The first evidence of the Liberian
Chapter's existence dates back to the twelfth century.
The first codes of the Liberian Chapter go back to the
thirteenth century and are dated 1262, 1266 and 1271.
It is interesting to note that these three editions of
the first Liberian Statute were drawn up in just ten
years. The clergy who officiated in the Basilica at
that time was composed of Clerics in 1153 and Canons
since 1292. There had also been an "Archpresbyter",
since at least 1153.
The first documents do not
anything about the Chapter's internal organization;
but those from the
century, instead, make us perceive the first efforts
in establishing set rules for functioning, such to
have them approved by the Popes.
One of the
fundamental problems for the survival of the Chapter
was the need to adjust the number of Canons so as to
be in line with the Chapter's income. The number was
fixed at sixteen.
This decision was made on
December 8, 1235 and was approved by Pope Gregory XI
on November 13, 1237. The following year the Pontiff
himself ordered that decisions be made by majority
vote and authorized the Archpriest to penalize the
canons who opposed his efforts to reform the capitular
rules in effect at that time. Other pontifical norms
regulate the absence and presence of the canons.
The first editions constitute the ancient structure of
the Liberian Statute which is the most ancient
preserved model of a Roman capitular statute.
the Rule of 1226, there were also four priestly
prebends, who had to guarantee the presence of four
deacons and four subdeacons and, probably also four
clerics belonging to the Minor Orders. In this way the
celebration of the capitular Mass in accordance with
the liturgical rubric of the time was assured.
capitular Statute also fulfills the documentation
concerning the economy of the cultural and financial
complex of St. Mary Major.
In the XII and XIII
centuries, St. Mary Major continued to be an active
centre of worship, where, in addition to old
traditions, new forms of devotion blossomed: the
Lenten Stations of the Cross, devotion to the Saints
and above all the veneration of the image of the "Salus
Marian feast days had always been
celebrated with great solemnity.
preserved, in past years, different Medieval missals
(XII and XV centuries), together with the "Liberian
Missal Proper of Saints", which at present is kept in
the Vatican Archives. The "Calendars" of that age are
also very interesting, and are preserved at the
Vatican as well.
At present, the Chapter presents
itself as a priestly College, composed of the
Archpriest Cardinal, 24 Canons and Coadjutors of the
Chapter, all appointed by the Pontiff. The Canons and
Coadjutors make up the Liberian Presbyterate, which,
under the direction of the Cardinal Archpriest,
performs the Basilica's most solemn liturgical
functions and pastoral service.
The service of the
Canons is carried out in accordance with the general
norms of Canon Law and the particular requirements of
St. Mary Major.
The Chapter enjoys its own legal
status and therefore, is the subject of rights and
The Chapter is honoured to have as
Protocanon His Majesty the King of Spain, at present
Juan Carlos Primero de Bourbon.
In the Basilica a
male religious community works in the Sacristy, while
a female religious community furnishes the altars and
In the year 2000 another Statute was
drawn up, which reflects the new directives of the
Second Vatican Council.
Archpriest: H. E. Santos Abril y
Protocanon: His Majesty Juan Carlos I
de Bourbon, King of Spain
Most Rev. Canons
(According to the Bull of appointment and the taking
Msgr. Tommaso Passacantilli
Msgr. Valentin Miserachs Grau
Msgr. Michal Jagosz
Msgr. Tarcisio Nardi
Msgr. Jozef Kral
Msgr. Juan Esquerda Bifet
Msgr. Giobbe Gazzoni
Msgr. Juan José
Msgr. Vincenzo Ferrara
Msgr. Emilio Silvestrini
Msgr. Francesco Lopez-Illana
Msgr. Paul B. McInerny
Msgr. Ciro Bovenzi
Msgr. Iryney Bilyk
Msgr. Girolamo Grillo
Most Rev. Benedictine Canon
Msgr. Ermenegildo Manicardi
Most Rev. Honorary Canons
(According to the Bull of appointment)
H. E. Msgr. Diego Coletti
Msgr. Giacomo Martinelli
Fr. Joăo Scognamiglio Cla' Dias
COLLEGE OF COADJUTORS
Most Rev. Coadjutors of the Chapter
(According to the Bull of appointment and the taking
Msgr. Alberto Vallini
Msgr. Adriano Paccanelli
Msgr. Francesco Maria Tasciotti
Fr. Marco Cocuzza
Msgr. Giovanni Celli
APOSTOLIC COLLEGE OF CONFESSORS
(Preacher Friars - Dominicans)
- Fr. Tiemen J.S. Brouwer, O.P.
- Fr. Luke William Dempsey, O.P.
- Fr. Pedro Fernandez Rodriguez, O.P.
- Fr. Denis Hallinan, O.P.
- Fr. Edmondo (Joachim) Jasiulek, O.P.
- Fr. Hernán Jimenez Salas, O.P.
- Fr. Rajmund (Jozef) Klepanec,
- Fr. Ludovico (Alexander) Melo, O.P.
- Fr. Elio Monteleone, O.P.
- Fr. Wojciech Morawski, O.P.
- Fr. Salvatore (Giuseppe) Raciti, O.P.
ATTACHED TO THE SACRISTY
(Minor Sacristans: Franciscan Friars of the
It is a religious
institute conceived in 1970 as a spiritual movement
by Fr. Stefano Mary Manelli with the "Concil Vatican
II" intention’s of authentically living the Rule of
St. Francis of Assisi in accordance with the
inspiration and example of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe.
Erected "by the will of the Holy Father" John Paul
II as an Institute of diocesan right in 1990 in the
Archdiocese of Benevento (Italy), it was elevated to
the status of pontifical right in 1998.
Besides the vows
of poverty, obedience and chastity, the Institute's
members profess a fourth vow or Marian vow which
distinguishes them in carrying out the Mission of
the Immaculate Mediatrix, consisting in the study
and propagation of the mystery of Mary, the
Immaculate and Coredemptrix. This 'charism and
spirituality' of the Franciscans of the Immaculate
is also shared by an Institute of sisters (active
and contemplative), by a Third Order, some lay
persons and Poor Clare nuns.
presently number around 300 and are spread out in
five continents in various religious communities,
some of which are residing in the Basilica of St.
Mary Major in Rome since 1999 with the charge of
being the minor sacristans for assisting in the
liturgical services and the reception of groups and
Fr. Angelo Maria Gaeta
Tarcisio Maria PASCALE
Brother Didacus Maria San Diego
ATTACHED TO THE FURNISHINGS OF THE
(Sisters, Servants of Mary Most Sorrowful of Chioggia)
Maria Teresa Bellan,
Sr. Maria Ana
Teresa Soto Ruiz
The liturgical service is carried out
by the Almo Capranica.
Co-operator of the Pastoral and
Liturgical Animation and Vice Master of Ceremonies
Fr. Giuseppe Banfi
Pastoral care is provided by the Church
of Saints Vito, Modesto and Crescenzia.
Msgr. Pasquale Magagnini, Parish Priest
2. Fr. Roberto Cavalli, Parochial Vicar