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Vatican Secret Archives: 6 of the most intriguing documents in church history

One hundred documents held in the Vatican’s Secret Archives are now on display in Rome for the first time. Read our list here of six standouts.

A request for an annulment for Henry VIII

Tony Gentile/Reuters
Henry VIII's 'Secret Matter' is displayed during the exhibition 'Lux in Arcana, the Vatican Secret Archives reveals itself' at the Capitoline Museums in Rome on February 29.

One of the most elaborate documents is a parchment letter, adorned with more than 80 red seals, that Pope Clement VII’s English colleagues wrote to the Pope to request the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

His refusal ultimately led to the birth of the Church of England, which granted the annulment.

The manuscript was only discovered in 1926, hidden beneath a chair in the one of the Vatican Archives’ many chambers.

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