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Episcopal and Cathedral Chapter Archives of Vác

According to the tradition, the Diocese of Vác was founded by King Saint Stephen; according to recent opinions it was created by King Peter (1039–1041; 1044–1046). Its territory roughly covered the area between the Danube and Tisza. In 1993 Pope John Paul II altered the borders of the diocese. On the south a part from Bács-Kiskun County was attached to the Kalocsa-Kecskemét Diocese; in turn, on the north the settlements in the Ipoly valley were carved out from Esztergom and attached to the Vác Diocese.

Little is known about the medieval past of the archives. Some sources in 1199 mention the “camera, so-called treasury” of the Church of Vác, where the bishop held the letters sent to him. An Italian humanist, Francesco Bandini was entrusted with the managing of the archives by Bishop Miklós Báthori (1474–1507). When in 1541 the Ottomans devastated and occupied Vác, the archives of the episcopate and the chapter were destroyed. Only a few charters survived from earlier times.

After the Ottoman period the episcopate returned to Vác. Its records, surviving from the 16th century, were held in the bishop’s palace (later Institute for Deaf and Dumb) on the main square. The first arrangement of the archives was ordered by Bishop Károly Eszterházy in 1761. The records were held in dossiers with alphabetical marking; some of their labels still can be found today. After 1775 the archives together with the bishopric moved to the new bishop’s palace, built by Kristóf Migazzi. At the end of the 18th century, the complete material was rearranged according to subject matters, then in 1809 indexes were made, too. In 1852 Bishop Ágoston Roskoványi had the registration of the records introduced but the documents continued to be arranged according to the old (and newer) subject matters (sources). The rooms of the archives were on the ground floor and the second floor of the bishop’s palace. In 1972 the archival material of the seminary was transferred here. However, a few years later, in the late 1970s the older part of the archives was transferred from the bishop’s palace to the building of the library of the diocese; the newer part was transferred to a church building in Hattyú Street in the summer of 2004.

The oldest records of the archives of the Cathedral Chapter date from 1700. The archives were placed in the Cathedral, above the chapter sacristy (right-hand side), in huge oak cabinets. However, the archives of the place of authentication were nationalized and in 1962 transferred to the Pest County Archives.

The economic archives of the bishopric were also taken in by the Pest County Archives and in 2004, when the Vác affiliated archives were ceased, the records were placed as deposit in the Vác City Archives.


Further information:

Adress: 2600 Vác, Báthori Miklós u. 1.

Telephone: +36 27 814 141

Telefax: +36 27 814 101


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