Jan Hieronimowicz Chodkiewicz

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Jan Chodkiewicz
Coat of arms Chodkiewicz.PNG Kościesza odm. Chodkiewicz
Consort Krystyna Zborowska h. Jastrzębiec
Aleksander Chodkiewicz
Jan Karol Chodkiewicz
Hieronim Chodkiewicz
Zofia Drohostajska
Anna, Princess Joachim Korecki
Aleksandara, Princess Adam Wiśniowiecki
Elżbieta, Princess Jan Żyliński
Family Chodkiewicz
Father Hieronim Chodkiewicz h. Kościesza
Mother Anna Szemetówna h. Łabędź
Born 1537
Died 4 August 1579 (aged 41–42)
Buried Vilnius Cathedral
Religion Roman Catholicism,
formerly Calvinist

Jan Hieronimowicz Chodkiewicz (Lithuanian: Jonas Chodkevičius) (1537 – 4 August 1579) was a 16th-century Polish-Lithuanian noble. He was Grand Pantler of Lithuania 1559, general starost of Samogitia 1563, Elder of Samogitia 1564, starost of Telšiai and Plateliai 1566, Livonia Hetman and governor, Grand Marshal of Lithuania 1566, Kaunas starost 1569, Count on Szkłów 1568, Vilnius castellan 1574.


He was one of the most famous Polish-Lithuanian magnates of the 16th century. Raised a Calvinist he studied at the Universities of Königsberg, Leipzig, and Wittenberg, and entered in the service of Emperor Charles V from 1552 to 1555. After that he entered the service of the Grand Duke of Lithuania. In 1558 Jan Chodkiewicz was made Livonia Hetman and sent to defend Livonia against Tsar Ivan IV 'the Terrible' who was trying to enforce a passage to the Baltic Sea. With the help of Michael Radziwiłł, Great Chancellor of Lithuania, he succeeded in attaching Livonia to Lithuania. But this territory remained for long the main target of Russian attacks. In 1564 he became Elder of Samogitia, in 1566 Grand Marshal of Lithuania and governor of Livonia (1566–78, with headquarter at Sigulda near Riga), and in 1574 Castellan of Vilnius.

As his uncle he was a strong opponent to the Union of Lithuania with Poland.[citation needed] The Lithuanian delegation to the meetings preparing the Act of Union between Poland and Lithuania was led by Jan, who insisted in a long impassioned speech on the equality and independence of the two nations. Finally "bowing to the king's power, he pointed out those parts of the Act of Union which were unacceptable to Lithuania and he stated that he yielded to the King's will only with the deepest sorrow".[1] In practice the Union of Lublin in 1589 made sure that the Grand Duchy of Lithuania retained its own form of government and separate laws until the end of the joint state in 1795.[citation needed]

In 1570 Jan Hieronimowicz converted to Catholicism and became a great benefactor of the Jesuits.

He married the Calvinist Krystyna Zborowska before 1559 in Krakow, daughter of Marcin Zborowski, castellan of Krakow, and Anna Konarska. She remained Calvinist despite his conversion and raised some of their daughters in that religion despite their father's will.

They had issue: Hieronim was born at Vilnius in 1559; Aleksander at Trakai in 1560; Jan Karol at Vilnius in 1560-61; Anna at Vilnius in 1562; Zofia at Vilnius in 1564, Elzbieta at Vilnius in 1568; and Aleksandra at Vilnius in 1576.

He died on 4 August 1579 and was buried in Vilnius Cathedral.

Marriage and issue[edit]

Jan Hieronim married Krystyna Zborowska h. Jastrzębiec in 1559 and had seven children:[2]


Anna of Riazan
Fyodor Bielski
Chodko Jurewicz
Jarosław Hołwczyński
Jawnuta Bielska
Ivan Chodkiewicz
Elzbieta Hlebowiczówna
Melchior Szemet
Wasylissa Hołowczyńska
Aleksander Chodkiewicz
Anna Szemetówna
Hieronim Chodkiewicz
Jan Hieronimowicz Chodkiewicz
Vilnius Cathedral, place of Ivans` burial

See also[edit]


Danuta Bogdan, Students of the Republic at the University of Königsberg, in Królewice and Poland, Olsztyn 1993, p 82.

Leszek Kieniewicz the Senate for the Stefan Batory Foundation, Warsaw 2000, p 299.

Joseph Janowski: Jan Chodkiewicz Hieronimowicz. In: Polish Biographical Dictionary . T. 3: Brozek Jan – Chwalczewski Francis. Cracow : Polish Academy of Learning – Main Ingredients in bookstores Gebethner and Wolff, 1937, pp. 361–363. Reprint: Department of National Theatre. Ossolińskich, Kraków 1989, ISBN 8304032910.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclopedia Lithuanica
  2. ^ http://www.sejm-wielki.pl/b/3.55.84