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Roman Colleges

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This article treats of the various colleges in Rome which have been founded under ecclesiastical auspices and are under ecclesiastical direction, with the exception of those that are treated separately under their respective titles throughout the Catholic Encyclopedia. The word "college" is used here to designate institutions established and maintained in Rome for the education of ecclesiastics; it is equivalent to "seminary". While the word seminario is applied occasionally, e.g. the Seminario Romano (S. Apollinare), the majority of these institutions, and especially those which have a national character, are known as "colleges". The training of priests in general is described in the article SEMINARY; here it suffices to note that the Roman colleges, in addition to the obvious advantages for study which Rome offers, also serve in a certain measure to keep up in the various countries of the world that spirit of loyal attachment to the Holy See which is the basis of unity. With this end in view the popes have encouraged the founding of colleges in which young men of the same nationality might reside and at the same time profit by the opportunities which the city affords. So too it is significant that within the last half century several colleges have developed as offshoots of the Propaganda (Urban College) in which the students from various countries were received until each nationality became numerous enough to form the nucleus of a distinct institution. The colleges thus established are halls of residence in which the students follow the usual seminary exercises of piety, study in private, and review the subjects treated in class. In some colleges there are special courses of instruction (languages, music, archaeology etc.). but the regular courses in philosophy and theology are given in a few large central institutions, such as the Propaganda, the Gregorian University, the Roman Seminary, and the Minerva, i.e. the school of the Dominicans. The Roman colleges are thus grouped in several clusters, each of which included a centre for purposes of instruction and a number of affiliated institutions. Each college has at its head a rector designated by the episcopate of the country to which the college belongs and appointed by the pope. He is assisted by a vice-rector and a spiritual director. Discipline is maintained by means of the camerata system in which the students are divided into groups each in charge of a prefect who is responsible for the observance of rule. Each camerata occupies its own section of the college building, has its own quarters for recreation, and goes its own way about the city on the daily walk prescribed by the regulations. Meals and chapel exercises are in common for all students of the college. While indoors, the student wears the cassock with a broad cincture; outside the college, the low-crowned three-cornered clerical hat and a cloak or soprana are added.

The scholastic year begins in the first week of November and ends about the middle of July. In most of the courses the lecture system is followed and at stated times formal disputations are held in accordance with scholastic methods. The course of studies, whether leading to a degree or not, is prescribed and it extends, generally speaking, through six years, two of which are devoted to philosophy and four to theology. To philosophy in the stricter sense are added courses in mathematics, languages, and natural sciences. Theology includes, besides dogmatic and moral theology, courses in liturgy, archaeology, Church history, canon law and Scripture. An oral examination is held in the middle of the year and a written examination (concursus) at the close. The usual degrees (baccalaureate, licentiate, and doctorate) are conferred in philosophy, theology, and canon law; since 1909 degrees in Sacred Scripture are conferred upon students who fulfill the requirements of the Biblical Institute. Each college spends the summer vacation at its villegiatura or country house located outside the city and generally in or near one of the numerous towns on the slopes of the neighbouring hills. Student life in the "villa" is quite similar to the routine of the academic year in regard to discipline and religious exercises; but a larger allowance is made for recreation and for occasional trips through the surrounding country. And while each student has more time for reading along lines of his own choice, he is required to give some portion of each day to the subjects explained in the classroom during the year. What has been said outlines fairly will the work of the Roman colleges. In matters of detail some variations will be found, and these are due chiefly to natural characteristics or to the special purpose for which the college was established.

Almo Collegio Capranicense (Capranica)

This is the oldest Roman college, founded in 1417 by Cardinal Domenico Capranica in his own palace for 31 young clerics, who received an education suitable for the formation of good priests. Capranica himself drew up their rules and presented the college with his own library, the more valuable portion of which was later transferred to the Vatican. The cardinal's brother, Angelo, erected opposite his own palace a suitable house for the students. When the Constable de Bourbon laid siege to Rome in 1527 the Capranica students were among the few defenders of the Porta di S. Spirito, and all of them with their rector fell at the breach. The rector according to the university custom of those days was elected by the students and was always one of themselves. Alexander VII decided that the rector should be appointed by the protectors of the college. After the Revolution the college was re-established in 1807; the number of free students was reduced to 13, but paying students were admitted. Those entering must have completed their seventeenth year; they attend the lectures at the Gregorian University. The college counts among its graduates many cardinals and bishops; not a few of the students have passed into the diplomatic service. The country seat is a villa at Monte Mario.

