St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary


St. Peter's Seminary, which started functioning in Bangalore from 1934 was in no way a new institution: it was the happy development of the former "Grand Seminaire" of Pondicherry founded in 1778.

The "Grand Seminaire” of Pondicherry

When the Society of Jesus was suppressed in 1774, the Carnatic and Aladura Missions in India were entrusted to the care of the Paris Foreign Missions Society. To cater to the spiritual needs of these missions and to foster indigenous vocations to priesthood, the Paris Foreign Missions Society started a Seminary in 1778, at Ulgaret, about 2 miles away from the town of Pondicherry. Rev. Fr. Busson, the ex-Jesuit. was made the first Rector of this Seminary. After him, Fr.Magny took charge of the Seminary and stayed for 40 years as Rector. It was in 1788 that the first Ordination to priesthood took place.

St. Joseph’s Seminary

In 1790, the Seminary was transferred to Pondicherry itself for the sake of better accommodation and other facilities. The Seminary took the name of "St. Joseph's Seminary". At the end of 40 years of Rectorship, Fr.Magny could count 13 ordained priests among the students. The First Synod of Pondicherry took place in 1844 and opened the way for further steady progress of the Seminary. By the end of its 100 years of existence (1778 - 1878), the Seminary had given 49 indigenous priests to the Church.

St. Joseph's Provincial Seminary, Pondicherry

In 1850 the Apostolic Vicariate of the Coromandel Coast was bifurcated into the Apostolic Vicariates of Pondicherry, Coimbatore and Mysore. In 1886 they were erected into the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and the dioceses of Coimbatore and Mysore. In 1899 the new diocese of Kumbakonam was carved out of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry. The Bishops of these dioceses had decided to send all their Seminarians to the "Grand Seminaire" of Pondicherry so that there could be common training with the economy of Statf. Then onwards this "Grand Seminaire" was considered as Provincial Seminary of these dioceses.

St. Peter's Regional Seminary. Bangalore

With the further division of Dioceses and with the increasing number of vocations, accommodation became a big problem. In 1928, the Bishops of the Province finally decided to transfer the Seminary to Bangalore for the reason of its milder climate. The historic transfer took place in 1934. As the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle bore a considerable part of expenses for the construction of the Seminary building, the new house assumed, in gratitude, the name of St. Peter's Seminary.

Since 1934, there was some uncertainty regarding its canonical status. In 1942, it was finally and officially declared by Rome that St. Peter's Seminary was a regional one.

Expansion of the Seminary

With the passage of time, the number of Seminarians increased steadily and the problem of accommodation began to be acutely felt. This led ultimately to draw up plans for the construction of a new separate block for theology section.

In September 1960, the (Late) Most Rev. Dr.Thomas Pothacamury, the then Archbishop of Bangalore, blessed the new extension in the presence of Cardinal Agagianian, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, and the first batch of 19 Deacons moved to the new block.

When the transfer of the entire Theology Section was completed in 1966, the new elegant chapel was consecrated by His Excellency the Most Rev. Dr. James R. Knox, the then Internuncio to India.

St. Peter's Pontifical Seminary

In 1962, the Seminary was affiliated to the Pontifical Urban University of Rome. From then on, the Regional Seminary was raised to the status of a Pontifical Seminary. The University granted facilities to the final year students of Theology for the Baccalaureate examination in Theology (B.Th.).

Change of administration

Ever since its inception, the general administration of St. Peter's Seminary had been entrusted to the Paris Foreign Mission Society (MEP).

Inspired by the Spirit of the Second Vaticaii Council, the Parish Foreign Missions Society felt that the time had corpe to transfer the administration to the Bishops in Charge of St.Peter's Pontifical Seminary. The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples ratified this transfer by a Decree, Prot. 5346/68, dated December 12, 1968.

Going through the records, one finds that during the past two centuries as many as 1311 priests have come out of the portals of St. Peter's Pontifical Seminary. By the Decree "Ecce Vir Oriens" of the Congregation for Catholic Education, dated January 6, 1976, the theological discipline of this Seminary was upgraded into a Faculty under the name of St. Peter's Pontifical Institute of Theology.

(Extract from the Seminary Handbook, courtesy of Fr. Cornu, MEP)

Archdiocese of Bangalore

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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets."
Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26

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