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A Vatican employee accused of stealing a priceless Bernini manuscript from the archives and trying to sell it for PLN 130,000. dollars

A former Vatican employee was arrested after police said he stole a 391-year-old manuscript from the archives and then tried to sell it.

The man, identified by Italian media as Alfio Maria Daniele Pergolizzi, is accused of stealing a 17th-century manuscript by Gian Lorenzo Bernini containing plans for the ornate, gilded elements of St. Peter’s Basilica.

According to Reuters, this week Alessandro Diddi, the promoter of justice in the Vatican, will decide whether the man will be formally charged.

Pergolizzi previously worked as communications manager at Fabryka Św. Peter, which deals with the maintenance and conservation of the Basilica, Gazeta Sztuka reports.

The man was arrested last month in connection with a sting operation when Mauro Gambietti, the head of the basilica’s administration, joined forces with Vatican investigators and met with a former employee.

The former employee of the organization that looks after St. Peter's Basilica, seen in the photo, was arrested after police said he stole a 17th-century manuscript (AFP via Getty Images)The former employee of the organization that looks after St. Peter's Basilica, seen in the photo, was arrested after police said he stole a 17th-century manuscript (AFP via Getty Images)

The former employee of the organization that looks after St. Peter’s Basilica, seen in the photo, was arrested after police said he stole a 17th-century manuscript (AFP via Getty Images)

A former Fabric employee then “sold” the manuscript to Gambietti for $130,000, but according to him, Vatican police moved in to arrest him when he left the meeting Gazeta Sztuka.

Although authorities say he stole the manuscript, Pergolizzi claims he received it from the late Monsignor Vittorino Canciani, a former canon of St. Peter’s Basilica.

According to Reuters, the manuscript has already returned to the Vatican.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose manuscript authorities say was stolen from the Vatican, created the statues shown above, displayed in St. Peter's Square (Getty Images)Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose manuscript authorities say was stolen from the Vatican, created the statues shown above, displayed in St. Peter's Square (Getty Images)

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose manuscript authorities say was stolen from the Vatican, created the statues shown above, displayed in St. Peter’s Square (Getty Images)

This is not the first case of theft that has shocked the Vatican.

In 2017, Italian journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi published a document that authorities believed was stolen from a locked cabinet in the Vatican.

The document, Fittipaldi claimed, related to Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old who disappeared in Rome in 1983. He stated that the document was written by the cardinal and included a list of expenses related to Emanuela’s accommodation in London between 1983 and 1997.

The same journalist was also prosecuted and released by an Italian court for publishing financial documents stolen from the Vatican, a scandal known as “Vatileaks”.