Philosophical-Theological University Sankt Georgen

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Philosophical-Theological University Sankt Georgen
motto pietati et scientiae
founding 1926
Sponsorship Philosophical-Theological University Sankt Georgen eV
place Frankfurt am Main
state HesseHesse Hesse
country GermanyGermany Germany
University rector Ansgar Wucherpfennig SJ
Students 371 WS 2018/19
Employee approx. 60 lecturers, assistants and lecturers (2015)
including professors 14th

The Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology , shortly PTH Sankt Georgen , is a nationally recognized, private Catholic university in the Jesuit sponsorship in Frankfurt . The supra-diocesan seminary of Sankt Georgen and a Jesuit community are affiliated with it.


Only the repeal of the Jesuit law enacted by Bismarck by the German government in 1917 made the establishment possible. The order and its training centers were able to return to Germany. The then Limburg bishop Augustinus Kilian was very interested in the university. He wanted to expand the diocese's seminary , which had existed since 1829, into a full faculty. The initially planned incorporation into the Goethe University founded in 1914 , which did not have a Catholic theological faculty, did not succeed. The Jesuits started looking for their own property in the early 1920s. In 1925, the "Villa Grunelius" with the historic Sankt Georgen park in Sachsenhausen on the border with Oberrad on Offenbacher Landstrasse was acquired, where the order established the university with a seminary and a community. On October 25, 1926, the university was founded under the name "Philosophical-Theological Teaching Institute Sankt Georgen". Her name is a memory of the former owner of the property, the Frankfurt banker Johann Georg von Saint George (1782–1863). The new university initially only served the training of secular priests in the Diocese of Limburg. Very soon seminarians came from Osnabrück and Hildesheim, partly from Berlin and Aachen, as well as from Hamburg since the (re-) establishment of the archbishopric in 1995.

The project was funded primarily by the then papal apostolic nuncio Eugenio Pacelli , who was thinking of a center of scholastic theology in Germany. The theological faculty for the training of the Jesuits remained in Valkenburg , the Netherlands, until 1942 , existed in Büren (Westphalia) from 1945 to 1950 and then moved to Frankfurt, where from 1951 the training of the diocesan priests and the young Jesuits ran in two directions until the both institutions were merged in 1970. In Valkenburg, for example, the later resistance fighter Alfred Delp began his theology studies, which he continued in Sankt Georgen from 1936. Sankt Georgen was destroyed in the air raid on the night of March 18-19, 1944 , which also destroyed most of Oberrad. The university resumed teaching in November 1946. The reconstruction of the destroyed building was completed in 1949. Initially, the faculty only had the church's right to award doctorates for members of the Society of Jesus, and since 1974 for other students as well. After the Sankt Georgen University of Applied Sciences was recognized as a scientific university in 1980, it was granted the right to award the doctoral degree in theology in 1982 , the licentiate in 1983 and the right to award the degree of a doctorate in theology ( habilitation law ) with effect in 2000 awarded for state law.

Entrance to the PTH Sankt Georgen
The newly designed cafeteria of the PTH Sankt Georgen.
The Sankt Georgen Park in Frankfurt am Main is famous for its old and beautiful population of rare tree species.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis since March 13, 2013 , spent a few months at the PTH Sankt Georgen in 1986 to discuss a dissertation project with individual professors ; However, it did not come to a degree in Sankt Georgen.

Pope Francis mentioned this stay in a greeting that he wrote for the 90th anniversary of the university. At the ceremony on October 17, 2016, Prof. Christoph Markschies (Berlin) gave the keynote address and the Bishop of Limburg Georg Bätzing gave a speech.


The university is run by the German Province of the Jesuits, based in Munich. The university is largely financed by the dioceses of Limburg , Osnabrück , Hildesheim and the Archdiocese of Hamburg , who send their candidates for the priesthood to Frankfurt to study theology. Currently about half of the professors and lecturers are members of the Jesuit order.

