Foto Documento Mese Giugno2016

The oldest document preserved in the Archives of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo

The Document of the Month of June 2016

The oldest document preserved in the Archives of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo is a copy, reproducing the form of the original, of a papal privilege dated 1145, made not long after that date: in particular this is a document issued by Pope Eugene III, who had been elected in that very year and continued to lead the Universal Church until 1153, the year of his death. Written on parchment, it is the confirmation by the Pope to the provost of Santa Tecla, Milan's summer basilica, of the possession of the assets of that church and of the right to chant, read and pray in it. The Pope also gave his consent to allow anyone who so desired to be buried in the church, provided – obviously – that they had not been excommunicated.

The document is preserved in section III of the Historical Archives of the Veneranda Fabbrica, entitled "Suppression of the church and of the chapter of Santa Tecla and union with the Metropolitan Diocese", which contains all the documents related to the suppression of the summer basilica and the aggregation of the provostship, the canonries and the related benefices to the Duomo, which took place in the 15th century.

The privilege of 1145, drawn up in Viterbo, has all the distinctive traits of this specific type of 12th century document: the perpetuity formula (in perpetuum), the triple amen at the end of the text, the signatures of the cardinals, fifteen in this case, the Rota and Bene Valete monogram.

The image above shows the detail of the Rota and the Bene Valete. The first, an element that appears for the first time in privileges issued by Pope Leo IX (1002-1045) consists of a cross inscribed in two concentric circles inside which 4 quadrants are drawn. The motto shown in the outer circle is, in the case of Pope Eugene III, a citation from psalm 85: Fac mecum D(omi)ne signum in bonum. Written in the top inner quadrants, from the left, are the words, : S(an)c(tu)s Petrus, S(an)c(tu)s Paulus while the name of Pope Eugene is divided between the two lower quadrants.

The Bene Valete on the contrary represents the signature of the Pope in the form of a salutation monogram.