Italian Police Recovers 16th Century Bull Lost for more than 100 Years

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The Document, issued by Pope Benedict XI in 1304, was found in an auction house catalogue, on sale for 100 euros. The Document went missing in 1908.

Italy – Sicily (06/10/2021 17:57 PM, Gaudium Press) A 14th-century papal bull addressed to the Carmelite Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Messina, Sicily, has been recovered by police and returned to the Carmelite friars of the Ancient Observance.

Issued in 1304

The Bull, issued by Pope Benedict XI in 1304, was found in the catalog of an auction house, on sale for 100 euros. Police were alerted, and the division dealing with lost or stolen historical artifacts imediately sprang into action.

The papal Bull was formally returned to the Carmelite Order, during a solemn ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Trapani, Sicily, in the presence of Fr. Mario Alfarano O.Carm, general archivist of the Order, Fr. Roberto Toni O.Carm, prior provincial of the Italian Province, and other religious.

Lost during the 1908 earthquake

The Pope of the time, Benedict XI, issued this Document addressing the Carmelites’ request to be transferred from Messina Cathedral to the Church of San Cataldo. According to Fr. Alfarano, the request came when the canons of the cathedral complained that the noise from the Carmelite convent interrupted their religious services.

The Carmelite church and convent were destroyed by an earthquake in 1908. Since then, the Document has been considered lost. The papal Bull will be sent to restoration. Based on the existing copies, specialists will restore some of the fragments where the words have faded. (EPC)

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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