March 1, 2012. (Romereports.com)
More than one hundred original documents that have been closely guarded in the Vatican are being put on display to the public for the first time ever in Rome's exhibition 'Lux in Arcana: The Vatican's Secret Archives revealed'
. Alessandra Gonzato
'Lux in Arcana: The Vatican's Secret Archives revealed' “The goal has been to make these documents available that are often difficult to understand because they're written in other languages, or in Latin, and with complex drawings.”
Pier Paolo Piergentili
'Lux in Arcana: The Vatican's Secret Archives revealed'“There are many documents that will attract visitors, such as the letter written by the Lords of the English Parliament to Clement VII asking for the marriage annulment of Henry VIII. It's a scroll that is three feet long with 83 seals attached to it.”
The project took one year to prepare, with some 150 people working
to present these 100 documents to the public.
Their importance is not only limited to the Church but the entire history for much of Western society. Pier Paolo Piergentili
'Lux in Arcana: The Vatican's Secret Archives revealed'“On display, for example are the records of the abdication of Queen Christina from Sweden, which shows the seals and signatures of nearly 300 members of parliament.”
Among the documents is a letter from St. Teresa of Avila
on the reform of the Order of Mount Carmel. There is also the letter by the cardinals who set the rules of the conclave, and a copy of the 'Lunario Novo'
, which officially abolished ten calendar days to adapt the public calendar to the lunar cycle.
Many of these historical documents can almost be passed without recognizing them, such as the bull 'Ineffabilis Deus' which decreed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception
. There is also this impressive scroll, nearly 200 feet long, which tells a very particular story. Pier Paolo Piergentili
'Lux in Arcana: The Vatican's Secret Archives revealed'“It contains the testimony of 231 Knights of Templar, who were interrogated by the pope's apostolic commissioners. Two years earlier, they had been arrested by order of the French king, Philip IV. He wanted to spread out the wealth of the Order. To clarify the matter, the pope appointed a commission to investigate the Templars.”
The exhibition ends with a visit to the so-called “Hidden Period,” with documents from the papacy of Pius XII, written during World War II. It's called "hidden" because the reports from this time period have yet to be opened to the public.
A statue of the Virgin of Częstochowa
is on display, that was given to the pope by a group of women that were prisoners of a concentration camp. It was made with thin sheets of brass and was given to the pope wrapped in white and red sheets, the colors of Poland. Next to it is a letter from the nuncio in Holland to the Vatican's Secretariat of State, announcing the death of Edith Stein and her sister Rosa.
You can also see the Bull of canonization of St. Francis Xavier and the records from the trial of Galileo.
The items make up twelve centuries of documents that behind them reveal their stories for the first time. For right now they will only be open to those who travel to see the exhibition 'Lux in Arcana: The Vatican's Secret Archives revealed'.
FF / PM