Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary
The Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary, known now as the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) is the second oldest, and also the largest, accredited Episcopal seminary in the United States of America. Established in 1823, the seminary has been noted in the Episcopal community for producing a number of notable alumni over the years who have gone on to be influential figures in Christian communities. On May 16th, 1978, it was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on November 17th, 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the seminary continues to educate those hoping to go into the ministry.
Backstory and Context
In 1818, the Society for the Education of Pious Young Men for the Ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church was founded in Alexandria, Virginia, in order to pursue the possibility of producing quality theological education in the area. The group, satisfied with their collective efforts, banded together, and being led by a number of prominent holy men, including Reverend William Holland Wilmer, a pastor of the recently-formed St. Paul’s Episcopalian Church, they established the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in 1823. The seminary began holding classes first at St. Paul’s Episcopalian Church, and as they felt they made headway in the seminary’s pursuits, he organization procured a deed to land on a hill overlooking the Potomac River Valley. On the hill, they constructed the seminary’s first official building in 1827. The first building was followed by a second in 1832, and in 1835, the seminary’s main building was constructed, serving to connect all three buildings.
In the following years, further additions and renovations were made to the seminary as more students and faculty flocked to the institution, including a new library in 1855, a chapel in 1840, and other amenities to allow students better opportunities to pursue their theological studies. On May 16th, 1978, it was designated on the Virginia Landmark Register, and on November 17th, 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the seminary continues flourish, and it acts to serve all those who would endeavor to serve in the ministry.