Seminario Romano

Hardly had the Council of Trent in its 23rd session decreed the establishment of diocesan seminaries, when Pius IV decided to set a good example, and on 1 Feb 1565, the seminary was solemnly opened with 60 students. The rules were drawn up by P. Lainez, General of the Society of Jesus, and to this order Pius IV entrusted the management of the college. Up to 1773 the students attended the lectures in the Collage Romano; the residence was changed several times before 1608, when they settled in the Palazzo Borromeo in the Via del Seminario (now the Gregorian University). A country seat was erected for the students in a portion of the baths of Caravalla. Each year, at Pentecost, a student delivered a discourse on the Holy Ghost in the papal chapel. In 1773 the seminary was installed in the Collegio Romano of the Jesuits. After the changes in 1798 the number of the students, generally about 100, was reduced to 9. Pius VII restored the seminary which continued to occupy the Collegio Romano until 1824, when Leo XII gave back this building to the Jesuits and transferred the seminary to S. Apollinare, formerly occupied by the Collegio Germanico; the seminary, however, retained its own schools comprising a classical course, and a faculty of philosophy and theology, to which in 1856 a course of canon law was added. The direction of the seminary and, as a rule, the chairs were reserved to the secular clergy. After the departure of the Jesuits in 1848 the seminary again removed to the Collegio Romano. In the seminary there are 30 free places for students belonging to Rome; the remaining students, who may be from other dioceses, pay a small pension. The Collegio Cerasoli with four burses for students of the Diocese of Bergamo endowed by Cardinal Cerasoli, is connected with the seminary. The students take part in the ceremonies in the church of the Seminario Pio. Their cassock is violet. The seminary possesses an excellent library. At the present time, by order of Pius X, a new building for the seminary is in process of construction near the Lateran Basilica. The schools of the seminary are attended by students from other colleges and religious communities. Gregory XV, Clement IX, Innocent XIII, and Clement XII were educated in this seminary.

Seminario Pio

Also situated in the Palazzo di S. Apollinare, this was founded in 1853 by Pius IX for the dioceses of the Pontifical States. Each diocese is entitled to send a student who has completed his humanities; Sinigaglia may send two; the number of pupils is limited to 62. All must spend nine years in the study of philosophy, theology, canon law, and literature; they are supported by the revenues of the seminary and are distinguished by their violet sash. The seminary has a villa outside the Porta Portese. The students bind themselves by oath to return to their dioceses on the completion of their studies.

Seminario Vaticano

Founded in 1636 by Urban VIII for the convenience of the clerics serving in the Vatican Basilica (St. Peter's). Its government was entrusted to the Vatican Chapter which appointed the rector. Shortly afterward a course of grammar and somewhat later, courses of philosophy and theology were added. Paying students were also admitted. In 1730 the seminary was transferred from the Piazza Rusticucci to its present location behind the apse of St. Peter's. From 1797 till 1805 it remained closed; on its reopening only 6 free students could be received, but the number rose to 30 or 40. After the events of 1870 the seminary dwindled. Leo XIII endeavoured to restore it, re-establishing the former courses and granting it a country residence in the Sabine hills. In 1897 it was authorized to confer degrees. In 1905 Pius X suppressed the faculties of philosophy and theology, the students of the former subject going to S. Apollinare, and of the latter to the Gregorian. They wear a purple cassock with the pontifical coat-of-arms on the end of their sash.

Seminario dei SS. Pietro e Paolo

Established in 1867 by Pietro Avanzani, a secular priest, to prepare young secular priests for the foreign missions. Pius IX approved it in 1874 and had a college erected, but this was later pulled down and since then the seminary has changed its location several times; at present it is in the Armenian College. The students follow the courses at the Propaganda; at home they have lectures on foreign languages, including Chinese. They number 12. The college has a country residence at Montopoli in the Sabine hills. On finishing their studies the students go to the Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Shen-si or to Lower California.

Seminario Lombardo dei SS. Ambrogio e Carlo

This college, founded in 1854 chiefly through the generosity of Cardinal Borromeo and Duke Scotti of Milan, was located in the palace of the confraternity of S. Carlo al Corso. Owing to the insufficiency of its revenues it remained closed from 1869 to 1878. Leo XIII allowed the other bishops of Upper Italy as well as of Modena, Parma, and Placenta to send their subjects who, numbering over 60, pay for their maintenance and follow the lectures at the Gregorian University; not a few of these students are already priests when the enter the seminary. They may be known by their black sashes with red borders. Since 1888 the seminary has had its own residence in the Prati di Castello.

