The Influence of Prague’s Lusatian Seminary on the Sorbian National Revival
The Catholic Lusatian Sorbs are today the most important element of the Sorbian ethnic group and their national culture. After the Reformation, they found themselves in a minority and in a highly negative situation. For the Catholic Sorbs, the opening of the Lusatian Seminary in Prague in 1728 was a significant source of strength and encouragement. Over the nearly two centuries of its existence, the Lusatian Seminary became a national institution for Catholic Sorbs, and Prague was considered their second capital after Budyšin (Bautzen). The Sorbian seminarians, who usually attended the German grammar school in Prague’s Lesser Town before going on to study theology at the city’s university, were taught by leading figures of Czech science such as Josef Dobrovský, Václav Hanka, Karel Jaromír Erben, and the Slovak Martin Hattala. The Sorbs thus received their education not only in their native language but also expanded their knowledge of other Slavic tongues. The seminary and the Sorbian youth association Serbowka, founded in Prague in 1846, significantly helped to spread education among the Sorbs, to strengthen their Slavic identity, and to develop their efforts at a national revival. Over its nearly 200-year-existence, the Lusatian Seminary was attended by many leading figures of the Sorbian national revival, including Slavist, magazine editor, and leading figure of the Sorbian national revival Jan Pětr Jordan; priest, editor, linguist, and long-standing chairman of the Maćica Serbska Michał Hórnik; and author and editor Jakub Bart-Ćišinski, considered the most important Sorbian poet.
Keywords: Lusatian Seminary; Sorbs; education; national revival.