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Belgian College

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Belgian College

Note: This article is based on the "Catholic Encyclopedia" 1913 and contains a large amount of out-dated information throughout, including the numbers of students. Specifically, many of the practices and forms of dress described changed dramatically during the 1960s. See also Pontifical university.

The Roman Colleges, also referred to as the Pontifical Colleges in Rome, are institutions established and maintained in Rome for the education of future ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic Church. Traditionally many were for students of a particular nationality. The colleges 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 Pontifical Urbaniana University (the Propaganda), the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Roman Seminary, and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum.


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.


The Roman colleges are 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.

Program of studies

Most colleges follow similar academical programs during the year, but variations will be found, and these are due chiefly to natural characteristics or to the special purpose for which the college was established.

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.

Inter-college activities

Not only do seminarians from the different colleges follow their studies in the same universities, they also take part in extra-curricular seminars and conferences as well as leisure activities such as the Clericus Cup, a football tournament created some years ago.

List of colleges

Vocational Pontifical colleges

Almo Collegio Capranica

The Almo Collegio Capranica 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 Capranica, 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 them. Pope Alexander VII decided that the rector should be appointed by the protectors of the college.

After the French Revolution the college was re-established in 1807; the number of free students was reduced to 13, but paying students were admitted. The country seat is a villa at Monte Mario.

Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy

The Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (Pontificia Ecclesiastica Academia) is one of the Roman Colleges of the Roman Catholic Church. The academy is dedicated to training priests to serve in the diplomatic corps and the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.

Seminario dei SS. Pietro e Paolo

The Seminario dei SS. Pietro e Paolo was 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. It existed until 1926 at which date it merged with the [2].

Seminario Vaticano

The Pontificio Seminario Vaticano [3], also referred to as the Pontificio Seminario Romano Minore, was 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.

Regional Pontifical Colleges

Traditionally, most of the colleges were divided among the regions from which the seminarians came. Nowadays, most colleges have opened up to seminarians from other regions of the world with cultural or linguistic ties to their own.

Italian colleges

The Apostolic Constitution "In præcipuis", 29 June 1913, promulgated 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.

Seminario Romano

The Roman Seminary (Pontificio Collegio Romano) is the diocesan seminary of Rome. The Council of Trent in its 23rd session decreed the establishment of diocesan seminaries. Pope Pius IV decided to set a good example, and on 1 February 1565, the Roman Seminary was solemnly opened with 60 students. The rules were drawn up by Diego Lainez, General of the Society of Jesus, and to this order Pius IV entrusted the management of the college.

Collegio Apostolico Leoniano

The 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.

Seminario Pio

The Pontificio Seminario Pio, also situated in the Palazzo di S. Apollinare, is destined for seminarians from all regions of Italy. It 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 Lombardo dei SS. Ambrogio e Carlo

The Seminario Lombardo dei SS. Ambrogio e Carlo founded in 1854 chiefly through the generosity of Cardinal Edoardo 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 they 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. It was relocated in 1965 and blessed by [Paul VI].[1]

Collegio Armeno

The Armenian College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Armeno) Armenia (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 Belga

The Belgian College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Belga) is destined for Belgian seminarians. Established in 1844 through the initiative of Mgr. Aerts, aided by the nuncio in Belgium, then Mgr. Pecci (later to become Pope Leo XIII), 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 Canadese

The Canadian College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Canadese) Congregation of St. Sulpice undertook to defray the expenses. The building was 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.

Collegio Croato Di San Girolamo

The Croatian College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Di san Giralmo) was established in 1863 by Pope 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.

Collegio Etiopico

The Pontifical Ethiopian College in the Vatican The historical origin of the Pontifical Ethiopian College in the Vatican goes back to the arrival in Rome of Ethiopian pilgrims in the 15th century. To those pilgrims, most of whom where monks Pope Sixtus IV in 1481 granted the Church of St. Stephen Proto-Martyr with the outlying building just behind the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica. Hence it was given the name of St. Stephen of Abyssinians, a denomination it bears to this day. Under Pope Leo X both the Church and the house were turned to a monastery for Ethiopian monks with its proper constitution. On his turn Pope Paul III, who as a Cardinal had formerly been its protector, rendered definitive the concession of the institute to the Ethiopians by signing a brief of acknowledgment in 1548. In the mean time the monastery of St. Stephen became an important center of Ethiopian studies and culture. For the first time printing in Ge’ez (Ethiopic) characters took place there with the publication of the Psalms in 1513 and later the New Testament in 1548/9, Many Ethio-Eritrean scholars attained their knowledge and necessary information from the members of that community, some of them were very learned men. They owned several pergameneous Codices, which are now in the Vatican Library. Inside St. Stephen’s, one may observe a number of marble plaques recording some facts on the life and deeds of those beloved sons of, Ethiopia which includes also the present Eritrea. Pope Benedict XV, after having in 1917 instituted the Congregation for the Eastern Churches decided to found also Oriental Colleges in Rome. Accordingly in 1919, on the suggestion of Rev. Fr. Beccari S.J., he established the Ethiopian College in the old Monastery of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians. Mgr. Camillo Carrara the Apostolic Vicar of Eritrea sent the first group of students who were from Eritrea and the Apostolic Prefecture of Tigray. By midnight of 30 September 1919 they reached Rome accompanied by their Spiritual director Abba Teklemariam Kahsay of Adigrat and were welcomed by their newly designated rector, Rev. Fr. Grignano OFM. Capp. Mgr. Carrara accompanied the students and their superiors to a special audience granted by the pope. After greeting them, Pope Benedict XV expressed his joy for the happy and successful result of the efforts undertaken. Because of the small number of students it could lodge and partly because the site was very damp and consequently unhealthy, the successor of Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI decided to build a new and larger house for them. The Pope himself personally chose the place in the middle of the Vatican garden indicating the spot where he ordered the construction of the new College, and on May 31, 1929 in the presence of 12 Cardinals and several prelates the laying of the foundation stone took place. The Ethiopian clergy was represented by Abba Kidanemariam Kassa, Apostolic pro-Vicar of Eritrea who later was consecrated bishop in the chapel of the newly built College. On the 30th October 1929 the pope granted the citizenship of the new State to all members of the college. The Pope included with the college also the Church of St. Stephen with all the privileges bestowed by his predecessor. Under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII the college continued to flourish. The Pope gave a substantial impulse to the education of the Ethiopian clergy. Pope John XXIII celled the college “Our Seminary”. Paul VI gave the college many gifts. At the 50th anniversary of the college’s foundation the Pope personally attended the celebration. Special interest for the college has also been shown by Hailesilassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia. He paid several visits to it and presented many gifts, pianoforte and the then newly printed Amharic Bible are worth to mention. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had also visited the college. Among the first who received ordination in the College, were Hailemariam Kahsay Bishop of Adigrat (Eth.) and Abraha François Bishop of Asmara (Eri.). Eight students died during their schooling, and their remains are in the Church of St. Ann. Pope Benedict XVI personally participated and gave his benediction on the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the College in 2005 in the presence of all bishops from Ethiopia and Eritrea. The College was also the meeting place of the Episcopal Conference of the Bishops of Ethiopia and Eritrea. At present as from its beginning there are priests from both Ethiopia and Eritrea for their higher learning in the College.

