De primo infideles adeundi animo
(The life of Remedius Prutký, a Franciscan
missionary, before his departure to Ethiopia in 1751)
The paper is an attempt to
reconstruct the early career of Remedius Prutký (1713-1770), a Franciscan missionary and the autor of the Itinerarium missionum apostolicarum, on
the basis of archival documents in the Archivio Storico di Propaganda
Fide in Rome. Prutký’s career is typical of Bohemian Franciscan
missionaries in the Upper Egypt in the 1st
half of the 18th century, who largely contributed to the efforts of
the Sacred Congregation
for the Propagation of the Faith, but
whose life and extensive literary work are still understudied.
The first part of the
paper focuses on Prutký’s life before his departure
to Rome (1713-1749).
After the correction of some widespread mistakes concerning his biographical
data (the dates of birth, death, ordination, study etc.) there follows a
description of his time in San Pietro di Montorio, a Roman Fraciscan
convent, where he was prepared for his service as a missionary. This was a
place where catholic missionaries on their way to the Middle
East, the Balcan Peninsula
received vitally important training for their mission. Some subjects, like
Arabic, are specially noted and examination procedures are described.
The second part focuses on Prutký’s every day life and missionary (as well as
medical) activities in the Upper Egypt. His
literary works written after he arrived to a hospice in Girga
(especially those on medical and liturgical topics) are elaborated in more
detail. In 1751, after the uprising of the Coptic clergy against the catholic
missionaries, one significant period in Prutký’s life
comes to a close as he starts a new mission in Ethiopia.