About Bishop’s photographs. The case of Vilnius Bishop Karol Hryniewicki

  • Vilma Žaltauskaitė
Keywords: photography, Bishop of Vilnius, Lithuania of the 19th century


The article analyses identified photographs (as well as other images made using other techniques) of Vilnius Bishop Karol Hryniewicki (Hryniewiecki, resided in Vilnius in 1883–1885, in January of 1885 was exiled to Yaroslavl), attempts are made to find out their meanings in different socio-cultural contexts of Lithuania by the end of the 19th c. While exploring the Bishop’s photographs, the context of the Roman Catholic Church in the 19th century’s Russian Empire was evaluated. The diocese of Vilnius was an object of special policy of the secular authorities in the so-called Northwestern Krai, as it was not homogenous in the national as well as confessional aspect. In this diocese, the government attempted to change (and actually changed) the confessional and political-cultural orientation of Belarussian Catholics. Under such circumstances, being a spiritual authority, the Catholic Bishop was a clear competitor to the authority and power of the secular governance, therefore attempts were made to regulate and control his activities. The Bishop’s exile created additional meanings to his photographs in respect of believers and secular government, especially by the end of the 19th c. with strengthening nationalistic moods among Russians and others (Poles, Lithuanians). Therefore, the Bishop’s photographs also became a long-term and successful objet of commerce.
Representations of Power