Ostroh Academy

Image - Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky (1650s portrait). Image - A title page of an Ostrih College poetry collection. Image - The Ostrozky family coat of arms on the wall of the Ostrih castle.

Ostroh Academy (Острозька школа or Острозька академія; Ostrozka shkola or Ostrozka akademiia). A postsecondary institution founded in Ostroh, Volhynia, ca 1576 by Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky. At a time when Catholicism was making inroads into Western Ukraine, the academy was a bastion of Orthodoxy and maintained the traditional orientation toward Constantinople. Though the Ostroh Academy did not develop into a Western European-style university, as Ostrozky had hoped, it was the foremost Orthodox academy of its time. The curriculum consisted of Church Slavonic, Greek, Latin, theology, philosophy, medicine, natural science, and the classical free studies (mathematics, astronomy, grammar, rhetoric, and logic). In addition the academy was renowned for choral singing, and developed the ostrozkyi napiv. The academy was closely affiliated with the Ostroh Press.

The first rector of the academy was the writer Herasym Smotrytsky. The instructors, many of whom had been invited from Constantinople, included the pseudonymous Ostrozkyi Kliryk, the Greek Cyril Lucaris, J. Latos (a philosopher and mathematician from Cracow University), and Yov Boretsky, who later became rector of the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School and then metropolitan of Kyiv. Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny, the writer and scholar Meletii Smotrytsky, and several other prominent political and cultural leaders studied at the academy. With the founding of a rival Jesuit college in Ostroh in 1624, the academy went into decline, and by 1636 it had ceased to exist.

The example set by the Ostroh Academy had an enduring influence on pedagogical thought and the organization of schools in Ukraine and provided a model for the brotherhood schools that were later founded in Lviv (see Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School), Lutsk (see Lutsk Brotherhood of the Elevation of the Cross School), Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Vilnius, and Brest. The academy was reestablished in 1994 as the Ostroh Higher Collegium, a branch of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. In 2000 it was reorganized into an independent institution of higher learning, granted the national university status, and renamed the National University of Ostroh Academy.

Myts'ko, I. (comp). Materialy do istoriï Ostroz'koï akademiï (1576–1636): Biobibliohrafichnyi dovidnyk (Kyiv 1990)
Myts'ko, I. Ostroz'ka slov’iano-hreko-latyns'ka akademiia (1576–1636) (Kyiv 1990)
Pasichnyk, I. et al (eds). Ostroz'ka akademiia XVI–XVII st: Entsyklopedychne vydannia (Ostroh 1997)

Chrystia Freeland

[This article was unpdated in 2003.]

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