Jesuit School in Chyrów

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The main school building

Jesuit school in Chyrów (full name: Scientific and Educational Department of the Jesuit Fathers in Chyrów, Polish: Zakład Naukowo-Wychowawczy Ojców Jezuitów w Chyrowie) was an academic institution, with the status of a lower secondary school (gimnazjum), founded and run by the Jesuits in 1886–1939. It was located in Chyrów (now Khyriv, Ukraine) near Przemyśl in the Austrian Partition of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The school, opened despite obstacles form the Austrian authorities, was to continue the tradition of the Jesuit College in Tarnopol[1] and functioned until the Soviet invasion of Poland (1939). It was considered one of the most prestigious schools in Poland.


The founding of the school was initiated by two Jesuit priests: Father Marian Ignacy Morawski and Henryk Jackowski (1834–1905). In 1883, the Jesuits purchased the estate of Franciszek Topolnicki in Bąkowice near Chyrów, about 33 kilometres (21 mi) from Przemyśl. The school, opened in 1886, drew from the tradition of the Jesuit College in Polotsk, closed in 1820, and the Jesuit College in Tarnopol, closed in 1886.[2]

The school in Chyrów and its grounds have not been returned to the Jesuits. Instead, in August 2013, the historic building was sold in a Ukrainian government auction for 2,231,000 hryvnias (then about $275,000) to a private investor "Chyrów-rent-inwest”.[3]


The Jesuits, as committed scholars, devoted great effort and attention to the development of the library. The nucleus of the collection was formed from the collection moved from their college in Tarnopol. Expanded with the volumes the Jesuits managed to recover from multiple locations after the re-establishment of the Order, new purchases and donations, the collection included medieval manuscripts, incunabula, old music prints, collections of the 18th-century maps, rare scholarly and scientific works, academic and school manuals from Jesuit Colleges (the oldest from the Jesuit College in Polotsk), from missions (e.g. Minsk) and from Jesuit houses before the suppression of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit order).

The collection from Chyrów surpassed, in the number of volumes, their value and educational quality, the libraries of all secondary schools in Austrian Partition of Poland and then, after Poland regaining independence, in the Second Polish Republic. At the time of the Soviet invasion of Poland (1939) the Library at the Jesuit Institution for Scholarship and Education consisted of over 50,000 volumes. In 1939 the Institution was liquidated by the Soviet authorities and the book collection destroyed.


Some notable students included:


The school's faculty included:

  • The future blessed Father Jan Beyzym, SJ (1850–1912) who taught in Tarnopol and Chyrów for 17 years prior to leaving, at 48 in 1898, for Madagascar to begin the apostolate to the lepers.[12][13]
  • Father Kazimierz Konopka, SJ, the school's graduate who came back to teach in Chyrów from 1910, becoming (from December 29, 1915) the chaplain for the Polish Legion; from 1918, he was a professor at Zhytomyr Seminary, and then later at Lutsk Seminary. From 1920 he taught religion in Cheƚm Lubelski secondary schools and served as a hospital chaplain. He later organized a lower-secondary school (gimnazjum) in Vilnius, serving as its headmaster/principal. Author of many publications, recipient of awards from the Polish state, he went on to serve several years as a missionary in Rhodesia, giving talks on the subject of missions e.g. during an exhibit and a diocesan convention on missions organized by the Young Men's Congregatio Mariana (Sodalicja Mariańska Młodzieńców) in 1934 in Ruda Śląska.[14] Returning to Poland, Konopka directed the Jesuit Retreat House in Lviv from 1938 until the onset of WWII and the Soviet occupation of Lviv. Imprisoned by the Soviets, he was shot in Lviv Prison on June 26, 1941, one of the many killed in the NKVD massacres of prisoners.[15]