Kith, Kin, and Neighbors: The Community of Confessions in Seventeenth-Century Vilnius


ACLS Fellowship Program


Slavic (Affiliated Professor, History)


This project examines the multiculturalism peculiar to a highly mixed early modern city on the periphery of Europe. How did such a diverse populace—five confessions, three religions, many languages and ethnicities—manage to coexist in relative peace in an age of confessional tensions? This study argues that Vilnius functioned because some members of every confession, at all levels of society, were willing to enter into interconfessional alliances of a great variety of sorts; and the rest mostly tolerated the situation. This investigation reshapes reigning views of the re-Catholicization of Poland-Lithuania, in particular, and of confessionalization in Europe, in general.