History of the archives | Mdina Cathedral Museum Archives

History of the archives

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    Since 2010 the microfilm collection is being digitised by means of a joint venture between the Curia and the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library of St John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota (HMML) with a sharing of digital resources between the two parties.
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    The noble Agatha Formosa Gauci donated to the Cathedral Chapter her own residence in Mdina, where the Cathedral Archives were transferred to as additional space was needed both for the Cathedral Museum and the Cathedral Archives. The house was fully restored and officially opened on 8th October 2004.
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    The Cathedral Archives were enriched with numerous private manuscript collections donated to the Cathedral. Among these were 20 musical collections.
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    A restoration laboratory was opened with a full-time restorer who had followed a course in paper restoration in Camberwell, London. Equipment was purchased with funds provided by Chev. Joseph Micallef. Numerous frail manuscripts and many old master drawings and prints were restored.
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    Thousands of loose documents dating from the early 15th century were transferred from the basements of the Valletta Curia and handed over to the Cathedral Archives as part of the Episcopal Archives at Mdina. These were classified by date and filed in chronological sequence, forming about 1000 new volumes. These were also microfilmed.
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    HMML collaborated in a project in which, together with the Cathedral Archives, other ecclesiastical archives were microfilmed to the great advantage of both institutions. The project led to the employment of several persons who paginated and catalogued the volumes, besides the technical staff who operated the filming. HMML also collaborated in the publication of several catalogues.
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    The Cathedral Archives, including the musical archives - newly transferred to the Old Seminary - were opened for public research as from 1st January. The Inquisition and the Mdina Provicariat Archives, previously located in the same building, were likewise opened for public research under the custody of the Cathedral.
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    Archbishop Michael Gonzi further transferred many volumes of the Depositeria records of the Cathedral Chapter from the Mdina Palace to the Old Seminary.
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    1944 ca.

    Archbishop Gonzi transferred the Archives of the Inquisition and the Archives of the Mdina Provicariat - at that point in time respectively located at the Valletta Curia and at the episcopal palace at Mdina - to the vacant building of the Old Seminary.
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    1940 ca.

    During World War II the Cathedral Archives were transferred to a more secure location within the bastions of Mdina.
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    The Inquisition Archives were fortunately saved and handed over to Archbishop Vincenzo Labini to be conserved in the Valletta Curia.
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    The French administration in Malta abolished the Tribunal of the Inquisition and ordered the confiscation of its archives.
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    New and elaborately decorated cupboards were commissioned for the Cathedral Archives and Library.
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    The Cathedral Chapter introduced the office of a Deputy of the Cathedral Archives, whose mandate was to be reviewed every two years.
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    1700 ca.

    During the rebuilding of the Cathedral after the earthquake of 1693, the Cathedral Archives were temporarily transferred to the residence of Canon Igniazio Costanzo. Some of the volumes were misplaced.
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    Bishop Baldassare Cagliares remarked that the Cathedral Archives should be enriched with relevant historical documents related to the history and administration of the Cathedral Chapter.
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    The minutes of the meetings of the Cathedral Chapter date back to 1419.