Thursday, 25 May 2023

Carmelites' Archives and Library in Rome Opens to the Public

 Days of Appreciation of the Ecclesiastical Heritage 2023

The Opening of the General Archives and Library

 of the Order of the Carmelites to the Public

The 2023 edition of the Days of Enhancement of Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage was held on May 13-21. Its theme was "Beyond the Slide. Church Cultural Heritage: From Accessibility to Inclusion." The Carmelite General Archives and Library took part with an event on May 19 at Centro Internazionale San Alberto (CISA) in Rome. Both library and archives are houses at CISA.

Three rounds of tours were given. Some 50 people attended, including employees of the General Curia, professionals in the field, scholars, as well as people curious to see the doors to the library on Via Sforza Pallavicini open for the first time in 40 years.

The tours consisted with the librarian and archivist, Mario Alfarano, O. Carm., giving an introduction to the history and organization of the archives and library. Sara Bischetti showed the library’s holdings and research tools, highlighting some of the older items preserved in the library, including incunabula (books printed before 1501) and cinquecentine (books printed in the 16th century). The visitors were then able to explore the three floors of the library holdings.

In the archives, Simona Serci provided a short history and evolution of the Order using a display of papal bulls and letters, records from both general chapters and provincial chapters, documentation on the Carmelite house at Traspontina, which was relocated decades after the unification of Italy at what is now CISA but at the time was the International College of St. Albert.

The tours ended in the storeroom of the documentary section of the General Postulation. This department is involved with the processes for the causes of the Carmelite saints and blesseds. 

The visits ended with the blessing of the library by Tadeusz Popiela, prior of CISA, inaugurating the new opening to the public. Refreshments in the houses main hall followed with music by Loredana Birocci on the piano. 

For 2023, 136 events took place around Italy. Thirty-nine of these were done by museums, 33 by archives, 42 by libraries, 9 by churches, and 13 by dioceses. The days are promoted by the National Office for Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage and Worship Buildings of the Italian Bishops' Conference together with AMEI - Association of Italian Ecclesiastical Museums, AAE - Association of Ecclesiastical Archivists and ABEI - Association of Italian Ecclesiastical Librarians and under the patronage of ICOM Italia (International Council of Museums), ANAI- Italian National Archival Association and AIB - Italian Library Association.

-- CITOC 25 May 2023


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