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Catholic Dictionary




Repository of confidential documents of the Holy See, going back to the early centuries. Deterioration of the original papyri, transfers, and political upheavals caused the almost complete loss of the collections earlier than Pope Innocent III. In the fifteenth century the ARchives were kept in Castel Sant'Angelo. In 1810, Napoleon ordered the Archives of the Holy See to be transferred to Paris, and though later returned to Rome many documents were lost. The Archives are now housed in a special building off the Piazza of St. Peter's. to the Archives is attached the Vatican School of Archivistry. In 1881, Pope Leo XIII made the VAtican Archives available to consultation by accredited scholars.