The St. St. Cyril and Methodius French Catholic School for Boys

9, PirotskaStr.

The St. St. Cyril and Methodius French Catholic College for Boys was part of the Catholic compound built after the Liberation through the initiative of Father Timoteo Gronda da Strona.Established in 1882, at first teaching was entrusted with the monks of the Monastic Family of the Assumption (i.e. the Assumptionists), and later to the Congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (i.e. De La Salle Brothers, or to the locals – The Freres). In 1890, a pension was added, and in 1910 – 1914 – two new wings. A narrow covered passageway tucked between the street shops led to the courtyard where the entrance for the pupils was. The courtyard itself featured a statue of St. Joan of Arc.

The minister of education certified the school as a high school in 1910. It was attended by pupils of various ethnic and religious backgrounds. Only 159 in the late 1880s, by the early 1930s they were already 616 and this dictated the move of the senior college grades to the Lozenets district. Those up to the second year of the junior high school (today, sixth grade) stayed at Pirotska. Upon graduation, the fourth year pupils had to stand an exam in front of a committee, including a member of the Ministry of education. With the exception of the classes on Bulgarian language, in all other classes only French was used – on pain of punishment.

During the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885, the classrooms were converted into a hospital, and in 1915, the college was requisitioned by the military, to station a company. Over the next two years, in its building were held the classes of 1st and 6th Sofia Junior High School and for a while – an NCO school.

During the bombing raids of March 30, 1944, several of the buildings of the college were damaged, and the wall separating it from the School for Girls was destroyed. The courtyard, as a consequence, expanded significantly, but classes had to be rescheduled, so that recesses would not coincide. The college was closed July of 1948, as it had no place in the educational concept of the new regime. Also, the pupils in the senior grades refused to participate in the manifestation for May 24, 1948 (the day of Slavic Script and Culture). During the 1960s, the buildings of the college were destroyed, to clear the lot for a “Home of the Soviets” – a project which remained unrealized. Later, a five-story building, of which the first two for a department store, was raised. To this day it is known as Little TsUM [for Central Universal Department Store].