Story of the University

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross was born from the desire of St. Josemaría Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei, to create a center of higher ecclesiastical studies in Rome at the service of the whole Church. With prayer and patient work, he laid the foundations of the current University of the Holy Cross.

St. Josemaria’s first successor, Blessed Álvaro del Portillo, with the support of St. John Paul II, brought that desire to completion, inaugurating the Roman Academic Center with a Holy Mass dedicated to the Holy Spirit on October 15th, 1984. Thanks to the assistance of the University of Navarre's ecclesiastical Schools, the institution was destined to become a center of study and research, committed to the task of theological, philosophical, and canonical formation.

Bishops around the world choose to send both priests and seminarians to Rome from their respective diocese, in the hope of providing them with a profound academic and spiritual formation. In this way, Rome becomes a central meeting place, strengthening fidelity and unity with the Holy See.

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross is currently comprised of the Schools of Theology, Canon Law, Philosophy, and Church Communications; the Higher Institute of Religious Studies “all’Apollinare” (ISSRA) is also an essential element. The Academic Building is found in Palazzo S. Apollinare in Rome, while the Research Center and the Library are located on Via dei Farnesi.

Within the vast spiritual legacy left by St. Josemaría Escrivá, exists without a doubt the exhortation to cultivate a profound unity of life. This call is manifested not only in a proper balance and consistency between words and actions, but also through the harmony that should exist between professional and intellectual formation on the one hand, and spiritual and theological formation on the other.

The University is further called to establish a dialog with contemporary culture. Due to its very nature as a center of ecclesiastical formation, it contains an enormous diversity of cultures, all sharing the common goal of studying the Faith's intelligibility.

Academic activities, organized with an interdisciplinary spirit, are open to scholars and intellectuals from the economic, scientific, philosophical, and political fields, thus providing the elements necessary for a true dialog with the world.