Popiel (Chosciak Popiel) Jozef (1848-1880), a columnist, a liaison between Poland and Vatican. Born on February 11, in Chocimow (county of Opatow), he was a son of Ludwik, a 1831 uprising veteran (decorated with a Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari), an owner of Chocimow, and Apolonia Aleksandrowicz (her mother was a sister of later cardinal Mieczyslaw Ledochowski), a nephew of Pawel (vide) and Wincenty (vide). Orphaned in early childhood he was grown by his uncle Waclaw under tutelage of clerics being sent by uncle rev. Wincenty. A Middle School he attended in Piotrkow and a High School in Warsaw. He was a student at the Warsaw Capital School, School of Law, later at the University in Petersburg. He contracted tuberculosis in his youth years and since 1869 he used to stay during winter seasons in Italy and Egypt and during summers he was coming back home. In 1870-1874 he was paying visits to uncle Wincenty (that time a bishop of Plock) in Nowogrod, where the latter was deported to by czarist government.

His debut as a journalist came in December 1869; he published in "Czas" several commentaries from the opening of the Suez Channel and "Letters from Sicily" (1871-1872). Later, apart from articles for "Czas", he published a lot in "Przeglad Lwowski" (1873 a series on Italian journalism and in 1877-1878 "Letters from Italy") and in "Przeglad Polski". His correspondence from Rome was a mix of political journalism and commentary coverage of conservative Catholic character. Stanislaw Tarnowski appreciated Popiel's "real and diversified writing talent". Maurycy Mann saw in Popiel his successor to the chair of the chief-editor of "Czas". In light of obituaries and family tradition, Popiel had good diplomatic skills and was a good social mixer; thanks to it, in spite of his relatively young age, he had broad contacts in social and political spheres as well as among clergy. He had Pius IX's confidence and "honored" with the cardinal A. Franchi's friendship (he wrote on the cardinal a reminiscence with personal accent, "Czas" July 8, 1878 ). Popiel was one of the discreet liaisons between the Pope and Polish clergy, (the occupants of Poland did not tolerate that kind of contacts). According to Ludwik Zygmunt Debicki, Popiel "was a skilled diplomat and journalist, so that he knew everything possible, but he used to reveal only what was necessary at the moment", therefore his activities as a papal liaison or envoy were well hidden.
Whole 10 years of his journalist career he was in fact sick (however, as his letters proved, he took his sickness almost cheerfully), in 1879 he was not able to take his usual Italy trip. He died in Krakow on February 2, 1880. Buried in the family tomb at the Church in Ruszcza nearby Krakow.
Popiel was not married.
The inscription on the tomb mentions his services for the Papacy. The family published a book (Krakow 1880) containing some of Popiel's articles with a preface-obituary.

    Fot. W Materialach Red. PSB;-[Debicki L. Z.], Jozef Popiel, "Czas" R. 2: 1880; Pogrzeb Jozefa Popiela - Glos Kuriera Poznanskiego i listy z Rzymu, "Przegl. Lwow.". R. 10: 1880 s. 276-8; Popiel P., Rodzina Popielow…, Kr. 1936 s. 95-6, 101-2, 128; Tarnowski S., Jozef Popiel, "Przegl. Pol." T. 55: 1880 s. 443-5;-Popiel P., Pamietniki, (1807-1892), Kr. 1927 (o ojcu P-a Ludwiku); Popiel W., Pamietniki, Kr. 1915 II 147, 224; Rostworowska J., Zycie i wyjatki z listow Emilii z Soltykow Popielowej, Kr. 1925 s. 123; -Papiery rodzinne u autora zyciorysu.

Emanuel Roztworowski

Translation from Polish to English: sp


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This site was created on June 15, 1998 and updated on May 11, 2007
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