The Codex in the Batthyaneum in Alba Iulia could be added to the World Heritage List

The Codex Aureus, kept in the library of the Batthyaneum in Alba Iulia, may be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List – Adrian Cioroianu, director of the National Library of Romania, announced, according to Hungary Today.

The former Romanian foreign minister told at a conference in Alba Iulia that the codex, considered to be the best-known Western medieval illuminated manuscript, is expected to be added to the international list later this year. He added that the process does not require the codex to leave the country and that digital copies of the documents have been sent to the codex.

The medieval codex fragment, written in gold ink on calfskin parchment, contains the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, one of the most valuable items in the Batthyaneum’s collection. The codex, probably commissioned by Charlemagne, was brought to Vienna as spoils of war from the monastery of Lorsch near Heidelberg. It was purchased by Prince Antal Kristóf Migazzi of Vienna and bought from him in the 18th century by Ignác Batthyány, Bishop of Transylvania, and thus became part of the library in Alba Iulia.

Adrian Cioroianu also spoke of the need to renovate the Batthyaneum building and said he would support a partnership with the county and local government to do so.

As is known, the Batthyaneum in Alba Iulia is the most valuable nationalized property that the Hungarian churches in Transylvania are asking the Romanian state to return. In 1998 the government adopted an emergency decree for its return, but this has not been implemented. Subsequent governments, citing the will of Bishop Ignác Batthyány, in which he bequeathed the collection to Transylvania, believed that the Romanian state could also claim it. The restitution of the property and public collection was finally rejected by the Romanian Supreme Court in May 2021. The 65,000-volume library, which includes 1,650 medieval manuscripts, holds three-quarters of the codices and ancient printed books in Romania. One of the codices, the Codex Aureus, dating from 810, was insured for $25 million in 2002 when it was briefly transported to Germany.

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