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A decree by Pope Johannes XIX

by which he gives the faculty to the Bishop of Silva Candida to celebrate divine functions in St Peter’s Church of the Vatican

1024 AD

translation by John Wijngaards

John XIX succeeded his brother, Pope Benedict VIII (1012–24), both being members of the powerful house of Tusculum. Prior to being elected Pope he was an unordained layman and he was therefore ordained a bishop in order to enable him to ascend the papal chair, having previously been a consul and senator.

The Leonine City (in Latin Civitas Leonina) is that part of the city of Rome around which the ninth-century Pope Leo IV commissioned the construction of the Leonine Wall. It is on the opposite side of the Tiber from the seven hills of Rome and was not enclosed within the ancient city’s Aurelian Walls , built between 271 and 275.

The residence of the bishops of Silva Candida was on the Insula Tiberina beside the church of Sts. Adalbert and Paulinus. The bishops of Silva Candida, moreover, enjoyed great prerogatives in relation with the ceremonies of the basilica of St. Peter.

 Source: MIGNE , PL 78, vol. 4, 1053-1058, here col. 1056

Necnon cuncta sacra officia seu mysteria, quae nos et successors nostri facere debemus, si aegritudine vel aliqua cura impediti facere non possumus, tam in supradicta ecclesia Sancti Petri, et monasteriis suis, quam et per totam civitatem Leonianam, per vos vestrosque successors fieri apostolica auctoritate decrevimus.


Also, all sacred functions or mysteries, which we and our successors need to perform, in case we cannot perform them on account of illness or commitment to some cause, we decree with our apostolic authority that they be performed by you and your successors, both in the above-mentioned church of St Peter’s and its monasteries, as well as throughout the whole Leonine city.

 Consecrationes vero altarium sancti Petri, et aliorum monasteriorum, necnon consecrationes ecclesiarum, altarium, sacerdotum, clericorum, diaconorum, seu diaconissarum totius civitatis Leonianae, vobis vestrisque successoribus in perpetuum, sicut praelibatum est, concedimus and confirmamus.  We grant and confirm to you and your successors in perpetuity the consecration of the altars of St. Peter’s and the other monasteries, as well as the consecration of churches, altars, priests, clerics, deacons or deaconesses throughout the whole Leonine city, as has been set out above.