Executed by the Inquisition for Stealing from a Church


Distinta relatione della solenne condanna fatta fare avanti la Porta Maggiore della Basilica Vaticana dal Supremo Tribunale della Sacra Inquisitione di Pauolo Antonio Galles da Jerace in Calabria per aver rubata la Sacra Pisside con le Particolare Consegrate, oltre li Vasi degl' Oglii Santi in Santa Maria in Trastevere. Con un esattta Notizia del Suo Processo, e di tutte le Cerimonie seguite in tal occasione.

Rome and Bologna: Per Pier-maria Monti, 1708


Quarto: 18.8 x 14.3 cm. [4] pp.

Disbound. A fine, crisp copy. Extremely rare. No other copy traced.

A contemporary account of the trial of the Calabrian thief Paulo Antonio Galles of Gerace, who broke into the church of Sant Maria in Trastevere on April 12, 1706 and stole the pyx containing the consecrated Eucharist and the vasi containing the holy oils. Although Galles was caught, he escaped from prison on February 19th, 1708. An edict was published, establishing a reward for his capture and threatening the excommunication of anyone who withheld information concerning Galles' whereabouts or harbored the fugitive.

Galles was recaptured and, two years after he committed the theft, on April 27, 1708, he was tried by the inquisition before the main door of the Vatican basilica. After the trial he was handed over to the city jailors, placed in a carriage and (followed by a jeering crowd) taken to the New Prison. On the following Saturday, Galles was publicly hanged and dismembered in the piazza in front of the church of Santa Maria, where he had committed his crime.

The pamphlet describes Galles' crime, his discovery, the trial, and his execution, with particular attention paid to the scene of the trial:

"A huge podium with seats all around had been erected in front of the main door of the Basilica of St. Peter's. Opposite there was a pall with a cross, and two other palls, purple in color, to signify pain and penitence. At 9:30 in the evening consulters of the Holy Office filed in an orderly manner onto the podium; these included important priests as well as the father general of the Dominicans, the Master of the Sacred Palace, the Commissar of the Holy Office, the Consulter of the Holy Apostles, and others, who in representation of the Sacred and Supreme Tribunal took their seats under the cross. On the right and left in rows of the same height were the members of the reverend Chapter of St. Peter and under them the Beneficiaries and clergy of the Sacred Basilica.

"On the left side of the podium was a small table covered in a purple cloth, behind which stood the brother reader Brother Domenico M. Querci, who was to read the summary of the trial. Galles was led under the podium described above, and using a ladder went up to a smaller podium located in a prominent position with his shoulders to the populace, and with his toward the cross."

Galles' public execution is described on the final page:

"Dal tribunal dell'illustrissimo Monsignore Governatore di Roma fù il Reo destinato alla morte, e fù fatto appendere, e squartare alla vista di tutto il Popolo il giorno del Sabato immediatamente seguente sù la piazza della Chiesa di Santa Maria in Trastevere, nella quale haveva commesso l'orrendo, e destestabile Furto."