Collegio Germanico-Ungarico

After the Collegio Capranica, the oldest college in Rome. The initiative towards its foundation was taken by Cardinal Giovanni Morone and St. Ignatius of Loyola, and by the energetic labour of the saint the plan was carried into effect. Julius III approved of the idea and promised his aid, but for a long time the college to struggle against financial difficulties. The first students were received in November 1552. The administration was confided to a committee of six cardinal protectors, who decided that the collegians should wear a red cassock, in consequence of which they have since been popularly known as the gamberi cotti (boiled lobsters). During the first year the higher courses were given in the college itself; but in the autumn of 1553 St. Ignatius succeeded in establishing the schools of philosophy and theology in the Collegio Romano of his Society. He also drew up the first rules for the college, which served as models for similar institutions. During the pontificate of Paul IV the financial conditions became such that the students had to be distributed among the various colleges of the Society in Italy. To place the institution on a firmer basis it was decided to admit paying boarders regardless their nationality, and without the obligation of embracing the ecclesiastical state; German clerics to the number of 20 or more were received free and formed a separate body. In a short time 200 boarding students, all belonging to the flower of European nobility, were received. This state of affairs lasted till 1573. Under Pius V, who had placed 20 of his nephews in the college, there was some idea of suppressing the camerata of the poveri tedeschi. Gregory XIII, however, may be considered the real founder of the college. He transferred the secular department to the Seminario Romano, and endowed the college with the Abbey of S. Saba all' Aventino and all its possessions, both on the Via Portuense and on the Lake of Bracciano; moreover he incorporated with it the Abbeys of Fonte Avellana in the Marches, S. Cristina, and Lodiveccio in Lombardy. The new rector P. Lauretano, drew up another set of regulations.

The college had already changed its location five times. In 1574 Gregory XIII assigned it the Palace of S. Apollinare and in 1575 gave it charge of the services in the adjoining church. The splendour and majesty of the functions as well as the music executed by the students under the Spaniards Ludovico da Vittoria and other celebrated masters (Stabile, Orgas, Carissimi, Pittoni, and others) constantly drew large crowds to the church. Too much attention indeed was given to music under P. Lauretano, so that regulations had to be made at various times to prevent the studies from suffering. The courses were still given in the Collegio Roman; but when Bellarmine terminated his lectures on controversy, a chair for this important branch of learning was established in the Collegio Germanico and somewhat later a chair of canon law. As a special mark of his favour, Gregory XIII ordered that each year on the Feast of All Saints a student of the college should deliver a panegyric in presence of the pope. Meanwhile in 1578 the Collegio Ungherese had been founded through the efforts of another Jesuit, P. Szántó who obtained for it the church and convent of S. Stefano Rotondo on the Caelian Hill, and of S. Stefanino behind the Basilica of St. Peter, the former belonging to the Hungarian Pauline monks, and the latter to the Hungarian pilgrims' hospice. In 1580 the union of the two colleges was decreed, a step which at first gave rise to difficulties. The students generally numbered about 100, sometimes, however, there were but 54, at other times as many as 150. During the seventeenth century several changes occurred, in particular the new form of oath exacted from all the students of foreign colleges. Mention must be made of the work of P. Galeno, the business manager who succeeded in consolidating the finances of the college so as to raise the revenue to 25,000 scudi per annum. A country residence was acquired at Parioli. In the eighteenth century the college became gradually more aristocratic. Benedict XIV performed the ceremony of laying the corner stone of the new church of S. Apollinare in 1742, on the completion of which a new Palace of S. Apollinare was erected. At the suppression of the Society (1773) the direction was entrusted to secular priests; lectures were delivered in the college itself, and the professors were Dominicans. Discipline and studies declined rapidly. Moreover, Joseph II sequestrated the property situated in Lombardy and forbade his subjects to attend the college. The buildings, however, were increased by the addition of the palace opposite to S. Agostino.

