Kyiv Theological Academy is a specialized higher Orthodox educational institution opened in 1819 in the territory of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, after the closure of the latter by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1817. As a result of the ecclesiastical education reform which begun in 1807, in August 1817 the decision of the Commission of Theological Schools under the Synod was to temporarily close Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. In October 1817 on the basis of its classes, a spiritual seminary, county, and parochial ecclesiastical schools were created, in which mainly the alumni of St. Petersburg Theological Academy were teaching.
On September 28, 1819, Kyiv Theological Academy was opened on the territory of Kyiv Brotherhood Epiphany Monastery with which a new phase of the history of the Academy was connected. Kyiv Theological Academy operated on the basis of the statutes valid for all the theological academies of Russia and was in direct subordination to Metropolitan of Kyiv and Galicia.
The Academy was headed by a rector appointed by the Commission of Theological Schools under the Synod, who, same as in the previous periods of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, simultaneously served as the Abbot of the monastery. According to the statutory regulations, the academy teaching staff consisted of Bachelors / later Associate Professors, Extraordinary and Ordinary Professors who, according to the general requirement, were to belong to the Orthodox confession. The lack of a skilled teaching staff in the early years was gradually overcome through engagement of the alumni of the Academy.
In 1819-1869 only successful graduates of the seminary were the students of the Academy. They held the Orthodox theological status. Since 1869 there were no restrictions concerning the admission to the Academy, and the people with the Orthodox faith were accepted to the Academy after graduating the theological seminaries or classical gymnasiums. In the early years, the students of the Academy were mostly natives from the ethnic Ukrainian territories. Later on, the number of students increased, including those from the Russian province, as well as Orthodox youth from Georgia, Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Syria.
The training lasted four years in two departments. In particular, the lower department offered philosophical disciplines and history, mathematics and literature, and in the higher department students mastered theological disciplines and church archeology, geography, canon law, etc. In addition, Greek, Latin, German, French, and Hebrew were studied throughout the course.
The academy library was based on the book collection of the boarding Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. The Library increased thanks to the benefactors and became one of the largest libraries of Ukrainian lands. In 1915, for example, it included more than 150,000 printed publications.
Several periodicals were published in the Academy, including Voskriesnoye Chtieniye [Sunday Reading] (1837-1912), Trudy Kievskoy Dukhovnoy Acadiemii [Proceedings of Kyiv Theological Academy] (1960-1917), Kievskiye Ieparkhialnyie Vedomosti [Kyiv Diocesan News] (1879-1886). In 1872, the Church and Archaeological Museum opened in the Academy. It was the first museum of this type in Russia. Оne of the largest in Europe collections of church antiquities was collected in this museum.
In 1882, Epiphany Brotherhood was restored within the Academy. This organisation financially supported poor students and graduates of the Academy. In 1901, the Church and Archaeological Society was founded in the Academy.
Students and teachers of the Academy made a significant contribution to the development of theology, Orthodox philosophy, pedagogy, church history, etc.; in particular, those were A. Bulhakov, M. Olesnytsky, F. Filaretov, B. Bohdashevskyi, O. Hlaholiev, V. Pevnytskyi, P. Iurkevych, O. Novytskyi, M. Bulhakov, M. Petrov, S. Holubiev, F. Tytov and others.
Kyiv Theological Academy was liquidated by the Soviet authorities on the order of the People’s Commissariat of Ukraine on April 26, 1919. As a result of the appeals of the rector and professors of the Academy, Kyiv authorities allowed to resume the functioning of the institution under the new name of Kyiv Orthodox Theological Academy in 1920-1924. During the subsequent decades of the twentieth century, various educational, scientific, and medical institutions were located on the territory of the Academy – until 1991, the time of the revival of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in independent Ukraine.