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Letter from Jean Le Vacher to PF, [1679, Algiers]
Letter from Jean Le Vacher to PF, [1679, Algiers]
Letter from Jean Le Vacher to PF. Some days ago Le Vacher received a letter from CM priests, one dated 16 May, and the other of 24 May; the letters listed the many complaints that the Trinitarians have brought against him. They want to be free from his authority (or better the authority that PF has bestowed upon him), as one can understand from the PF letters he attached. The Trinitarians wanted to bring complaints against him to PF. Le Vacher protests, saying that none of the issues are true. Neither could do this, without first sending someone to Algiers to collect the testimonies of the Christian slaves. He still hopes to send these in written form. He was suprised by the Spanish Trinitarians who he has always helped, as he gave them the greater part of the things they needed, and medicines and sheets from France. He maintained their hospitals for two years at his own expense, and sent a Neapolitan priest there to assist them in their work. During this time, the Trinitarian priests never wrote to him, or sent him money for the maintainance of the hospital. He is astonished by their lack of gratitude to bring these lies to PF against him. They only brought these complaints against him because they want to be free from his authority, to which PF had submitted, as one can read from the attached letters. He also feels obliged to inform PF, that the Trinitarian priests usurped the chapels of the baths of Algiers, without any foundation. Le Vacher always protested against these practices for two reasons: a) there is no legitimate basis whatsoever; and b) if they succeed in usurping these chapels, they will take the best in the city. This would mean that the poor slave priests can no longer collect charitable aid, which is needed to pay their infidel masters three pezze da otto reali every month. A certain Trinitarian named Father Bartolomeo Da Serrano has written to Le Vacher multiple times for this reason. He has attached these letters. Da Serrano had written the cross (the arms of the Trinitarians), on a picture that Le Vacher had made two years before Da Serrano's arrival in the bagno of the king. As Da Serrano had this picture placed above the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ, and not at their feet, he had it removed. After this Da Serrano told Le Vacher that he was the owner of the bagno, the altar and the picture. Da Serrano wanted to start a process against Le Vacher in Madrid, however because their claims were disputed, they brought their case to Rome. If PF would decide to free the Trinitarians from the authority of the apostolic vicar, it would make this position meaningless. Two Trinitarians that came to this city last year showed the patents from their provincial father. Because in these letters there was nothing said about the authority of the apostolic vicar, he tore them apart in their presence. He told them that they had six months to get new letters, in which his authority would be respected. He also suspended them from the administration of the sacraments. One of these priests died of the plague, the other was also afflicted but soon recovered and lived, but did not set a good example. Some time ago, he wrote to Spain asking for a substitute for the other priest. This priest tried to introduce in the hospital of the bagno of Chelibis, the veneration of saints connected to his order. He removed the pictures of saints and replaced them with one of San Roch. The Trinitarian procurator general in Rome, Ferdinando de Alaba, stated in his memorial, that the Trinitarians have had the hospitals in their possession for 70 years. He also stated that those who have been sent there are preachers, that taught children the basic principles of the faith. This is not true as they only had the hospitals from July 1663, when they were given to them by a hermit of St. Anthony of Malaga, Ermanno Pedro de la Conceptione. From alms he collected 45 or 50 thousand pezze d'otto reali. The Trinitarians take two or three thousand every year, of which they use around one thousand for the maintenance of the hospitals. For two years they did not even take care of the hospitals at all, and Le Vacher had to pay for them himself. For five or six months now, they are living on the money that the administrator takes from the poor slaves. He tells them, unjustly, that the king of Spain maintains these hospitals. Also, these priests never taught the Christian doctrine to the children in this city, because the Turks will not allow it. Moreover, most administrators are not very educated in theology, the Holy scripture, and morality. The hermit Ermanno Pedro (the founder of the hospitals who got burned at Algiers for the Holy faith), left the hospitals to the Trinitarians of Madrid, as appears in the deed made in Madrid at 2 July 1663. He wanted the money to be kept in a safe that he called 'Archivio Serrata' with two keys, one kept by Jean Le Vacher (or later vicar apostolics), and the other by the Trinitarians. The bills should have been checked by Jean Le Vacher, however there hardly comes any money from Spain, and the money that arrives, is used by the administrator for other purposes. The Trinitarians should send some priests that are more capable and more experienced. Even though the Trinitarians never show any gratitude, Le Vacher has always remained polite. Le Vacher asks PF to obtain the faculties of vicar apostolic from the pope, or to send him a confirmation of his position as archbishop of Carthage. Because he cannot show that he is vicar apostolic, the Trinitarians think that he is usurping this title.
This case takes place around 1679, therefore it is dated in this year, see: APF SOCG 475, 93r-98r, 124v (database item 798).
Jean Le Vacher
APF SC Barbaria 1, 445r-448r
Adressed to [PF]
For the attached PF letters, see: APF SC Barbaria1, 449r (database item 894), APF SC Barbaria1, 449r-v (database item 895) and APF SC Barbaria1, 449v-450r (database item 896).
Jean Le Vacher, “Letter from Jean Le Vacher to PF, [1679, Algiers],” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed March 7, 2021, https://earlymoderndocs.omeka.net/items/show/13112.