Kharkiv College

Kharkiv College (Харківський колегіум; Kharkivskyi kolehium). One of the most important religious secondary schools in the Russian Empire in the 18th century. It was founded originally (1722) as an eparchial seminary in Belgorod by Bishop Yepyfanii Tykhorsky, and was transferred to Kharkiv in 1726 by Prince M. Golitsyn. Modeled on the Kyivan Mohyla Academy, the seminary provided at first the kind of general education that was demanded of candidates for priesthood. Its six-grade curriculum stressed the Slavonic, Greek, and Latin languages; hence the seminary became known as the Slavonic-Greek-Latin School. In 1734 it assumed the title of college, and quickly attained a reputation for learning, second only to the Kyivan Mohyla Academy. To attract students interested in a civil career, Bishop P. Smelech introduced in 1737 mathematics, French, and German, and invited foreign instructors to teach these subjects. It was transformed into a theological seminary in 1817 and thereafter provided only ecclesiastical education. In 1765 supplementary classes in French, German, mathematics, drafting, engineering, artillery, and geodesy were introduced for secular students. Physics and natural history were added in 1795, and agriculture and medicine at the beginning of the 19th century. Instruction took place mainly in Latin. The enrollment in 1727 was close to 400 and later rose as high as 800. The faculty included some famous artists and thinkers: Ivan Sabluchok, Artem Vedel, and Hryhorii Skovoroda (1759-66). Many of the college's graduates gained distinction as church leaders, scholars, or cultural figures: Ivan Pereverzev, Nikolai Gnedich, Mikhail Kachenovsky, Y. Mukhin, T. Smilivsky, and Petro Yaroslavsky, among others. With the opening of Kharkiv University in 1805, the college's role in secular education declined. In 1817 the college was again converted into a theological seminary.

David Saunders

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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