Zirci Ciszterci Apátság
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Pécs - CRNL G.S.
A Ciszterci Rend Nagy Lajos Gimnáziuma
Lajos Nagy Grammar School of the Cistercian Order
For the past 325 years the Lajos Nagy Grammar School standing on the main square of Pécs, has been regarded as the elite school of the southern Trans-Danube region. The Jesuits who were active in the town since 1613 and even during the Turkish occupation, in 1687, immediately after the Turks were driven out of the country opened their school and built the college (monks' residence, and school) that is still standing today. However, Pope Kelemen IV. under strong political pressure disbanded the Jesuit Order in 1773. The school that was then already well known has continued its educational work under diocesan priests and secular teachers. Following the Jozefinian era demand increased to have the grammar school again in the hands of a monastic order. The Benedictines could not undertake it and so King Ferenc I. handed the school to Antal Dréta, the abbot of Zirc, as per his decree dated 9th February 1813. In the autumn of 1914 two Cistercians started teaching with the assistance of secular teachers. In the following school year the 400 students were being taught entirely by a staff of Cistercian teachers. In 1849 the victorious armies of the emperor ordered the school out of the building. They used it first as garrisons, later as an army hospital. Meantime teaching continued in what was then the residence of the Paulists (today it is the Szécsényi Grammar School). The priests were able to return to their own building only after a lapse of 18 years, in 1866. They restored the building and extended it by the addition of the south wing. With this the real ascent of the grammar school started. Excellent pincipals and teachers worked there, who gave the school its particular Cistercian spirit on which the old boys look back today with affection and nostalgia. This is proven by the fact that the Class of Pécs of the Cistercian Students' Association formed in 1922, at that time counting 500-600 members, following the prohibition that lasted 40 years, today also counts 550 old boys with whom it keeps in touch. After the Second World War a sad era followed with the formation of the Communist dictatorship.
In 1948 the State took into public ownership the Church schools including the Cisterican Order's Lajos Nagy Grammar School of Pécs. Two years later during the night of 7th June 1950 the ÁVH secret police carried off all the Cistercian priests residing in Pécs. At the time of nationalisation, they combined the school with the Szécsényi Grammar School because only in this way were they able to provide a sufficient number of teachers. However, with nationalisation all that Cistercian pedagogy that the order had built up over 140 years, collapsed. Fortunately, without any unusual extremes, the grammar school preserved its position: it always remained among the top 20 secondary schools in the country.
After collapse of the communist dictatorship in 1989 the Cistercian Order's Abbey of Zirc received permission to function again and Dr Károly Kerekes, abbot of Zirc, on 1st September 1990 sent to Pécs Dr Miklós Orbán Arató, Cistercian, with the assignment to start optional catechetical teaching and arrange the return of the school into the ownership of the Order. In the building of the College he was allocated residence and a room for teaching catechism and in the school year of 1990/91 teaching began with 140 students. Between January 1991 and December 1994 he organised the Cistercian Pedagogy Workshop with the aim that those pedagoges of Pécs who wanted it should receive regular training in Catholic principles of teaching from Benedictine, Piarist teachers and eminent Catholic secular lecturers. Regularly some 40 persons attended these workshops that took place every third Saturday morning. In the school year 1991/92 one Cistercian class successfully started in the National Lajos Nagy Grammar School, and the following year two such classes started. In August 1991 the abbot of Zirc sent father Dr György Cézár Marosy to Pécs and he helped in the teaching of catechism. Meantime Act XXXII of 1991 came into being with the law setting out that Church property be returned to the owners who must undertake to operate it. This, however, was a much more difficult task than earlier the nationalisation that had been ordered by the stroke of a pen. The negotiations that started with the Local Government of Pécs in regard to taking back the school had become harder and harder. The debates were eventually successful, the public meeting of Pécs decided by a majority of two votes that as from school year 1993/94 the upkeeper of the grammar school will be the Cistercian Order's Abbey of Zirc.
The ceremonial handingA Ciszterci Rend Nagy Lajos Gimnáziuma over of the school took place on 12th June 1993. Dr Károly Kerekes, abbot of Zirc represented the maintainers, Dr Zsolt Páva represented the Local Government, and Benedictine Dr Richárd Korzenszky, commissioner represented the Ministry and he offered significant assistance during the negotiations for the handover. The Order had to take the grammar school with the entire teaching staff and with all the students. The local authority gave its guarantee only to the effect that for two years it will find alternative places of work for those teachers who wish to leave the school of their own accord. By that time out of 20 classes 8 were of Cistercian entries under form-masters of appropriate principles. The last classes of the State departed in 1996. By the year 2000 out of those pedagogues who taught before 1990, 35 left voluntarily, or had become pensioners over the years. Most of those who replaced them had received training in the Cistercian Pedagogy Workshops. By the school year 2000/2001, 85% of the teaching staff had changed and today there is a staff of uniform mentality, good community spirit with all the teachers attending retreats. Most of the pedagoges are male. The first director of the combined grammar school and college was Péter Páva from 1997 until 2012. From 2012 László Dobosi is the headmaster.
The webpage of the school is: http://www.crnlg.hu