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Born Vincenzo Pecci. Supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church (1878-1903). He was the oldest pope reigning until the age of 93, and had the third longest confirmed pontificate, behind that of Pius IX and Pope St. John Paul II.


MS – Manuscript in the form of a papal brief dated 21 April 1897. This appears to be the confirmation of the appointment/consecration of Jose Maria Garcia Escudero as bishop of Osma, Spain.  The document is signed on behalf of the pope by Nicholas…(?) the substitute secretary for Apostolic Briefs on Behalf of Cardinal Lugi Macchi.  It also has a secretarial signature of the papal secretary of state, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, as well as the signature of the representative in Rome to the Spanish throne. This document is something of an “oddity” in that it bears the name of the secretary of state but, clearly, is NOT the signature of Merry del Val.  Customarily, a lesser-ranking prelate signing for a prefect or secretary would write Pro Dno Card(inalis) Merry del Val and his own signature. It appears to be the handwriting of said Nicolas who was a substitute secretary in the office of Apostolic Briefs.  The first such document we have seen of this kind signed in the NAME of the secretary of state.

(LEO XIII) (1810-1903)

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