AIM – Archivum Inquisitionis Melitensis | Mdina Cathedral Museum Archives

AIM – Archivum Inquisitionis Melitensis

The Archives of the Roman Inquisition in Malta

The Roman Inquisition was established in Malta in 1561 and abolished in 1798 during French rule. Its very rich and informative archives – unlike those of similar tribunals in other countries including Rome itself – were fortunately saved and transferred twice, first to Valletta and then to Mdina. They are now available for research under the care of the Cathedral Archives. They are invaluable for the social history of our islands, showing how cosmopolitan Malta was from the late 16th to the 18th centuries. For many years these archives were completely neglected, as their contents were protected by the secret of the Holy Office.

The first two Inquisitors were the Bishops of Malta Fra Domenico Cubelles and Fra Martino Royas. Yet as from 1575 there was a series of foreign prelates, whose term of office in Malta – unlike those of the bishop and the Grand Master – lasted only for a few years.

The Inquisitor, besides being the Guardian of Faith subject to the Holy Office in Rome, was also an Apostolic Delegate subject to the Secretary of State, and later was responsible for the Reverenda Fabrica Sancti Petri in Rome. The Inquisitor also had his patentees.

Since the opening of these archives in 1968, numerous local and foreign scholars as well as university students have researched these archives and published dissertations and articles in learned journals. In 1984 a conference with international participation was held in the Inquisitors’ Palace in Vittoriosa, with published proceedings.

One project the Cathedral Archives of Mdina are currently working on is a searchable database of the Processi Criminali. This documentation strives to read all surviving files and detail e.g. the alleged crime, identity and occupation of the accused, corroborated proof, called witnesses and in general summarizing the cases. This project is still in its infancy but such an exercise is proving valuable in discovering new curiosities, contexts and characters which are just waiting for a researcher to study their story. This project will take many years but plans to publicly present 10 more years of catalogued Inquisitorial proceedings each year.
You can find a document with the results so far here.

Introduction Processi Criminali

No. 1Acta civilia (580 mss) 1557-1798
    AC 380-580
    AC 580+
AIM Acta Civ.
No. 2Computa depositarii tribunalis sancti officii (5 mss) 1658-1798
AIM Computa
No. 3Corrispondenza (104 mss) 1577-1698
AIM Corr.
No. 4Memorie lasciate dagli Inquisitori di Malta (35 mss) 1711-1798
AIM Mem.
No. 5Miscellanea (77 mss) 1487-1797
AIM Misc.
No. 6Processi e denunzie (296 mss) 1546-1798
AIM Proc. Crim.
No. 7Registrum actorum civilium sancti officii sanctissimae Inquisitionis Melitensis (19 mss) 1676-1798
   Actorum Civilium
AIM Reg. Act. Civ.
No. 8Registrum brevium apostolicorum ac decretorum congregationum (3 mss) 1614-1754
   Brevium Apostolicorum
AIM Reg. Brev. Apost.
No. 9Registrum litterarum patentium (1 ms) 1739-1792
AIM Reg. Litt. Pat.
No. 10Registrum sententiarum causarum civilium sanctissimae Inquisitionis (1 ms) 1753-1786
AIM Reg. Sent.
No. 11Registrum depositorum causarum civilium (22 mss) 1676-1790
    Depositorum Causarum
AIM Reg. Dep. Caus. Civ.
No. 12Repertoires (41 mss) 1628-1793
AIM Repertoria

Archivum Inquisitionis Melitensis

Reverenda Fabbrica Sancti Petri

The documents of the Reverenda Fabrica Sancti Petri originally did not form part of the archives of the Inquisition. Many years later, the Inquisitor also assumed the responsibility of administering these archives. The documents of the Fabrica are now referred to as AIM RF.

No. 1Acta (310 mss) 1628-1798
    Acta 310
No. 2Registra varia (4 mss) 1629-1668; 1753-1792
AIM RF Reg Varia
No. 3Registro di patenti delli offitiali (1 ms) 1626-1786
AIM RF Reg. Patenti
No. 4Registrum actorum civilium (15 mss) 1628-1798
    Actorum Civilium
AIM RF Reg. Act. Civ.
No. 5Registrum depositorum (14 mss) 1668-1791
AIM RF Reg. Deposit.
No. 6Registrum dispositionum (19 mss) ca. 1560-ca. 1796
AIM RF Reg. Dispos.
No. 7Registrum mandatorum (10 mss) 1654-1798
AIM RF Reg. Mandat.
No. 8Registrum revelationum (4 mss) 17th century
AIM RF Reg. Revel.
No. 9Repertoria registrorum dispositionum legatorum piorum (19 mss) 1571-1796
AIM RF Repertoria Reg. Dispositionum