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Vatican City Portal

Flag of Vatican City
Coat of Arms of Vatican City
Location of Vatican City on a map of Europe
Vatican City About this sound /ˈvætɪkən ˈsɪti/ , officially the State of the Vatican City (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano), is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome. At approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and with a population of around 800, it is the smallest country in the world by both area and population..

Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope. This makes the Vatican the only remaining absolute monarchy in Europe. The highest state functionaries are all clergymen of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope's residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace.

Vatican City was established as an independent state in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of Pope Pius XI and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. The treaty spoke of it as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy. Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin.

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Saint Peter's Square
Credit: MarcusObal
Five images of Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican stitched up to make this panorama.

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Map of the Papal States (green) in 1700 (around its greatest extent), including its exclaves of Benevento and Pontecorvo in Southern Italy, and the Comtat Venaissin and Avignon in Southern France.
The Papal State(s), the State(s) of the Church, the Pontifical States, the Ecclesiastical States, or the Roman States (Italian: Stato Pontificio, also Stato della Chiesa, Stati della Chiesa, Stati Pontifici, and Stato Ecclesiastico; Latin: Status Pontificius, also Dicio Pontificia)[1] were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (after which the Papal States, in less territorially extensive form, continued to exist until 1870).

The Papal States comprised territories under direct sovereign rule of the papacy, and at its height it covered most of the modern Italian regions of Romagna, Marche, Umbria and Lazio. This governing power is commonly called the temporal power of the Pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.

The plural Papal States is usually preferred; the singular Papal State (equally correct since it was not a mere personal union) tends to be used (normally with lower-case letters) for the modern State of Vatican City, an enclave within Italy's national capital, Rome. The Vatican City was founded in 1929, again allowing the Holy See the political benefits of territorial sovereignty.

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Giovanni Paolo Panini - Interior of St. Peter's, Rome.jpg
Credit: Giovanni Paolo Panini

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), officially known in Italian as Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City.

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A post-restoration section of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which includes the two panels reproduced above.

The restoration of the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel was one of the most significant art restorations of the 20th century. The Sistine Chapel was built by Pope Sixtus IV within the Vatican immediately to the north of St. Peter's Basilica and completed in about 1481. Its walls were decorated by a number of Renaissance painters who were among the most highly regarded artists of late 15th century Italy, including Ghirlandaio, Perugino, and Botticelli. The Chapel was further enhanced under Pope Julius II by the painting of the ceiling by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512 and by the painting of the Last Judgment, commissioned by Pope Clement VII and completed in 1541, again by Michelangelo. The tapestries on the lowest tier, today best known from the Raphael Cartoons (painted designs) of 1515–16, completed the ensemble.

Together the paintings make up the greatest pictorial scheme of the Renaissance. Individually, some of Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling are among the most notable works of western art ever created. The frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and in particular the ceiling and accompanying lunettes by Michelangelo have been subject to a number of restorations, the most recent taking place between 1980 and 1994. This most recent restoration had a profound effect on art lovers and historians, as colours and details that had not been seen for centuries were revealed.
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  1. ^ Mitchell, S.A. (1840). Mitchell's geographical reader. Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. p. 368. 

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21815 news items

The Guardian

The Guardian
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:48:45 -0700

The Vatican City's former ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been stripped of his diplomatic immunity after being accused of sexually abusing young boys. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev Federico Lombardi, said Josef Wesolowski had ended all ...

Newsweek

Daily Beast
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:23:50 -0700

VATICAN CITY — As Pope Francis continues to straddle the fine line between calling for the end of persecution of Christians in Iraq and blessing American airstrikes against the Islamic State (also known as the “Caliphate,” ISIS, or ISIL), there is ...

New York Times

ABC News
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:36:57 -0700

And by the end of that decade, he was running one of the world's smallest countries: Vatican City. In between, Szoka honed his administrative skills as the first bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord and, later, archbishop of Detroit. Edmund Casimir Szoka ...

Boston Globe

Boston Globe
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:56:15 -0700

Yet through accidents of history, that community is organizationally centered on Vatican City — a 110-acre territory where the Holy See, the ancient seat of papal authority, is headquartered. The Vatican is a sovereign state. And like every state ...
 
Alberni Valley Times
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:56:15 -0700

In addition to leading the Detroit area's Catholics through a difficult period of parish closings, Szoka later served as the governor of Vatican City. He was aware his reputation was that of an administrative expert, but that wasn't how Szoka wanted to ...
 
MiamiHerald.com
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:22:30 -0700

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has removed a key protege of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI from the Vatican's liturgy office and sent him back to his native Spain. In 2008, Benedict appointed Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera as prefect of the Congregation ...

Notre Dame Official Athletic Site

Notre Dame Official Athletic Site
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:06:07 -0700

Following breakfast, the traveling party boarded a tour bus and headed to Vatican City for a tour of the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Our tour guide from Wednesday, Mia, was there to meet us and we were able to avoid the long ...
 
Fortune
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 04:00:21 -0700

Instead they entered Vatican City on the other side of the colonnade of St. Peter's Square and took a 150-yard stroll through the hilly enclave to the new pope's place of business—Casa Santa Marta, a five-story limestone guesthouse that could be ...
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