Vilnius University

The Bishop of Vilnius Walerian Protasewicz (1504-1579) invited the Jesuits to come to Vilnius in 1569. The bishop hoped that the Jesuit order would help to fight against the rapidly spreading ideas of the Reformation among Vilnans. The Jesuits began to carry out their mission without waiting. In 1570, they founded the first college in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In 1579, king Stephen Báthory (1533-1586) issued a privilege for establishing Vilnius Academy. In the same year, Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585) granted a bull, confirming the establishment of the University in Vilnius.

The first rector of the University became Piotr Skarga (1536–1612). In the beginning, Vilnius academy had three divisions: humanities, theology, and philosophy. In 1641, the Faculties of Law, and Medicine were established. In the 18th century, natural sciences had been flourishing at the University: in 1753 one of the first observatories in Europe was opened, and in 1781 botanical garden was established.

In 1773, after the abolition of the Jesuit Order, Vilnius University fell into the hands of the Educational Commission. In 1803, less than a decade later after the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire, the University was renamed into The Imperial University of Vilnius. Due to the active involvement of professorship and students in the 1830-1831 uprising, in 1832 university was closed and only opened its doors in 1919.
Learn more about Piotr Skarga – the first rector of Vilnius University, by clicking this link.
Address: Universiteto St. 3