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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Vatican secret keeper finally shares what world's oldest archive room holds

Secret Archives is home to largest collection of Catholic books, documents, and doctrine in the world, dating back to 8th century

By Web Desk
February 20, 2024
The Vatican Apostolic Archive, previously known as the Vatican Secret Archives. — Identiv/File
The Vatican Apostolic Archive, previously known as the Vatican Secret Archives. — Identiv/File

Archbishop Sergio Pagano, the prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Archive, formerly known as the Vatican Secret Archives is disclosing information for the first time, revealing some of the secrets he has unearthed in his 45 years of employment at one of the most significant and unique document collections in the world, New York Post reported.

Pagano shares some of the obscure, little-known, and behind-the-scenes facts of well-known stories of the Holy See and its connections with the outside world during the past 12 centuries in an interview with the Italian journalist Massimo Franco.

From Galileo’s sacking to Pope Pius XII's role during the Holocaust, he discussed it all and shared what the mystery holds.

What are the Vatican's secret archives?

The Secret Archives is home to the largest collection of Catholic books, documents, and doctrine in the world, dating back to the 8th century. It is owned by the pope.

The archives aren’t open to the public, but serious scholars are allowed to open up to three folders a day, Vatican City Tours reported.

However, Pope Francis has announced access to documents of Pope Pius XII and his connection to Hitler through World War II starting this year. 

This combination of images show books and aisle from the Vaticans secret archives. — Identiv/File
This combination of images show books and aisle from the Vatican's secret archives. — Identiv/File

What can be found in the secret archives?

Notes from the trial against the 17th-century scientist Galileo, who, like many in his field, was beginning to question the Church’s view that the Earth did not move.

The Papal Bull, written by Pope Leo X, was a document excommunicating Martin Luther from the Catholic Church, which led to the Reformation era.

A plea from Mary Queen of Scots months before her execution, asking for Pope Sixtus V to assist in helping her not lose her life and to free her of the prison cell she was in. 

The most famous letter in the archives is the request of Henry VIII, who needed an annulment from his wife Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.