March 12, 2012

Working with the city of Rome, the Vatican Secret Archives is celebrating its 400th anniversary with an exhibit designed to shed light not only on its holdings, but on some of the myth and mystery surrounding its collection of millions of documents.

Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives Reveals Itself opened at Rome’s Capitoline Museum Feb. 29 and is scheduled to remain open until Sept. 9.

The secret – or, more accurately, “private” – archives were founded by Pope Paul V in 1612.

Since 1881, they have been opened to scholars conducting research.

The documents in the exhibit include a letter on birch bark from the Ojibwe people of Grassy Lake, Ont., written to Pope Leo XIII in 1887.