On the proclamation of the Roman Republic the property of the foreign national colleges was declared escheated to the Government and was sold for an absurdly small sum. On that occasion the library and the precious archives of sacred music were scattered. Pius VII restored whatever remained unsold and ordered the rest to be repurchased as far as possible. In the first years the revenues were employed to pay off the debts contracted in this repurchase. In 1824 the palace of S. Apollinare as well as the villa at Parioli was reunited to the Seminario Romano. The first students were received in 1818 and lived in the professed house of the Jesuits at the Gesu, and there the college remained till 1851. From that time the administration was entrusted to the general of the Jesuits, who appointed the rector and other fathers in charge of the college. In 1845 the estate of S. Pastore near Zagarolo was acquired. In 1851 the residence was transferred to the Palazzo Borromeo in the Via del Seminario where it remained till 1886. In 1873 when the Collegio Romano was taken away from the Jesuits, the Collegio Germanico found a home in the Gregorian University. In 1886 owing to the necessity of having more extensive quarters, the Collegio Germanico was transferred to the Hotel Costanzi in the Via S. Nicola da Tolentino. The college receives German students from the old German Empire and from Hungary; places are free, but there are some students who pay (cf. Steinhuber, "Geschichte des Collegium Germanicum-Hungaricum in Rom", Freiburg, 1896; Hettinger, "Aus Welt und Kirche," I, Freiburg, 1897).

Collegio Teutonico di S. Maria dell' Anima

In 1399 Theodoric of Niem founded a hospice for German pilgrims. A confraternity in aid of the suffering souls in purgatory was soon after formed, and in 1499 the first stone of the beautiful church was laid, near the Church of S. Maria della Pace. In 1859 this pia opera was reorganized; a college of chaplains to officiate in the church was established; the chaplains were to remain only two or at the most three years, and at the same time were to continue their studies. They devote themselves chiefly to canon law with a view to employing their knowledge in the service of their respective dioceses; and they receive living and tuition gratis. Other priests also are admitted who come to Rome at their own expense for the purpose of study. At present there are 8 chaplains and about 10 other priests residing there. The college continues to assist poor Germans who come to Rome, either to visit the holy places or in search of occupation.

Collegio Teutonico del Campo Santo

Established in 1876 to receive priests belonging to the German Empire or German provinces of Austria, who remain there for two or, at the most, three years pursuing their studies and officiating in the Church of S. Maria della Pieta near St. Peter's. The revenues of the Campo Santo and the chaplaincies that have been founded devote themselves to the study of Christian archeology or Church history; they publish a quarterly review, the "Römische Quartalschrift fur christliche archaeologie und Kirkengeschichte". The site of the Campo Santo dei Tedeschi goes back to the days of Charlemagne and was then called the Schola Francorum. In the course of time the German residents in Rome were buried in the church of the Schola, then called S. Salvatore in Turri. In 1454 a confraternity was established, and in addition the guilds of German bakers and cobblers had their quarters there. In 1876 owing to the altered conditions of modern times the institute was put to its present purpose (cf. de Waal, "Der Campo Santo der Deutschen zu Rom", Freiburg, 1897.)

Collegio Pontifico Greco (the Greek Pontifical College)

This is also a foundation of Gregory XIII, who established it to receive young Greeks belonging to any nation in which the Greek Rite was used, and consequently for Greek refugees in Italy as well as the Ruthenians and Malchites of Egypt and Syria. These young men had to study the sacred sciences, in order to spread later sacred and profane learning among their fellow-countrymen and facilitate the reunion of the schismatical Churches. The construction of the College and Church of S. Atanasio, joined by a bridge over the Via dei Greci, was begun at once. The same year (1577) the first students arrived, and until the completion of the college were housed elsewhere. Gregory XIII endowed the college. The direction was entrusted to five cardinal protectors; the rector was selected at first either from the secular clergy or from the regulars. Under Sixtus V, but for the energetic resistance of Cardinal di S. Severina, this promising college would have been suppressed. Gregory XIV on the suggestion of the learned Pietro Arendius, a former student of the college, entrusted the direction to the Jesuits (1591), who introduced a new method of government and a new disciplinary spirit. Within a short time the number of collegians rose to 56; some paying students were admitted as boarders. Studies were pursued in the college itself; some of the professors were Jesuits, some secular priests, and some laymen.

