« Bridgmen, Elijah Coleman Briefs, Bulls, and Bullaria Brieger, Johann Friedrich Theodor »

Briefs, Bulls, and Bullaria

BRIEFS, BULLS, AND BULLARIA: Written mandates of the pope, differing in form, the bull being more solemn than the brief; bullaria are collections of both kinds of documents. At first the Roman bishops sealed documents with a ring, but from the end of the sixth century seal-boxes or seal-forms (bullæ), usually of lead, began to be attached to all public documents, whereas for the others the signet stamped in wax by the ring was used. Since the thirteenth century it has borne the same device, the apostle Peter casting a net into the sea (Matt. iv, 18, 19), whence it is known as the "ring of the fisherman" (annulus piscatoris). The oldest bullæ have on one side the name of the pope, on the other the word Papa. The present form has on the obverse the heads of Peter and Paul with the distinguishing inscription S. P. A.—S. P. E. (i.e., Sanctus Petrus or Paulus Apostolus, Sanctus Petrus or Paulus Episcopus); on the reverse, the name of the pope with his number. The string by which they are attached is of red and yellow silk or hemp. From designating the seal, the word bulla passed to the document itself.

The bull is written upon strong parchment; the brief on thin parchment or paper. Instead of having the seal attached to it, it is issued sub annulo piscatoris, which to-day is only a stamp on the paper. Both begin in an invariable form with the name of the pope and a salutation. In the brief the number is added to the name, in the bull the title Episcopus servus servorum Dei takes the place of the number. At the close of the brief 269merely the place and date are given; the bull gives the date according to both the ancient Roman and the Christian calendars and the year of the pope's reign. The most solemn form is used for bulls issued in the consistory (bullæ consistoriales). They are signed by the pope and the cardinals, and are sent out not in the original but in an authorized copy (transcriptum). Of other bulls (non consistoriales) the pope signs only the minute (minuta), and the completed document is signed by the various papal officers who helped in its preparation. The briefs are signed only by the secretary of briefs. Briefs are drawn up in accordance with the special rules of the department in the apostolic secretariate or dataria (see Curia); bulls in the chancery. Leo XIII simplified the procedure in 1878 by ordering that bulls other than consistorial should be written in ordinary script on parchment and sealed only with a red stamp containing the pictures of Peter and Paul and the name of the reigning pope.

The more important briefs and bulls are contained in collections known as bullaria. The oldest collections contained mostly only a small number. To these belong: Bullæ diversorum pontificorum a Joanne XXII ad Julium III a bibliotheca Ludovici Gomes (Rome, 1550), containing only some fifty documents; another from Boniface VIII to Paul IV (1559), with about a hundred and sixty; and one from Gregory VII to Gregory XIII (1579), with 723 documents. The Magnum bullarium Romanum, covering the period from Leo I to the year 1585, was published in 1586, and since has been continued in revised and completed editions. The latest as well as most convenient and complete edition is the Bullarium magnum Romanum, published at Turin by order of Pius IX and under the auspices of Cardinal Gaude (1857–72, 24 vols., covering the years 440–1740). For delimiting bulls (bullæ circumscriptionis), see Concordats and Delimiting Bulls.

E. Friedberg.

Bibliography: M. Marini, Diplomatica pontificia, Rome, 1841; H. Breslau, Handbuch der Urkundenlehre, i, 67 sqq., Leipsic, 1888; G. Phillips, Kirchenrecht, iii, 640 sqq., Regensburg, 1889; E. Friedberg, Lehrbuch des katholischen und evangelischen Kirchenrechts, Leipsic, 1895.

« Bridgmen, Elijah Coleman Briefs, Bulls, and Bullaria Brieger, Johann Friedrich Theodor »
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