Historical notes

The College of Sant’Anselmo in Rome, erected for the first time by Pope Innocent XI with the Inscrutable Apostolic Constitution of 22 March 1687, and destroyed by the injuries of the time in the year 1837, was restored by Pope Leo XIII on 4 January 1887. The College of Sant’Anselmo began to grow when it fixed its abode on 1 November 1896, in the buildings of the Aventine Hill, erected thanks to the munificence of the same Supreme Pontiff. At that time also, the first external students were allowed to attend lectures in the College and shortly afterward three faculties were established: philosophical, theological and juridical. In the year 1928, the faculty of canon law was suspended.

Pope Pius X, with a Motu Proprio dated 24 June 1914, confirmed and established the right of Sant’Anselmo to confer doctorate and academic degrees, already granted with oral sentence by Pope Leo XIII, “so that the College of Sant’Anselmo …, in the likeness of the other existing academies in Rome, obtains the perpetual privilege of conferring all academic degrees both in philosophy and in sacred theology and in canon law to the students of the secular and regular clergy who, according to the norm, attended the lectures of the praised College in the Faculties mentioned, and that, having passed an exam before the Professors of the College, they obtained most of the suffrages”.

In the year 1933, on 13 January, Pope Pius XI bestowed on the Academic Institute of Sant’Anselmo the title of “Pontifical”. With a decree dated 21 April 1934, the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and University of Studies approved the Statutes of the Pontifical Anselmian Athenaeum and prescribed that they be observed. Subsequently the same Sacred Congregation on 21 March 1952 approved the pertinent Monastic Institute of the Faculty of Theology, which now takes care, first of all, of the monastic specialization, seen in historical and theological frameworks. This specialization belongs to the second cycle of the Faculty of Theology of the Faculty of Theology.

Finally, at the Pontifical Anselmian Athenaeum, the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy was established, with the decree of the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and the University of Studies promulgated on 17 June 1961 “for the instruction of both the masters of liturgical disciplines and the Directors of the Liturgical Commissions of the individual dioceses”. In the same year, on 17 June, the Statutes of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy were approved by the same Sacred Congregation. On 14 May 1973, the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education approved for a specific time, on an experimental basis, the new statutes of the Pontifical Institute, together with the instruction of “some norms” of the same Congregation. With a decree promulgated on 23 August 1978, the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education recognized the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy as the Faculty of Sacred Liturgy.

The new Statutes of the University were first drafted, according to the Instruction of “some norms” in the year 1970, and approved for a determined time, on an experimental basis, by the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education on 14 May 1973. Promulgated in 1979 by the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana, the Statutes were again reviewed and approved experimentally for a three-year period on 2 April 1982, by the same Congregation.

Mission and Vision

Sant’Anselmo is the International Benedictine University in Rome. Through its academic activity, research and training, Sant’Anselmo wishes:

  • To offer a high-quality Benedictine education open to all.
  • To deepen the understanding of Benedictine values ​​such as community; liturgical celebration; biblical and patristic theology and spirituality; theological reflection embodied in concrete life and aimed at the integral development of man; and ecumenical, interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
  • To ensure the relevance of Benedictine values ​​in the contemporary world.


Anyone interested can study at Sant’Anselmo. To enroll in the first cycle of studies, you must have a high-school diploma that gives you access to the university in your country of origin. For the second and third cycles, it is necessary to have acquired the academic degree of the previous cycle. You can also register to get a non-academic certificate. More detailed information can be found on the Sant’Anselmo website in the Registrar section.

Almost 700 students are enrolled at our university. About half of the students are linked to the programs of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy

Sant’Anselmo, as a pontifical university, does not issue diplomas recognized by the Italian state. Diplomas from the theology faculty are recognized as adequate qualifications for the teaching of religion.

To participate in the award of a scholarship, the procedure indicated in the “scholarships” section must be followed. The University provides access to various types of support, covering both total and partial costs, to all qualified students of need. For further information contact: ufficiorettore@anselmianum.com.

Our university – like the college – is a Benedictine project. Saint Anselm is the most significant theologian (and philosopher) in the history of the Benedictine order – like St. Thomas for the Dominican order. Our academic offerings follow the style of his teaching, which remains a very original and increasingly relevant style in the Church and in the world. Continuing in the patristic tradition, Saint Anselm proposes a cooperation between the life of faith and intellectual activity. He is the precursor of “monastic theology”, or wisdom theology, which seeks to link the purely intellectual and speculative activity to the spiritual, mystical, liturgical and existential experience.

Maps and directions