100 documents which played a vital role in the history of the Catholic Church will finally be put on display after being very closely guarded, some for centuries. The documents, which have been kept at the Vatican’s Secret Archives, will be put out for exhibition between February and September of 2012.

The Irish Independent reports that the historical documents were gathered by archivists in order to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Secret Archives in their present form. The documents will be on display at Rome's Capitoline Museums.
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Correspondence with such important historical figures as Galileo, Martin Luther, and Henry VIII will be included in the exhibition.

"It's an exceptional event," said the Vatican's spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. "Never have so many documents from the Secret Archive been allowed to leave the Vatican."

The documents, until now, have been kept “on 50 miles of shelves in climate-controlled rooms in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace as well as in a high-security underground bunker,” said The Independent.

The exhibition, entitled 'Lux in Arcana: The Vatican Secret Archives Revealed', will also feature first-hand documents from other figures including Mary Queen of Scots just weeks before her execution, an appeal from Parliament seeking to annul Henry VIII’s marriage (whose denial later led to the schism and formation of the Church of England), and Pope Pius XII, who was widely criticized for not acting enough during the years of the Holocaust.