The Catholic Church in Siberia and its Educational Activities for the 19th Century Polish Exiles
Polish 19th century exiles to Siberia are inseparably connected with the activity of the Catholic Church in the area, which was organized by the Mohyliv archdiocese with an archbishop in Sankt Petersburg. The two central Siberian Roman Catholic parishes (east in Irkutsk and west in Tomsk) were the first official organization for Poles living in the area. They played an important role in the life of a community of people sent away from home against their will, far away from home and their families. The parishes gave these people the ability to fulfil their religious needs and, at the same time, meant a part of their home country and freedom for these people. Thanks to the tremendous effort from Polish priests, who were often exiles themselves, there were libraries, orphanages, refuges, small schools and charitable societies organized in the parish.
Keywords: 19th century; Siberia; Polish exiles; Catholic church; Education; Patronage.