The Holy See
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With John Paul II's Motu Proprio "Inde a Pontificatus Nostri Initio," the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church was established in 1993, substituting the Pontifical Commission for the Conservation of the Artistic Patrimony of the Church, created five years earlier within the Congregation for the Clergy.

The Commission for Cultural Patrimony thus became an independent organization with its own president, yet maintaining the same duties: presiding over the guardianship of the historical and artistic patrimony of the entire Church (works of art, historical documents, books and everything kept in museums, libraries and archives); collaborating in the conservation of this patrimony with the individual Churches and their respective episcopal organizations; and promoting an ever greater awareness in the Church about these riches, in accordance with the Congregations for Catholic Education and for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The commission maintains periodic contact with the Pontifical Council for Culture so that, as the Motu Proprio says, "a harmonization of objectives and fruitful and reciprocal collaboration" may be assured. In addition, it monitors and coordinates along with this dicastery everything regarding the activities of the Pontifical Academies.

The commission has been assigned the task of examining further - within a specific study group - the issue of copyrights and intellectual property rights, in order to apply a homogenous discipline in this area to all Holy See organizations, and to provide a praxis for individual Churches who request one.

Throughout the year the Commission for Cultural Patrimony maintains contacts with international organizations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the Central Institute for Restoration, and the Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation. The president and secretary of the commission participate in congresses and meetings on issues concerning ecclesiastical cultural goods and in celebrations commemorating artistic monuments.

Among the writings published by the pontifical commission are the "Ecclesiastical Libraries in the Mission of the Church" Letters-Documents of March 1994, in which guidelines for intensifying the commitment of the ecclesial community to its own libraries are given; and "Religious and Ecclesiastical Cultural Goods," of April of the same year, which calls for greater attention to the care and appraisal of the cultural patrimony of the Church in evangelization.

H.E. Msgr. Gianfranco Ravasi, Tit. Archbishop of Villamagna di Proconsolare, President (also, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology)

Fr. Ab. Dom Michael John Zielinski, O.S.B. Oliv. Vice President (also, Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology)

Prof. Francesco Buranelli, Secretary (also, Inspector of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology)

Rev. Msgr. José Manuel Del Río Carrasco, Under Secretary

Rev. Msgr. Fabrizio Capanni, Head of Office


Office address:

Via della Conciliazione, 5-7
00193 Roma
(postal address: 00120 Città del Vaticano)

tel.: 0039
fax: 0039