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Azerbaijani First Lady views Vatican Apostolic Library

On June 2, Azerbaijani First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva has viewed the Vatican Apostolic Library as part of her visit to Italy.

Director of the Vatican Apostolic Library Jean-Louis Brugues informed the First Lady about the library.

It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from throughout history. On 20 March 2014, the Holy See announced that NTT Data Corporation and the Library concluded an agreement to digitize approximately 3,000 of the Library`s manuscripts within four years. It noted that there is the possibility of subsequently digitizing another 79,000 of the Library`s holdings. These will be high-definition images available on the Library`s Internet site.

Today, the library holds some 75,000 manuscripts and over 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula. The Vatican Secret Archives were separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century, they contain another 150,000 items.Among the most famous holdings of the library is the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, the oldest known nearly complete manuscript of the Bible. The Secret History of Procopius was discovered in the library and published in 1623.

The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science and theology, open to anyone who can document their qualifications and research needs. Photocopies for private study of pages from books published between 1801 and 1990 can be requested in person or by mail.

The Library closed on 17 July 2007. It was reopened September 20, 2010.

A School of Library Science is associated with the Vatican Library.

In 1959, a Film Library was established. This is not to be confused with the Vatican Film Library, which was established in 1953 at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2012, plans were announced to digitize, in collaboration with the Bodleian Library, a million pages of material from the Vatican Library. A grant was provided by the London-based Polonsky Foundation.

Mehriban Aliyeva also was told of the Library`s activities, technical resources, as well as the projects implemented jointly with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

A number of manuscripts, including those related to Azerbaijan and the region were restored with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva was presented the restored versions of about 50 ancient manuscripts.

The Vatican Secret Archive is adjacent to the Apostolic Library and houses important historical collections of the Congregations and Offices of the Roman Curia, as well as noble Roman families and, since 1660, the correspondence of the Secretariat of State. A Vatican school of Palaeography, Diplomacy and Archive Administration is associated with the Archive.

In 2012, copies of letters featuring correspondence between the rulers of the Azerbaijani dynasties of Elkhanates, Eldiguzids, Ag Qoyunlu and Safavids with the Rome Popes, as well as secret reports of the Vatican missioners about the political movements in Azerbaijan were donated to Azerbaijan.

A total of 60 ancient manuscripts about Azerbaijan were found at the Vatican Apostolic Library.

Azerbaijani First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and Director of the Vatican Apostolic Library Jean-Louis Brugues then signed an agreement on “Restoration and digitalization of manuscripts in 2015-2016”.

Director of the Vatican Apostolic Library Jean-Louis Brugues thanked Mehriban Aliyeva for this initiative, and expressed hope that the bilateral cooperation would continue to develop even further.

Mehriban Aliyev said the Heydar Aliyev Foundation was pleased to support the restoration of the ancient manuscripts.

They then exchanged keepsakes.