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The Racovian Academy (contemporary Latin Gymnasium Bonarum Artium, modern Polish Akademia Rakowska) was a school of the Socinian Polish Brethren operating in Raków, Kielce County, Poland 1602-1638, and publisher of the Racovian Catechism in 1605.

The arian settlement of Raków, Kielce County was founded in 1569 by Jan Sienieński. The academy was found in 1602 by Jakub Sienieński. The zenith of the academy were the years 1616-1630, when it was called "The Sarmathian Athens"[citation needed]. At that time it numbered more than 1,000 students, including many foreigners. At this point it is estimated that one-in-ten or one-in-five Polish intellectuals were Arians.[1]

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 Krakow, Sandomierz governor Jerzy Ossoliński and the Papal Nuncio Honorato Visconti 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

  • Jakub Sienieński - founder and administrator.


  • 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:

  • Giovanni Battista de Cetis, Italian.
  • Adam Gosławski (1577-1642)
  • Jan Licinius, linguist
  • Andrzej Lubieniecki Sr. (1521-1623)
  • Stanisław Lubieniecki Sr. (c.1558-1633)
  • Krzysztof Morsztyn Jr. (c.1570?-1642), son of Krzysztof Morsztyn Sr. (1522-1600)
  • Hieronim Moskorzowski (1560-1625)
  • Salomon Paludius
  • Piotr Stoiński Jr. (1565-1605), son of Pierre Statorius (known in Poland as Piotr Stoiński Sr. 1530-1591)
  • Valentinus Smalcius, German (born Valentin Schmalz) (1572-1622)
  • Jonasz Szlichtyng (1592-1661)
  • Johannes Völkel, German (?-1618)
  • Andrzej Wiszowaty (1608-1678)
  • Andrzej Wojdowski (1565-1622)

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.[2]

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)[3] as well as Isaac Newton (1643–1727),[4] and Voltaire (1694–1778),[5]


  1. ^ Horst Robert Balz, Gerhard Krause, Gerhard Müller Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Volume 31 p601
  2. ^ Horst Robert Balz, Gerhard Krause, Gerhard Müller Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Volume 31 p601
  3. ^ "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
  4. '^ Snobelen S.D. Isaac Newton, Socinianism and 'the one supreme God Munich 2005
  5. ^ Voltaire, François Marie Arouet de. Letter VII-On the Socinians, or Arians, or Antitrinitarians.


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