Ikonnikov Sergei

Activity of Russian Orthodox clergy in establishing parochial schools in the second half of XIX — the beginning of the XX century

Ikonnikov Sergei (2014) "Activity of Russian Orthodox clergy in establishing parochial schools in the second half of XIX — the beginning of the XX century ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2014, vol. 61, pp. 58-72 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201461.58-72


The article analyses activity of parish clergy of Voronezh Diocese in the area of national education in the second half of XIX and the beginning of the XX century. On the basis of archival and published sources the author have made a thorough research on the contribution of Orthodox clergy to improving the literacy rate of population through establishment of church schools on the example of Voronezh Diocese. Overwhelming quantity of peasants had absolutely no education then. Deep-rooted superstitions and prejudices were widespread among the population of Voronezh region. Local selfgovernment institutions carried out establishing national schools, but their eff orts were not suffi cient. Moreover, teachers of national schools weren’t loyal to the traditional orthodox values, preferring to teach children new “progressive” ideas. Church authorities made deacon a staff member in tructure of Russian orthodox parishes to provide more eff ective work. In 1884, government of Alexander III appealed to the church to make better contribution to national education among peasant population of the Empire. The clergy were aware of importance of the newly established responsibilities and actively engaged in the work on opening church schools. Local pastors conducted the work to raise awareness of importance of basic ducation among peasants. This article analyzes the work of Voronezh Diocese Clergy on development church schools, discusses both the positive aspects of activity of parochial clergy and obvious defects. The author comes to the conclusion that the priests had made a signifi cant contribution to the development of public education despite the lack of support from the state, the rejection of church schools by zemstvo and the diffi culties associated with poor economic standing of the clergy.


Orthodox Church, the Russian empire, Voronezh Diocese, parish clergy, parochial schools, national schools, zemstvo


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Ikonnikov Sergei