Vatican arrests former employee who allegedly tried to sell St. Peter’s Basilica manuscript

Vatican arrests former employee who allegedly tried to sell St. Peter’s Basilica manuscript

Rome – Vatican police arrested a former employee on extortion charges after he allegedly tried to sell a 17th-century illustrated manuscript describing the designs of Gian Lorenzo Bernini for the baldachin of the altar of the Basilica of Saint Peter to the Vatican itself.

Vatican prosecutors said the 18-page manuscript, which apparently contains the first known specifications for the baldachin’s gold plating, had disappeared from the basilica’s archives.

The person involved had worked for the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the entity that manages the basilica, and was trying to sell the manuscript to the Fabbrica when he was arrested on May 27, according to a statement from prosecutors published by the press office of the Holy See.

The statement suggested that Vatican police had essentially set up a trap: They launched an investigation after the basilica filed a complaint about the manuscript and then continued negotiations for its purchase until money actually changed hands on May 27 in The Vatican.

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