Vatican Apostolic Archive

The Vatican Apostolic Archive, known until October 2019 as the Vatican Secret Archive, is the central repository in the Vatican City of all acts promulgated by the Holy See. The pope, as Sovereign of Vatican City, owns the material held in the archive until his death or resignation, with ownership passing to his successor. The archive also contains state papers, correspondence, account books, and many other documents that the church has accumulated over the centuries. In the 17th century, under the orders of Pope Paul V, the Secret Archive was separated from the Vatican Library, where scholars had some very limited access, and remained closed to outsiders until the late 19th century, when Pope Leo XIII opened the archive to researchers, more than a thousand of whom now examine some of its documents each year.
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