The archive of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi is one of most important ecclesiastic archives of the city of Barcelona. The documentation’s volume and its quality is the result of more than thousand years of the existence of the parish, which had become one of the biggest and actives of the city. It was the centre of the bigger quarter and its influence reached to the village of Sants, which parish was suffragan. The first registers go back to the 11th Century, being the periods most interesting from the 15th to the 18th Centuries.
The guarded documentation is not only the usual in a parish archive, that is to say sacramental funds, but is the result of the union of the Illustrious Junta d’Obra (Work Council), the laymen who were managing the Building until the 20th Century, the Reverend Comunitat de Beneficiats (Beneficiary Community) who were in charge of the Church’s pastoral and liturgy and l’Ofici Diví (Divine Service), and those of the different corporations which have been existing associated with the Basilica in various moments of its history.
The archive had begun to be grouped towards late 14th Century, with the Church not yet finished. In the 15th Century, the sacramental registers and the administrative, census and notarial documentation were systemized. In the Modern Epoch, were compiled the books of rituals and certificates of the Reverend Community, and in parallel, as an autonomous entity, appears the archive of the Junta d’Obra (Work Council). Towards the second half of the 18th Century, by means of a new location, the documentation corresponding to the Reverend Community was located in the present Building, maintaining its function until the present day. In the year 1936 the archive was saved, almost in its entirety, thanks to the heroism of a few volunteers of the Biblioteca de Catalunya (Catalonia’s Library), who had entered through the roof, while the Church still in flames and later, in 1943, returns to the Basilica and is placed in the present space.
Among the preserved documents is especially important el Llibre Negre (Black Book), a Church’s compendium or chronicle, that explains the evolution of the Building and the Community, which began in 1508 gathering a big amount of previous information.
Outstanding is the beneficence fund that was generated by the Bací del Pobre Vergonyant (Bowl of the Ashamed Poor), one of the most ancient in its genre in Europe. It consists in a series integrally preserved from its creation at the beginning of the 15th Century.
L’Arxiconfraria de la Puríssima Sang (Most Purest Blood Archconfraternity), the most ancient of the Corona d’Aragó (Aragon’s Crown), also had deposited its fund, alike a number of entities which in the course of centuries had been, in a way or another, associated to Santa Maria del Pi. The collection is completed with an important fund of more than 2000 parchments, from the 12th to the 19th Century.