Origin of the work:
1658 Amsterdam, in: Johannis A. Comenii De regula fidei... Amsterodami ...1658
1909 Yuriev, J. Kvačala in: Analecta Comeniana
1972 Prague, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. VI, Czech translation by J. Brambora and J. Červenka
A consideration of what is necessary for the forthcoming mutual discussions between representatives of various churches, to be held at Toruń.
Comenius’ main task while at Elbląg was to work up textbooks for Swedish schools. He was, however, distracted from this by his beloved pansophy, as well as by his participation in religious affairs in Poland. Religious life in that country was at this time highly agitated, as in addition to the powerful Roman Catholic Church, strengthened by the activities of the Jesuits, there were a number of not insignificant evangelical confessions, including the Polish and Bohemian branches of the Unitas Fratrum. There were disputes not just between Catholics and the evangelicals, but also within the evangelical churches. To resolve all of these problems, and at the urging of the Polish King, Wladislaw IV, all of the interested parties were invited to a colloquium, to be held at Toruń in August 1645. In this work, which takes the form of a letter to another who is going to Toruń, Comenius expresses how much depends for him on the outcome of the discussions. In the introduction he called for the Brethren to devote the greatest care to the exchanges, in order that the truth might not be submerged.
He holds that it is necessary for the evangelicals to hold their own meeting together before the Toruń assembly; it will be necessary to ascertain whether the Lutherans and the Reformed churches will advance together, and to agree with them on the manner of the negotiations. Comenius advised that the foremost irenicists from abroad, John Dury and Jiří Calixtus, be invited. Furthermore, he also attempted to formulate the questions that might be decided upon not just at Toruń but also in other fora abroad. It would be useful to find out in advance what the aims of the opposing side will be, in order that the non-Catholics might also set their own aims. The issue is whether the Catholics wish to bring all Christians under Papal power. The most certain course would be to make a written record of the discussions, confirmed by the signature of the chairman. It would be appropriate to ask the Catholics in advance whether they might makes their decisions freely, and whether they will require a return of the evangelists to their Church; this latter must be ruled out. It will be necessary to agree on the election of speakers and their substitutes, as well as of the chairman. It will also be necessary to make preliminary agreements regarding the study of Scripture and other books and works.
All of Comenius’ proposals attest to his concern that the evangelicals not be put down at this important meeting.
For further study, see also:
Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. VI. Prague 1972, pp165-167
J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp374-377
Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Praha & Ostrava 1992, pp222-223