Today in Catholic History – The Foundation of Sapienza – Università di Roma

On 20 April 1303, Pope Boniface VIII issued the bull In Supremae Praeminentia Dignitatis establishing the Studium Urbis, in 1660 to become known as as La Sapienza, or Wisdom, and today known as Sapienza – Università di Roma. Which today, although no longer under the control of the Pope, is the largest university in Europe and the oldest of the three public universities in Rome.

Pope Boniface founded the university for the purpose of ecclesiastical studies. The name La Sapienza came from the 111th Psalm – “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.

Pope Eugenius IV in October 1431 would issue a bull, In Supremae, which would establish additional funding for the university through a tax on wine. He also established the faculties of law, philosophy, medicine and theology.

In 1870, after the capture of Rome by the armies of the Kingdom of Italy, La Sapienza shifted from papal control to that of the government of Italy.

In January 2008, a hostile response from 67 professors of Sapienza and many students would cause Pope Benedict XVI to cancel a proposed lecture at the university.

More on Sapienza
Pope Benedict XVI’s proposed lecture at Sapienza and the controversy over it


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