About the foundation

The Foundation

The Foundation Patrum Lumen Sustine (PLuS), which is domiciled in Basel, Switzerland, aims, according to its statues, to support „initiatives both by individuals, institutes and other corporations which seek to explore and preserve the identity of European culture, particularly by fostering and upholding the values and ideals that underpin Europe’s shared cultural tradition“.

The Foundation therefore has a particular focus on the promotion of the Humanities, and especially the study of Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages  in particular, it devotes itself to Classical archaeology and the study of the Graeco-Roman literature  and its tradition, the history of the book and musicology. The Foundation supports research projects and publications as well as initiatives that promote these areas among the general public.

In close consultation with the founder, Dr. Paolo Omodeo Salé, the interests and affairs of the Foundation are represented by the following bodies:

The Executive Council

The Executive Council directs the Foundation, it is responsible for the strategic orientation of the Foundation and represents the Foundation and its interests before the law. The Executive Council takes final decisions on the implementation and funding of projects and oversees the management of day-to-day business. Currently, the Executive Council is composed as follows:

Dr. Paolo Omodeo Salè                   


Prof. Dr. Ermanno Malaspina                      

President of the Foundation’s Council

Professore ordinario di Lingua e letteratura latina

Pontificia Academia Latinitatis e Société Internationale des Amis de Cicéron


Prof. Dr. Rachele Dubbini

Prof. Dr. Rachele Dubbini

Professore associato di Archeologia Classica

University of Ferrara (Italy)


Prof. Dr. Saverio Lomartire

Professore associato di Storia dell’Arte medievale

Università degli studi dell’Insubria (Italy)


Prof. Dr. Cédric Scheidegger Lämmle

Associate Professor für Latinistik, Fachbereichsleiter

Universität Basel (Switzerland)


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gregor Vogt-Spira

Ord. Professur em. für Klassische Philologie / Latinistik

Philipps University Marburg (Germany)


The Advisory Board

The Foundation’s executive board is supported by an Advisory Board whose responsibility it is to ensure the scientific excellence of the projects funded and initiated by the Foundation; it fulfills this task by advising the Foundation’s management on the scientific content and research programmes of project proposals and by making recommendations on the implementation and funding of projects.

The Advisory Board currently consists of the following members:

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Bernhard Zimmermann

Chairman of the Advisory Board

Ord. Professur für Klassische Philologie

University of Freiburg (Germany)


Prof. Dr. Francesca Romana Berno

Professore associato di Lingua e Letteratura Latina

Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)


Prof. Dr. Caterina Giostra

Professore associato di Archeologia cristiana e medievale

Catholic University of Milan (Italy)


Prof. Dr. Massimiliano Papini

Professore associato di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte Greca e Romana

Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)


Administrative Office

The administrative office, represented by the Scientific Coordinator, Ms. Dott.ssa Vivien Kluge M.A., supports the Foundation in its operative business. Furthermore, it is the first point of contact for external enquiries and requests.


Traditio lampadis

The image of traditio lampadis, the passing of the torch in the Greek relay race, represents a principle that was soon transferred to other areas in antiquity, with the torch metaphorically representing the light, knowledge and insight passed on to subsequent generations.

In his late work, Francis Bacon also refers to the traditio lampadis in exactly this sense, describing  the nature of true science in the 6th book of his work De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum (1623) in the following words:  “[…] eamque Traditionem Lampadis, sive Methodum ad Filios, appellabimus.” (https://archive.org/details/worksfrancisbaco02bacoiala/page/428/mode/2up?q=traditionem)

In the context, Bacon speaks of the multiplication of knowledge, which he equates with the multiplication of plants, which one should always transplant with the root. Thus, tradition as we find it in Bacon’s image of the Traditio Lampadis is to be understood as a process that does not seek to convey definitive results but rather aims at the continuous advancement of knowledge: accordingly, the transmission of knowledge to the next generations is central as it crucially contributes to the development and completion of the body  of knowledge.

This motif, which encompasses both the preservation of traditions but also progress, captures essence and motivation of the Patrum Lumen Sustine Foundation. The Foundation’s logo,  name and statutes reflect this spirit of the traditio lampadis.

Statutes (extract)

The purpose of the Foundation is to support initiatives of individuals, institutes, and associations which aim to research and protect the identity of European culture and preserve the values and ideals of our common tradition so that its spirit is kept alive.

The Foundation has a non-profit character and does not pursue any profit-making purpose.

It is mandatory that the members of the Foundation Council, as well as the Scientific Advisory Board, have an academic qualification; their scientific expertise should adequately cover all fields of activity of the Foundation. Furthermore, representatives of institutions cooperating with the Foundation may be admitted; in this case, an academic qualification is not required.

Members of the Foundation Council and the Scientific Advisory Board shall, in general, carry out their activities on an honorary basis.

The motif of the arches, which decorates the welcome page of the Foundation’s website and often returns in the background, can also be subsumed into this tone.

The arches

The image shows the three arches of the upper part of the pronaos of St. Mark’s Basilica, incorporated into the side of Palazzo Venezia in Rome. It is a work attributed to Leon Battista Alberti, who, as a true humanist, covered all fields of knowledge, rediscovering Antiquity: from Cicero to architecture. A figure therefore well suited to the aims of PLuS. In these arches, human ingenuity has translated the world of numbers into stone, as the three arches reflect the proportions of the arches of the Colosseum, with a rhythm dictated by the relationship of the ‘golden section’, an irrational number that tends towards a perfection that we are not given to reach. And just looking at them gives a sense of measure, balance, rhythm, and even of the eternal. The quotation from Bacon not only fits perfectly with the name of the foundation, but also reminds us of Latin as the European way of expressing human knowledge  (Paolo Omodeo Salè).

The Founder

In 2016, the Patrum Lumen Sustine Foundation (PLuS) was founded by Dr. Paolo Omodeo Salè, who managed the foundation’s business until 2022 and, as a permanent member of the Executive Council, always plays a key role in the direction of the Foundation’s work. The foundation’s activities are part of a multitude of projects and initiatives that Dr. Omodeo Salè supports and initiates with the intention of protecting and researching Europe’s cultural heritage and opening up perspectives for researchers and students from a wide range of disciplines through scholarships and grant programmes that enable them to advance their own projects in order to contribute to this goal.