Ex-Vatican employee arrested for selling missing Bernini manuscript

Vatican authorities have arrested a former employee for trying to sell a 17th-century manuscript by Gian Lorenzo Bernini that he allegedly stole from an official Holy See archive. The news was first reported by the Italian daily Domani.

Bernini is known as a master of Baroque architecture, and the disappearance of the 18-page manuscript led to an extensive sting operation. The suspect is said to have met with Mauro Gambetti, head of the administration of St. Peter’s Basilica, on May 27, thinking that Gambetti was interested in purchasing the gilded document, which contains details of ornate features created by Bernini to decoration of the famous baldachin that rises above the basilica. .

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However, Gambetti had secretly worked with Vatican investigators to entrap the suspect, who was reportedly accompanied by an unknown accomplice. After handing the seller a check for 120,000 euros in exchange for the manuscript, the Vatican gendarmes arrived and arrested him.

The seller has been identified in Italian media reports as the art historian Alfio Maria Daniele Pergolizzi, who is believed to have stolen the manuscript from the archives of the Fabric of St. Peter’s, an institution founded in the 16th century to finance the construction of the manage the church building. basilica and who is now overseeing the structure’s restoration. Pergolizzi was head of the communications department between 1995 and 2011. Per Reutershe is being held in a Vatican prison on charges of attempted extortion.

Vatican newsthe state’s official media outlet, reported that Alessandro Diddi, promoter of justice for the Church, will decide this week whether to charge Pergolizzi.