Aleksander Kakowski

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His Eminence
Aleksander Kakowski
Cardinal, Archbishop of Warsaw
Aleksander Kakowski.PNG
Church Roman Catholic
Archdiocese Warsaw
Appointed 7 May 1913
In office 1913-1938
Predecessor Wincenty Teofil Popiel
Successor August Hlond
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Sant’Agostino
Ordination 30 May 1886
Consecration 22 June 1913
by Stanisław Kazimierz Zdzitowiecki
Created Cardinal 15 December 1919
by Benedict XV
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1862-02-05)5 February 1862
Dębiny, Płock Governorate, Congress Poland
Died 30 December 1938(1938-12-30) (aged 76)
Nationality Polish
Coat of arms

Aleksander Kakowski (Polish pronunciation: [alɛˈksandɛr kaˈkɔfskʲi]; 5 February 1862 – 30 December 1938) was a Polish politician, diplomat, a member of the Regency Council and, as Cardinal and Archbishop of Warsaw, the last titular Primate of the Kingdom of Poland before Poland fully regained its independence in 1918.[1]


Aleksander Kakowski was born on 5 February 1862 in Dębiny near Przasnysz, the son of Franciszek Kakowski and Paulina Ossowska.[2] He was ordained a priest on 30 May 1886 in Warsaw, by Cardinal Wincenty Chościak-Popiel. The following year he became one of the professors at the Warsaw Theological Seminary. In 1910 he became Rector of the Saint Petersburg Roman Catholic Theological Academy, and on 22 July 1913 he was ordained a bishop by Stanisław Zdzitowiecki. On 14 September 1913 he became the archbishop of Warsaw in St. John's Cathedral, thus becoming the titular primate of the Kingdom of Poland.

Political career[edit]

World War I and the Regency Council[edit]

After the outbreak of the Great War he remained in Warsaw and in 1917 Kakowski was appointed to be a member of the Regency Council, a semi-independent and temporary highest authority of the Kingdom of Poland, recreated by the Central Powers as part of their Mitteleuropa plan. Kakowski was one of three members of that body, which served as a provisional head of state (hence the word "regency" in its name).

Relations with Rome, death and legacy[edit]

Archbishop Kakowski with other members of the Regency Council in 1917

On 28 November 1919 he was the main consecrator of Achille Ratti, the papal nuncio to Poland who later became Pope Pius XI. On 15 December the same year Kakowski himself was made a cardinal. During his service as the Archbishop of Warsaw, Kakowski promoted the creation of a strong Catholic press. He was one of the authors of the success of Rycerz Niepokalanej, which was one of the most popular newspapers in pre-war Poland. He was also the main creator of the theological faculty at the Warsaw University and of the Catholic Action movement. For his role in liberating Poland from foreign occupation, in 1925 Kakowski was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish decoration (and in July 1938 he even briefly appeared as the head of that order's chapter). In 1930 he also became a "bailiff of honour and devotion" of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. His successor August Hlond was to reintroduce the title of Primate of Poland after the Second World War, but Kakowski continued to style himself Primate of the Kingdom of Poland until his death on 30 December 1938.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Wincenty Chościak-Popiel
Archbishop of Warsaw
Succeeded by
August Hlond
Preceded by
Jan Paweł Woronicz
Primate of Poland
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Sebastiano Martinelli
Cardinal Priest of Sant'Agostino
Succeeded by
Agustín Parrado y García