The Commission was created by Pius IX (January 6, 1852) "to take care of the ancient sacred cemeteries, look after their preventive preservation, further explorations, research and study, and also safeguard the oldest mementos of the early Christian centuries, the outstanding monuments and venerable Basilicas in Rome, in the Roman suburbs and soil, and in the other Dioceses in agreement with the respective Ordinaries". Pius XI made the Commission pontifical (Motu Proprio I primitivi cemeteri of December 11, 1925) and expanded its powers. Through the Lateran Pacts (art. 33 of the Concordat), its authority and its sphere of action and study were extended to all the existing catacombs on the Italian territory. The new Concordat of 1984 (art. 12) confirmed this state of affairs for the Christian catacombs. "In the places entrusted to it, nothing can be modified without its permission; it directs any work to be done and publishes its results; it establishes the rules for access by the public and scholars to the sacred cemeteries and indicates which crypts can be used for the holy liturgy and with what precautions". Through the Commission, the work of the Roman Pontifical Academy of Archaeology and the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology is coordinated. Moreover, the Commission continues to be interested in the activity of the Society for the Conferences of Christian Archaeology and the Collegium Cultorum Martyrum” (Motu Proprio of Pius XI, December 11, 1925; Regulations for the P.C.S.A., §II, No. 10). (Annuario Pontificio, 2001, pp. 1621-1622).
The offices of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology are located in the Palace of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology, Via Napoleone III, I – 00185, Rome – Phone. +39/06.44.65.610; +39/06.44.67.601; Fax: +39/06.44.67.625; e-mail email@example.com