Skip to main content

Lux in Arcana - The Vatican Secret Archives Reveals Itself

decoration01 March 2012|30 Sept. 2012

For the first (and probably the last) time in history the Vatican opens part of its secret archives to the public. The Vatican Secret Archives was officially founded by Paul V in 1612. The documents housed in its vast storerooms span about 1200 years from 8th to 20th century and are stored on 85 kilometres of shelving, located in the Apostolic Palace and in the underground Bunker - a two-storey area located under the Vatican Museums’ Cortile della Pigna. Two air-conditioned rooms are reserved for the 81 parchments with gold seal, undoubtedly the Archive’s most important and precious treasures.

Now one hundred original and priceless documents from these Archives are presented to the public in a spectacular exhibition in the beautiful halls of the Capitoline Museums in Rome. Among them: records of the trials against the Templars in the 14th century, a note from prison by Marie Antoinette of France, a beseeching appeal to Pope Clement VI to annul the marriage between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, the Papal bull which excommunicated Martin Luther, the Golden Seal of Philip of Spain, a letter on silk from the Empress Helena-Wang of China, a letter from American Indians written on birch bark, historical documents of Frederick II’s deposition in the year 1245, and - most fascinating - documents related to the process against Galileo Galilei and a summary of Giordano Bruno’s trial.

For more information visit the official website and watch the video on YouTube:

>>> Lux in Arcana

In the Press

>>> The Vatican's Secret Archive: selected papal documents go on display in Italy (The Guardian)

>>> In Rome, Centuries’ Worth of Vatican Secret Archives Revealed (New York Times)

>>> Première à Rome: le Vatican expose les minutes du procès de Galilée (Libération) 

>>> Vatikan zeigt wertvolle Dokumente aus dem Geheimarchiv (Spiegel Online)

>>> Vatican's 'Secret Archives' Open to Public View (Wall Street Journal)


01 March 2012|30 Sept. 2012
Piazza del Campidoglio 1
€ 12
Vatican Secret Archives
  • share