A little history of the
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest


The Institute of Christ the King is, by ecclesiastical standards, a very young foundation. Our founder, Monsignor Gilles Wach, S.T.D., supported decisively by the co-founder, Father Phillipe Mora, S.T.D., had the Institute canonically erected the 1st of September 1990. Originally, the young French abbé, Gilles Wach, never intended to start a foundation at all, but during the 1980's, working for Cardinal Silvio Oddi in Rome and with a priestly association in France, he was approached by more and more young men who wanted a traditional Catholic formation to the priesthood. Finally, he decided to make an attempt to bring them together and to follow their formation in some way. Several Roman Cardinals, though, urged him to decide for the foundation of a religious community, so that the idea of the Institute took form already as soon as 1988.

From Africa to Italy

Providence, at this moment, helped to find a Bishop who was ready to give this courageous enterprise a canonical foundation. At that time the situation in France was too tense to realize the idea of the Institute in the home country of our founder, but God is very inventive. He finally brought us in contact with the late Bishop of Mouila in Gabon, Monsignor Obamba, who invited the young community to help him in his Diocese with missionary work and gave it the needed canonical erection. At the same time, he appointed our founder his Vicar General with which goes officially the title Monsignor.

Soon, with the help of the German Augustinus Cardinal Mayer, OSB, a member of the Roman Curia, Monsignor Wach was able to find an appropriate location for the Seminary and Motherhouse of his quickly growing community. The Benedictines of Fontgombault in France, who had founded a monastery in the state of Oklahoma in the United States, had decided to close a priory that they maintained in Gricigliano at a very old summer castle of the Counts Martelli near Florence in Tuscany. Because of the regulations of the estate of the last Countesses, they had to find a successor who would take over the building and guarantee the celebration of the traditional Mass at this place. We were very happy to be able to accept this generous offer, especially because the Archbishop Silvio Cardinal Piovanelli was immediately ready to give our Motherhouse and seminary canonical erection in his Diocese.

Providential Growth 

From this day forward, the history of the Institute has been a history of steady growth and more and more apostolic work around the whole world. Soon, the apostolates in France, Spain, United States, South America, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany could be opened. More and more seminarians joined the Institute to have a traditional Catholic formation to the priesthood. The spirit of St. Francis de Sales, expressed in the motto of the Institute "Veritatem facientes in caritate," operate the truth in charity, created the Institute under the guidance of Monsignor Gilles Wach to a family of priests and non-priestly members of the Institute, which is centered on the worthy celebration of the Holy Mysteries, the Proclamation of the whole Catholic Truth, and a genuine Catholic lifestyle. Grace, truth, charity, and culture are elements of "family life" typical to the houses of the Institute. We are always happy to hear that the faithful who visit our apostolates and priories notice the atmosphere of the Institute's particular spirituality present in all the environments where we live.

This information and much more about the work of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest can be found at the Institute's website.





Monsignor Gilles Wach, the founder and Superior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
with the Holy Father, John Paul II


The seminary of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at Gricigliano, Italy


Father Denis Buchholz, the
first pro-rector of
Old St. Patrick Oratory