Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Cortile del Belvedere, V-00120 Vatican City
+39 06698 79411 / +39 06698 79400
June 15, 1475, by Sixtus IV (papal Bull Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae)
The Vatican Library was established “pro communi doctorum virorum commodo” (Pope Nicholas V, Brief of April 30, 1451); its actual founder is Sixtus IV, who saw it as serving “ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae, fidei catholicae augmentum, eruditorum quoque ac litterarum studiis insistentium virorum commodum et honorem” (Bull of June 15, 1475). The Library is an inalienable property of the Supreme Pontiff and stands in close relation to the “governance and ministry exercised by the Holy See” (John Paul II, January 15, 2000); though not properly a part of the Roman Curia, nonetheless it provides “useful and necessary services to the Supreme Pontiff, to the Curia and to the Universal Church, and which are associated in some way with the Apostolic See” (Apostolic Const. Pastor Bonus, June 28, 1988). The Library is specialized in the philological and historical disciplines; it also has historical holdings in the fields of theology, law and science. It is open to scholars for consultation and it is reserved for scientific research based on the study of manuscripts, printed books, coins and medals, prints, and other graphic and cartographic materials.