The Vatican archives
The Vatican secret archives are located in the Vatican City. These archives are under the ownership of the serving Pope until death or resignation. The Vatican secrets mainly contains the state papers, correspondence, papal account books, plus many other documents that have been accumulated by the church over the centuries.Originally, the Vatican Secret Archives were in the Vatican Library but they were separated in the 17th century under the orders of Pope Paul V. The two were separated so as to limit the scholars’ access to the documents. They remained closed until 1881 when Pope Leo XIII opened them to researchers. The Vatican archives obtained the name Vatican secrets archives to show that the archives are private and that they are personal property to the Pope and do not belong to any other department of the Roman Curia.The Vatican secrets contain a lot of information about the governance, management and activities surrounding the Catholic Church. The information has been conserved and it is so large that the Vatican Secret Archives are said to contain approximately 84 km of shelving. This should be among the largest shelving under one room, in the world. The volumes are indexed in each catalog for easier accessibility. It is said that the Vatican secrets contain documents that are dated back to the end of the eighth century.This being an area that contains vital information about Vatican, its access is limited and it is not just anybody who can access the archives. An entry card to the Vatican secrets must be applied for by qualified applicants including qualified scholars from institutions of higher learning undertaking scientific researches and who have adequate knowledge in archival research. The scholars should present an introductory letter by either a qualified person in the historical research field or a recognized research institute. The applicants also need to fill in their personal information including name, address and telephone number plus the purpose of the research they are undertaking. It is after this process that you can obtain an entry card to the Vatican secret Archives. However, undergraduates are not admitted. Therefore it is not anybody who can have access to the Vatican Secret Archives.   Normally, the documents of the Vatican Secret Archives are made available to the public after a period of seventy five years. However, there are sections of the Vatican Secrets that are not open to the public and it is only the Vatican that has access to these sections. Currently, Vatican has also granted permission to selected journalists and members of the public to have access to the Vatican Secrets.Ever since the Vatican Secret Archives were established, they have had several cardinal archivists and prefects. The full names of these cardinal archivists and prefects can be obtained on the Vatican Secret Archives’ website. Today, some of the documentation of the Vatican Archives has been digitalized for easier consultation by various organs of the Roman Curia. Therefore if you want to have access to the extraordinary historical value contained in the Vatican Secret Archives of the Roman Curia, ensure that you have all the qualifications needed for acquiring the entry card.