Founded in 1888, the Roman Institute of the Görres Society (RIGG) is the well-known academic centre and foreign institute of the Bonn-based Görres Society. The Görres Society is an independent association of Catholic academics founded in 1876 in the climate of the Prussian Kulturkampf, when Catholic researchers were discriminated against by the state. It was named after the Catholic journalist Joseph Görres (1776-1848). Today, the Görres Society is an independent academic association under private law that is also open to non-Catholic scholars.

"The Roman Institute of the Görres Society is a foreign institute of the Görres Society for the Cultivation of Science and participates in its objective: 'The Görres Society for the Cultivation of Science, while preserving its founding mission rooted in the Catholic faith, shall stimulate and promote scientific life in the various fields of study and offer the opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange. It is dedicated in particular to Christian antiquity and church history on the basis of the archives and libraries of the Vatican, Rome and Italy. It offers researchers in these fields the opportunity to use its library, to give lectures and to make scientific publications" (Statutes § 1).

"The Institute has its seat at Campo Santo Teutonico, Città del Vaticano, and exists in close symbiosis with the Pontifical College for Priests, which since its foundation in 1876 has developed into a 'place of Christian archaeological and ecclesiastical historical research'" (§ 3).

Four special sections of the Institute

In order to give the Institute, which deals with the entire spectrum of 2000 years of Church history (early history, Middle Ages, modern times, contemporary history), a special visibility and profile in individual areas, four special departments were set up in April 2022, following on from older traditions, which are represented by three committed academics. These now promote and coordinate all work in their field. Enquiries can therefore be addressed directly to them:

Section of Archaeology: Dr. Sascha Priester (Munich / Rome)

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Section of History of Art: Dr. Andreas Raub (Rome)

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Section of Middle Ages: Dr. Jörg Voigt (Hannover)

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Section of History of Councils: Prof. Dr. Johannes Grohe (Rome)

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We promote German-language historical and cultural studies in Rome

The RIGG, even though it has its seat in the German priests’ college in the Vatican, is neither a theological nor an ecclesiastical institute, but independent. It is dedicated to historical and cultural research in dialogue with the Church and culture. It sees itself as a German-Italian contact point for researchers in the fields of church history and Christian archaeology as well as related subjects. We promote German-language scholarship abroad by adhering to German as the language of scholarship and publication in accordance with our cultural tradition and in keeping with European ideals, and not abandoning it in favour of Italian or English.

German, Austrian, Swiss and Italian members of the Institute participate in this project of international academic exchange.

International networking

The Institute is networked with many academic institutions, especially in Germany and Italy, and maintains corresponding cooperations, which are activated and expanded on a case-by-case basis, depending on requests and needs.

The Institute is eligible to apply to the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Joining forces

View of the Campo Santo from St. Peter's Basilica

View of the Campo Santo

The Institute and library rooms are provided by the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows, the owner of the Campo Santo Teutonico. In terms of book acquisition and use, the library is a joint library of the College of Priests and the RIGG. The activities of the Institute are made possible by the Görres Society and supported by a team of voluntary scholars and local staff. Furthermore, the work would not be possible without the substantial support of the Archconfraternity and the priests' college. The latter finances a Görres scholarship holder as compensation for the editorial work done by the RIGG on the "Römische Quartalschrift", which is published jointly by the two institutions.

Ideal conditions

With its countless universities, colleges, museums, libraries and archives, Rome offers an ideal environment for basic research, thematic studies as well as cultural training. For this purpose, the Institute not only offers the ideal base right next to St. Peter's Basilica, but also a culturally open-minded ecclesiastical environment, as it forms a close symbiosis with the German priests' college at Campo Santo Teutonico, which is staffed internationally. From the Institute, access to the most important research institutions (Vatican Library, Vatican Archives, etc.) can be easily opened and helpful tips on working in Italian or Vatican institutions can be given.

These goals are also served by the networking of the RIGG with the members of the Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di Archeologia, Storia e Storia dell'Arte in Roma, an interest group representing most of the institutes and research facilities on archaeology, art and art history in Rome.

The Statutes

The Statutes published in the Annual and Conference Report of the Görres Society 1953 on pages 66-69 were amended at the General Assembly on 18 April 2015. They were published in the Annual and Conference Report of the Görres Society 2014 (pages 177-178).

Presentation of the Institute on Radio & Television


ORF - Dimensionen - Die Welt der Wissenschaft (28.10.2016: from 19:15)