consecrated, January 30, 1848, church of S. Luigi de' Francesi, Rome, by Cardinal Antonio Francesco Orioli, O.F.M.Conv., assisted by Girolamo d'Andrea, titular archbishop of Melitene, and by Domenico Luciardi, titular archbishop of Damas. Assistant at the Pontifical Thorne, November 26, 1852. Transferred to the see of Évreux, March 23, 1855. Promoted to the metropolitan see of Rouen, March 18, 1858. Emperor Napoleon III often consulted him for the episcopal nominations.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of December 11, 1863; received the red hat and the title of S. Clemente, September 22, 1864. Participated in the First Vatican Council, 1869-1870. Participated in the conclave of 1878, which elected Pope Leo XIII.
Death. October 28, 1883, Rouen. Exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Rouen and buried in the chapel of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in that cathedral in a monument with his statue kneeling down in prayer.
Bibliography. "Cardinali defunti." La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1903, Città del Vaticano : Tipografia poliglotta vaticana, 1903, p. 178; Chapeau, O.S.B. André and Fernand Combaluzier, C.M. Épiscopologe français des temps modernes, 1592-1973. Paris : Letouzey et Ané, 1974, p. 201-202; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 17, 47, 181, 255 and 486.
Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; and painting of his burial by Camille Pissaro, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.
Birth. October 5, 1789, in Strzeszynek near Poznań, Poland. He came from a noble family. His parents were Stanisław Przyłuski, a landowner, and Agnieszka Wal (or Dziembowska). He had three brothers: Franciszek, Stefan and Stanisław; and seven sisters: Nepomucena, Marianna Wiktoria, Zofia, Wiktoria, Julianna, Józefata and Antonina. He was baptized on October 5, 1789. Nephew of Józef Przyłuski, S.J., prelate of the metropolitan cathedral chapter of Poznań.
Education. He studied at the Seminary of Poznań 1806-1811; then, at the University of Wrocław 1811-1813, where he obtained a doctorate in theology; finally, he obtained a doctorate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, in Rome, in 1823. Canon of the chapter of Poznań 1813; the pope granted him a dispensation, because he had not yet received the major orders.
Priesthood. Ordained, June 4, 1814. Pro-Synodal examiner and a prosecutor of the metropolitan cathedral chapter of Poznan since 1814. Pastor in Tarnów Podgórny 1817-1823. Further studies in Rome. Pastor in Śrem, 1823-1833. Vicar general and judicial vicar of the archdiocese of Poznań 1824-1825. Dean of the metropolitan cathedral chapter of Poznań, 1830. Pastor in Gniezno, 1833. Vicar of the metropolitan cathedral chapter of Gniezno, December 26, 1842; later, its vicar capitular.
Episcopate. Elected by both chapters archbishop of Gniezno and Poznań from the list of candidates approved by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, October 21, 1844, by twelve of the eighteen canons present; he received permission to be consecrated by a bishop and two mitered abbots, or two dignities, or two canons, January 19, 1845; the election was confirmed by the pope, January 20, 1845; he was granted the pallium on that same day. Consecrated, April 27, 1845, in the metropolitan cathedral of Poznań, by Jan Kanty Dąbrowski, titular bishop of Elenopoli in Bitinia, auxiliary of Poznań. He supported the Polish national movement fighting for the rights of Poles in the Prussian partition. Because of this, he was often in conflict with the Prussian government. In January 1846, the authorities forced him to issue a proclamation denouncing the Great Polish Uprising of 1846; but in March 1848, he stood at the head of deputation to the king on maintaining the autonomy of the Grand Duchy of Posen. In his correspondence with the authorities in Berlin, he consistently attributed the responsibility for the uprising in 1848 to the German authorities. At the same time, he urged the priests and the diocese to share the electoral and legal measures to prevent the division of the Grand Duchy. He was later in that year named honorary chairman of the Polish League. The archbishop's attempt to establish, after the revolution, a theological school with a Polish character failed because of the Prussian government. He was a signatory of the protest of the Polish bishops against the "Raumerschen Erlass " issued by Minister of Education and Ecclesiastical Affairs Karl Otto von Raumer. In 1854, he traveled to be present at the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX. In 1861, requested a seat in the Prussian House of Representatives. From that year, started in Berlin plans for the retirement of the archbishop from his office. To deprive Archbishop Przyłuski of his see of Gniezno and Poznań, various proposals were put forward. One of them was to move the capital from Gniezno and Poznań to Berlin. Przyłuski was to be then archbishop of Berlin. To this, however, the pope did not agree. Another proposal was to give Archbishop Przyłuski a coadjutor, who would have replaced him in the near future.
Cardinalate. Father Witold Klimkiewicz in his book Kardynał Ledóchowski na tle swej epoki 1822-1902 indicates that when Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli, secretary of State, presented the case of a possible coadjutor, Pope Pius IX declared that he had a better means to overcome the difficulties. Namely, that he may appoint the archbishop to the Sacred College of Cardinals, with permanent residence in Rome (1). On another place Fr. Klimkiewicz writes about a letter that Cardinal Antonelli had sent to Archbishop Przyłuski on January 2, 1865: That letter was not just a proposition of promotion to the cardinalate asking the prelate whether he wished the plan to be adopted, but a clear announcement that the pope had decided to nominate him cardinal and bring him to Rome; the secretary of State at the same time congratulated him for a well-deserved honor (2). At the next consistory, Archbishop Przyłuski was to be named cardinal.
Death. March 12, 1865, in Poznań. Buried in the metropolitan cathedral in Poznań. With his death, the promotion to the cardinalate became ineffective.
Bibliography. Klimkiewicz, Witold. Kardynał Ledóchowski na tle swej epoki, 1822-1902. 3 v. in 2. Poznań : Księg. Św. Wojciecha, 1987, 1939. Contents: T. 1. Młodość, kapłaństwo i działalność dyplomatyczna Ks. Mieczysława Ledóchowskiego -- t. 2. Wybór nuncjusza Mieczysława Ledóchowskiego na stolicę Gnieźnieńską i Poznańską w r. 1865 -- t. 3. Na stolicy prymasowskiej i w pruskim więzieniu. Note: Originally published: Poznań : Księg. Św. Wojciecha, 1939, II, p. 26-27and 33; Prokop, Krzysztof Rafał, Polscy kardynałowie, Kraków 2001, p, 458-460; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, p. 204; Zieliński, Zygmunt. "Leon Przyłuski", in: Feliks Lenort, Na stolicy prymasowskiej w Gnieźnie i w Poznaniu: szkice o prymasach Polski w okresie niewoli narodowej i w II Rzeczypospolitej : praca zbiorowa. Poznań 1984, page 161-192; Zieliński, Zygmunt. "Przyłuski, Leon Michał (1789-1865)", in: Polski Słownik Biograficzny, (redactor) Emanuel Rostworowski, t. 29, Wrocław 1986, p. 210-212.
Links. His arms, image and biography, in Polish, Wikipedia; his image and biography, in German, Wikipedia; his genealogy, The Kórnik Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
(1) Klimkiewicz, Kardynał Ledóchowski na tle swej epoki 1822-1902, II, p. 26-27.
(2) Klimkiewicz, Kardynał Ledóchowski na tle swej epoki 1822-1902, II, p. 33.
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