Benedict XVI Tours Refurbished Vatican Library

Prays for Scholars and Researchers

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2010 ( Benedict XVI took a tour of the newly refurbished Vatican Library on Saturday, which recently reopened again to the public after being closed for more than three years, and prayed that those using the facility will work toward building a more human world.

The Pope walked for an hour in the library, which he recently to as an «eminent place of the historical memory of the universal Church» in a letter to Vatican archivist and librarian, Cardinal Raffaele Farina

In this place, where among the thousands of volumes is kept the «Codex Vaticanus,» the oldest complete manuscript of the Bible, the Holy Father raised a prayer: «Great you are, Lord our God. Hear our prayer and bless all those who frequent this Apostolic Library to cultivate the sciences and the arts. May they, from honest researcher of the true, illumined by the wisdom of your Word, orient their efforts to the building of a more human world.»

The Pope was received by Cardinal Farina, Msgr. Cesare Pasini and Ambrogio Maria Piazzoni, respectively prefect and vice prefect of the library, and members of the Library Council. He was shown the results of the refurbishment and taken through each of the rooms and halls of the library. 

The Pope had last visited the library in June 2007 shortly before the rebuilding work began.

The library closed July 13, 2007, and during the last three years the Vatican has restored and consolidated the library structure and collection. Pope Sixtus IV began the Vatican Library in 1475, and Pope Sixtus V built the present library palace in the Belvedere courtyard.

Today the collection numbers 1.6 million texts and 75,000 manuscripts, among which are some of the rarest manuscripts in the world, including Cicero and Virgil as well as Gospel fragments dating as far back as the second century. The library also has an immense numismatic collection, featuring 300,000 coins and medals.

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