Budny, Szymon

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Budny, Szymon


Born 1530, in the village of Budy, in Mazovia, Poland; died Jan. 13, 1593. A figure in Byelorussian culture; a humanist; prominent figure in the religious and national movement in Lithuania and Byelorussia, which were then under the rule of Poland. He was apparently descended from the lower nobility of Mazovia or western Russia.

Budny graduated from the Jagellonian University in Kraków. He studied in Italy and Switzerland and was one of the most educated people of his time. He began his activity in 1558 as a Calvinist preacher. He organized a printing shop in Nesvizh’, where he published the catechism and other books in Byelorussian in 1562; in these books he vigorously criticized religious dogmas. In the 1570’s he delivered a sermon defending the views of the anti-Trinitarians, who criticized the official theology from a rationalist point of view. Budny denied the divine nature of Christ and the need to worship him. He vigorously criticized the vices of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Budny’s humanist ideas were expressed in his affirmation of the human personality and reason and in his desire for positive knowledge. Like F. Skorina, Budny defended the unity of the culture of Slavic peoples; he was personally acquainted with I. Fedorov, the founder of printing in Russia, and with P. Mstislavets, and possibly also with Feodosii Kosoi and his disciples. The monk Artemii sent epistles to Budny. Budny’s ideas spread mainly among the Polish nobility and among the major feudal lords of Byelorussia and Lithuania. Unlike the peasant plebeian wing of the anti-Trinitarians, Budny did not advocate the abolition of serfdom and limited himself to condemning the abuses of the feudal lords. At the Luclawici Council (synod) of 1582, where the moderate anti-Trinitarians (Socinians) were in the majority, Budny was unfrocked for his radical religious and philosophical views and condemned as a heretic; his works were burned in bonfires and he himself was cruelly hounded and persecuted.


Khrestamatyia pa starazhytnai belaruskai literatury. Minsk, 1959. Pages 187-95.
Iz istorii filosofskoi i obshchestvenno-politicheskoi mysli Belorussii. Minsk, 1962. Pages 40-82.
Poretskii, Ia. I. S. Budnyi—peredovoi belorusskii myslitel’ XVI v. Minsk, 1961.
Istoriia BSSR, vol. 1. Minsk, 1961. Pages 145, 161, 162.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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