Tezaurul Episcopiei romano-catolice de Oradea
Roman Catholic Diocese Treasure
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The Roman Catholic Diocese in Oradea is the oldest in the city, its founding being preceded by the monastery built by King Ladislaus the Holy in honour of the Virgin Mary (around which the fortress would later be built) and the prepositure.
Presence over time to the forefront of the Episcopalian institution of a large number of representatives who made account of cultural and artistic activities granted Oradea, under these aspects, a flourishing life. The first Humanism and Renaissance elements propagated here via influences from Italy.

The long streak was promoted by Ladislaus Déméndi, who was shortly followed by Andrea Scolari, “considered a perfect incarnation of the Renaissance spirit, a prelate worthy of the period that remained in history under the name of The Golden Pontification”. Throughout the period he was appointed as Bishop of Oradea, he managed to gather a large number of Italian artists around the court, with whom he built the chapel and raised the altars, adorned later with luxurious decorations. Interest toward books was not spared either, Scolari being attributed the first intention to build a library in Oradea, even more so after a large part of the ward books had been burned in a fire that consumed the sacristy housing them. Humanism slowly surpassed the episcopal court bounds, flowing into the city and influencing the way of life of the citizens.

The cultural-humanistic tradition in the city on the banks of the River Crisul Repede would continue in the first half of the 15th century thanks to a suite of other high priests if Italian origin: Giovanni de Milanesi da Prato, Giovanni de Cuirzola and Giovanni de Dominis da Arbe. But “The most impressive figure of Renaissance in Central Europe at this time was Bishop John Vitéz of Zredna, a man with all the important concerns of his era, a brilliant Mecena.” (Liviu Borcea).

His court became a meeting place for scholars like Grigore of Sanock from Poland, Phillip Podocatharo from Cyprus, Nicolaus Machinensis from Dalmatia, the Italian humanist Marzio Galeotti from the court of Matthias Corvinus, poet Gaspare Tribracco etc. He also had ties with famous astronomer Georg Peuerbach, who, upon his request, would write a geometry discourse and would build-up and astronomical observatory in Oradea. One of his friends was humanist Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who would later become pope under the name of Pius II. He remains in the memory of his followers as a passionate book collector, most of which he procured directly from the Florentine editor Vespassiano da Bisticci. This noble solicitude would be later chanted by Janus Pannonius, the first great renaissance poet in this part of Europe.

Even though the successors of John Vitéz did not measure up to him, they carried on the renaissance values he promoted. Ioan Filipecz Pruis, for example, put in serious efforts to print Rogerius’ poem, which was kept as a manuscript in Oradea, in Brno in 1488; Váradi János was interested in music and poetry, attracting many artists to the court; Kálmáncsehi Domokos remains known for his fine taste in books, ordering excellent ornaments for many of them – among the artists hired was Franciscus di Castello; this same passion would be shared by his successor, Szatmári György, who would establish new ties with two great Italian editors, brothers Giordano and Aldo Manuzio.

The high activity of all these prelates, as well as of those who would succeed, will result, among others, in establishing an invaluable heritage, including old books, objects of worship, church furniture and vestments, drawings, icons, paintings etc.
Today, the Roman Catholic Diocesan Library owns about 10,000 titles printed before 1800, 23 of which are incunabula (printed ante 1501), over 350 titles belonging to the 16th century, 220 Hungarian printed titles (before 1712), over 1,000 foreign printed titles belonging to the 17th century etc.

