How It Came to Be:
The Origins of the
Vatican City
A crash course in the history of the
world’s smallest sovereign state
Facts about the Vatican
• Is only 44 hectares in size, making it the world’s smallest
sovereign state
• Saint Peter’s Basi...
Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome
The ecumenical mother church of the Catholic hierarchy
First things first:
the Papal States
So how did the Catholic Church get to have the
Vatican City in the first place?
To make a long story short,
beginning in the year 754,
the papacy began its
secular duty as the governor
of large tracts o...
The Kingdom of Italy was formed in 1861 and the new
realm declared war on Pope Pius IX in Rome and the Papal
States.
The P...
He excommunicated the
King of Italy and maintained
an image of power by
preserving diplomatic
relations with many
countrie...
Lateran Treaty
This stand-off between the
Kingdom of Italy and the
Catholic Church ended in 1929
with the signing of the L...
The treaty…
• recognized full sovereignty of the Holy See over the State
of Vatican City;
• listed which of the properties...
How is the Holy See different
from the Vatican City?
But what exactly is this Holy See that the Kingdom of Italy signed an...
The Holy See
• According to the Catholic tradition, it is a term used to
describe the episcopal see, the throne, or the se...
Saint Peter
Traditionally considered as the first bishop of Rome
Pope Francis
Unlike other Catholic episcopal sees and dioceses in the world, however, the Holy
See is special because the ...
The Holy See…
• is distinct from the Vatican City, which is its sovereign
territory.
• it possesses a full legal personali...
If you’re still confused, you can probably think of the Holy
See as a corporate entity with the Pope as its head, while
th...
Can a 44-hectare walled city
be an actual country?
Vatican City is
unique.
In many ways, comparing
Vatican City to other city-
states like Monaco, San
Marino, or Singapore i...
What makes it unique?
• its finances are mostly supported by contributions from
members of the church, admission fees into...
• the other 200 people who
work in Vatican City come
from other countries and
are allowed to maintain
their citizenships, ...
Who gets to become a citizen of
the Vatican City?
In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI enacted a revised citizenship
law which basic...
In some cases, citizenship
can be requested by
qualified individuals. For
example, by people who
have obtained papal
autho...
Other Vatican City Facts
Absolute Monarchy
• Many people don’t know it, but the Vatican City is
actually one of the last remaining absolute monarch...
The Pontifical Swiss Guard
• Aside from protecting the pope, the Swiss Guards are
there for another reason: to protect the...
Pontifical Academy of
Sciences
• It aims to promote the
progress of
mathematical, physical,
and natural sciences.
• Its me...
Latin language
• The Roman Catholic Church is one of the few
organizations in the world that still uses Latin, and it is
a...
The obelisk at
Saint Peter’s Square
This obelisk is one of the
oldest artifacts in Rome.
Originally erected in
Heliopolis,...
You can read the
pope’s letters
• If you are a qualified scholar, you can actually gain access to
the Vatican Secret Archi...
For more information
about travel to Italy,
visit our website
www.touritalynow.com
or call our travel experts
at 800.955.4...
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How It Came to Be: The Origins of the Vatican City

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This is a crash course in the history of the world's smallest sovereign state - the Vatican City!

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How It Came to Be: The Origins of the Vatican City

