Links with the Venerable English CollegeVEC Chapel

For over forty years, Anglican theological students have studied at one of Rome’s Catholic seminaries, The Venerable English College.

The idea of two Church of England ordinands spending a semester each at the Venerable English College to help them gain and convey insight into the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion came from Ronald Coppin in 1971. He was Secretary of the Committee for Theological Education for the Church of England. He sought the support of Bishop Alan Clark (at that time auxiliary Bishop of Northampton and Co-Chairman of ARCIC) and Bishop Clark then approached the Rector of the College, Cormac Murphy O’Connor (later Co-Chairman of ARCIC and Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster).

In September 1973 the first two students took part in the experiment: Nicholas Sagovsky from St John’s College Nottingham (until recently Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey) and Barry Hammett from St Stephen’s House (latterly Chaplain to the Fleet).

The Venerable English College was founded in 1579 for the formation of priests for the Roman Catholic dioceses of England and Wales; there had been an English presence on the site in Via di Monserrato since the establishment of the Hospice of St Thomas in 1362, making this the oldest English institution outside England.

The Director of the Anglican Centre, says of the exchange programme:
Over many years now the Church of England's exchange programme allowing students an opportunity to study at the VEC in Rome, to soak up the culture of it, share its life and impart to the seminarians here a different dimension has been a great boon to the Church which has borne fruit in increased understanding and appreciation of our different traditions, many friendships being formed as well as many other ways.

Alumni in recent years:
The Revd Canon Simon Taylor (St Michael’s Llandaff) is Canon Residentiary, Derby Cathedral
The Ven Mark Steadman (Westcott House) is Archdeacon of Stowe and Lindsey, Diocese of Lincoln
The Revd Dr Andrew Davison (Westcott House) is Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Science at the University of Cambridge
The Revd Neil Patterson (Ripon College Cuddesdon) is Director of Ordinands, Diocese of Hereford
The Revd Richard Carew (Cranmer Hall) is Domestic Chaplain to the Archbishop of York
The Revd Timothy Harling (Westcott House) is a Chaplain, Queen's College, Cambridge
The Revd Peter Anthony (St Stephen’s House) is priest in charge St Benet and All Saints, Kentish Town
The Revd Dr John Seymour (Westcott House) is a Chaplain, Twyford Church of England School
The Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey (Westcott House) is Dean, Clare College, Cambridge
The Revd John Livesley (College of the Resurrection, Mirfield) is priest in charge Cassop cum Quarrinton, Diocese of Durham
The Revd Barnaby Perkins (Ridley Hall) is Rector, Clandon East and West, Diocese of Guildford
The Revd Stephen Hearn (St Stephen's House) was Chaplain of Exeter College, Oxford
The Revd Marcus Walker (Ripon College Cuddesdon) is Rector of St Bartholomew the Great, London and formerly Associate Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome

Bishop Robert Atwell recalls his time at the Venerabile in 1977

Stephen Hearn and Barnaby Perkins write of their exchange in 2009

Anglican students at the Venerable English College since 1973

Reunions of former students

650 years on the Via Monserrato, and the Anglican alumni "reunion" in 2011