Founded in 1615 at the Theophany Monastery, this is the oldest Orthodox institution of higher education in Eastern Europe. Several decades later, Peter Mohyla merged it with a newly established lavra school into the Mohyla Collegium; the important theologian Feofan Prokopovich is an alumnus. Tsar Alexander I closed this in 1817, and reopened it in 1819 as the Kiev Spiritual Academy. Originally founded to train the upper echolons of the clergy, when it came under the direction of the Holy Synod, a civilian institution, they functioned more like universities that specialized in theology. Through a series of educational reforms, lay students enrolled, training for civil as well as clerical posts.