Pontifical Greek College of Saint Athanasius

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The Pontifical Greek College of St. Athanasius (it.: Pontificio Collegio Greco di Sant’Atanasio, gr.: Ελληνικό Κολλέγιο Αγίου Αθανασίου) is a Pontifical College in Rome. It was founded in 1577 by Gregory XIII as a college and seminary for priests and seminarians from anywhere the Greek Rite is used, namely Greece, the Ruthenians and Melkites of Egypt and the Levant and refugees from the Greek-speaking parts of southern Italy. Its patron saint is Saint Athanasius. The college Church of Sant'Atanasio is also a titular church and the national church of the Greek community in Rome.



Its foundation dates back to cardinal Giulio Antonio Santorio. As protector of the Basilian monks he set up a reformed congregation for the Greeks in 1573, from which he developed the idea of a seminary for Greek seminarians, which opened in 1576 and was approved by Gregory XIII with a bull on 13th January the following year. The priests it trained were intended to oppose Turkish expansion into former Byzantine lands in Greece, prevent the Protestant Reformation spreading there and help bring the Eastern Churches back into communion with Rome.

Between 1576 and 1577 the College was hosted by several houses in Rome, until in 1577 it found a permanent home on what is now Via del Babuino. Its students came from Greece, the Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church in Italy and the Arab dioceses of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church as well as from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Ukraine and Belarus.

Later history

The college was managed by the Roman Curia during the peak of the Curia's reorganisation by pope Sixtus V. From 1591 to 1604 it was managed by the Dominicans, then by the Jesuits and then from 1773 onwards by the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. From 1803 to 1845 no teaching took place at the College - instead, its students attended the College of the Propagation of the Faith (now the Pontifical Urbaniana University). In 1886 the college reopened under the management of the Resurrectionist Congregation, before shifting back to the Jesuits in 1890 and to the Benedictines in 1897. In 1919 it was put under the charge of the Belgian Benedictine community, headed since 1956 by Chevetogne Abbey. Its current principal is Archimandrite Manuel Nin, and its current spiritual father is Giorgio Mifsud OSB from the Melkite Diocese of Acre in Israel .


For many years the Greek seminarians only used the Byzantine Rite and rejected the Latin Rite, leading to constant disagreements with seminarians who used the Latin Rite. The dispute was resolved by pope Leo XIII, who referred to pope Benedict XIV's 1755 bull 'Allatae Sunt', which repeated both rites' validity. He also pointed out that the college's church of Sant'Atanasio had four Latin altars and so both rites could be practiced on an equal footing.

Works of art

The college's collection of religious art includes works by Francesco Traballesi.

External links

  • http://www.collegiogreco.blogspot.co.uk/
  • http://www.webalice.it/giovanni.fabriani/S_Atanasio/Collegio%20Greco.htm

Coordinates: 41°54′29″N 12°28′46″E / 41.9081°N 12.4794°E / 41.9081; 12.4794

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