  1. 1. How It Came to Be: The Origins of the Vatican City A crash course in the history of the world’s smallest sovereign state
  2. 2. Facts about the Vatican • Is only 44 hectares in size, making it the world’s smallest sovereign state • Saint Peter’s Basilica is not actually the official ecclesiastical seat of the pope, hence it is not the ecumenical mother church of the Catholic hierarchy. • This honor belongs to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, which is one of the four major basilicas of the Catholic Church.
  3. 3. Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome The ecumenical mother church of the Catholic hierarchy
  4. 4. First things first: the Papal States So how did the Catholic Church get to have the Vatican City in the first place?
  5. 5. To make a long story short, beginning in the year 754, the papacy began its secular duty as the governor of large tracts of land surrounding Rome. Over a period of more than 1,100 years, these territories became known as the Papal States. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  6. 6. The Kingdom of Italy was formed in 1861 and the new realm declared war on Pope Pius IX in Rome and the Papal States. The Papal States were annexed to the kingdom in no time. Refusing to recognize the authority of the Kingdom of Italy, Pope Pius IX confined himself within the walls of the Leonine City, which is sort of a precursor of the modern-day Vatican City.
  7. 7. He excommunicated the King of Italy and maintained an image of power by preserving diplomatic relations with many countries. Between 1870 to 1929 a total of five popes were considered “prisoners in the Vatican.” Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  8. 8. Lateran Treaty This stand-off between the Kingdom of Italy and the Catholic Church ended in 1929 with the signing of the Lateran Treaty on February 11, 1929. It was signed by the Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and the Holy See’s Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  9. 9. The treaty… • recognized full sovereignty of the Holy See over the State of Vatican City; • listed which of the properties of the Vatican on Italian soil were to hold extraterritorial status and exemption from expropriation and taxes; • stipulated that the Italian government will give the Holy See a financial compensation that is equivalent to about $1 billion in today’s money.
  10. 10. How is the Holy See different from the Vatican City? But what exactly is this Holy See that the Kingdom of Italy signed an agreement with?
  11. 11. The Holy See • According to the Catholic tradition, it is a term used to describe the episcopal see, the throne, or the seat of the bishop of Rome. • The Holy See’s original Latin name, “Sancta Sedes” actually means the “holy seat,” as a reference to the seat of Saint Peter, traditionally considered as the first bishop of Rome. • It is also used to refer to the district or diocese under the administration of the bishop of Rome.
  12. 12. Saint Peter Traditionally considered as the first bishop of Rome
  13. 13. Pope Francis Unlike other Catholic episcopal sees and dioceses in the world, however, the Holy See is special because the bishop of Rome is also the pope. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  14. 14. The Holy See… • is distinct from the Vatican City, which is its sovereign territory. • it possesses a full legal personality in international law, with rights and duties similar to sovereign states. • it only issues diplomatic and service passports because it isn’t the actual country, while the Vatican City issues the normal passports to its citizens.
  15. 15. If you’re still confused, you can probably think of the Holy See as a corporate entity with the Pope as its head, while the Vatican City is the realm he rules.
  16. 16. Can a 44-hectare walled city be an actual country?
  17. 17. Vatican City is unique. In many ways, comparing Vatican City to other city- states like Monaco, San Marino, or Singapore is quite problematic. For one thing, Vatican City does not maintain an actual commercial economy like other countries do.
  18. 18. What makes it unique? • its finances are mostly supported by contributions from members of the church, admission fees into museums, and the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs; • it does not have a self-reproducing population since that most of its 500 or so citizens are men who are celibate; • at present, there are only about 30 Vatican citizens who are women;
  19. 19. • the other 200 people who work in Vatican City come from other countries and are allowed to maintain their citizenships, and; • those who reside inside the city walls and are Vatican City citizens are mostly members of the clergy or of the Swiss Guard.
  20. 20. Who gets to become a citizen of the Vatican City? In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI enacted a revised citizenship law which basically classifies citizens into three categories: • the cardinals resident in Vatican City State or in Rome; • the Holy See’s diplomats; • persons who reside in the Vatican City State because of their office or service, which includes the Swiss Guards
  21. 21. In some cases, citizenship can be requested by qualified individuals. For example, by people who have obtained papal authorization to reside in Vatican City or by spouses and children of current citizens.
  22. 22. Other Vatican City Facts
  23. 23. Absolute Monarchy • Many people don’t know it, but the Vatican City is actually one of the last remaining absolute monarchies in the world, making it a member of an exclusive club that includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, and Swaziland. • But since the pope is elected by the cardinals, this makes the Vatican City the only non-hereditary absolute monarchy in the world.
  24. 24. The Pontifical Swiss Guard • Aside from protecting the pope, the Swiss Guards are there for another reason: to protect the king of Vatican City. Most of us never get to hear about this king of Vatican City, but he is very much real because he also happens to be the pope! • Don’t let the Swiss Guard’s theatrical-looking Renaissance uniform fool you. They are actual soldiers from the Swiss military who can knock out the bad guys when they have to.
  25. 25. Pontifical Academy of Sciences • It aims to promote the progress of mathematical, physical, and natural sciences. • Its members include some of the 20th century’s most prominent scientists and Nobel laureates. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  26. 26. Latin language • The Roman Catholic Church is one of the few organizations in the world that still uses Latin, and it is also the language mainly used by the Holy See. • The Vatican City is also the only place in world where you can find ATMs that allow you to do transactions in Latin!
  27. 27. The obelisk at Saint Peter’s Square This obelisk is one of the oldest artifacts in Rome. Originally erected in Heliopolis, Egypt, around 4,400 years ago, the obelisk was moved to its present location in 1586 under the direction of Pope Sixtus V.
  28. 28. You can read the pope’s letters • If you are a qualified scholar, you can actually gain access to the Vatican Secret Archives and read the correspondences made by every pope for the last few centuries. • These include those between King Henry VIII of England and Pope Clement VII in the 1500s, wherein the former asked the latter to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. • When the pope denied the request, Henry VIII and the Church of England separated from Rome, and the king married Anne Boleyn anyway!
  29. 29. For more information about travel to Italy, visit our website www.touritalynow.com or call our travel experts at 800.955.4418.

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