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Pope heralds University of St Andrews' 600th anniversary

Friday 17 September 2010

Papal bull

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated an open-air Mass in Glasgow last night, attended by 70,000 people, on the first day of his visit to Britain.

Addressing the excited crowds the pontiff singled out the University of St Andrews and gave a special mention to the fast approaching 600th anniversary of Scotland's oldest University.

He said:

"Here in Scotland, I think of the three mediaeval universities founded here by the popes, including that of St Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary of it foundation."

St Andrews is Scotland's first university, where teaching began in 1410 and the University was formally constituted by a series of Papal Bulls issued by Pope Benedict XIII in 1413.

An original copy of one of the six Papal Bulls survives in the care of the University of St Andrews' Special Collections Team, and has recently undergone conservation work ahead of the anniversary.

This document embodies the 1411 charter, issued by Bishop Henry Wardlaw, which granted the masters and students of St Andrews recognition as a properly constituted corporation. It marks the culmination of three years of academic development and the birth of the third oldest university in the English-speaking world.

A programme of international events is being developed to support the University's anniversary celebrations from summer 2011 right through to 2013.

The trip is the first to the UK by a pontiff since John Paul II in 1982. It is also the first to be designated a state visit because the Pope has been invited by the Queen rather than the Church.

Earlier in the day Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Dr Louise Richardson was invited to meet the Pope and Queen Elizabeth in Edinburgh.


Issued by the University of St Andrews

Contact: Emma Shea, Communications Manager on 01334 462 109 or email Emma.Shea@st-andrews.ac.uk