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The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

Orthodox Education in Poland during the Interwar Period

Antoni Mironowicz, Dr. Sci (History), professor, University of Białystok, Poland
pp. 74–92
DOI: 10.25803/26587599_2022_41_74
The article examines the system of Orthodox education in Poland in the interwar period between the two World Wars. It gives a brief overview of the most significant educational institutions of the Orthodox Church for clergy and laity that existed on the territory of Poland in the 19th century before the reestablishment of Poland’s independence. It characterizes the conditions for the development of Orthodox education, which changed considerably since 1918. It examines the relationship between the seminaries and secular authorities and looks at how the work of the seminaries underwent changes during the 1932 school reform. The state of affairs at the Orthodox seminaries in Vilna and Kremenets is described on the basis of archival sources; special attention is paid to the problems of national identity of students and the strategy of Polonization of theological schools carried out by the Polish government. The most traumatic process was that of revindication — the return of churches to their former owners, whereby many churches were taken over by the Roman Catholic Church or were demolished. The second part of the article is devoted to the Faculty of Theology, the University of Warsaw, whose graduates served in Orthodox parishes and themselves became teachers in Orthodox theological educational institutions. The basis for the beginning of the faculty’s work was the project of opening a higher educational institution for the purpose of training the clergy, submitted in 1921 to the Ministry of Public Education of Poland by Metropolitan George (Yaroshevsky). The faculty was opened on February 8, 1925 and lasted until 1939. The academic staff, the subject-matter content of the teaching, and the influence of the traditions of spiritual education of the various local Churches were restored. Graduates included distinguished specialists in history, theology, dogmatics and other theological disciplines. The high educational and cultural level of the Orthodox clergy results from the preserved system of Orthodox spiritual education. In the Second Polish Republic (II Rzeczpospolita), despite the state policy of Polonization, more opportunities for Orthodox education were open than there were in the Soviet Union. However, the problem of teaching Orthodox religion in schools in the interwar period was not resolved.
Keywords: church history, orthodox education, theological seminary, theological faculty, Jędrzejewicz reform, University of Warsaw

Last Issue2024. Volume 16. Issue 2 (50)

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