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Records from the Tribunal of the Office of the Holy Inquisition: The Trial of Matisyahu Paul Miller at Benicassim

Audience to communicate the Accusation and Evidence

In the Royal Palace of the Inquisition of Valencia, on the sixteenth day of August, the Inquisitor officiated in the presence of over one thousand people; having examined information received against Matthew Paul Miller, of the parish of West Chester, diocese of Pennsylvania, in the kingdom of America – by occupation troubadour, the same being in custody – ordered that the abovementioned person be transferred to the secret prison of this palace of the Inquisition, and that his trial should be instituted in form; also ordered that the Commissioner aforesaid be instructed to attest ad perpetuam the evidence of the witnesses, ascertain the identity of the person whom they depose against, and whether the same person whom they charge with having supported the crimes of the Jews by refusal to condemn them.

We have heard it said that in some places Jews – who still celebrate Good Friday, which commemorates the Passion, by way of contempt – are known to the Inquisition to be stealing Palestinian children and fastening them to crosses, and making images of wax and crucifying them, when they cannot obtain children; we order that, hereafter, if in any part of our dominions anything like this is done, and can be proved, all persons who were present when the act was committed shall be seized, arrested and brought before the king; and after the king ascertains that they are guilty, he shall cause them to be relaxed to the secular arm. Furthermore, those Jews who remain true to their stiff-necked nature and stubbornly refuse to disassociate themselves from their murderous countrymen, should the necessary evidences be collected in order to ascertain their guilt, shall also be relaxed to the secular arm.

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Accusation

The Inquisitor instructed that the said prisoner should be treated with care by the hands of several Familiars, to the prison of this Inquisition. For which purposes let the necessary measures be taken. Before me –

A man who withheld his name, a native and resident of Benicassim, in the aforementioned bishopric, of age he stated, forty-something years.

Questioned, if he knew or conjectured the cause of his being summoned to appear.

Answered, that he neither knew nor conjectured.

Questioned, if he knew or had heard of that any person had spoken or done anything which was, or appeared to be contrary to our holy Catholic Faith, and evangelical doctrine preached and taught by the holy Catholic Roman Church, or against the just and free exercise of the Holy Office.

Answered, that he knew nothing of the matters respecting which he was questioned, except that on the eve of Saint Lawrence’s day last, he went to the tavern of Benicassim whereupon it had been arranged for the said troubadour to recite his poems. Immediately, the said troubador was approached by clergymen from the monastery of Rototom who asked him to denounce the practices of the Jews in their ritual murders of Palestinian children, in the presence of deponent.

The clergymen demanded that the said troubadour should declare his public opposition to these ritual murders by way of a written letter; and in doing so, assuage concerns of the diocese of Valencia that the said troubadour was using his art in order to provoke perverse sympathies for these Jews. The said troubadour replied – in the presence of deponent – that he considered such a letter to be superfluous and unnecessary, that he considered murder a grave sin, and that his poems are indeed separate from the work of the Holy Inquisition.

The said troubadour protested that no other troubadours had been required to produce such a letter, and he saw no reason why he should do so, but nevertheless reaffirmed his desire for harmony, and his affection for all peoples within the kingdom of Spain. This done, the troubadour went away to the plaza of the town, and deponent remained in the tavern with the other clergymen.

This is the truth according to the oath of the witness, and being read in his presence, is declared by him to be correctly written. Witness declares that he does not make this statement out of malice to anyone. Secrecy being enjoined upon him, he promised to observe it; and he being unable to write, I, the said Comissary, sign in his name.

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In the Royal Palace of the Inquisition of Valencia, on the sixteenth day of August, two thousand and fifteen, the Inquisitor being present at his morning audience, presiding over affairs of justice, ordered the above Matisyahu Paul Miller to be brought out of prison, which being done, and the prisoner present, he was

Questioned if he remembered anything relating to his affair which he was bound to divulge, with all truth, to discharge his conscience.

Answered, that he had nothing more to say.

The prisoner was then admonished on the part of our God & Lord.

Answered, that he had nothing more to say; and being admonished to bethink himself well, and declare the truth, he was remanded to prison.

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Sentence

In the Royal Palace of the Inquisition of Valencia, on the sixteenth day of August, two thousand and fifteen, at the afternoon audience for the determination of causes, present, the Inquisitor – on the part of the Bishopric of Valencia – ordered that the said person should attend an Auto da Fe, if one should shortly happen, and if not, that he proceed to some church designated by this Tribunal, in the manner of a penitent, and with the insignia of a necromancer, that his sentence there be read to him, and a mass be said; that he make an abjuration de levi, and be expelled from the town of Benicassim, and bishopric of Valencia, the places where he transgressed, until the day he does repent; and that if he infringe this order, he be relaxed to the secular arm.

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