Ostroh Academy

National University
"Ostroh Academy"
Національний університет «Острозька академія»
Type Public
Established 1576
President Ihor Pasichnyk
Location Ostroh, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine
Website www.oa.edu.ua

National University "Ostroh Academy" (Ukrainian: Національний університет «Острозька академія») is a national autonomous research university of Ukraine that is located in Ostroh. It is considered to be the first institution of higher education in Ukraine, dating to 1576 and founded by Polish nobleman of Ruthenian descent Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski. The university was closed in 1636 and reopened only in 1994.


In the 16th century, all higher schools of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were under influence of the Catholic or Protestant nobles. To counter this influence, Count Konstanty Ostrogski, one of the most influential people in the Crown of Poland (and later a major partisan of the Orthodox faith against the Union of Brest), founded a large school in his estate in Ostroh in what is now Ukraine. Ostrogski envisioned a lay school, that would however strengthen the Eastern Christian spirit in the country and prevent conversions to Protestantism and Catholicism, a process in full swing at the time.[1] and as such was first mentioned in Piotr Skarga's 1577 On the Unity of God's Church under the Single Shepherd and on Greek Secession from this Unity.[2]

The school was founded some time between 1576[3] and 1580, but it did not start full activities until 1585.[4] Initially tasked only with translation of The Bible to Ruthenian (later published as the Ostrog Bible),[5] with time it grew to become a permanent institution of secondary education.

A large part of the funding came from Princess Halszka Ostrogska's testament of 1579, in which she donated "six times sixty thousand" (360,000) Lithuanian grosz to local school, hospital and Holy Spas' (i.e. Savior's) monastery near Lutsk.[6]

The school, officially styled Academy, was modelled after Western European education of the epoch. It taught the trivium (grammar, rhetorics, dialectics) as well as the quadrivium (arithmetics, geometry, music and astronomy).[4] It featured education in Latin, Greek and Ruthenian (predecessor to both modern Ukrainian and Belarusian), the only institution of higher education in the world teaching that language at the time.[4]

The first rector of the academy was Herasym Smotrycki, a noted Eastern Christian writer of the epoch.[4] With time, Ostrogski assembled a significant group of professors, many of them having been expelled from the Jagiellonian University (such as the first dean of astronomy Jan Latosz) or having quarreled with the king or the Catholic clergy. However, the political nature of the conflict between Ostrogski, Protestants and Catholics prevented the school from attracting enough professors of international fame.[1] It did however invite numerous Greek scientists from abroad, including Smotrycki's successor Kyrillos Lukaris, as well as Metropolitan bishop Kizikos, Nicefor Parasios, the envoy of the Metropolitan of Constantinople, and Emmanuel Achilleos, a religious writer. Some of the professors were also of local stock, including Jurij Rohatyniec, Wasyl Maluszycki and Jow Kniahicki.[7] The religious character of the academy was underlined by close ties to Eastern Christian monasteries of Derman, Dubno, Slutsk and later also Pochayiv.[7]

While the school failed to attract as many students as the founder had envisioned,[4] it nevertheless became very influential as a centre of Ruthenian (that is Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian) culture and literature.[7] Among the notable alumni were religious writer Zacharius Kopystensky, hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny, one of the fathers of Belarusian poetry Andrzej Rymsza and future exarchs of Lwów Gedeon Balaban and of Polotsk Meletius Smotrytsky, son of the first rector and a noted Orthodox writer and teacher.[7] It also became the alma mater of professors of the so-called brotherhood schools for Orthodox burghers being founded in late 16th century all around the country in accordance with the royal decree of 1585 by king Stefan Batory. After the death of Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski in 1608 the Ostroh Academy declined, but then was revived by his son Janusz Ostrogski as a Jesuit College.

Notable dates

Notable alumni

See also


  1. 1 2 Tomasz Kempa (2007). Wobec kontrreformacji; protestanci i prawosławni w obronie swobód wyznaniowych w Rzeczypospolitej w końcu XVI i w pierwszej połowie XVII wieku (in Polish). Toruń: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek. p. 39. ISBN 978-83-7441-644-3.
  2. (Polish) Piotr Skarga (1577). O jedności Kościoła Bożego pod jednym Pasterzem i o greckim od tej jedności odstąpieniu, Wilno
  3. Ostroh Academy National University (corporate author). "Ostroh Academy National University". oa.edu.ua. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 various authors (2003). Zofia Abramowicz, ed. Chrześcijańskie dziedzictwo duchowe narodów słowiańskich (in Polish). Białystok: Uniwersytet w Białymstoku, Wydział Filologiczny. p. 329. ISBN 83-89031-78-7.
  5. various authors (1997-11-06). "Akademia Ostrogska" [Polish culture in the life of Ukraine: history, modern times; 2nd international conference papers]. In Jerzy Wowk. Kultura polska w życiu Ukrainy; historia, dzień dzisiejszy, materiały z II międzynarodowej konferencji naukowej. Kultura polska w życiu Ukrainy (in Polish). Kiev: Federacja Organizacji Polskich na Ukrainie; Główna specjalizowana redakcja literatury w językach mniejszości narodowych Ukrainy. p. 37. OCLC 52037778. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  6. various authors (2002). Antoni Mironowicz; Urszula Pawluczuk; Piotr Chomik, eds. Szkolnictwo prawosławne w Rzeczypospolitej (in Polish). Białystok: Białystok University Press. p. 22. ISBN 83-902928-5-8.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Antoni Mironowicz (2003). Kościół prawosławny w państwie Piastów i Jagiellonów (in Polish). Białystok: Białystok University Press. pp. 238–242. ISBN 83-89031-39-6.
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