Since the 2010/11 winter semester, the Sankt Georgen University of Applied Sciences has been offering a ten-semester master’s degree in theology, a six-semester bachelor’s degree in philosophy and postgraduate studies that lead either to a licentiate or a doctorate, as follows:

  • Bachelor in Philosophy (BA)
  • Magister in Theology (Mag. Theol.)
  • Licentiate in Theology (Lic. Theol.)
  • Doctorate in Theology (Dr. theol.)
  • Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Habilitation in theology (Dr. theol. Habil.)

Up to the summer semester 2010 it was possible to enroll in the "Catholic Theology (Diploma)" course at the Sankt Georgen University of Applied Sciences. With the introduction of the modularized master’s degree course, students studying for a diploma and a master’s degree will study in parallel in the years up to approx.

The postgraduate courses can be chosen in the specialization biblical, historical, systematic and practical theology. A postgraduate course in "Pastoral Psychology and Spirituality" is also offered.

The following institutes are affiliated with the university:

  • Hugo von Sankt Viktor Institute for Medieval Source Studies
  • Alois-Kardinal-Grillmeier-Institute for the history of dogmas, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue
  • Institute for Pastoral Psychology and Spirituality
  • Oswald von Nell Breuning Institute for Business and Social Ethics
  • Institute for the Universal Church and Mission

Institute for the Universal Church and Mission

The Institute for World Church and Mission (IWM), which was founded on June 29, 2009, is a scientific institute of the German Bishops' Conference at the aforementioned Sankt Georgen University. It is dedicated to research and teaching from a theological perspective on questions of the universal church and mission. The acting director of the IWM is Markus Luber SJ.


The IWM's mission is to devote research and teaching to aspects of missiology and Catholic theology in an international context. The IWM pursues the goal of theologically reflecting on the missionary nature of the Church and its worldwide expansion. Among other things, the focus is on content

As a scientific institute, the IWM, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, advocates that questions of mission theology move more into the consciousness of theology, the church and the public and that young scientists are trained in this area.


The IWM works with scientific institutions in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Membership in the International Association of Catholic Missiologists (IACM) offers a platform for worldwide academic exchange. Other cooperation partners in Germany are the university chairs and institutes of mission theology as well as the Catholic aid organizations of the universal church, the German dioceses with their departments for universal church and mission and the International Institute for Research in Mission Studies (IIMF).

Rahel education project

The Rahel education project of the Institute for World Church and Mission supported disadvantaged young people - especially young women - in Adigrat in the north of Ethiopia as part of a scholarship program and accompanied them during their studies at a university or their training.


The university's library specializes in theological and philosophical literature. It comprises almost half a million volumes (as of 2018), including a considerable amount of old manuscripts, late medieval incunabula and books from the 16th to 17th centuries, which is looked after by its own restoration workshop. The libraries of the Jesuit college Valkenburg and other Jesuit colleges were integrated into the Sankt Georgen university library. One focus of the library's collection is literature on the Jesuit order. The 622 regularly managed journals also make the library an important location for theological research in the German-speaking area. In addition, there is a special collection of Islamic studies partly in the university library, partly in the library of the Christian-Islamic Meeting and Documentation Center (CIBEDO), which is located on the Sankt Georgen campus.

Saint Georgen Seminary

The Sankt Georgen supra-diocesan seminary is also located on the Sankt Georgen campus. The seminarians live and work on campus, true to the motto of the university pietati et scientiae ("For religion and science") to check whether the priestly profession of the Catholic Church is life-filling for them. The 30 or so candidates for priests come mainly from the (arch) dioceses of Aachen, Berlin, Dresden-Meißen, Görlitz, Hamburg, Hildesheim, Limburg, Osnabrück and Trier. About 20 postgraduate students, mostly priests, who come from many countries around the world to complete postgraduate studies (licentiate or doctorate) at the university (as of 2016) also live in the same building . Stephan Kessler SJ ruled the seminary from 2005 to 2016 , who was replaced by Herbert Rieger SJ in September 2016.


