Pontifical Roman Seminary

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The Pontifical Roman Seminary is a seminary in Rome, Italy located at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.


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.

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 Caracalla. 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. Pope Pius VII restored the seminary which continued to occupy the Collegio Romano until 1824, when Pope Leo XII gave back this building to the Jesuits and transferred the seminary to the Palazzo di Sant'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.

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.

By order of Pope Pius X, a new building for the seminary was constructed near the Lateran Basilica.

Gregory XV, Clement IX, Innocent XIII, Clement XII, and John XXIII were educated in this seminary.

On 28 October 1958, the election of Angelo Roncalli, a former pupil of the Roman Seminary, as Pope John XXIII was a source of joy for the seminary community. John XXIII expressed his appreciation and support for the Seminary by visiting it on 27 November 1958, just one month after his election as Pope.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Roman Colleges". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

More information on the Seminary (Pontificio Seminario Romano Maggiore) and its history is available at its website in Italian @ http://www.seminarioromano.it/ and in English translation @ http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://www.seminarioromano.it/&ei=W9AAT4X2L8HX0QGdspC5Ag