Exhibit Scheduled for Vatican Secret Archives

Documents for Display Range 12 Centuries

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ROME, JULY 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Some 100 documents will be leaving the Vatican Secret Archives next year for an exhibit in Rome’s Capitoline Museum.

«‘Lux in Arcana’: the Vatican Secret Archives unveiled» is set for February 2012.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, was among those who presented the exhibit Tuesday. He spoke of the chances for growth that came through merging different perspectives on how the exhibit should come about.

Cardinal Raffaele Farina, archivist of the Vatican Archives, explained that «ancient pontifical documents of great importance, as well as letters concerning significant aspects of the life of the Church in the world, will be leaving the Vatican for the first time and will be available to be viewed by visitors to the Capitol Hill, traditional headquarters of the government of Rome.»

The documents will span the 8th to 20th centuries. Among them is a letter to members of the English Parliament from Clement VII regarding Henry VIII’s marriage (1530), the minutes of Galileo’s trial (17th century), the Bull of Deposition of Frederick II Barbarossa, and documents from the beginning of World War II.

Cardinal Farina said the Vatican offers the exhibition «without fear or hesitation,» but rather with «pride in a service to the Church and to culture carried out for four centuries with tireless work of custody, cataloguing, care, and ever more advanced progress in research.»

He said the exhibit will be an invitation to learn about the archives and see the «fascinating evocation of the memory of our past, of the Church’s past, of empires, kingdoms, dukedoms, republics» and go beyond the «empty stereotype» of the archives.


Bishop Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Archives, noted that they truly are a «secret» for most people, except for the researchers who frequent it. The archives are «a mysterious reality because it is unknown.»

The prelate made two announcements: first, that at least four more years are needed before the documents on Pius XII’s pontificate can be catalogued and published.

He also announced the publication of a compilation of documents and testimonies on the massacre of Armenians in Turkey at the end of World War I.

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