Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies

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The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at St. Michael's College, University of Toronto
Main entrance of the institute

The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) is a research institute in the University of Toronto that is dedicated to advanced studies in the culture of the Middle Ages.

It was founded in 1929 as the Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the St. Michael's College of the University of Toronto. Étienne Gilson, then of the Sorbonne, was instrumental in its foundation, along with Henry Carr and Edmund J. McCorkell of the Congregation of St. Basil and St. Michael's College. In 1939 it was granted a pontifical charter by which it was given the power to grant the licenciate and doctorate degrees in medieval studies. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, currently Thomas Christopher Collins, acts as the chancellor of the institute. The Praeses (or president) of the Institute is Richard Alway, who was formerly president of St. Michael's College.

In 1964 the University of Toronto established the Centre for Medieval Studies as part of the School of Graduate Studies, for students pursuing a master's degree or doctorate in medieval studies. Teaching at these levels gradually passed from the Institute to the Centre. (The Centre officially uses the spelling "medieval" while PIMS uses "mediaeval".) In 1998 the institute became an exclusively postdoctoral research centre, and it accepts students who have recently completed their doctoral studies and wish to conduct specialized research in medieval studies. The centre offers programs within the School of Graduate Studies at the university, and continues to have access to the PIMS building and library. Graduates of the institute are normally awarded the Licence in Mediaeval Studies (LMS).

Up until 1958 the institute had its own charter. From 1958 to 2005, PIMS was a division of St. Michael's College. The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Act of 2005 gave the institute academic autonomy from the university.[1] Under the act, PIMS is administered by a board of governors with its academic affairs vested in the Institute Council of the academic staff, consisting of fellows and associate fellows.

The institute has its own library with over 100,000 volumes, one of the largest collections of medieval documentation in North America. It also has an extensive publishing program that includes its annual journal of research on the Middle Ages, Mediaeval Studies, which began in 1939.[2]

Professors associated with the institute include Leonard Boyle, Virginia Brown, Osmund Lewry, Jacques Maritain, Armand Maurer, Joseph Owens, and J. Ambrose Raftis.


  1. ^ "Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. Pr10". ServiceOntario e-Laws. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Front Matter". Mediaeval Studies 1: i–iv. 1939. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 

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Coordinates: 43°39′56″N 79°23′28″W / 43.665618°N 79.391086°W / 43.665618; -79.391086