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Type of Item
This early-16th century manuscript, known as a Testerian catechism, is one of the more notable documents in the archives of the Center for the Study of the History of Mexico. In the early period of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, before religious instructors had learned the languages of the indigenous peoples, they used pictorial stories describing basic teachings to spread the Christian Gospel. These catechisms were called Testerians, after Father Jacobo de Testera, a Franciscan priest who pioneered this method of teaching.
In the Name of the Holy... (Papal Bull of Pope Paul III)
This Papal Bull of 1537, in Latin, was issued by Pope Paul III, who was pope from 1534 to 1549. Best known for calling the Council of Trent in 1545, Paul III also was concerned with the role of the church in America. The bull discusses evangelization and conversion, including the proper way to apply the sacraments, in particular baptism. This was especially important in the early days of colonial rule, when hundreds and sometimes thousands of indigenous people were baptized every day. One interesting aspect of this bull is ...
Great Miracle of the Apparition of the Queen of Heaven, Saint Mary Our Beloved Mother of Guadalupe, Near the Great City of Mexico in the Place called Tepeyácac
Known also as Nican mopohua (Here it is said), this document is the report in Nahuatl of the history of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe, on the hilltop of Tepeyac, to the humble Indian Juan Diego, between December 9 and 12, 1531. It is considered the central document of the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is part of the fundamental identity of Mexicans. Luis Lasso de la Vega, its author, was the vicar of the shrine to the Virgin. The report may be based upon a ...
Iberian or Georgian Alphabet with Prayers
Alphabetum ibericum, sive georgianum: cum Oratione (Iberian or Georgian alphabet with prayers) is one of the first two books printed in Georgian using moveable type. In the 1620s, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, the body of the Roman Catholic Church established in the early 17th century for the purpose of spreading Catholicism in non-Catholic countries, began to train monks going to Georgia for missionary work. The monks were taught Georgian by Niceforo Irbachi Giorgiano, the ambassador of the Georgian king, Teimuraz I, in Rome. The sacred ...
Georgian and Italian Dictionary
Published in Rome in 1629, this Georgian-Italian dictionary was the first book printed in Georgian using moveable type. The dictionary was compiled by an Italian, Stefano Paolini, with the assistance of Niceforo Irbachi Giorgiano, the Georgian ambassador in Rome. It contains 3084 words, printed in three columns: Georgian words in the left column; Italian transliterations (with accents marked) in the middle column; and an explanation of the meaning of each word, in Italian, in the right column. The Georgian alphabet and the Latin equivalents of each of its letters appear ...
The Weapon of Religion and the Shield of Certainty
Shem’un al-Turani was born in 1670 near Tur Abdin in present-day Turkey. He studied in Tur Abdin and became a monk at the age of twenty. He was appointed maphrian—historically the prelate second to the patriarch in the hierarchy of the Syriac Orthodox Church—in 1710 and took the name Basileios. Maphrian Basileios Shem’un was martyred in 1740. Kitāb silāḥ al-dīn wa-turs al-yaqīn (The weapon of religion and the shield of certainty) contains his polemical treatise in support of Syriac Orthodox doctrine and practice and against ...
Martin Luther’s Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum of 1517, commonly known as the Ninety-Five Theses, is considered the central document of the Protestant Reformation. Its complete title reads: “Out of love and zeal for clarifying the truth, these items written below will be debated at Wittenberg. Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology and an official professor at Wittenberg, will speak in their defense. He asks this in the matter: That those who are unable to be present to debate with us in speech should ...
The name commonly given to this work, Biblia pauperum (Paupers' Bible), does not reflect the true importance of this outstanding manuscript, which might be said to contain the summa of the religious knowledge of its time. The work was commissioned, together with another remarkable manuscript of the Rule of Saint Benedict, by Abbot Petrus I of the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria and was completed in 1414–15. To carry out his demanding program of manuscript creation, the abbot engaged artists of note, who were well versed in the ...
On Monastic Vows
De votis monasticis (On monastic vows) is Martin Luther’s attack on the monastic life. Coming just four years after he posted his 95 theses in Wittenberg, the work was an important component of his broader plans for reforming the Christian church in the West. In this booklet, which was written during his stay at Wartburg Castle in 1521—a time when Luther was moving beyond his attacks on indulgences to other issues—the great reformer argued that monks and nuns can violate their vows without committing a sin, since ...