Skip to comments.Vatican reveals Secret Archives (including letter from Genghis Khan's grandson)
Posted on 01/02/2010 4:42:07 AM PST by NYer
The Holy See’s archives contain scrolls, parchments and leather-bound volumes with correspondence dating back more than 1,000 years.
High-quality reproductions of 105 documents, 19 of which have never been seen before in public, have now been published in a book. The Vatican Secret Archives features a papal letter to Hitler, an entreaty to Rome written on birch bark by a tribe of North American Indians, and a plea from Mary Queen of Scots.
The book documents the Roman Catholic Church’s often hostile dealings with the world of science and the arts, including documents from the heresy trial against Galileo and correspondence exchanged with Erasmus, Voltaire and Mozart. It also reveals the Church’s relations with princes and potentates in countries far beyond its dominion.
In a letter dated 1246 from Grand Khan Guyuk to Pope Innocent IV, Genghis Khan’s grandson demands that the pontiff travel to central Asia in person – with all of his “kings” in tow – to “pay service and homage to us” as an act of “submission”, threatening that otherwise “you shall be our enemy”.
Another formal letter in the archive highlights the papacy’s political role. In 1863 Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, wrote to Pope Pius IX claiming that the civil war raging across America was entirely due to “Northern aggression”.
“We desire no evil to our enemies, nor do we covet any of their possessions; but are only struggling to the end that they shall cease to devastate our land and inflict useless and cruel slaughter upon our people.”
Other letters in the archive are more personal. In a 1550 note, Michelangelo demands payment from the papacy which was three months late, and complains that a papal conclave had interrupted his work on the dome
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
So little has changed in this respect, then.
Amazon has the book listed for a bit under $100.00 here.
Here is the publisher's link. They also have a very expensive special edition.
Vatican planned to move to Portugal if Nazis captured wartime Pope
Secret plans were drawn up by the Vatican to elect a new Pope and flee to a friendly country should Hitler have carried out his threat to kidnap the wartime Pontiff, it was claimed yesterday.
Pope Pius XII told senior bishops that should he be arrested by the Nazis, his resignation would become effective immediately, paving the way for a successor, according to documents in the Vatican's Secret Archives.
The bishops would then be expected to flee to a safe country probably neutral Portugal where they would re-establish the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and appoint a new Pontiff.
That Hitler considered kidnapping the Pope has been documented before, but this is the first time that details have emerged of the Vatican's strategy should the Nazis carry out the plan...
"Pius wouldn't leave voluntarily. He had been invited repeatedly to go to Portugal or Spain or the United States but he felt he could not leave his diocese under these severe and tragic circumstances." Vatican documents, which still remain secret, are believed to show that Pius was aware of a plan formulated by Hitler in July 1943 to occupy the Vatican and arrest him and his senior cardinals. ""
It simply means not accessible to the general public, much as certain research areas in university libraries can only be accessed with special permission.
Those libraries have been open to researchers since the 1880’s. It’s just that you can’t have everyone and his brother pawing over a letter from Genghis Khan’s grandson, or it would disintegrate.
That is where they keep the real bible.
Thanks for doing the research and posting that link!
A secret archive in the Vatican? So everything Dan Brown wrote must be true!!!
Or maybe other items that belong to someone else...?
You forgot the /sarc note.
“In a letter dated 1246 from Grand Khan Guyuk to Pope Innocent IV, Genghis Khans grandson demands that the pontiff travel to central Asia in person with all of his kings in tow to pay service and homage to us as an act of submission, threatening that otherwise you shall be our enemy.”
And where are you now Guyuk?
I’d say more like rare, unrevealed, undisclosed, private, important, delicate and protected. But if I wanted to go for sensation I guess I’d have to say “secret”.
“Why a secrect archive? What is the Vatican hiding?”
Nothing. Any scholar can see these documents. The patriarchs have secret documents too - and no one gets to see them. Usually those are letters and documents about internal problems, bad priests, bad marriages, etc. The Catholic Church also has plenty of such documents. The one muentioned in the article are not actually secret at all, however.
Oops! Should be “ones mentioned”.
A “Secret archive” that has been open to researchers since 1980 isn’t so secret. It’s essentially a trove of documents so large that the Vatican lost track of what they had, so they allowed outside researchers to rummage through their “attic” to see what they could find.
I just find this interesting; it has nothing to do with the article since they mean “secret” in the modern sense:
The modern usage of ‘secret’ comes to us via the mass. Initially, the word meant “set apart,” as opposed to collect, which, of course means, “gather together.” The Collect of the mass is the prayers said with the priest and congregation in unison; the Secret of the mass is the prayers said by the priest on his own. Thus, secret came to mean something said privately, in quiet tones.
The Vatican uses the term “Secret” Even a link to it on their website.
What’s interesting about the Jefferson Davis letter isn’t its contents, which are simply typical of Southern rhetoric at the time, but that Davis apparently cared what the Pope thought. Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” always struck me as peculiarly Catholic in thought, too. (Not saying Lincoln had any affinities towards Catholicism, just that I now wonder whether he may have also had some interest in how Catholics would regard the case he was laying out, for whatever reason.)
The pope never weighed in on the Civil War, to my knowledge, but shortly afterwards, consecrated the States to the Immaculate Conception.
“The Vatican uses the term Secret Even a link to it on their website.”
Right, but ‘secret’ means a somewhat different idea to someone who knows Latin than to an English speaker and the archives are open to scholars.
In other words, it ain’t so secret.