Seminary church

Since Sankt Georgen is a center for the training of clergy, there are various churches, chapels and places of prayer on campus. Two distinctive buildings are to be emphasized: The seminary church “St. Georg ”was designed by the Swiss architects Ernst and Gottlieb Studer. The altar is the work of Ulrich Rückriem . In 2015, a Byzantine church “From the Holy Cross to Jerusalem” was built, the concept of which was designed by Michael Schneider . The small church of the Eastern Church is located in a room within the college building.


University rectors

The academic rector of the university is in Sankt Georgen from the rector of the Jesuit college, d. H. to distinguish between the superior of the Jesuit community and the rain of the seminary. At least until 1956, however, there was a personal union in the offices.

Well-known professors

Well-known graduates


  • Werner Löser: Sankt Georgen 1926 to 1951 . Phil.-Theol. University of St. Georgen, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-00-007636-0 ( [PDF; accessed July 26, 2018]).
  • Klaus Schatz: 75 years of Sankt Georgen . 2001 ( [accessed on July 21, 2018] lecture).

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Statistical Office: Students at universities. Winter semester 2018/2019 (= Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.1), October 18, 2019, p. 69.
  2. For the history of the property cf. Park Sankt Georgen .
    In 1921 the Jesuits had already acquired a piece of land on Hansaallee next to the Lessinggymnasium, cf. From the city, district and surroundings . In: Hochheimer Stadtanzeiger . No. 116 , October 11, 1921, p. 2 , col. 2 ( [accessed December 2, 2013]). Contrary to what is stated in this report, this place was intended for the construction of a church. Due to inflation, the project had to be abandoned and the property sold. See Werner Löser: Apostolat in der Stadt . The Jesuit Ignatius House in Frankfurt and its prehistory. In: Yearbook for Central German Church and Order History . tape 6 , 2010, p. 11–51, here 22 ( [PDF; accessed December 2, 2013]).
    Apostolate in the city ( Memento of December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  3. ^ Art. Frankfurt am Main, Philosophical-Theological University of St. Georgen . In: Handbook of historical book collections in Germany , Vol. 5: Hessen A-L . Olms-Weidmann, Hildesheim 1992, ISBN 3-487-09579-3 , p. 222.
  4. ^ Hannelore Crolly: Bergoglio once studied in Frankfurt am Main . In: Die Welt , March 14, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  5. 90-year anniversary in Sankt Georgen. In: Jesuits in Germany. October 14, 2016, archived from the original on November 22, 2016 ; accessed on November 21, 2016 .
  6. Georg Bätzing: Without fear in the future. Bishop Bätzing encourages contemporaneity. In: Website of the Diocese of Limburg. October 17, 2016, archived from the original on October 18, 2016 ; Retrieved October 18, 2016 . (with a link to the wording of the speech)
  8. ^ Tasks, history and holdings of the Sankt Georgen library. PTH Sankt Georgen, accessed on November 13, 2018 .
  9. Beate Stein: Library of the Philosophical-Theological University of St. Georgen. In: Handbook of the historical book collections in Germany, Austria and Europe. Bernhard Fabian, April 1990, accessed on November 13, 2018 .
  10. Further information and pictures under: Seminary Church. St. Georgen Seminary, accessed on November 5, 2015 .
  11. Cf. Michael Schneider: The new Byzantine Church of the "Holy Cross in Jerusalem" in Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main (=  Edition Cardo . Volume 190 ). Koinonia-Oriens, Cologne 2015, ISBN 3-936835-92-6 .
  12. ^ Werner Löser: Sankt Georgen 1926 to 1951 . Phil.-Theol. University of St. Georgen, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-00-007636-0 , p. 240 ( [PDF] With list of officials from 1926 to 1956.).
  13. Joachim Frank: "Too liberal for the Vatican" , Frankfurter Rundschau of October 7, 2018; Nihil obstat granted: Ansgar Wucherpfennig SJ is Rector of Sankt Georgen. Philosophical-Theological University of Sankt Georgen, November 15, 2018, accessed on November 15, 2018 .

Web links

Commons : Philosophical-Theological University Sankt Georgen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

See also

Coordinates: 50 ° 5 '54.5 "  N , 8 ° 42' 43.2"  E