Kobielski, Franciszek Antoni°

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KOBIELSKI, FRANCISZEK ANTONI ° (1679–1755), Polish priest. In 1735 he became the confessor and chancellor to Queen Maria Josephine, the wife of Augustus iii; in 1736 he was appointed bishop of Kamenets-Podolski, and in 1739 bishop of Lutsk. He was zealous in missionary activities among the Jews of Podolia, sometimes preaching in the synagogues, as well as engaging in a disputation with the rabbis of Brody (1742–43). Upon its conclusion, he instructed the local clergy to pursue their missionary activities with more energy, and in 1746 he published a collection of sermons, Światło na oświecenie narodu niewiernego ("Light on the Enlightenment of the Infidel People"). At the same time Bishop Kobielski imposed various anti-Jewish restrictions. These included a restriction prohibiting Christian servants to sleep in the houses of their Jewish employers; public masquerades on Purim; and the lighting of synagogues at night was also prohibited. At the Sejm (diet) of Warsaw, in 1748, he sought to reduce the taxes levied upon the Jews and accused the rabbis of exploiting the poorer classes of the Jewish population. In 1752 he published a circular on the attitude of the clergy toward the Jews, Wszystkiemu duchowieństwu na zdrowie ("Greetings to All the Clergy"), and an essay, Proces tykający Żydów ("A Trial Concerning the Jews").


N.M. Gelber, in: mgwj, 68 (1924), 232–3; W. Smoleński, Stan i sprawa Żydów polskich w xviii wieku (1876), 24 (= Pisma historyczne, 2 (1901), 240); Polski Słownik Biograficzny, 13 (1967–68), 146–8; A. Kitowicz, Opis obyczajów w Polsce wostatnich latach panowania Augusta iii, ed. R. Pollak (1951); M. Balaban, Le-Toledot ha-Tenu'ah ha-Frankit (1934), 200–12.

[Arthur Cygielman]