Vatican post issued a postage stamps to commemorate Reopening of Vatican Library. The origins of the Vatican Apostolic Library go back to the fourth century, a time when there was evidence of the Scrinium of the Roman Church, which was both a library and an archive.
Pope Eugene IV ordered the first inventory of the Vatican Library, an initial collection of 350 Greek and Latin manuscripts, later inherited by his successor Nicholas V, who enlarged the collection significantly with the acquisition of more manuscripts and the transcription of others. When he died, the papal collection was the largest in Europe consisting of around 1,500 manuscripts.
Only with Sixtus IV and the bull Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae (1475) did the manuscripts become part of a truly modern library with various collections and financial resources. In 1587 Sixtus V decided to construct new and larger premises for the Library, entrusting the project to the architect Domenico Fontana. The new building, which still houses the Library, was built on the stairway which divided the Cortile del Belvedere from the courtyard, which is now known as the Cortile della Biblioteca.
The top floor housed collections in the large, decorated room with two naves known as the Salone Sistino. In 1738 the Vatican Library added Greek and Roman artistic works, especially a coin (Medagliere) collection of Cardinal Alessandro Albani, the largest of its kind at the time after that of the King of France. Under Leo XIII, a process of modernization began under the tenure of the Jesuit Prefect, Franz Ehrle, who adopted a cataloguing system which remained in use until 1985, when a computerized system was developed. The Vatican Library will reopen to the public on 20 September 2010 after almost three years of renovation.
Title: Reopening of Vatican Library
Date of Issue: 20 September 2010
Denominations: € 0.65, € 0.85