An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia, The; Alexandria, Virginia (VTS)

This school, also called the Virginia Theological Seminary, was formed by the Society for the Education of Pious Young Men for the Ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland and Virginia. It opened on Oct. 15, 1823, in a room in St. Paul's Church, Alexandria, with two professors and fourteen students. In 1827 the school was moved to eighty acres of land, then outside of Alexandria, but now a part of the city. During the Civil War, the seminary was used to house wounded Union soldiers. The property was used as a burial ground for some 500 soldiers. In 1878 VTS opened a branch seminary for African Americans in connection with St. Stephen's Normal and Industrial School in Petersburg, Virginia. In 1884 it was named the Bishop Payne Divinity School in honor of John Payne, the first Bishop of Liberia and a VTS graduate. It closed in 1949, and in 1953 it was merged with Virginia Seminary. The library at Virginia is the Bishop Payne Library. VTS has a Center for the Ministry of Teaching, a Center for Continuing Education, a Lay School of Theology, and an Institute in School Ministry. The seminary is a part of the Washington Theological Consortium, which is an association of Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, and interdenominational seminaries.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.