The story seems to have originated in the memoirs of Jan Chryzotom Pasek (1636-1701), a Polish nobleman from Mazuria
, who, like Mazepa, was a page at the court of the Polish king Jan Kazimierz.
Oldenberg and some local Protestant clergy believed that it was a conspiracy on the part of the Catholic Church to infiltrate Prussian Mazuria and unite Catholic Ermland with Catholic West Prussia and Czarist Poland.
The provincial official studied the document and issued a seventeen-page response that agreed with Kassa's assessment on the issue of the annual dues, but disputed the growth of the Catholic Church in Mazuria because government statistics showed a decline in membership throughout the last decade.
Berlin asked General Superintendent Carl Moll to launch an investigation into the political activities of "his" pastors, but a concerned von Muhler also looked for information about Mazuria from sources other than the Provincial Consistory.
31) Although counterrevolutionary Protestants founded the society to battle secularism and socialism in urban centers, Berlin believed it could lend a hand in rural Mazuria because Catholicism was undermining the conservative tie between the Protestant Church and monarch in much the same way that contemporary nonreligious agendas were attempting to reformat traditional society.
Catholic practices, heathen customs, and superstition continued to play a major role in nineteenth-century Mazuria.
37) After carefully documenting the church's struggle to maintain a bilingual ministry in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Oldenberg turned to the Mazuria that he observed in 1865.
While other regions of the Prussian kingdom improved their transportation networks, urbanized, and industrialized, Mazuria remained an isolated agrarian region.
Oldenberg believed that the Inner Mission Society could and needed to duplicate this experience throughout Mazuria because Bible study insulated the people from the message of the priests.