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, 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 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 Juan Carlos I de Bourbon, King of Spain
Most Rev. Canons
(According to the Bull of appointment and the taking of possession)
- Msgr. Valentin Miserachs Grau
- Msgr. Michal Jagosz
- Msgr. Jozef Kral
- Msgr. Juan Esquerda Bifet
- Msgr. Giobbe Gazzoni
- Msgr. Vincenzo Ferrara
- Msgr. Emilio Silvestrini
- Msgr. Paul B. McInerny
- Msgr. Ciro Bovenzi
- H. E. Msgr. Iryney Bilyk
- Msgr. Renato Volante
- Msgr. Giuseppe Croce
- Msgr. Michele Prattichizzo
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
Msgr. Gino Ciocco
Fr. João Scognamiglio Cla' Dias
Msgr. Ennio Apeciti
COLLEGE OF COADJUTORS
Most Rev. Coadjutors of the Chapter
(According to the Bull of appointment and the taking of possession)
Msgr. Alberto Vallini
Msgr. Adriano Paccanelli
Msgr. Francesco Maria Tasciotti
Fr. Marco Cocuzza
Msgr. Michel Berger
Msgr. Vittorio Formenti
Msgr. Giovanni Celi
Don Giuseppe Banfi
APOSTOLIC COLLEGE OF CONFESSORS
(Preacher Friars - Dominicans)
- Fr. Tiemen J.S. Brouwer, O.P.
- Fr. Vivian Rebello, O.P.
- Fr. Jordan Turano, 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. 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 Immaculate)
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.
The Friars 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 pilgrims.
- P. Gregorio M. Adolfo, Padre Guardiano della Comunità
- P. Angelo Michele Guarin
- Fra Diego M. Sandiego, Accolito
- Fra Domenico M. Adajar, Accolito
- Fra John Mark M. Grucio, Accolito
- Fra Leonardo M. Santana, Accolito
- Fra Gilberto Pio M. Agbozo
ATTACHED TO THE FURNISHINGS OF THE ALTARS
(Sisters, Servants of Mary Most Sorrowful of Chioggia)
Sr. Maria Ana Diaz Marinero - Superior
Sr. Maria Teodora Castillo Trujillo
Sr. Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez Cabal
The liturgical service is carried out by the Almo Capranica.
Pastoral care is provided by the Church of Saints Vito, Modesto and Crescenzia.
1. Msgr. Pasquale Magagnini, Parish Priest
2. Fr. Roberto Cavalli, Parochial Vicar