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The Commission was created by Pius IX (January 6, 1852) "to take care of the ancient sacred cemeteries, look after their preventive preservation, further explorations, research and study, and also safeguard the oldest mementos of the early Christian centuries, the outstanding monuments and venerable Basilicas in Rome, in the Roman suburbs and soil, and in the other Dioceses in agreement with the respective Ordinaries". Pius XI made the Commission pontifical (Motu Proprio I primitivi cemeteri of December 11, 1925) and expanded its powers. Through the Lateran Pacts (art. 33 of the Concordat), its authority and its sphere of action and study were extended to all the existing catacombs on the Italian territory. The new Concordat of 1984 (art. 12) confirmed this state of affairs for the Christian catacombs. "In the places entrusted to it, nothing can be modified without its permission; it directs any work to be done and publishes its results; it establishes the rules for access by the public and scholars to the sacred cemeteries and indicates which crypts can be used for the holy liturgy and with what precautions". Through the Commission, the work of the Roman Pontifical Academy of Archaeology and the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology is coordinated. Moreover, the Commission continues to be interested in the activity of the Society for the Conferences of Christian Archaeology and the Collegium Cultorum Martyrum” (Motu Proprio of Pius XI, December 11, 1925; Regulations for the P.C.S.A., §II, No. 10). (Annuario Pontificio, 2001, pp. 1621-1622).

The offices of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology are located in the Palace of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology, Via Napoleone III, I – 00185, Rome – Phone. +39/; +39/; Fax: +39/; e-mail

The President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology is the Emo e Rmo Sig. Card. Gianfranco Ravasi; the Secretary is Mons. Pasquale Iacobone; the Archaeological Superintendent of the Catacombs is Professore Comm. Fabrizio Bisconti; the Officials are: Ing. Andrea Maria Parisi di Finale, Dott.ssa Raffaella Giuliani, Dott.ssa Barbara Mazzei, Geom. Giuseppe Fiorenza, Rag. Giovanni Nuccetelli, Sig. Piero Crescenzi, Sig.ra Emanuela Tesse; the Members are: S.E.R. Mons. Enrico Dal Covolo, S.D.B. S.E.R. Carlos Alberto de Pinho Moreira Azevedo, Prof. Paolo Liverani, Prof. Carlo Carletti, Prof. Carlo Ebanista, Prof. Marcello Rotili, Prof. Emilio Marin, Prof. Giovanni Maria Vian, Mons. Pasquale Iacobone, Rev. Prof Hubertus R. Drobner; Prof. Michel-Yves Perrin; Prof. Danilo Mazzoleni; Prof. Matteo Braconi; Prof.ssa Paola De Santis; the local Inspectors are: Prof. Vincenzo Fiocchi Nicolai (Lazio e Abruzzo), Prof. Carlo Ebanista (Campania), Dott.ssa Gioacchina Tiziana Ricciardi (Sicilia Orientale), Prof.ssa Rosamaria Carra (Sicilia Occidentale), Dott. Matteo Braconi (Toscana e Umbria), D.ssa Annamaria Nieddu (Sardegna), D.ssa Paola De Santis (Puglia)