Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica : Journal of the Malta Historical Society. 6(1975)4(462)

[p.462] J. AZZOPARDI, Handlist of the Ecclesiastical Archives at the Malta Cathedral Museum, I, Minnesota U.S.A., 1975.

All students of Maltese history will be grateful to the Curator of the Cathedral Museum, Rev. John Azzopardi, for giving them a Handlist of the Episcopal and Pro-Vicarial Archives (Curia Episcopalis Melitensis or CEM Archives), published by the Monastic Manuscript Microfilm Library, St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

The present handlist is the first of a projected series and is to be followed by another handlist The Archives of the Cathedral of Malta or ACM Archives, which is being prepared by the same Curator. These two publications, together with the other handlist already published by myself in the monograph The Tribunal of the Inquisition in Malta (R.U.M. Historical studies, 1964 1st ed.; 1973 2nd ed. updated by J. Azzopardi), will make the three main fonds of the Cathedral Archives more easily available to scholars.

The present handlist of the CEM Archives lists 947 volumes. Until the 17th century this collection was known as Curia Episcopalis Civitatis Notabilis since it was presided over by the Bishop or his Vicar. Later, when this office was transferred to the Provicars, it came to be known as Curia Episcopalis et Provicarialis Civitatis Notabilis or simply Curia Provicarialis. The volumes of the CEM Archives are divided into three sections: (a) original documents; (b) registers; and (c) repertories.

The heart of the whole collection is to be found in the inventory itself. This provides the section number, the date and so forth of the extant material which, with the consent of H.G. the Archbishop and the Metropolitan Chapter of Malta, has now been microfilmed by the Monastic Manuscript Microfilm Library, Collegeville, Minnesota. The good Benedictine monks created for this collection a Malta Study Center “to offer to students and scholars,” in the words of Fr. Oliver Kapsner, O.S.B., “a unique opportunity to study the primary documents of an important cultural centre of medieval Europe,” namely Malta.

Indeed, not only the Maltese but the whole world will once again be perpetually grateful to the sons of St. Benedict who, as in the Middle Ages, are again endeavouring to transmit to future generations the great monuments of Christian culture which form the substance of Western civilisation.

Andrew P. Vella