A Bit About the 'Greg'

Whilst in class today, one of our professors was giving us a brief history of the Pontifical Gregorian University. Although I knew a few things about the school, he told us some interesting facts that I thought would be worth sharing… after all, I’ll be here for 4 years, and I hope you’ll be reading my blog during that time, too!

The Gregorian—or ‘Greg’ as we call say—is the result of the original ‘Roman College’ founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola over 450 years ago. Now, it has one of the largest faculties of theology of any university in the world, and has over 1600 students from around the globe. (cf. Wikipedia)


Although it was originally begun as a small institute, Ignatius’ Roman College eventually found a grand home in a new building on the Piazza Collegio Romano in Rome (across from the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj downtown, for those who might care…). Pope Gregory XIII provided gracious funding for this school, and ever since it has retained the name of Gregoriana. When the Kingdom of Italy—the first unified kingdom in quite some time—took over the city of Rome, the Church was forced out, and the College was confiscated and relocated. At this time it was granted ‘pontifical’ status, simply meaning that it was placed under the direct care of the Vatican and thereby protected from ultimate destruction. In 1930, the Gregorian was given its present home on the Piazza della Pilotta, which is very near to the heart of the ancient city, and the place I take classes today. [The picture above is of the current fa├žade.]

Throughout the college’s history, many important people have passed through its halls: St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder), St. Robert Bellarmine (rector, Cardinal), St. Maximilian Kolbe (martyr of the Holocaust), over 15 other canonized saints and, in total, 14 popes. In short, the university has been the seedbed of many of the Church’s doctrines and teachings, having provided a basic theological education to many of history’s greatest thinkers. It goes without saying that I feel about as small as dust when I walk into the classroom each day and remember those who sat in the same, uncomfortable seats before me. For my brother seminarians and myself I ask for your continued prayers, that we might gain what we can from this amazing experience of theology and faith, and someday be able to convey the Church’s mission of salvation and charity to the entire world.

Sant’Ignazio, prega per noi!