In 1602 when Cardinal Guistiniani became cardinal protector, so many changes were introduced that the Jesuits withdrew from the care of the college which was entrusted first to the Somaschians and then to the Dominicans; but in 1622, at the request of the students, the Jesuits returned. Urban VIII ordered all the alumni to bind themselves by oath to remain in the Greek Rite, and this applied to Latins who entered the college surreptitiously; the regulation, however, was frequently disregarded in the eighteenth century. After 1773 secular priests took charge. The college was closed during the Revolution and not reopened till 1849; in the meantime the Greeks were admitted to the College of the Propaganda. The direction was entrusted first to secular priests, then to the Resurrectionists (1886), and finally to the Jesuits (1889). In 1897 Leo XIII reorganized the college. Owing to the generosity of the Emperor of Austria and the Ruthenian episcopacy a college was provided especially for the Ruthenians, while the Rumanians were sent to the College of the Propaganda. The direction of the College of S. Atanasio was entrusted to the Benedictines, who adopted the Greek Rite. The students perform the sacred functions of their rite with the greatest possible splendor in the Church of S. Atanasio. Formerly the Latin Rite also was celebrated in the church, but Leo XIII reserved it entirely for the Greek Rite. The students are all maintained gratuitously out of the revenues of the college. They number about 30 to 35 and follow courses in the Propaganda, besides having lectures at home in Greek language and literature. They wear a blue cassock with a red sash, and an Oriental cloak with large sleeves (cf. De Meester, "Le Collège Pontifical Grec de Rome", Rome, 1910).

Pontificio-Ruteno Collegio (the Ruthenian Pontifical College)

This was founded, as said above, in 1897, and the Church of SS. Sergio e Bacco was assigned to it. At first it was in charge of the Jesuits but some years later it was entrusted to the Ruthenian Basilian monks. There are about 20 students, who are supported partly by the Ruthenian bishops and partly by paying a small fee. They follow the lectures at the Propaganda, and wear a blue cassock and soprana (cloak) with a yellow sash.

Collegio Inglese (Venerabile Collegium Anglorum)


Collegio Beda

United to the English College and intended for converted Anglican clergymen wishing to prepare for the priesthood. It was founded in 1852 by Pius IX; and increased under Leo XIII. Cardinal Howard bequeathed to the two colleges his valuable library. The country seat of the two colleges is at Monte Porzio.

Collegio Scozzese (the Scots College)

Established in 1600 by Clement VIII for the education of Scottish priests for the preservation of Catholicism in their Fatherland; it was assigned the revenues of the old Scots hospice, which were increased by the munificence of the pope and other benefactors. In 1634 the college was transferred to its present situation and in 1649 the Countess of Huntley constructed a church dedicated to Saint Andrew and Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland. From 1615 till 1173 it was under the direction of the Jesuits. The students, numbering about 20, are supported partly by the revenues of the college and partly by the Scottish bishops and by their own money. They attend the Gregorian University and have a villa at Marino. They wear a purple cassock, with a crimson sash and black soprana.

Collegio Irlanese


Collegio Urbano di Propaganda (the Urban College)

The foundation of this college is due to the zeal of P. Ghislieri, a Theatine, and to the generosity of Mgr. G. Batta Vives, a Spaniards, consultor of the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda, then established by Gregory XV. Urban VIII approved of the plan of erecting a college for the evangelization of the East and enlarged the palace given by Mgr. Vives; and under Alexander VII the Church of the Three Magi was added. Vives established in addition six free scholarships; foundations were made by other pontiffs and prelates, especially by Innocent XII, Clement XII, and the brother of Urban VIII, Cardinal Antonio Barberini. The college depends on the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda, which appoints the rector, who at first was a Theatine but for centuries has always been a secular prelate, who is the parish priest of all who live in the Palace of the Propaganda; there are also a vice-rector, a bursar, and an assistant. Alexander VII imposed on all the students an oath binding them to remain under the jurisdiction of the Propaganda, not to enter a religious order without special permission, and to return after ordination to the priesthood to their dioceses or provinces to engage in the sacred ministry, and to send each year if in Europe, or every second year otherwise, a report of their apostolic work. Students are recommended by the bishops subject to the Propaganda, and the governing body select the students according to the number of vacancies, the places always being free. In 1798 the college was closed; some of the students were received by the Lazarists at Montecitorio. This lasted till 1809 when all that remained of the college was suppressed. In 1814 some of the Propaganda students were again received by the Lazarists, and in 1817 the college was reopened. From 1836 till 1848 it was under the direction of the Jesuits. The number of students is about 120. From the foundation of the college there have been courses of classics, philosophy, and theology, in which academic degrees are granted. The classical course lasts four years; the course of philosophy, including physics, and chemistry, and the history of philosophy, two years; the course of theology, four years. On the feast of the Epiphany the schools hold a solemn academy in various languages. The college possesses a valuable library. In addition to the many ecclesiastical dignitaries among the past students there were four martyrs: the Belgian Jacques Foelech (1643); Pietro Cesy (1680, in Ethiopia); the Armenian Melchior Tasbas (1716, at Constantinople); Nicholas Boscovich (1731).