The Holy Grail, the date of the second coming, the body of the real Paul VI (who was replaced by a doppelganger), numerous Nazi artifacts, the robes worn by certain Vatican cardinals when they offer satanic worship and details of a top secret plan to bribe Orthodox patriarchs into selling out and reuniting under Rome.
And that's just for starters..............
I heard that they have the epistles of Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ body, and a letter by the Apostle Paul who says, “Suckers!!!!”
I better put in the /sarc tag :-)
All those socks which mysteriously disappeared from clothes dryers......How they ended up over there is an even greater mystery.
That's probably true, since those who had to write an index of documents didn't necessarily read them. It still doesn't explain why call it "secret." The suggests that it the Vatican is hiding something, which I don't think is the case. Why not just call it the Vatican Library?
That's understandable. But it doesn't explain the "secret" in its title. I mean, the universities don't call their libraries "secret" just because they have restricted access.
So basically Vatican’s Private Library (even though that is redundant) is really what is meant?
Great standup routine, but it doesn't answer my question. Tanks for trying.
Ah, now I understand! :)
The term «secret» (secretum), besides, since the XV Century, was used in both secular and ecclesiastical courts, for people or institutions close to the prince (in our case to the pope) and to his «familia». As a matter of fact, the trusty person of the prince, with whom he discussed the most reserved or delicate matters and it was often the person who prepared the respective documents, was called «secretarium». Therefore, in the family roles of the prince, apart from the secretarii, there was the «secret servants», the «secret cupbearer», the «Secret squire» etc. The same phenomenon could be seen also within the papal familia: where there were the secretarii, the camerarius secretus, the sacrista secretus, the secretus carver and other figures called in the same way.
Thanks, I learned something new about the meaning and spelling of the word secretary.
“To Peter, from Jesus. Good luck in Rome.”
From my understanding, that would be a reasonable thing to call it, but its worth noting that the Vatican itself doesn’t know everything it might find there.
Apologies for the duplicate-post!
“Why not just call it the Vatican Library?”
Because there already is a Vatican Library and it houses mainly books and art.
“Exactly. Most English-Latin Missals of what is now called the Extraordinary Form have sections of the Mass that the priest says “in secret.” he “secret” words are printed in millions of Missals. In the context, it simply means in a low voice.”
Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!!!
In practise, it’s kind of inconvenient at that part of the Mass to flip to the propers, so personally, as far as I am concerned “the secret” can REMAIN “a secret!” ;-D
With regard to the Gettysburg Address, I don’t know how “Catholic” the speech is but Lincoln was speaking just 4 months after the draft riots on NYC. The rioters were largely Irish Catholic so it is entirely possible he wanted to convince this constituency that the war had a noble purpose.
The Vatican was the only country to offically recognize the Confederacy as a country. Also, Jeff Davis was Catholic.
Jeff Davis was Catholic??? Fascinating, since Catholics were targeted by the KKK far more than even blacks. But then again, the KKK was the terrorist wing of the Democratic Party.
I looked up that claim since it was so surprising. Not entirely accurate, but the truth is close enough to be very surprising. The Vatican was the only CATHOLIC country to recognize the confederacy. Apparently, Jeff Davis corresponded with the pope and developed a friendship while the pope was in exile during the Garibaldi crisis (!). And, while Jeff Davis wasn’t Catholic during the Civil War, he died one and had already developed a strong affiliation to Catholic pieties.
The stereotypes of the south aren't quite so clearcut as the SPLC would lead one to believe. There were native Catholics and native Jews who supported the Confederacy and suffered no ill treatment, even to the point of being elevated to the highest offices of the land.
Perhaps there was something else at work?
Nah, not possible, all the history books say so. /s
Not strictly true. The Lateran Treaties of 1929 made the Vatican a city-state. But the Pope did have good relations with Jefferson Davis, that is true.
As a Louisiana native and citizen, historically, the most Catholic of the Southern States, and having visited Jeff Davis’s final home on the MS Gulf Coast, I don’t think he ever became Catholic, although he embraced a “High Church Anglo-Catholic style Episcopalian faith” and was very sympathetic to Catholicism as it respected hierarchial traditions, family, etc, and say the incontrolled industrial revolutions as something that ultimately would exploit people for profit, if Christian principles were not in place to protect the weak from the powerful.
I think Davis, who was raised in Kentucky, was educated by Dominican Priests at a Catholic bording school. After the Civil War, when he was in exile, his Wife found that the only Church that would educate her kids were Catholic nuns in Savanah, GA, where she was living at the time, as Davis and his family were seen as “disgraced in the South” and most of the Southern aristocrats wanted nothing to do with Davis, as opposed to Robert E. Lee who was seen as the “Southern hero”. I think General James Longstreet, who after the war moved to New Orleans, did convert to Catholicism and it is true that Davis had Catholics and Jews in his cabinet.
As for the KKK, it was not founded until around 1870 by ex Confederate soldiers in response to reconstruction. It’s original targets were indeed Blacks and Northern Reconstructionist, but Catholics soon became a target as well. The KKK was founded more in Central Tennessee by the Confederate Calvery General Bedford Forest and quickly spread in areas of the South with few Catholics as the only areas of the South with any significant Catholic population at that time were in Louisiana and parts of Southern Georgia on the coast near Savanah and maybe Mobile Alabama, which originally was part of French Louisiana before being ceded to the Spaninish in Florida and then eventually being part of Alabama.
Perhaps you are correct, I think he may have been received into the Catholic Church just before his death, which I think was around 1890.
I got one word for that