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At four o'clock in the afternoon upon invitation of the most illustrious and reverend Doctor Friar Roque Cocchia, Bishop of Orope, Vicar and Apostolic Delegate of the Holy See in the Republics of Santo Domingo, Venezuela and Haiti, assisted by presbyter Friar Bernardino d'Emilia, secretary of the bishopric, by the honorary penitentiary canon, presbyter Francisco Javier Billini, rector and founder of the College of San Luis Gonzaga and of the charity asylum, apostolic missionary and acting curate of the holy cathedral, and by presbyter Eliseo J'Andoli, assistant curate of the same, there met in the holy cathedral General Marcos A. Cabral, Minister of the Interior and Police; Licentiate Felipe Davila Fernandez de Castro, Minister of Foreign Relations; Joaquin Montolio, Minister of Justice and Public Instruction; General Manuel A. Caceres, Minister of Finance and Commerce; and General Valentin Ramirez Baez, Minister of War and the Navy; and the citizens General Braulio Alvarez, Civil and Military Governor of the Province of the Capital, assisted by his secretary Pedro Maria Gautier; the honorable members of the illustrious municipal council of this capital, citizen Juan de la C. Alfonseca, president, and citizens Felix Baez, Juan Bautista Paradas, Pedro Mota, Manuel Maria Cabral and Jose Maria Bonetti, members; General Francisco Ungria Chala, military commandant of this city; citizens Felix Mariano Lluveres, president of the legislative chamber and Francisco Javier Machado, deputy to the same chamber; the members of the consular corps accredited to the Republic, Messrs.
"The most illustrious Bishop, in the presence of the gentlemen above designated and of a numerous concourse, declares: that the holy cathedral being undergoing repairs under the direction of the reverend Canon Francisco Javier Billini, and it having come to his notice that according to tradition and notwithstanding what appears from public documents with reference to the transfer of the remains of the Admiral Christopher Columbus to the city of Havana in the year seventeen hundred and ninety-five the said remains might still be in the place where they had been deposited and as such place the right side of the sanctuary was designated, under the spot occupied by the archbishop's chair; with the desire of clearing up the matters which tradition had carried to him, he authorized the reverend Canon Billini, upon his request, to make the necessary explorations; and as the latter was doing so with two workmen on the morning of this day, he discovered at a depth of two palms, more or less, the beginning of a vault which permitted part of a metal box to be seen; that immediately the said Canon Billini ordered the chief sexton, Jesus Maria Troncoso, to go to the archiepiscopal palace and inform His Grace of the result of the investigations, also informing the Minister of the Interior, requesting their presence without loss of time; that immediately His Grace proceeded to the holy cathedral where he found Jesus Maria Castillo, civil engineer, in charge of the repairs to this temple and two workmen who, in company with Canon Billini, guarded the small excavation which had been made, and at the same time Luis Cambiaso arrived, called by the said Canon Billini; that having personally made certain of the existence of the vault as well as that it contained the box to which Canon Billini made reference and an inscription being discovered on the upper part of what appeared to be the lid, he ordered that things be left as they were and that the doors of the temple be closed, the keys being confided to the reverend Canon Billini; proposing to invite, as he did invite, His Excellency the great citizen, President of the Republic, General Buenaventura Baez, his Cabinet, the consular corps and the other civil and military authorities named in the beginning of this certificate, in order to proceed with all due solemnity to the extraction of the box and give all required authenticity to the result of the investigation; and having advised the authorities, by their order municipal policemen were stationed at each one of the closed doors of the temple.