Collegio dei Maroniti (the Maronite College)

This was founded by Gregory XIII, and had its first site near the Church of S. Maria della Ficoccia near the Piazza di Trevi. It was richly endowed by Sixtus V and Cardinal Antonio Caraffa, and also by other popes, and was entrusted to the Jesuits; the pupils attended the Gregorian University. During the Revolution of 1798 the College was suppressed, and the Maronites who wished to study at Rome went to the Collegio Urbano. In 1893 Mgr. Khayat, the Maronite Patriarch, obtained the restoration of the college from Leo XIII. The Holy See gave part of the funds, the remainder was collected in France, and in 1894 the new college was inaugurated. In 1904 it acquired its own residence, and is now under the charge of Maronite secular priests. The students numbered 8 at the beginning, there are now 19; the greatest number that can be received is 24.

Collegio Belga (the Belgian College)

Established in 1844 through the initiative of Mgr. Aerts, aided by the nuncio in Belgium, then Mgr. Pecci, and by the Belgian bishops. At first it was located in the home of Mgr. Aerts, rector of the Belgian national Church of S. Guiliano. In 1845 the ancient monastery of Gioacchino ed Anna at the Quattro Fontane was purchased. The Belgian episcopate supports the students and proposes the president. The students, 20 and more in number, attend the Gregorian; their dress is distinguished by two red stripes at the ends of the sash.

Collegio degli Stati Uniti dell' America del Nord


Collegio Polacco (the Polish College)

In 1583, St. Philip Neri, and in about 1600, King John Casimir had begun the foundation of a college for Poles, but their institute was short-lived. In 1866 a college was finally opened due to the efforts of the Congregation of the Resurrection, which raised the first funds to which Princess Odelscalchi, Pius IX, and others contributed later. In 1878 the college was transferred to its present location, the former Maronite College, and the adjoining church was dedicated to St. John Cantius. The students, some of whom pay a small pension, number 30 and are distinguished by their green sashes; they attend the lectures in the Gregorian. The college is under the care of the Resurrectionists and possesses a villa at Albano.

Collegio Illirico (the Illyrian College)

This was established in 1863 by Pius IX to prepare priests for Dalmatia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Slavonia, and was located in the Illyrian hospice near the Church of S. Girolamo degli Schiavoni; but after a few years no more students were received. In 1900, Leo XIII reorganized the Illyrian hospice and decided to form a college of priests of the above-mentioned provinces, who would attend to the services in the church and at the same time pursue ecclesiastical studies.

Seminario Francese (the French Seminary)

The French bishops at the Council of La Rochelle (1853) petitioned Pius IX to approve of their plan of founding a French Seminary in Rome for the special purpose of training a body of priests strongly attached to the Holy See and prepared to counteract the influence of Gallican ideas. The seminary was opened the same year with 12 students under the direction of P. Lamurien of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, which order still directs it, while the students attend the lectures at the Gregorian. The students are in part priests who wish to perfect their knowledge, and partly seminarists preparing for the priesthood. The seminary is located in the Via del Seminario; its first site was the old Irish college near the Trajan Forum. In 1856 Pius IX assigned to the seminary the Church of S. Chiara with the adjoining Poor Clare convent, founded in 1560 by St. Charles Borromeo on the ruins of the baths of Agrippa. The church was rebuilt on the plan of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Paris; in 1883 the monastery was entirely remodeled to suit its present purpose. Leo XIII declared it a pontifical seminary in 1902. The students pay a pension, though in some cases it is paid from the funds of their diocese; students not belonging to France are also admitted. The seminarists generally number between 100 and 120 (c.f. Escheat, "Le séminaire français de Rome", Rome, 1903.

