Letter from [Marcello Costa] to PF,  [1671 or later]


Letter from [Marcello Costa] to PF,  [1671 or later]


Tunis area
Slaves (Christian)
Slave priests


Because PF asked for information about the missionaries in the infidel lands, Marcello Costa has made this report: a) since he arrived in Tunis, the Provicar Luigi Da Palermo assigned four bagnos to him, as there were many Christians that had not confessed. Now they not only confess, but have also taken Holy communion; b) because there are so many Christians, he usually only administers the sacraments during the most important feast days; c) he introduced the singing of the office of the death, every Saturday in the bagno of S. Francesco; d) in other bagnos (assigned to slave priests), he also takes confessions. There he found obstinate sinners who he made take penance and attend the sacraments; e) on Saturdays and during the nights of the feast days, he visits many bagnos. He takes confessions up to midnight, and during the morning he has to celebrate mass in his own chapels, of which he has two. He used to have four chapels, but because thare are more priests, he now only has two; f) he solved a very old problem that began during the time of Antonio Di Seravezza, between the French consul and the local Christians. The consul used to take the pezze da otto, which all Christian ships were required to pay to the church of Tunis; g) he has travelled to many different places to administer the sacraments, including at least four trips to Cantera and Bizerte, but also to Portofarino, Lamadia and Colombaia. There are around 2,000 Christians there, and it was very dangerous as he had to travel alone. There are Christian slaves in remote places that have not seen a priest since they were made slave. After his arrival they became very emotional, to which he consoled them and made them take confession; h) when he arrived he found some neglected altars which he cleaned; and i) when he arrived he found a women with three daughters that were in danger to lose their virginity and their faith. 
Additional comments
The issue of the money that the ships had to pay to the church of Tunis, actually started before Antonio Di Seravezza was in Tunis; it has been a problem at least since Girolamo Da Sassari. The writer of the document is probably Marcello Costa, who indeed arrived in Tunis in 1671.


APF SOCG 438, 352r-v


[1671 or later]


Original; end missing








Origin: Tunis
Destination: Rome


“Letter from [Marcello Costa] to PF,  [1671 or later],” Early Modern Documents: Sources and Resources for Historical Research, accessed July 5, 2022, https://earlymoderndocs.omeka.net/items/show/13233.

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