Letter from Marcello Costa to [the PF Prefect, Paluzio Altieri], 1675-02-09, Bizerte


Letter from Marcello Costa to [the PF Prefect, Paluzio Altieri], 1675-02-09, Bizerte


Slaves (Christian)
Tunis area
Mission reports


Letter from Marcello Costa to [the PF Prefect Paluzio Altieri]. He had already sent a letter dated 1 September, but because many letters do not reach their destination, he decided to send another one. He wanted to be sure that PF knows that he is following the rules set to him through the patents he received as apostolic missionary, and as provicar from Levacher [Jean Le Vacher]. It is hard to imagine how great of need the city of Bizerte was in regarding the need for priests. By living there he discovered a great amount of Christians. Besides those working on the agricultural estates (massarie) there are also 80 Christians working in the gardens, vineyards, and woods outside the city. Before his arrival they would never come to the city, but now that he is residing there, they come to hear mass, confess, and for Holy communion. For many it had been ten or twelve years since they had last seen a priest. There are many people in Bizerte, especially the poor Sards, that keep experiencing raids. The Christians are staying in six bagnos, S. Lucia, L'Annontiata, la Concettione, S. Gioseppe, S. Rocco and La Trinità. Besides these, there are also 22 Christians staying at the vineyard of the Baxà of Tripoli, three miles from the city. At the agricultural estate (massaria) of Sala (owned by a Turk from Tunis and 10 miles from the city), there are 20 to 30 Christians. In the agricultural estate (massaria) of Rais Gibello, 20 miles from the city, there are also many Christians. Before his arrival, Bizerte was a mess, and many people died without sacraments, and without having confessed for years; only God knows how many souls were lost. Since he arrived however, he has driven out the bad customs and takes care of not only the city, but also the countryside. This Christmas he went to Portafarina to visit and console the 200 Christians living there. The Christians at the vineyard are travelling every sunday to hear mass. In the four months that he has been in Bizerte, he has organized three general communions. In three months three Christians died, who without his help would have died without sacraments. If the provicar of Tunis, Carlo D'Ancona, would aks him under false pretenses to return to Tunis, he asks PF to prevent this. If PF asks him to return, he will be obedient, but he is really needed in Bizerte; he is working there alone, whilst there are six priests working in Tunis. He has worked alone for three years for the church of Tunis, and has always been working hard for the spiritual needs of the Christians. That is why he thinks that two priests would be enough to serve this church. He tells PF that his request is to ease his conscience, and he has also told Jean Le Vacher the same thing. If they order him to return to Tunis, he will however go. When he left Rome for Tunis, PF granted him a provision of 24 scudi annually for three years. He has alredy received the first two years, and the last one ends in August. He asks PF to send him the provision requested by the consul of Spain, Antonio Borgi, who is staying in Livorno. PF Secretary [Urbano Cerri] states that Costa already received his provision. When he was made missionary in Bizerte, it was decided in PF meeting of 28 February 1673 to give him a provision of 30 scudi for three years. In the case PF decides to send this to him, they can send it to Antonio Borgi, as requested by Costa. PF decides to send Costa the provision of 30 scudi by means of Antonio Borgi.
Additional comments
The mentioned letter from 1 September is not known to us.


Marcello Costa


APF SOCG 454, 232r-233v




Adressed to [Paluzio Altieri]


For the minutes of the PF meeting where this matter was discussed, see: APF ACTA 45, 142r, 163r-164r.


Original; signed








Origin: Bizerte
Destination: Rome


Marcello Costa, “Letter from Marcello Costa to [the PF Prefect, Paluzio Altieri], 1675-02-09, Bizerte,” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed October 19, 2021, https://earlymoderndocs.omeka.net/items/show/13168.

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