One Vilnius House in the Jesuit Sources of the Sixteenth Century (Summary)

Irena Vaišvilaitė (PDF)

Sources are scarce for Vilnius houses in the sixteenth century. Therefore, the information provided by the Jesuit sources on one such house is valuable and revealing.
In 1568, Valerian Protasewicz, the bishop of Vilnius, bought a house for the future Jesuit College. At that time, the house was the property of Nicolas Jasieński (Jasiński, Jarziński), who had inherited it from his father, Albert. Albert Jasieński received this house from his brother, archdeacon Joseph Jasieński. The early histories of Vilnius Jesuit College provide some characteristics of the house. In 1570, Francis Sunyer, the first Jesuit Provincial in Poland and Lithuania, described the house as firm, well-built and situated in a splendid location next to the Bishops’ Palace in Vilnius. The house had a beautiful and solemn entrance. The excellent cellars were behind and under the building. Multiple upper rooms were covered with vaults and grouped around a courtyard. Two fountains were supplied with water from the municipal aqueduct next to the kitchen. The house also had a garden that was not big but rather beautiful. The living rooms were numerous and of high quality. One of the rooms was especially spacious, square in plan and decorated with fabrics and images. This room was deemed suitable for special occasions. Next to this room was the chapel, which was beautiful and lavishly furnished with fabrics and images. It also had expensive floors. At least 30 persons comfortably lived in the house, and a school was functioning.
A short history of the first two years of Vilnius College describes the house of Jasieński as probably the best in Vilnius. The house had a hypocaustic heating system. World maps decorated the house hall, and the heated rooms contained many fabrics and images. The house also contained a library.
The Jesuit archive in Rome also houses the index of documents concerning the legal history of the house. From it, we learn that between 1536 and 1550, archdeacon Joseph Jasieński formed his property from two houses and adjacent areas. In 1536, Jasieński was given a house by bishop Paul of Holszany. This house had been acquired from George, the bishop of Lutsk. In 1539, Jasieński bought neighbouring land. In 1549, he acquired the privilege of using the city aqueduct of the Bishops’ palace. In 1550, he bought a house built in 1504 by organist loannus Cicchi on the land given to him by bishop Paul of Holszany.
Thus, thanks to Jesuit archives, we know many interesting details about this rich house that bishop Valerian Protasewicz acquired for the Jesuit College in Vilnius.
Keywords: Valerian Protasewicz, Jesuit College, Jasieński, Paul of Holszany, Jesuit archives