In 1618, Péter Pázmány, Archbishop of Esztergom, used his own personal funds to purchase Kollonich House, a building located next to St. Anne’s Church on Annagasse, Vienna, for the training of Hungarian priests. He signed the Institute’s founding document on 10th January 1619. Its inauguration became impossible, however, because of the war against Gábor Bethlen, and on 20th September 1623, he issued a new founding letter in which he entrusted the institute’s leadership to the Society of Jesus. Pope Urban VIII confirmed the foundation in December 1623.

The Collegium began operating on 25th May, 1624 with 16 students. The house soon proved to be too small. Consequently, sometime later, the archbishop exchanged the Annagasse building with the Goldberg Foundation for a building on the Fleischmarkt. The adjacent house at Schönlaterngasse 15, formerly the property of the Bursa Liliorum Foundation, had been previously purchased by Pázmány as a home for students from Württemberg studying in Vienna. The move took place in 1625. About half a year before his death, Pázmány deposited another 10,000 gold coins and 10,000 tallers for the acquisition of land for the Pázmáneum. Following the death of Pázmány, the administrator of the deposits, János Hunica, bought the house adjacent to the Viennese building, which, following its reconstruction, was combined with the former hall of residence.

The new building was taken into their possession in 1670, commemorating the founder on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The income of the institution was also enhanced by income from the orchards next to the Augarten Park owned by the Pázmáneum. On 5th November 1761, because of the attacks on the Society of Jesus, Cardinal Primate Ferenc Barkóczy relieved the Jesuits of the leadership of the institute and appointed diocesan priests as superiors to head the Pázmáneum. The students opposed this, so the primate ordered them to attend the seminary in Trnava, Slovakia. On 5th November 1761, the rector loaded some vessels waiting in the Danube Canal with the institute’s belongings and together with the students boarded a ship. On 23rd January 1762, Archbishop Barkóczy sold the empty building to the archbishop of Zagreb. Presumably that would have been the end of the history of the Pázmáneum, but on 18th June 1765, the unexpected death of the Archbishop created a new situation. The Chapter of Esztergom supplicated the Empress to declare the sale of the house contrary to their will and requested the restoration of the institute. Maria Theresa fulfilled this request on 14th November 1765, declaring the sale of the building null and void. The major disagreement between the Chapter of Esztergom and the Zagreb episcopacy hindered the transaction, and therefore Maria Theresa ordered a commission to overcome the difficulties. The negotiations finally came to fruition in May 1766. Subsequently, on 3rd November 1766, the life of the institute began again with 36 alumni. Less than two decades later, the institution again – temporarily – ceased to exist. In March 1784, Emperor Joseph II transferred the students of the Pázmáneum to the seminary in Bratislava and transformed the house into an institute for deaf-mutes, incorporating their foundation into the Religious Fund. There would be an interval until the autumn of 1804, when, due to the provisions of a directive by King Francis I, the Pázmáneum was opened once more. The foundations of the college continued to be handled by the archbishop of Esztergom, and it was also he who appointed the superiors of the Pázmáneum from among the priests of the Hungarian Archdiocese of Esztergom.

The new building of the Pázmáneum was built between 1899 and 1900 in Waisenhausgasse (today: Boltzmanngasse) under the direction of Miklós Széchenyi (rector 1898-1901). In March 1901, Emperor Franz Joseph paid a short visit to the institute, the memorial of the event being preserved by a marble plaque in the ceremonial hall on the third floor. After World War I, the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the tragedy of the nation mutilated by Trianon created a peculiar situation for the Pázmáneum. Being a foreign seminary, it had become more difficult for students to travel to Vienna over multiple borders. During the Second World War, with the Front getting ever nearer, bombings became a frequent occurrence but, apart from one grenade, the Pázmáneum building was not hit. As an ecclesiastical institution, the Pázmáneum received a letter of protection issued by the Swedish Embassy, so no major Russian occupation took place. For some time, groups of refugees populated the building. Arrivals also included seminarians, children in transit from Hungary and displaced Hungarian Swabians. By May 1945 there were no strangers left in the institute, so the Pazmanites were able to re-occupy the college. The only war damage – thank God – was to the roof and the doors and windows. In 1953, the Holy See temporarily placed the Pázmáneum under the supervision of the archbishop of Vienna. In total, in the years up until 1963, the last year of graduations, almost 9000 priests had been ordained there.

On 23rd October 1971, Cardinal Mindszenty came to the Pázmáneum, where he spent the last years of his life. It was from here that he began his pastoral visits which he tirelessly pursued up until his very last breath. Many people called on Mindszenty in the Pázmáneum: on several occasions he was visited by Cardinal König, Opilio Rossi, the apostolic nuncio, and Otto von Habsburg. At the end of April 1975, weak and sick, he returned from a long South American pastoral trip. On the plane, though feverish, he talked about further trips. He planned to travel to France and Scandinavia in May. On 6th May he was taken for life-saving surgery to the Brothers of Mercy Hospital in Vienna, where at 14.15am he returned his noble soul to the Creator.

The Pázmáneum is an independent foundation of the Hungarian Catholic Church, in ecclesiastical law under the control of the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. On 29th December 2001, by the decision of Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican again returned the jurisdiction to the Hungarian Primate, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. Currently, the Pázmáneum functions as a house of study and a guest house.