Racovian Academy

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File:Raków Dom ariański.jpg
Former house of the Polish brethren (Sienieńskiego street 6); currently a library and a home of a Society of Friends of Raków

The Racovian Academy (Latin: Gymnasium Bonarum Artium) was a Socinian school operated, 1602–1638, by the Polish Brethren in Raków, Sandomierz Voivodeship of Lesser Poland, and publisher of the Racovian Catechism in 1605.

The communitarian Arian settlement of Raków was founded in 1569 by pl (Jan Sienieński). The academy was founded in 1602 by his son, Jakub Sienieński. The zenith of the academy was 1616–1630. It was contemporaneous with the Calvinist Pińczów Academy, which was known "as the Sarmatian Athens".[1] It numbered more than 1,000 students, including many foreigners. At this point it is estimated that ten to twenty percent of Polish intellectuals were Arians.[2]

The end of the Academy in 1638 was occasioned by the pretext of the alleged destruction of a roadside cross, by several students of the Academy, while on tour accompanied by a teacher Paludiusa Solomon. Jakub Zadzik, bishop of Kraków, Jerzy Ossoliński, voivode of Sandomierz, and Honorato Visconti, papal nuncio, forced the closure of the Academy and the destruction of all buildings by sentence of the Sejm in April 1638. Most of the teaching staff and students went into exile in Transylvania or the Netherlands.

Staff of the Academy


  • Krzysztof Brockajus - rector 1602-1610
  • Paweł Krokier - rector 1610-1616
  • Johannes Crellius, German - rector 1616-1621
  • Marcin Ruar, German (Martin Ruarius) - rector 1621-1622
  • Joachim Stegmann Sr., German, - rector 1627?-1630?
  • Wawrzyniec Stegmann - rector 1634-1638

Teaching staff, in alphabetical order:

Notable students at the academy, who became writers in the exile:


See also main articles on Polish Brethren and Socinianism

The Racovian Academy served as a centre for the propagation of Socinian belief in both western and eastern Europe, in particular the Arian mission to the University of Altdorf near Nuremberg (1615), Dutch Remonstrants, Unitarians in Transylvania, even Muscovite sympathizers with Judaism.[3]

The publications of the Academy till 1639, and of those of the teachers of the Academy in exile after 1640, are known to have influenced many English Unitarians such as Bartholomew Legatt (1575?-1612), Edward Wightman (1566-1612) and Gilbert Clerke (1626–c.1697)[4] as well as Isaac Newton (1643–1727),[5] and Voltaire (1694–1778),[6]


  1. Erlich, Victor, ed. (1975). For Wiktor Weintraub: essays in Polish literature, language, and history presented on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Slavistic printings and reprintings. 312. The Hague: Mouton. p. 577. ISBN 9789027930415. Lubieniecki uses the term 'Sarmatia' only three times in the Historia: he writes of Pińczów 'as the Sarmatian Athens'.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Müller, Gerhard; Balz, Horst; Krause, Gerhard (eds.). Theologische Realenzyklopädie (in German). 31. Berlin: De Gruyter. p. 601. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Horst Robert Balz, Gerhard Krause, Gerhard Müller Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Volume 31 p601
  4. "He betook himself therefore to read the Socinian writers" Remonstrance to Richard Baxter The Monthly repository of theology and general literature, Volume 18 Feb 1823 p66
  5. Snobelen S.D. Isaac Newton, Socinianism and "the one supreme God" Munich 2005
  6. Voltaire, François Marie Arouet de. Letter VII-On the Socinians, or Arians, or Antitrinitarians.