School affairs were one of the key manifestations of spiritual rivalry between the major powers in Palestine at the turn of XIX and XX centuries. In the article, the rivalry is seen through the prism of Russian sources, primarily from the Office of the archival materials of the Ober-Procurator of the Synod, which gives a possibility to look at the foreign policy from the Russian point of view. At the same time, the article is of interest to the researchers of Russian policy in the Holy Land at the turn of the centuries. The author comes to the conclusion that almost all the religious clashes in the late XIX century were interpreted by the Russian diplomats as the elements of political struggle and as the traditional rivalry with Russia in the Holy Land. Russian politics, on the contrary, was aimed not at the expansion, but defense of its traditional interests in order to preserve the status quo in the Palestinian affairs. Following that policy, the Russian diplomats advised Petersburg not to interfere in political adventures, affecting the interests of other powers. Russian diplomats were more concerned with the German presence in Palestine than the French and British policy in the region in the late XIX century.
Key words: Palestine, the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, proselytism, school affairs, the Ober-Procurator Pobedonostsev, Bishop Blyth, Patriarch Nicodemus.