Fahri Türk

Keywords: Bulgarian Commnunity in Edirne, Polish Minority School, Polak Mektep

Abstract

Bulgarian nationalist Dragan Tsankov came to Istanbul, in 1854 where he converted from Orthodox into Roman Catholic Church and started to propagate for establishing of an independent Bulgarian Church. In order to maintain an influential propaganda he founded a publishing house in the French School Saint Benoit. This step was an important milestone in connection with convert of Bulgarians from Orthodox into Catholic faith. After this date, Bulgarians started to settle in Edirne and in surrounding area, where they developed their own community. This process went hand in hand with the foundation of Bulgarian schools in this region. There were totally twelve Bulgarian schools in Edirne. One of this schools was however a catholic one, which was founded by the Polish resurrectionists. It was the main reason, why the inhabitants of Edirne named this school as Polish Minority School (Polak Mektep). Because of attending only by the Catholic Bulgarian pupils; this school was known as Catholic Bulgarian School as well. According to the German archives, Polish Minority School was known as German-Bulgarian School among Germans and Austrians. The reason for this was that Resurrectionists taught German as a foreign language in their school. The main goal of this school was to diminish the Russian influence in Bulgaria and Turkey. Therefore this school and its Catholic Church were supported by French and Austrian governments. Polish Minority School played an important role in the spreading of Catholic faith among the Bulgarians of Edirne.