Revista Studii Teologice


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Prima lege privind organizarea învăţământului teologic în Ţările Române – Legea seminarelor preoţeşti din Muntenia, 1834 (condiţiile apariţiei legii, conţinutul ei, regulamentele conexe)

First Law for the Organization of Theological Education in the Romanian Principalities – The Law for Theological Schools, Wallachia, 1834 (Context, Content, Additional Regulations)

Autor(i): Pr. Gruia ZAMFIRESCU

In Wallachia scholarly education developed in tight relationship with church life. Though schools had always existed, only rulers such as Alexandru Ipsilanti (18th century) and Ioan Gheorghe Caragea (19th century) created a local school system. The former established “lower schools” – within the two bishoprics he employed teachers “for elementary knowledge” – in each town of the country and reorganized the Princely School in Bucharest in three courses of study each covering three years. He also attempted to open a seminary (the name belongs to the historian Nicolae Iorga) affiliated to Obedeanu church in Craiova. The second ruler first reorganized the schools in Oltenia, the Slavonic and the Romanian schools at the “St George” Monastery, the music school at the St Sava and the Princely School, all three in Bucharest. The ruler even appointed a committee intended to reform uniformly the educational system in Wallachia. Until the modern era schools were taken care of by the Metropolitan Church and functioned due to the funds coming from the special taxes collected from priests and monasteries. Yet, there were only specially appointed teachers at the Metropolitan Church or in some important monasteries.
According to The Organic Regulation there appeared The Regulation for Pub-lic Schools in the Wallachian Princedom in 1832 and The Law for Seminaries, Archpriests and Priests in 1834 which was the first law concerning the organization of priest schools in all the Romanian countries. The Law contained just nine articles, and among these only the first four regulated the organization and the functioning of priest schools. They contained the following clauses:
– the obligation of opening priest schools affiliated to every (arch) bishopric in the country. Some years after the law was passed in 1836-1837 four seminaries were opened in Wallachia: in Bucharest, Curtea de Argeș, Buzău and Râmnicu Vâlcea, as the first special schools for the training of the clergy.
– the establishing of the number of scholarships depending on the size, finan-cial possibilities and necessities of every parish. According to the law there would be seminaries with 20, 30 and 40 scholars to whom could be added very many other students who could provide their own food and clothing).
– the alloting of fees collected taken from priests and deacons only for the or-ganizing and functioning of seminaries in the country. One could ensure the follow-ing activities: the building of seminaries (based on the 1832-1833 taxes), salaries and didactic materials, uniforms and supplies for the scholars. In case the collected amounts were not enough, they had to be completed with funds from the (arch) bishoprics.
– the establishment of compensations for the financial efforts of the priests: favoring the enlisting of their sons in seminaries and their right to become priests in the first row. Moreover, the law applied special conditions for the scholars to belong to ”sons of priests” in the case of Argeș and Buzău bishoprics.
The law did not mention the exact number of school years for each seminary or for all, neither the curricula. These were stipulated by two decisions of the School Clerical Authority concerning the organization and the functioning of the seminaries in the country and the opening of the Central Seminary in Bucharest.
The studies in the preparatory seminaries lasted four years. The first one was a preliminary year during which the enlisted students learned the elements of writ-ing, reading, grammar and arithmetic alongside with church learning and chanting, as well as the exegesis of the Gospels (on Saturday mornings). As it was not consid-ered “theological learning”, it was obligatory only for “those clerics who had had no previous preparation in order to study in this school.”
In the capital city of the country, Bucharest, those who graduated the prepar-atory seminaries could pursue their studies with an additional three year lecture at the Central Seminary. The graduates / priests could thus benefit from further edu-cation and they could hope to reach a superior hierarchical level, namely archpriest or father superior of a monastery.
The topics which were studied both in the preparatory seminaries and in the Central one covered a large area. Besides theological learning, with subjects like Moral and Dogmatic Theology, Catechism, Pastoral Theology, one could get lay edu-cation in subjects such as Mathematics, Writing Skills, Geography and even a lecture on “vaccination, veterinary medicine and popular physics”. Classical languages were taught elements of Parish Management as well. The Metropolitan priest of the coun-try inspected the seminaries each year.
The law had as purpose to form candidates to priesthood who should possess some knowledge above the level of their future parishes, who should set examples of Christian life, culture and enlightenment for the people.
The intention of the law maker was that in the years to come all the priests of the princedom should be chosen only from seminary graduates.

Pagini: 101-122