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.