Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy

The entrance of the Pontificia Accademia Ecclesiastica. The coat of arms on the left is that of Cardinal Sodano, Cardinal Protector of the PEA.

The Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (Latin: Pontificia Ecclesiastica Academia, Italian: Pontificia Accademia Ecclesiastica) is one of the Roman Colleges of the Catholic Church. The academy is dedicated to training priests to serve in the diplomatic corps and the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.

Despite its name, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy is not one of the ten Pontifical Academies of the Holy See.


The diplomatic service of the Holy See can be traced back to the First Council of Nicaea when Pope Sylvester I sent legates to represent him during the discussions of the council. The present academy was created as the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles in 1701 by Abbot Pietro Garagni, in close collaboration with Blessed Sebastian Valfrè of the Turin Oratory.[1]

With the revolution of 1798, the Academy was forced to close and remain closed again for a period of five years, re-opening in 1803.


Located inside Palazzo Severoli, Piazza della Minerva, central Rome, the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy trains Catholic priests sent by their bishop from different parts of the world to study ecclesiastical and international diplomacy, particularly in order that the alumni may later be selected to serve in the Diplomatic posts of the Holy See—ultimately as a papal nuncio, or ambassador. Many leaders of the church have been alumni of the academy, including Popes Clement XIII, Leo XII, Leo XIII, Benedict XV, and Paul VI.[2]

Students spend four years at the academy; two years earning a licentiate in canon law (J.C.L.) from a Roman University (such as the Pontifical Gregorian University), then two years earning a doctorate in canon law (J.C.D.). If the students that have been recruited already have a J.C.D. then their time at the PEA is shortened to two years. The courses are usually in diplomatic history, languages and diplomatic writing and are considered not to be academic, but rather focus on the practical skills needed to serve as a diplomat. By the end of his studies, each student has to possess a working knowledge of at least two languages in addition to his mother tongue.[3]

The current President of the academy is Archbishop Giampiero Gloder, who was previously an official with the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. He succeeded Archbishop Beniamino Stella on Saturday, September 21, 2013, when Archbishop Stella was named by Pope Francis as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, replacing Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, who had been named Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary.[4]


  • Matteo Gennaro Sibilia (1701–1704)
  • Francesco Giordanini (1704–1720)
  • Pellegrino De Negri (1721–1728)
  • Tommaso Giannini (1729–1739)
  • Girolamo Formaliani (1739–1742)
  • Angelo Granelli (1742–1744)
  • Pier Matteo Onorati (1744–1762)
  • Innocenzo Gorgoni (1763–1764)
  • Paolo Antonio Paoli (1775–1798)
  • Vincenzo Brenciaglia (1802–1814)
  • Giovanni Giacomo Sinibaldi (1814–1843)
  • Giovanni Battista Rosani (1843–1847)
  • Giuseppe Cardoni (1850–1873)
  • Venanzio Mobili (1873–1875)
  • Odoardo Agnelli (1875–1878)
  • Placido Maria Schiaffino (1878–1884)
  • Domenico Ferrata (1884–1885)
  • Luigi Sepiacci (1885–1886)
  • Francesco Satolli (1888–1891)
  • Augusto Guidi (1892–1894)
  • Filippo Castracane degli Antelminelli (1895–1898)
  • Rafael Merry del Val y Zulueta (1900–1903)
  • Francesco Sogaro (1903–1912)
  • Giovanni Maria Zonghi (1914–1941)
  • Paolo Savino (1941–1959)
  • Giacomo Testa (1959–1962)
  • Gino Paro (1962–1969)
  • Salvatore Pappalardo (1969–1970)
  • Felice Pirozzi (1970–1975)
  • Domenico Enrici (acting president; 1974–1975)
  • Cesare Zacchi (1975–1985)
  • Justin Francis Rigali (1985–1989)
  • Karl-Josef Rauber (1990–1993)
  • Gabriel Montalvo Higuera (1993–1998)
  • Georg Zur (1998–2000)
  • Justo Mullor García (2000–2007)
  • Beniamino Stella (2007–2013)
  • Giampiero Gloder (since 2013)

Non graduate diplomats

A small number of diplomats currently represent the Holy See but have not been through the formal academic and practical training of the PEA. Examples of these diplomats are Michael Louis Fitzgerald, Silvano Maria Tomasi, Charles John Brown, Aldo Giordano Paul Mounged El-Hachem and Michael August Blume, S.V.D.

See also


Coordinates: 41°53′53″N 12°28′38″E / 41.89806°N 12.47722°E / 41.89806; 12.47722

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