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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
After the Polish uprising of 1863, a Russian general was given large tracts of land by the Czar for his services, which were confiscated from the Catholic abbey of Turek, in the Sandomir district. Called to serve in the Russian-Turkish war of 1876, he wanted, before leaving for the campaign, to gain new favors from the czar. So he called his serfs, almost all of them poor Poles, and told them: “I will give to each of you a beautiful land before my departure, but before that you must change the Catholic religion for the Russian-Orthodox religion. Think about it seriously and come back soon to give me your answer.” These poor peasants consulted each other, and then came back to the general with a very joyful air. “Excellency,” they said, “this is our opinion. When someone offers to exchange his horse for ours, and adds an extra price, we conclude that our horse is better than his. So our religion must be better than the Russian one, since you still want to give us land to change our religion. We shall therefore remain what we are. – You rascals! cried the general, go away quickly, or I will have the knout administered to you.”
The faithfulness to their faith of these poor peasants is above all praise. One should not change religion for human reasons.