[PAULUS V] Bulla

Rome, Manuscript on vellum, 1607


Single sheet, 48x35cm. 27 lines, black-brown ink, Gothic letter. Pen flourishes inked to left and upper margin. Folded. Light water stain marks to right-hand margin, little thumbing to left, horizontal folds with very minor holing minimally affecting letters, traces of tape and slight soiling to verso. A very good copy, lead seal of Pope Paulus V attached with cord to lower margin. Early autographs L.J. Juntis and P[ellegrin] Polis inked on verso, contemporary signatures of 20 prelates to lower margin, early illegible inscription, ‘H:’ and ‘Bolla di Pellegrin Polia’ inked on verso, together with contemporary signed statements listing the content, date of issue and receipt.

Rare ms. bull by Pope Paulus V, issued on April 6, 1607 at Sts Peter and Paul, conferring an ecclesiastical ‘beneficium simplex’—revenues from ecclesiastical institutions which could be earned ‘in absentia’, without residence, by paying another cleric, a vicar, to act ‘in vece’—on Pellegrino Puglia, ‘vicario generale’ of Milan in the 1590s. The ‘beneficiatus’ could only be appointed when a vacancy arose, after an examination and declaration of suitability by the ecclesiastical authorities confirming both the merit of the recipient and the voluntary nature of the resignation, to avoid suspicion of simony. Puglia was awarded the simple benefice of ‘clericatus’ after the ‘free resignation’ of Giuseppe Mazocchi, at the Church of San Martino in San Salvatore [Monferrato] in the dioceses of Pavia; he was granted another—as simple benefices could be accumulated—from the Church of Santa Maria di Fossano (in Vignale Monferrato). Further simple benefices, called ‘cappellaniae’ (revenue in exchange for caring for a specific chapel and saying mass), came from Santi Andrea and Nicola of Lussinio (probably the present Oratorio di Sant’Andrea) near Lugo in the dioceses of Faenza, as well as San Servo (?), St Angelo de Flumine (in Terni?), San Valentino ‘prope et extra muros’, and Sant’Agata in the dioceses of Rome, and the Church of Santa Maria Foris Portas (probably near Varese). The total amounted to nearly 300 ducats a year, though presumably he would have had to employ curates to deal with the work load. The bull bears numerous autographs including that of B. de la Cabra, Archbishop of Cagliari. An interesting insight into the ecclesiastical administration of the Counter-Reformation. Papal bulls retaining their lead seals are rare on the market.

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