Pope Clement XI

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Pope Clement XI

Breve by Future Pope Clement XI to Pope Alexander VIII - 1690

Vellum breve dated 30 January 1690 signed by Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Albani (“G.F. Albanus,” the future Pope Clement XI, on lower right of recto), as cardinal secretary of state during the papacy of Pope Alexander VIII. Particularly rare in light of Alexander’s very short tenure—just 16 months, from October 1689 to his death in February 1691. In very fine condition, measuring 12″ x 5.” Summary translation:

Pope Alexander VIII grants a plenary indulgence of seven years to all the faithful of both sexes who are truly penitent, and having confessed and received communion, visit and pray in the Church of the Holy Spirit of Pavia (also known as La Colombina) of the Order of Regular Clerics of the Somascans on Good Friday in the month of March, anytime from sunrise to sunset.

Dated in Rome, at Saint Mary Major’s, January 13, 1690.

[Signed by] Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Albani

Though an able diplomat, Alexander VIII achieved little of importance during his brief pontificate, aside from managing to destroy most of his predecessor’s good work. All the money saved by Innocent XI was spent on enriching Alexander’s own family.

The signer, then Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Albani (1649-1721), was Pope Clement XI from November 1700 to his death in 1721. Clement XI was a patron of the arts and of science. He was also a great benefactor of the Vatican Library, and his interest in archaeology is credited with saving much of Rome’s antiquity. He authorized expeditions which succeeded in rediscovering various ancient Christian writings, and authorized excavations of the Roman catacombs.

[Image for reference only; not included]