The opening of the Vatican archives to scholarly research under Pope Leo XIII (1881 and 1883), after he had appointed Joseph Hergenröther, professor of church history in Würzburg and honorary president of the Görres Society, as cardinal archivist in Rome in 1879, was one of the triggering moments for the founding of the RIGG (1888) and at the same time gave it wide scope for research. Two major projects were begun, in addition to the edition of the Trent Council records, the edition of the German (Cologne) nunciature reports.


As early as 1889, the Board of the Görres Society decided to edit the nunciature reports from Germany which were kept in the Vatican Archives. This was ultimately done in consultation with the Royal Prussian Historical Institute in Rome (DHI), which was to deal with the nunciature reports on the Reformation period, and the Austrian Institute, which was to devote itself to the nunciature at the imperial court in Vienna in the post-Tridentine period. The RIGG was now to publish the nunciature reports from the imperial court and the Cologne nunciature 1585-1605 (pontificates of Sixtus V, Urban VII, Gregory XIV, Innocent IX, Clement VIII). The first volume was published in 1895 by Stephan Ehses and Aloys Meister. Already with the second volume in 1899, the enterprise came to a standstill in 1918, but was taken up again in 1963 and redefined. The project now aiming at the publication of the entire "Cologne Nunciature" under the title "Nuntiaturberichte aus Deutschland nebst ergänzenden Aktenstücken. The Cologne Nunciature" has been completed for the time being.

In 2009, Dr. Peter Schmidt (Cologne) published the files of Nuncio Antonio Albergati for the years 1614-1616; the last volume will cover the years 1617-1621. The publication is commissioned by the Görres Society with the participation of the RIGG.

Lit.: F. Rottstock, Studien zu den Nuntiaturberichten aus dem Reich in der zweiten Hälfte des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts. Nuntien und Legaten in ihrem Verhältnis zu Kurie, Kaiser und Reichsfürsten, München 1980, 4-10.