Here are some of the many titles:

ANTONINUS Florentinus: De censuris. De sponsalibus et matrimonio – Venezia, Johannes de Colonia et Johannes Manthen, 23. Sept. 1474.
AUGUSTINUS, Aurelius, Sanctus: Opuscula – Strassburg, Martin Flach, 11. Aug. 1491.
GERARDUS de Harderwyck: Epitomata, seu reparationes totius philosophiae naturalis Aristotelis – Köln, Heinrich Quentell, 29. Feb. 1496.
GRATIANUS: Decretum. Cum apparatu Johannis Teutonici et additionibus Bartholomaei Brixiensis (Ed.: Sebastianus Brant.) – Basel, Johann Amerbach et Johann Froben, Kal. Jul. [1.Jul.] 1500.
HIERONYMUS, Sanctus: Epistolae P.I-II. – Basel, Nicolaus Kessler, 8. Aug. 1489.
JOSEPHUS FLAVIUS: [Opera. P.II.] (Ed.: Sigismundus Gelenius.) De antiquitatibus Judaicis libri XX. Antiquitate Iudaic. Flavii Josephi vita. De bello Iudaico. De antiquitate Iudaeorum contra Apionem Alexandrinum. De Maccabeis. – Francofurti ad Moenum, impensis Sigismundi Feyerabendii, impressum… per Petrum Fabricium, 1588.
MÜNSTER, Sebastian: Cosmographiae universalis lib. VI. – Basileae, apud Henrichum Petri, 1552.
PLUTARCHOS: [Vitae Parallelae.] Opus, quod parallela et vitas appellant, in quo vitae illustrissimorum virorum Graecorum ac Romanorum… comparantur. (Comment., Transl.: Guilielmus Xylander.) – Heidelbergae, excudebat Ludovicus Lucius, 1561. Basileae, per Johannem Oporinum.
SALLUSTIUS Crispus, Caius: Historiae de conjuratione L. Catilinae, de bello Jugurthino. Fragmenta quaedam ex libris historiarum. – Oratio in M. Tullium Ciceronem.
CICERO, Marcus Tullius: Responsio ad Salustium. Orationes quatuor in Catilinam. Fragmentum orationis… de moribus Catilinae.
PORTIUS Latro: Declamatio in Catilinam. (Cum aliis aliorum opusculis.) (Annot.: Henricus Glareanus, Jacobus Bononiensis, Caelius Secundus Curionis, Ulrich Hutten.) – Basileae, ex officina Henricpetrina, 1571.
VERGILIUS, Maro, Publius: Opera. Bucolica & Georgica, Aeneis. (cont.:).
VEGIUS, Maphaeus: Liber XIII, additus XII Aeneidos libros. (Ed., Comment.: Servius Honoratus, Aelius Donatus, Antonius Mancinelli, Probus Valerius, Jodocus Badius, Augustinus Dathus, Domitius Calderinus, Philippus Beroaldus.) – Lugduni, in officina Jacobus Sachon, impensas Ciriacus Hochperg, 1517.
OSUALDUS de Lasko (LASKAI Osvát): Sermones dominicales perutiles Biga salutis intitulati. – Hagenau, impensis et sumptibus Joannis Rynman per industrium Henricum, Gran, 10. Sept. 1506.
PÁZMÁNY Péter: Hodoegus. Igazsagra-vezerlö kalauz. – Posonban, typ. Soc. Jesu, 1637.

Among other pieces of high artistic and historic value the Roman Catholic Bishopry Museum holds or which are linked to this community’s past (being kept in the Palace of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oradea), the following are to be noted: Portrait of Cardinal Schlauch Lőrinc (painter: Benczúr Gyula, oil on canvas), 1900, size: 150×250 cm; Matthias Corvinus before Vienna (painter: Koroknyai Otto, oil on canvas), 1895, size: 400×600 cm, Portrait of Bishop Patachich Adam, 18th century, oil on canvas, size: 80×100 cm, Portrait of Emperor Franz Joseph I., end of 19th century, oil on canvas, size: 90×130 cm, Holy Mother’s Ascension Icon (painter: Vinzenz Fischer, 1779, oil on canvas) size: 2500×6000 mm; Icon of St. Ladislaus (painter: Vinzenz Fischer, 1778, oil on canvas) size: 2000×5000 mm; Reliquary (Herma) St. Ladislaus, 1892, silver-mail, master: Link Fülöp.