An ancient centre of spiritual education at the Sumy region, which history dates back to 19th century.
The history of spiritual education in Sumy Oblast began in the early 19th century when a theological school for men was opened in Okhtyrka town. Numerous churches were built at that time in the Kharkiv eparchy (which also comprised part of the present-day Sumy region), necessitating the demand for clergymen.
The school was opened in 1819. Students had the opportunity to receive primary education here and prepare for further studies at a seminary and service in the Orthodox Church. The compulsory courses were the sacred history of the Old and New Testaments, the Orthodox Christian catechism, Church Slavonic, Greek, and Latin languages, geography, arithmetic, calligraphy, and church singing.
After 70 years, the school was transferred from Okhtyrka to Sumy, where a special building was constructed for it. It was not, however, the present-day Sumy Theological Seminary edifice. This one was built in 1915 as the residence of Bishop Mitrophan, the first vicar bishop who settled in Sumy. It is believed that the building was designed by the Kharkiv church architect, Volodymyr Pokrovskyi. The plan of the bishop’s courtyard was developed by the architect Oleksii Shchusiev. The church, built in 1911 in honour of the Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon, became the main sight of the yard’s composition.
Eventually, a men’s monastery was to be established here as well. However, the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 changed everything, and the Sumy Theological School ceased to exist. The Church of St. Panteleimon was also closed in the 1920s because the Soviet authorities wanted to open a planetarium there in 1963. A military recruitment office was placed in the bishop’s rooms.
Only in 1998, after the restoration of Ukraine’s independence, was spiritual education reestablished in the Sumy eparchy. Repair work was carried out here. Auditoriums, reading rooms, and assembly halls were equipped. In addition, a refectory was organised at the school, a library with a collection of about 7 thousand books was founded, and living and learning conditions were improved.
In 2000, a house church was consecrated on the school’s first floor. Students held morning and evening prayers and Sunday and holiday services here. The Church of St. Panteleimon was also reopened, and church obedience and liturgical practice were performed there.
The former bishop’s house became a home for hundreds of students who sought to grow spiritually and spread the gospel throughout Ukraine. However, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, life at the school has once again been brought to a halt (as it did during the Bolsheviks’ occupation of Ukraine more than a century ago). On March 5, as a result of the Russians’ air strike on Sumy, the ancient seminary’s building was damaged: its facades and windows were destroyed.
The site that once held memories may now turn into a memory itself.
Center of cultural and educational life of the city of Okhtyrka from the beginning of XX century.
One of the buildings of the Leopold Koenig estate, a monument of architectural art of national significance located in Trostianets, Sumy region.
The 127-year-old building of the Okhtyrka railway station was completely destroyed.
The oldest manor-arena house in northeastern Ukraine. A unique architectural monument of the mid-18th century, which has no analogues in the country.