Vatican Secret Archives : Conservation and Preservation

Relating to the exhibition “Lux in Arcana” : Vatican Secrets Revealed, in Rome in 2012, is the inestimable work of Scrinium based in Venice. It is the cultural organization dedicated to the promotion and diffusion of the huge cultural and historical heritage conserved by the foremost cultural institutions of the Holy See.Ita
Production of most accurate facsimile reproductions of extraordinary works of art and rarest documents safely kept in outstanding Vatican repositories helps protect many invaluable treasures from the wear of time and from any risk to their integrity.
The high level of quality in the facsimile reproductions is the result of a continued and accurate research in cooperation with first-class academic centres and outstanding specialists in art, religion and history. In achieving and widely promoting such invaluable treasures of history and art, Scrinium is at the service of celebrated international institutions and most qualified collectors in every part of the world.
Unique Project of Vatican Secret Archives
The collection Exemplaria Praetiosa is an outstanding cultural project of the Vatican Secret Archives distributed by Scrinium ; it includes the facsimile production of precious manuscripts, papal bulls and rarely accessed documents enshrined in the Vatican Archives’ 85 linear kilometres of shelving. The exemplars, certified by the Prefect of the Papal Archives in person, are offered to scholars and collectors and become invaluable tools for an in-depth historical investigation.
Each release of the Exemplaria Praetiosa project is accompanied by a scholarly volume including essays by distinguished Vatican historians. Such art jewels and sought after collection pieces, available in limited run, have been widely appreciated as a solid contribution to the recent developments in history. Scrinium, as the fiduciary company of the Vatican Secret Archives, patronizes and supervises the whole project.
Exemplaria Praetiosa I : Jubilaeum 1300 – 2000
The papal seals : The enchanting seals pending from the Jubilee bulls of Boniface VIII and John Paul II are faithfully reproduced with handicraft techniques, celebrating two memorable events for the world spirituality, ranging 700 years : the first Jubilee of history dating 1300 and the Great Jubilee announced in 2000.
For their universal meaning, the Vatican Secret Archives have elected the precious bulls of proclamation, symbols of those extraordinary pontiffs and of their unforgettable service, to achieve an exclusive official edition with seals in pure gold. The replica of the papal bulls and their precious gold seals are accompanied by a critical essay with the unabridged transcription of the texts and short summaries in Latin, Italian, French, German and Spanish.
Exemplaria Praetiosa II : Munificentia Venetiarum
Venice at the time of the Doges : In a most precious edition, a lavish Venetian find of the sixteenth century treasured by the Vatican Secret Archives, shows an enchanting miniature decoration. It is the act with which in 1586, the doge Pasquale Cicogna (1585-1595) donated the Gritti Palace to pope Sixtus V to host the papal nuncio. The work Munificentia Venetiarum preserves all the allure of this elegant original parchment. The rare gold seal of the Doge is tied to the parchment through a ribbon made of silk and gold threads. The scholarly volume by the Vatican officals is printed on pure cotton paper Magnani of Pescia with inscriptions in pure gold on the front and back covers.
Exemplaria Praetiosa III : Processus Contra Templarios
Un unparalleled world event : The first publication of the unabridged acts of the Trial against the Knights Templar (1308), from the original source material conserved inside the Vatican Secret Archives’ precincts, over five metres of parchments with the confessions of the Templar monks. Among the surviving trial acts, the Chinon parchment which recently turned out to contain the final acquittal of Clement V in favour of the Templar monks.
This compelling body of documentary finds and the intriguing brogliaccio of Clement VII come with a deluxe scholarly volume including the full transcription of the hearings and critical essays produced by the Vatican Archives’ specialists.
Exemplaria Praetiosa IIII : Causa Anglica
The key document of the Anglican schism : Causa Anglica was widely broadcast news for months after its first release, due to the historical relevance and the unusual features of the original document : the Petition of the Lords of England to pope Clement VII asking or the annulment of King Henry VIII’s marriage with Catherine of Aragon, an impressive manuscript dating 1530, currently conserved inside the Vatican Secret Archives.
The intimidating letter, a large parchment almost two metres high, bears no less than eighty-one wax seals of the subscribers, and is considered the key document to understand the events which would lead to the Anglican schism and the break with Rome. The prolonged work on the Vatican document to achieve the facsimile gave a boost to a bulk of new relevant studies by the Officials of the Vatican Secret Archives which are now offered in a large commentary volume accompanying each numbered exemplar of Causa Anglica. The formal and scientific reliability of the work is personally certified by the Vatican Archives’ Prefect.
The work of Scrinium provides a precious service to the truth for scholars, collectors and lovers of rare relics of the past. Formal presentation of its volumes takes place in Rome receiving wide following of international press and media around the world.
Ita Marguet
Note : Acknowledgement is given to a related brochure for the exhibition “Lux in Arcana – The Vatican Secret Archives Reveals Itself”, Rome, 2012. It follows a text about the exhibition on “Lux in Arcana” : Vatican Secrets Revealed, by Ita Marguet (October 2012).