What is the General Archives?
The General Archives is “the collection of documentation received and produced by the Superior General, the General Curia and other administrative bodies, as well as by individuals in relation to the activities of the Congregation. According to its importance and future relevance, material is categorized for preservation”.
What are some important moments in the history of our Archives?
The General Archives (AGCP) similar to other Archives of this nature, especially historical ones, are private and legally belong to an institution that in our case it is the Congregation, in the person of the Superior General, who is its highest authority, and therefore, is its principal guardian. In fact, from the earliest days of our history, the Major Superiors diligently instructed the religious concerning the care of documents to be archived in the retreats of the Congregation.
Fr. Giovanni Battista Gorresio (1734-1801), rigorously enforced guidelines concerning materials to be preserved in the archives of the nascent retreats of the Congregation. After the publication of the Constitution of Benedict XIII in 1727 entitled Maxima Vigilantia, on 31 March 1779, the Superior General published an Instruction about the function and custody of archives. He established specific rules for ordering the archives with precise penalties and censures related to their maintenance. Thus, the religious would know which documents were to be kept in the canonical archives, which documents should be saved in the Provincial Archives, which documents should be archived in each retreat, those documents to be preserved in the archives of the novitiate, etc.
Since the General Archives was initially intended primarily for the use of the Superior General because it contained material pertaining to his Office, the Curia and the entire Congregation. Therefore, access was restricted to members of the Curia and they often held the post of Archivist. In 1870, Fr. Domenico Giacchini (1816-1884), entrusted the care of the Archives to the Secretary General, establishing specific norms.