August 31st 1552 - Date of the Papal Foundation Bull of the Germanicum
Since 1536 Giovanni Morone (1509-1580) was nuncio in Germany. He had recognized the serious situation of the church there: Missing was an educated, pious clergy; missing were prominent bishops; and the cathedral chapters were to a large extent secularized. Thus he got the idea to establish in Rome a study house for German theologians.
The plan which had been developed in co-operation of Morone (in the meantime cardinal) and Ignatius of Loyola was submitted to Pope Julius III. He approved of it and created by the bull 'Dum sollicita' the college. He transferred the external and internal direction to the Society of Jesus, while his own Cardinal's Congregation had to promote and supervise the whole. Ignatius wrote even the constitutions, and already on October 28th 1552 the solemn inauguration took place in the St Eustachius Church, by which Father Ribadeneira SJ delivered the address.
Already in November 1552 the first alumni came from Cologne, sent from Father Leonhard Kessel. Four of them were Rhinelanders, and fifteen from the Netherlands; unfortunately none from upper Germany, as Ignatius had wished. In the next years about fifty further students followed, especially by the engagement of Petrus Canisius. They were very poorly accommodated first. Several times one had to move to other houses because of the increasing number. For the robes of the alumni the congregation had already at that time chosen the red colour. It should remind the cardinals of the fact that they had taken over the providing for the college.
The Hungarian College was connected soon after its donation 1580 by Gregor XIII with the Germanicum and remained it.
Later the Germanicum underwent painfully the disorders under the emperor Josef II, the French revolution army, also the revolution in 1848 and the Italian occupation in 1870. During World War I it had to be shifted for five years to Innsbruck. Since October 1919 it has been working successfully in Rome again.