Parochial Schools

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Parochial Schools


(tserkovno-prikhodskie shkoly), primary schools in prerevolutionary Russia affiliated with church parishes. The schools basically pursued the interests of the church, instructing young people in the faith. After the School Reform of 1804, parish schools (prikhodskie uchilishcha) were founded in several cities and villages. A network of schools administered by the Synod continued to develop in the first half of the 19th century. In the mid-1860’s, there were 21,420 parochial schools in Russia, with an enrollment of 412,000 pupils.

After the Zemstvo Reform of 1864, the tsarist government was disturbed by the growth of the zemstvo schools and through the counterreforms of the 1880’s and 1890’s granted special patronage to parochial schools. In 1884 the Rules Concerning Parochial Schools established one-class (two-year) and two-class (four-year) parochial schools. In the early 20th century these classes were reorganized as three-and five-year programs. The subjects taught in the one-class schools were theology, liturgical singing, the reading of Church Slavonic and Civil printed texts, writing, and arithmetic. The two-class schools also provided instruction in history. Reading material was religious and monarchist in content. The School Council of the Synod controlled parochial schools through parochial school councils. The instructors included priests, deacons, d’iachki, and teachers who had usually graduated from parochial teacher-training schools and eparchial schools.

Between 1885 and 1902, annual appropriations for parochial schools grew from 55,000 to 10.3 million rubles, while 5 million rubles were spent in 1902 on all other primary schools. The schools themselves increased in number from 5,517 in 1885 to 42,696 in 1905, when they constituted 46.5 precent of all primary schools. They subsequently decreased in number, dropping to 40,530 in 1915, constituting 32.8 percent of all primary schools.

After the October Socialist Revolution, parochial schools were abolished as a result of the closing of all religious schools and the creation of a single state socialist school system.


Chekhov, N. V. Narodnoe obrazovanie v Rossii s 60-kh gg. XIX V. Moscow, [1912.]
Konstantinov, N. A., and V. la. Struminskii. Ocherki po istorii nachal’nogo obrazovaniia v Rossii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1953. Pages 84–153, 165–93.


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