Summary on the mission in Barbaria, [1679], [Rome]


Summary on the mission in Barbaria, [1679], [Rome]


Non-Catholic Christians
Slaves (Christian)


Summary on the mission in Barbaria. Trinitarian Procurator Ferdinando Di Alaba presents PF the five Trinatian hospitals in Algiers. Here the priests of his order do not only take care of the sick, but they also administer the sacraments, teach the children in the school, and ransom those that are in danger of converting. This mission (that has been running for 70 years), has lately been disturbed by the vicar apostolic, Levacher [Jean Le Vacher]. He refuses to show his patents that he claims to have received from PF. Le Vacher forbade the priests of the hospitals to use their privileges, and took away the privilege of receiving the sacraments from the slaves. He removed the coat of arms of the king of Spain, the protector and patron of the hospitals, and also the coat of arms of the crosses. He also took the Holy sacrament from the hospital and brought it to his own house, amidst heretics, Lutherans and others. Because the priests have to take scaraments from Le Vacher's house to the hospital, there is a risk that this cannot be done in time. Le Vacher also let sick heretics enter the hospitals, and placed them in the same rooms as the Catholics; the hospitals used to take care of them in seperate rooms. He also forbade the slave priests to celebrate mass in the hospitals, making them instead travel to his house. When one priest dared to resist [Bartolomeo Da Serrano], he had him imprisoned and brought him to a Muslim court; this was a big scandal, not only among the Christians, but also among the heretics. For this reason Ferdinando aks PF in the name of his order to grant the priests in the hospitals the title and faculties of vicar apostlic, removing them from the jurisdiction of Le Vacher. Or, he asks PF to tell Le Vacher that he should not intervene in the hospitals, nor with its people. Proof of the case can be found in the collection of four testimonies made in the court of Madrid. After this summary was made, the letter of Jean Le Vacher arrived. A few years ago it seemed to PF a good idea, to declare the Trinitarian Fathers dependent from the jurisdiction of Le Vacher. Le Vacher deemed it necessary however, to issue a new decleration (similar to the one he had already received), in which it is declared that the priests of the hospitals are under his jurisdiction. Le Vacher also wrote about the abundance of missionaries that PF sends to Barbaria. According to him there is no need for more missionaries. The slave priests are dissatisfied because the missionaries take away their alms that they would receive from the slaves. With these alms they would pay for their own living, the lune to their masters, and their own ransom money. Some time ago, there where two Neapolitan priests for the mission, who asked Le Vacher for the required faculties, and he replied them that their services were not needed in Algiers. Le Vacher presided over the peace agreement between France and the Turks, which promised that the corsairs of Algiers would not enslave French people any longer. He also writes about the slaves that arrived some months ago, of which there were around 80 women, many of whom were Catholics. Some were at risk of losing their honor, when ransomed by him. The prosecretary [Domenico Corsi] states that they have continuously recieved complaints from Jean Le Vacher against the Trinitarians who have always pretended not to be subject to the vicar apostolic. Eventually during PF meeting of 28 February 1673, it was decided to give the general of this order the task to instruct his priests, that they would not administer the sacraments in the area, without a license from the vicar apostolic. One of them, Girolamo Da Sassari, persisted though. PF decided unanimously to remove Da Sassari from Algiers, and to write to the nuncio to Spain, requesting that he make sure that this would not happen again. The Trinitarian Fathers do not like the fact that Le Vacher forced them to receive the heretics, as requested in a letter written by PF dated 10 July 1673. PF renewed the orders to the general and the superiors of the hospitals, to not use the sacraments without the consent of the vicar. They also asked Le Vacher to receive the heretics in the hospitals in a more prudent way. They also order Le Vacher to give the two Neapolitan priests the faculties of missionaries, as has been decided in PF meeting of 1 December 1676; they also received the news of the death of Marcello Costa. PF decided to write to Le Vacher about the Trinitarians, and about the fact that Catholics and heretics should be seperated from each other. He should not interfene in things that are not part of his position, and PF also decided that the Neapolitan priests have to be given the faculties.
Date discussed: 1679-09-11
Additional comments




APF SOCG 475, 93r-98r, 124v




This summary is also found in the corresponding ACTA: APF ACTA 49, 205r, 214r-218v, issue 18 (database item 681).
See for the letters that were subsequently sent: APF LETTERE 68, 58v-60v (database item 636) and APF LETTERE 68, 60v-61v (database item 637).
For the mentioned letter from PF to Le Vacher, see: Letter from PF to Jean Le Vacher, 1673-07-10, Rome (database item 614).








Origin: [Rome]


PF, “Summary on the mission in Barbaria, [1679], [Rome],” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed July 1, 2022,

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