Sandomir (Polish, SANDOMIERZ), Diocese of (SANDOMIRIENSIS).—The city is very ancient, with still existing traces of prehistoric construction. Its population is 6891, of which 2364 are Catholics, 46 of the Orthodox Church, and 3433 Jews.
When King Mieczyslaw I (962-92), introduced Christianity into Poland he built two churches at Sandomir dedicated to St. Nicholas and St. John. In the Middle Ages the city became an important center of political and religious life. Here lived several illustrious and holy personages, namely, the Blessed Salome (1210-68), daughter of Leszek the Fair and wife of Koloman I, King of Hungary; Blessed Adelaide, daughter of Casimir the Just (1179-94), King of Poland, who founded the parochial church of St. John where she was buried (1211); Blessed Vincent Kladubek, who died in 1223 after a fruitful apostolic ministry and was canonized by Clement XIII; Blessed Czeslaw, a Dominican (d. 1242 or 1247), the brother of St. Hyacinth; his cult was approved throughout Poland by Clement XII in 1735; St. Hyacinth, the celebrated and apostolic Dominican who was one of the glories of Catholic Poland; St. Cunegunde (1224-92), wife of Boleslaw the Chaste, King of Poland. In 1260 Tatar hordes completely destroyed the city and put all the inhabitants to the sword. Forty-nine Dominicans with Sadok, prior of the convent of St. James, were martyred. In 1476 Jan Dlugosz, the celebrated annalist and Polish historian, a canon of Cracow and Sandomir, built here for the cathedral clergy a house which is still existing and is called by his name.
The Congress of Sandomir (1570) was assembled for the purpose of union between Protestant sects and the foundation of a national Protestant Church. The results were negative, but certain measures were proposed and approved for the regulation of the relations between the Protestant sects.
Up to the second half of the eighteenth century the city of Sandomir and its territory were under the immediate jurisdiction of the Diocese of Cracow. In 1787 through the initiative of Michael Poniatowski, administrator of the Diocese of Cracow, the Holy See created Sandomir a diocese. The first bishop was Msgr. Adalbert Radozewski (d. 1796). In 1818, after the Concordat with Russia, Pius VII promulgated the Bull “Ex imposita nobis”, which suppressed the greater part of the Diocese of Kielce and transferred its episcopal seat to Sandomir. In the next year Msgr. Stephen Holowczyc, dean of the cathedral of Kielce, was consecrated bishop. The new diocese comprised the ancient Principality of Sandomir, which is now the Province of Radom, and part of the Province of Kielce. Bishop Holowczyc had scarcely taken possession of his diocese before he was made Archbishop of Warsaw, and a Franciscan, Adam Prosper Burzynski, succeeded him in 1820. After the death of Bishop Burzynski (September 9, 1830) the cathedral chapter administered the diocese until 1840, when the rector of the seminary, Clement Bankiewicz, was made bishop at the age of eighty, and died January 2, 1842. His successor was Bishop Joseph Joachim Goldtman, who had been Bishop of Wladislaw since 1838; he was transferred to the See of Sandomir in 1844, and died on March 22, 1853. Bishop Joseph Michael Yuszynski, who had occupied various ecclesiastical offices in the diocese, succeeded him, and was consecrated July 10, 1859. Under him the number of deaneries of the diocese was decreased from seventeen to seven. On his death Bishop Anthony Francis Sotkiewicz, administrator of the Archdiocese of Warsaw and professor of canon law in the ecclesiastical seminary of that city, was consecrated May 20, 1882; d. May 4, 1901. At the time of his elevation the number of secular clergy was 278, and the Catholic population 730,940. He was succeeded on September 4, 1902, by Stephen Alexander Zwierowicz, Bishop of Vilna, who was transferred from the latter see to Sandomir, where he died on January 3, 1908. The present incumbent of the see is Bishop Marianus Joseph Ryn, canon of the cathedral, who was consecrated April 7, 1910. The diocese at present comprises seven deaneries: Sandomir, Opatow, Ibza, Kozienice, Radom, Opoczno, and Konskie. There are six churches in the city of Sandomir; the cathedral, which dates from 1120 and to which a cathedral chapter has been attached since 1818; the Church of St. James, founded in 1200 by Blessed Adelaide; here dwelt Hyacinth and Martin of Sandomir, whom Gregory IX sent as his ambassador to St. Louis, to induce him to undertake a crusade; and Raymond Bembnowski, author of the Acts of the Martyrs of Sandomir; the Church of the Conversion of St. Paul, which was in existence in the beginning of the thirteenth century; the Church of the Holy Ghost, founded by the Religious of the Holy Ghost of Santa Maria in Sassia in 1222; the Church of St. Michael, founded in 1686 and attached to a Benedictine monastery; and the Church of St. Joseph, founded in 1685 by the Protestants. There are 212 parishes in the diocese, 1 cathedral church, 1 collegiate church, 10 detached churches, and 50 chapels. The secular clergy number 295. The religious houses were all dispersed after the Polish insurrection of 1863. The regulars are represented by one Franciscan lay brother in the parish of Wysmierzyce. The Sisters of Charity, numbering forty-two, have seven hospitals at Sandomir, Radom, Strzyzowice, Opatow, Staszow, Opoczno. Near Bodzentyn is a cloistered Franciscan monastery with thirteen sisters. The canons of the cathedral number twelve, those of the college, six. There are 870,674 Catholics. Amongst the Catholic societies of Sandomir may be mentioned the Society of Charities, founded in 1905, with 155 members; the archconfraternity of St. Stanislaus Kostka, founded in 1906, with 30 young men; the Christian Working Men’s Society, founded in 1907, with 98 members, and the Catholic Society, founded in 1908 with 188 members.