Letter from Marcello Costa to the PF Secretary Urbano Cerri, 1674-01-29, Tunis


Letter from Marcello Costa to the PF Secretary Urbano Cerri, 1674-01-29, Tunis


Slaves (Christian)
Slave priests


Letter from Marcello Costa to PF secretary. A month and a half ago he was assigned 30 scudi annually for the mission in Bizerte, for which he received the patent from Monsù Levacher [Jean Le Vacher]. This meant that he lost the right to receive 24 scudi annually for the mission in Tunis. Costa asked PF to repay Le Vacher the 30 scudi that he already gave to Costa. PF replied with a letter, writing that he would not receive his money before arriving in Bizerte, and he directly sent a letter back to PF in which he explained everything. However, according to Rapo Hapro this letter was aboard of a ship that sunk, hence why he is writing another letter. He already served for three years in different missions in Barbary, all at his own costs. In this area there are 20,000 Christians that never see a priest. Le Vacher knew this, and also knew how much debt Costa acquired helping them; because of this reason, he granted Costa 30 scudi. Costa has debts for 28 scudi, not because he spent money on food or clothing, but because he spent it for the church. He lost not only his money for the mission but also his health. Unfortunately he is unable to pay the 30 scudi back that Le Vacher had loaned him, and eventually to raise some money, he sold his Breviary. There are 15 bagnos in the city, and for the souls to be helped, it is necessary that PF pays the expenses. Whilst there are four other priests they are of little use; one is blind, the second an idiot who hardly knows how to say mass, the third has been freed and is about to leave, and the fourth has been chained and is not allowed to leave the bagno. It is important that PF is aware of the things that Costa is writing, as it is very dangrous to travel around in the area. If PF would decide to grant him 100 scudi annually this would be most just and necessary. He has not yet travelled to Bizerte, and he feels sorry for the souls that will be lost now. They are about to lose the great saint of the church of Africa, Jean Le Vacher, for he is too ill to leave his bed; he has spasms in his leg, which is likely to result in amputation. The two Capuchins destined for the mission have not arrived, and during feastdays he takes care of five altars all by himself. When he comes home he is so tired that he does not eat but goes directly to sleep.
Date discussed: 1674-06-26
Additional comments


Marcello Costa


APF SOCG 448, 140r-v, 145r-v




Addressed to Urbano Cerri


For the minutes of the PF meeting where this matter was discussed, see: APF ACTA 44, 170r, 185v-186v, issue 39 (database item 672).


Original; signed








Origin: Tunis
Destination: [Rome]


Marcello Costa, “Letter from Marcello Costa to the PF Secretary Urbano Cerri, 1674-01-29, Tunis,” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed October 7, 2022, https://earlymoderndocs.omeka.net/items/show/13205.

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