Collegio dei Cappellani di S. Luigi dei Francesi

This is another French institution. The church dating from 1496 served as a parish for the French residents at Rome. In 1840 on the proposal of Cardinal Bonnechose the parish was suppressed and the revenue applied to create chaplaincies for young students, French priests, who wished to specialize at Rome in canon law, archeology, or ecclesiastical history. Until 1906 the chaplains published the "Annales de St. Louis des Francais", devoted specially to history. After the decease of Mgr Cadene, they undertook the continuation of the "Analecta Ecclesiastica" containing the Acts of the Holy See, as well as moral and canonical dissertations.

Collegio Boemo (the Bohemian College)

Established in 1884 partly with the revenues of the ancient Bohemian hospice founded by Emperor Charles IV, and with contributions of Leo XIII and the Bohemian bishops. The site was transferred several times, but in 1888 the old monastery of S. Francesca Romana in the Via Sistina was purchased. The rector is always one of the professors in the Propaganda, which the students attend. They number from 24 to 28 and are distinguished by their black sashes with two yellow stripes at the extremities. They have a villa at Trevi in Umbria.

Collegio Armeno (the Armenian College)

Gregory XIII in 1584 had decreed the erection of a college for the Armenians (Bull "Romana Ecclesia"), but the plan fell through. When the Collegio Urbano of the Propaganda was founded later there were always some places for students of this nation. Finally, in 1885, Gregory's proposal was carried into effect, thanks to the generosity of some wealthy Armenians and of Leo XIII. The college was granted the Church of S. Nicola da Tolentino in the street of that name. The president is an Armenian prelate; the students numbering from 20 to 25 attend the lectures at the Propaganda, and wear red sashes and large-sleeved Oriental cloaks.

Collegio Spagnuolo (the Spanish College)

Founded in 1892 through the initiative of Leo XIII and the generosity of the episcopacy, the royal family, and other benefactors in Spain. Installed at first in the national hospice of S. Maria in Monserrato, it was transferred later to the Palazzo Altemps near S. Apollinare. The students numbering 70 are for the most part supported by their bishops; they attend the Gregorian, and are distinguished by a pelerine and a sky-blue sash. The direction is entrusted to the pious Spanish Congregation of the Operarii Diocesani.

Collegio Canadese (the Canadian College)

Cardinal Howard took the first steps towards the erection of this institute. The Canadian Congregation of St. Sulpice undertook to defray the expenses. The building was soon erected (1887) in the Via delle Quattro Fontane, and in 1888 the first pupils were enrolled. Some of the students are priests and follow the lectures in the Propaganda, and those who have already completed their studies in Canada are privileged to receive a degree after two years in Rome. The Sulpicians are in charge of the college.

Pontifico Collegio Portoghese (the Portuguese Pontifical College)

Founded in 1901 by Leo XIII; its direction is entrusted to Italian secular priests, and the students attend the lectures at S. Apollinare.

Collegio Apostolico Leoniano

Owes its origin to P. Valentini, a Lazarist, who, aided by a pious lady, received in a private house the students who could not otherwise gain admittance to the other colleges. This college and the revenue left by the lady were taken over later by the Holy See and a large building was erected in the Prati di Castello. The direction was committed to the Jesuits. The students, mainly of the southern provinces that have no special college at Rome, attend the lectures at the Gregorian University.

Appendix: "In Praecipuis"

The Apostolic Constitution "In præcipuis", 29 June, 1913, promulgates the new regulations concerning the training of the Roman and Italian clergy. In brief, there are to be two seminaries: a smaller, for "gymnasial" students, in the present Vatican Seminary; and a greater, for philosophers and theologians, in the new Lateran building. To the latter are transferred the Seminario SS. Ambrogio e Carlo, now to be part of the Roman Seminary; and the Seminario Pio, which retains the laws as to its scope and character. The faculties of philosophy and theology of the Roman Seminary are to be in the Lateran Seminary; the law department goes to the Collegio Leoniano, but remains a school of the Seminary. The Collegio Leoniano shall receive only priests duly authorized to pursue higher studies. The Academia Theologica of the Sapienza remains at S. Apollinare. All Italian clerical students must abide in the Lateran or the Vatican Seminaries, excepting those preparing for the heathen missions or who are eligible for the Collegio Capranica.


L'organisation et administration centrale de l'église (Paris, 1900), 600 sqq. DANIEL; BAUMGARTEN; DE WAAL, Rome, Le chef supreme; MORONI, Dizionario, XIII (Venice, 1842), LXIV (ibid., 1853).

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APA citation. Benigni, U. (1912). Roman Colleges. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Benigni, Umberto. "Roman Colleges." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Marisa Bussen.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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