The college's address is: Pontifical Ethiopian College 00120 Vatican City State, Rome, Italy

Collegio Filippino

The Filipino College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Seminario de Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje) is the college of Filipino diocesan priests studying in Rome. It was formally established as an institution with pontifical rights by Pope John XXIII on June 29, 1961 through the Papal Bull Sancta Mater Ecclesia. Pope John XXIII blessed and inaugurated the modern edifice located at 490 Via Aurelia, on October 7, 1961 at the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

Collegio Francese

The French Seminary in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Francese) Society of Saint Pius X.

Collegio Germanico-Ungarico

After the Collegio Capranica, the German-Hungarian College (Pontificio Collegio Germanico-Ungarico) is the oldest college in Rome. The initiative towards its foundation was taken by Cardinal Giovanni Morone and Ignatius Loyola. Pope 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.

Collegio Greco

The Greek College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Greco) 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 Melkites of Egypt and the Levant.

Collegio Inglese

Main article: English College, Rome

The English College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Inglese) England and Wales. Founded in 1579, it is the oldest English institution anywhere outside England.

Main article: Beda College

The Beda College (Pontificio Collegio Beda) [9] is united to the English College and intended for mature candidates (Late Vocations) and converted clergymen wishing to prepare for the priesthood. It was founded in 1852 by Pius IX. The Beda is the responsibility of the Bishops of England and Wales, but has opened its doors to receive men from English-speaking countries worldwide. The college mission has always been to help older men adapt as Catholic priests.

Collegio Irlandese

The Irish College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Irlandese) [10] was founded on 1 January 1628 for the training of Irish seminarians.

Collegio Latino-Americano

The South American College in Rome (Collegio Pio-Latino-Americano Pontificio) was founded on 21 November 1858, for students from Central and South America.

Collegio dei Maroniti

The Maronite College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio dei Maroniti) Antonio Carafa, 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 Maronite Patriarch Khayat 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 came under the charge of Maronite secular priests.

Collegio Messicano

The Mexican College in Rome was founded by the Mexican Conference of Bishops to allow Mexican priests sponsored by their dioceses to live in Rome while studying a specialization at one of the major universities. It was inaugurated on 12 October 1967 by Cardinal Gabriel-Marie Garrone.

Collegio Nepomuceno

Formerly known as the Pontifio Collegio Boemo, the Czech College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Nepomuceno) 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.

Collegio Pio-Brasiliano

The Brazilian College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Pio-Brasiliano) was founded by Pope Pius XI in 1934 and is run by Brazilian Jesuits for Brazilian seminarians.

Collegio Polacco

The Polish College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Polacco) John Casimir of Poland 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 Portoghese

The Pontifical Portuguese College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Portoghese) Sant' Anselmo.

Collegio Russo

The Russian College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Russo di Santa Teresa del Bambin Gesù) was founded for seminarians from Russia.

Collegio Scozzese

The Scottish College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Scozzese) was established in 1600 by Clement VIII for the education of Scottish priests for the preservation of Catholicism in Scotland. 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 1773 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 Spagnuolo

The Spanish College in Rome (Pontificio Collegio Spagnuolo) 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 Americano del Nord

The United States citizens, although citizens of other countries can be admitted with the permission of the College's Board of Governors. All students are nominated for enrollment by their own diocesan bishop. At present the seminary enrollment (including Fifth-Year priests) numbers over 200.

Collegio Teutonico

Main article: Collegio Teutonico

The Collegio Teutonico or German College is the Pontifical College established for future ecclesiastics of German nationality. It is divided into two separate colleges; the Pontificio Collegio Teutonico di S. Maria dell’ Anima and the Collegio Teutonico del Campo Santo.

Collegio Ucraino

The Ukrainian College of Saint Josaphat in Rome (Collegio di San Giosafat Ucraino) was created for seminarians from Ukraine.

The Ukrainian College of the Protection of our Lady in Rome (Collegio di Patrocinio Ucraino) was created for seminarians from Ukraine.



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

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