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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
reveal anything about the Chapter's internal organization; but those from the fourteenth 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.
In 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.
The 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 Populi Romani".
Marian feast days had always been celebrated with great solemnity.

The Basilica 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 duties.

The Chapter is honoured to have as Protocanon His Majesty the King of Spain.
In the Basilica a male religious community works in the Sacristy, while a female religious community furnishes the altars and sacristies. 
In the year 2000 another Statute was drawn up, which reflects the new directives of the Second Vatican Council.


Archpriest: H. E. Stanisław Ryłko


Protocanon: His Majesty King of Spain

Most Rev. Canons

(According to the Bull of appointment and the taking of possession)

  1. Mons. Valentin Miserachs Grau
  2. Mons. Michal Jagosz
  3. Mons. Jozef Kral
  4. Mons. Juan Esquerda Bifet
  5. Mons. Vincenzo Ferrara
  6. Mons. Emilio Silvestrini
  7. Mons. Paul B. McInerny
  8. Mons. Ciro Bovenzi
  9. S. E. Mons. Iryney Bilyk
  10. Mons. Renato Volante
  11. Mons. Giuseppe Croce
  12. Mons. Michele Prattichizzo
  13. S. E. Mons. Antonius Aziz Mina
  14. S. E. Mons. Piero Marini
  15. Mons. Luigi Veturi
  16. Mons. Mieczyslaw Josef Niepsuj
  17. S. E. Mons. Francesco Micciché

Most Rev. Benedictine Canon

Don Riccardo Battocchio


Most Rev. Honorary Canons

(According to the Bull of appointment)

  1. S. E. Mons. Diego Coletti
  2. Mons. Giacomo Martinelli
  3. Mons. Gino di Ciocco
  4. Don João Scognamiglio Cla' Dias
  5. Mons. Ennio Apeciti



Most Rev. Coadjutors of the Chapter

(According to the Bull of appointment and the taking of possession)

  1. Mons. Adriano Paccanelli
  2. Mons. Francesco Maria Tasciotti
  3. Don Marco Cocuzza
  4. Mons. Michel Berger
  5. Mons. Vittorio Formenti
  6. Mons. Giovanni Celi
  7. Don Giuseppe Banfi


(Preacher Friars - Dominicans)

  1. P. Salvatore (Giuseppe) Raciti, O.P.
  2. P. Tiemen J.S. Brouwer, O.P.
  3. P. Pedro Fernandez Rodriguez, O.P.
  4. P. Artur Hącia, O.P.
  5. P. Miguel (Luis) Itza Urlega, O.P.
  6. P. Edmondo (Joachim) Jasiulek, O.P.
  7. P. Hernán Jimenez Salas, O.P.
  8. P. Ludovico (Alexander) Melo, O.P.
  9. P. Elio Monteleone, O.P.
  10. P. Wojciech Morawski, O.P.
  11. P. Krzysztof Poplawski, O.P.
  12. P. Vivian Rebello, O.P.

(Minor Sacristans: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate)

  1. P. Justin M. Bertho, Padre Guardiano della Comunitā
  2. P. Didacus M. Sandiego
  3. Fra Dominic M. Adajar
  4. Fra Samuel M. Caterisano
  5. Fra Kocoy Laurent Gloga

Istituto Comunitā Apostolica di Maria Sempre Vergine)

  1. Sr. Roxana Montoya Maya- Superiora
  2. Sr. MariaManeli E. Solis Martinez
  3. Sr. Natalia de Jesųs Gonzālez Hernāndez
  4. Sr. Yuridia Rubio Martinez

The liturgical service is carried out by the Almo Capranica.

Pastoral care is provided by the Church of Saints Vito, Modesto and Crescenzia.

1 Padre Simone Pietro Russo, Parroco


© 2006 Basilica Papale Santa Maria Maggiore