A famous library in Transylvania, where a manuscript with golden letters is located, will be restored with 16 million euros

One of the most important libraries in Romania, which houses the only manuscript in the country registered on the UNESCO list, will be restored. The historical monument in Romania will benefit from a financing of 16 million euros.

The Batthyaneum Library building is over 200 years old PHOTO The truth

The Minister of Culture, Raluca Turcan, announced in Alba Iulia that the restoration of the Batthyaneum Library, an “exceptional cultural object”, where the Codex Aureus manuscript is located, could be financed with 16 million euros, through an agreement with the Development Bank of the Council of Europe.

“I can say that, at the moment, we are in negotiations with the Development Bank of the Council of Europe to extend the financing agreement on cultural objectives that we already have, and in this third agreement, the restoration of the Batthyaneum Library is a priority”said the Minister of Culture.

Raluca Turcan showed that the Ministry of Culture was “chronically underfunded”, coming to be seen over time as “a burden”, and “not as a source of development”.

The Great Hall of the PHOTO Adevărul library

The Great Hall of the PHOTO Adevărul library

“Through the National Institute of Heritage, through the loan agreement we have with the Development Bank of the Council of Europe, with budget sources that we created to start a program to restore the memorial houses, we want to put Romania on the map big investments in culture. In Alba Iulia, an exceptional cultural objective will be financed, namely the Batthyaneum Library”added Raluca Turcan.

The minister specified that the exact amount needed for the restoration will be known after the completion of the acquisition of the DALI study. “There is an amount around which we revolve of 16 million euros, which is on this loan agreement – a sustainable amount -, if we manage to conclude it successfully”, Turcan pointed out.

The dispute with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia

The Batthyaneum library, which has been operating since the 18th century in the former Trinitarian church in Alba Iulia and where the most valuable collection of medieval western manuscripts in Romania, including the Codex Aureus, is located, could not be restored until now, it being the object a litigation in court.

Copy of the Codex Aureus manuscript PHOTO The truth

Copy of the Codex Aureus manuscript PHOTO The truth

The National Authority for Property Restitution rejected, in 2015, the request of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia for the retrocession of the Batthyaneum Library, on the grounds that it did not provide proof of ownership of the building at the time of its takeover by the Romanian state.

The decision was appealed to the administrative court. In 2018, the Alba Iulia Court of Appeal rejected the request of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia to cancel the decision by which the Special Commission for the retrocession of real estate belonging to religious cults in Romania rejected its request to retrocede the Batthyaneum Library building.

In 2021, the High Court of Cassation and Justice definitively rejected the request of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia for the retrocession of the Batthyaneum Library building, as well as some movable assets, including the Codex Aureus, which was on the UNESCO List last year.

The history of Codex Aureus arrived at Alba Iulia

The Codex Aureus is a fragment of a Latin gospel written on parchment and dates from 810, being the most famous illuminated medieval western manuscript in the collection of the Batthyaneum Library. It is stored in the room called Thesaur, an armored room, being kept under special conditions and periodically checked from the point of view of its preservation.

The Batthyaneum Library in Alba Iulia, a branch of the National Library, owns the first part of the Tetraevangel (respectively the Gospels of Matthew and Mark), 111 pages, the other part with the Gospels of Luke and John (124 pages) is owned by the Vatican Apostolic Library in Rome. Covers 1 and 4, worked in ivory plates, are in London and Rome.

Specialists believe that the manuscript was executed at the court of Emperor Charlemagne in Aachen, around the year 810, and then donated to the Lorsch monastery, around 820. Its true value lies not so much in the biblical texts, which are also found in other manuscripts, but in the rich decoration of the manuscript with miniatures, initials and borders of a remarkable execution. It is written on fine sheets of parchment with letters of gold, hence the name Golden Codices.