History of Lithuania
History of Roman Catholic Church in Lithuaniai
The Council of Trent
The Papal Seminary in Vilnius
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractThe title indicates an important gap in the Lithuanian historiography – lack of understanding the essence of both the decision of establishing seminaries and the seminaries itself. Historians who were describing the past of Lithuania have never made any attempts to analyze the essence of the seminary as an institution in the 16th–18th centuries. Only one research work devoted to this issue can be mentioned – namely, the doctoral thesis by the author of this article on the Papal seminary in Vilnius. The thesis deals with the essence of one particular seminary, but the essence of other seminaries as institutions remains outside the scope of attention. The problem arises due to Lithuanian historiography of recent decades: the newest study of Vilnius university history, as well as the newest study of the history of Christianity in Lithuania, both show the tendency to treat the early seminaries (those founded in Lithuania at the end of the 16th century and at the beginning of the 17th century) as students’ residences and not as special institutions. This treatment discloses lack of understanding both of the very idea of the Council of Trent about the institution of seminaries and the essence of implementing it in Lithuania. To solve the problem, the following questions have been raised: 1) how did the Church Fathers imagine the seminaries to be founded and how was the idea formulated in the 18th canon of the Council of Trent? 2) What were the early seminaries like? 3) What did the contemporaries call the Lithuanian seminaries of the 16th–18th centuries? 4) What were the essential features of the Lithuanian seminaries in the 16th–18th centuries?
5) How are the Lithuanian seminaries of the 16th–18th centuries conceived and explained by Polish and Lithuanian historians? 6) How should the Lithuanian seminaries of the 16th–18th centuries be understood and what should they be called? Our analysis has led us to several conclusions. Firstly, the Church Fathers at the Council of Trent aimed at stressing the religious formation and the Church education as the essential function of the intended institutions, which were called seminaries and colleges in the 18th canon of the Council. The early seminaries used to follow the structural example of Jesuit colleges in their inner life. They provided the boarding, as well as religious formation and teaching for the young people who wanted to become priests. Some of the papal seminaries limited themselves for several decades to one task only – education of the young converts. The Lithuanian seminaries of the 16th–18th centuries were almost exceptionally called seminaries; although the Papal seminary in the middle of the 17th century was often called as “alumnatus”. Seminaries could sometimes have been confused with colleges, but not with “convictus”, “contubernium” or “bursa”. The Lithuanian seminaries of that period were never confined to providing boarding for the students. They also granted young people religious formation as well as the larger part or the whole of their teaching both of the ecclesial and other subjects. […]