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Historical Archives
Jesuits - Euro-Mediterranean Province

Frequently asked questions

Historical Archives Frequently asked questions

Do your Historical Archives preserve records of the Old Society?

Our Archives hold only records of the New Society, that is, produced after the reconstitution of the Jesuits in 1814, with very few exceptions noted in the inventories.
For research on the Old Society, we suggest you contact the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI) for records produced by the central government, and the State Archives and diocesan historical archives.

Why do you only have holdings after 1814?

After the suppression in 1773, the records of the Society of Jesus were forfeited by the Historic Italian States and became part of their archival holdings. With the unification of Italy they then merged into the first nucleus of the national documentary heritage. For this reason, today various branches of the State Archives preserve Jesuit papers under specific designations (“fondo gesuitico”, “asse gesuitico”, “azienda gesuitica”), or within the holding of suppressed men’s religious congregations (“congregazioni religiose soppresse” or “congregazioni religiose maschili soppresse”). These holdings also include archive excerpts produced after 1814 and confiscated during the process of national unification. Other parts of the documentation can be found in diocesan historical archives, public libraries or other preservation institutions. This is the case with the Holding of the Roman College, now in the Vittorio Emanuele National Library in Castro Pretorio.
To help researchers navigate this particularly fragmented documentary heritage, our Archives are promoting a project to map former Jesuit holdings in State Archives.

In your Archives can I find the same sources kept in ARSI?

The sources preserved in ARSI are different from ours in periodization and type.
However those documents that needed to be sent in duplicate to the General Curia and the Provincial Curia are available in the historical archives of both institutions.
I.e. if a historia domus is missing from our Archives, you can check if the other copy is available at ARSI. In addition, sometimes Province fonds preserve the minutes of letters addressed to Father General, but the originals can be found in ARSI.

What is the difference between ARSI and the other Jesuit archives?

The Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI) is the central archive of the Society of Jesus, and it mainly preserves Father General’s correspondence with the Provincials and Superiors, and the administrative records that the General Curia received periodically, such as historiae domus and litterae annuae. ARSI also preserves catalogs of the Society. Catalogs of the New Society are also available online. Historical archives of Provinces preserve documents produced by individual Provinces, colleges, institutes and member Jesuits.

What Jesuit historical archives are there in Rome?

In the city of Rome, in addition to the Historical Archives of the Euro-Mediterranean Province and the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI) there are the historical archives of the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Collegium Germanicum et Hungaricum and La Civiltà Cattolica.

Is the documentation in your Archives freely available for consultation?

Access and consultation is free of charge and open to qualified researchers who have an interest in conducting scientific investigations. In compliance with the regulations of the Holy See, it is possible to consult documents produced up to October 1958, the end of Pius XII’s pontificate.
Documents related to the internal forum are excluded from consultation. Files of the dismissed can be consulted up to 1899. There are no restrictions on the consultation of photographs and print material.

Can you send me copies of documents by e-mail? Can I consult documents online?

Archival documentation can be consulted only in the reading room. It is possible to request the digitisation of photographs or scans of individual documents for research purposes. For the publication of archival documents, you need to request permission and fill in a form.

Can you e-mail me information on a Jesuit?

You may request a short biographical profile of deceased or dismissed Jesuits by e-mail; for more in-depth research please schedule an appointment to visit the Archives in person. No information is provided on living Jesuits.

Can I publish a photo of a Jesuit or a document from your Archives?

To publish a document from our Archives you need to request permission by e-mail, fill in a special form and specify the correct signature of the document in the publication. For projects involving a larger number of sources, we kindly ask researchers to add the Archives logo which we will provide.

Can I purchase a relic?

Trade in relics is expressly prohibited by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Relics are granted for public devotion at the request of the bishop. For enquiries about relics of Jesuit saints please refer to the Postulation of the Society of Jesus.

Detail of a letter by Giuseppe Mancini to his brother during his detention in the Fenestrelle prison - document preserved in the Historical Archives of the Jesuit Euro-Mediterranean Province in Rome

Featured documents

Relics, personal belongings, distinguished alumni, memories of other historical periods: a selection of interesting documents from our Archives.

Useful information