St. Petersburg Theological Academy

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The St. Petersburg Theological Academy is a major theological education institution of the Russian Orthodox Church located in the city of St Petersburg, Russia.


The academy was founded in 1797 under Metropolitan Gavrill as the Alexander Nevsky Theological Academy, The academy was an adjunct to the main seminary that was located in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. In 1809, the academy was renamed the Petersburg Theological Academy while Amvorsy was Metropolitan of St Petersburg. Students for the academy were drawn from the graduates of the theological seminary in St. Petersburg. During these times the academy was headed by an archimandrite. In time a bishop was assigned as the rector of the academy.

The academy developed an extensive program that awarded a number of academic degrees. These included the degree of doctor of theology, master of theology, and candidate of theology. The faculty included many prominent clerics and lay professors including among the clergy- Evgeny (Bolkhovitinov), Makary (Bulgakov), and Philaret (Drozdov) and Antony (Vadkovsky) who were rectors from 1812 to 1820 and from 1887 to 1892 respectively and among the laity - Professor V. V. Bolotov, A. P. Lopukhin, and A.A. Dmitrievsky.

Among the prominent graduates of the academy from the early period were Ss John of Kronstadt and Tikhon of Moscow, Bp. Theophan the Recluse, Metr. Benjamin (Kazansky), Sergius (Tikhomirov) of Japan, and many other hierarchs, theologians, and church historians. The academy developed into a center of theological and historical research that as well as produced translations of the Church Fathers. The results of this research were published in journals of the academy that were from 1821 the Khristianskoe Chtenie and from 1874 the Tserkovny Vestnik.

As the academy entered the twentieth century it under went major changes and trials. In 1913, the name of the academy was changed to the Imperial Theological Academy. Then, following the Bolshevik take-over in late 1917, of the government of Russia, the academy was closed in 1918. The facilities of the academy were seized by the Soviets and turn into an orphanage. During the period of 1920 to 1928, the functions of the academy were continued through the Theological Institute and Higher Theological Courses.

It wasn’t until 1946 that the academy, now known as the Leningrad Theological Academy, re-opened using the facilities of the St Petersburg theological seminary. The re-opened academy was placed under the supervision of the Educational Committee of the Holy Synod. The academy is now located at 17 Obvodny Canal Embankment. In 1963, a faculty of foreign students was established and, in 1978, classes in choir singing and directing were added. Currently, the basic program of studies is three years with a postgraduate program of two years. Upon the fall of the Soviet Union, the name of the academy reverted to St. Petersburg Theological Academy. In 2002, 137 students attended classes at the academy including 58 foreigners. Since 1996, the rector of the academy has been Bp. Constantine Tikhvinsky (Goryanov) who is also in charge of all the theological schools in St. Petersburg. Publication of ‘’Khristianskoe Chtenie’’ resumed in 1991.

Among the graduates of the academy since it re-opened in 1946 are the late Patr. Alexei II (Ridiger), and Metr. Vladimir (Kotlyarov),