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The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes) is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome (who is commonly known as the Pope), and is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and speaks for the whole Catholic Church. It is also recognized by other subjects of international law as a sovereign entity, headed by the Pope, with which diplomatic relations can be maintained.[1]

Although it is often referred to by the ambiguous term "the Vatican", the Holy See is not the same as the Vatican City State, which came into existence only in 1929, while the Holy See dates back to early Christian times. Ambassadors are officially accredited not to the Vatican City State but to "the Holy See", and papal representatives to states and international organizations are recognized as representing the Holy See, not the Vatican City State.

While all episcopal sees are "holy", the expression "the Holy See" (without further specification) is normally used in international relations, as a metonym, (as well as in the canon law of the Catholic Church)[2] to refer to the See of Rome viewed as the central government of the Catholic Church.

Contents

Organization

The Pope governs the Catholic Church through the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia consists of a complex of offices that administer church affairs at the highest level, including the Secretariat of State, nine Congregations, three Tribunals, eleven Pontifical Councils, and seven Pontifical Commissions. The Secretariat of State, under the Cardinal Secretary of State, directs and coordinates the Curia. The current incumbent, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, is the See's equivalent of a prime minister. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State, acts as the Holy See's minister of foreign affairs. Bertone and Mamberti were named in their respective roles by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006.

The Secretariat of State is the only body of the Curia that is situated within Vatican City. The others are in buildings in different parts of Rome that have extraterritorial rights similar to those of embassies.

Among the most active of the major Curial institutions are the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees the Catholic Church's doctrine; the Congregation for Bishops, which coordinates the appointment of bishops worldwide; the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which oversees all missionary activities; and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which deals with international peace and social issues.

Three tribunals are responsible for judicial power. The Sacra Rota is responsible for normal appeals, including decrees of nullity for marriages, with the Apostolic Signatura being the administrative court of appeal and highest ecclesiastical court. The Apostolic Penitentiary is different from those two and, instead of dealing with contentious cases, issues absolutions, dispensations, and indulgences.

The Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See coordinates the finances of the Holy See departments and supervises the administration of all offices, whatever be their degree of autonomy, that manage these finances. The most important of these is the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.

The Prefecture of the Papal Household is responsible for the organization of the papal household, audiences, and ceremonies (apart from the strictly liturgical part).

The Holy See does not dissolve upon a Pope's death or resignation. It instead operates under a different set of laws sede vacante. During this interregnum, the heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia (such as the prefects of congregations) cease immediately to hold office, the only exceptions being the Major Penitentiary, who continues his important role regarding absolutions and dispensations, and the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, who administers the temporalities (i.e., properties and finances) of the See of St. Peter during this period. The government of the See, and therefore of the Catholic Church, then falls to the College of Cardinals. Canon law prohibits the College and the Camerlengo from introducing any innovations or novelties in the government of the Church during this period.

Status in international law

The Holy See has been recognized, both in state practice and in the writing of modern legal scholars, as a subject of public international law, with rights and duties analogous to those of States. Although the Holy See, as distinct from the Vatican City State, does not fulfil the long-established criteria in international law of statehood; having a permanent population, a defined territory, a stable government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states,[3] its possession of full legal personality in international law is proved by the fact that it maintains diplomatic relations with 177 states, that it is a member-state in various intergovernmental international organizations, and that it is: "respected by the international community of sovereign States and treated as a subject of international law having the capacity to engage in diplomatic relations and to enter into binding agreements with one, several, or many states under international law that are largely geared to establish and preserving peace in the world."[4]

Diplomacy

Foreign relations with the Holy See.      Diplomatic relations      Other relations      No relations

Since medieval times the episcopal see of Rome has been recognized as a sovereign entity. The Holy See (not the State of Vatican City) maintains formal diplomatic relations with 178 sovereign states, and also with the European Union, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, as well as having relations of a special character with the Palestine Liberation Organization;[5] 69 of the diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See are situated in Rome. The Holy See maintains 180 permanent diplomatic missions abroad, of which 74 are non-residential, so that many of its 106 concrete missions are accredited to two or more countries or international organizations. The diplomatic activities of the Holy See are directed by the Secretariat of State (headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State), through the Section for Relations with States. There are 16 internationally recognized states with which the Holy See does not have relations. [6] The Holy See is the only European subject of international law that has official diplomatic relations with Republic of China (Taiwan).

The Holy See is a member of various International organizations and groups including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Telecommunication Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Holy See is also a permanent observer in various international organizations, including the United Nations General Assembly, the Council of Europe, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Relationship with the Vatican City and other territories

Although the Holy See is closely associated with the Vatican City, the independent territory over which the Holy See is sovereign, the two entities are separate and distinct. After the Italian takeover of the Papal States in 1870, the Holy See had no territorial sovereignty. In spite of some uncertainty among jurists as to whether it could continue to act as an independent personality in international matters, the Holy See continued in fact to exercise the right to send and receive diplomatic representatives, maintaining relations with states that included the major powers of Russia, Prussia and Austria-Hungary. Where, in accordance with the decision of the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the Nuncio was not only a member of the Diplomatic Corps but its Dean, this arrangement continued to be accepted by the other ambassadors. In the course of the 59 years during which the Holy See held no territorial sovereignty, the number of states that had diplomatic relations with it, which had been reduced to 16, actually increased to 29.[7]

The State of the Vatican City was created by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 to "ensure the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See" and "to guarantee to it an indisputable sovereignty in international affairs" (quotations from the treaty). Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Holy See's former Secretary for Relations with States, said that the Vatican City is a "minuscule support-state that guarantees the spiritual freedom of the Pope with the minimum territory".[8]

The Holy See, not the Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with states and participates in international organizations.[9] Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican City, and it is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities. When necessary, the Holy See will enter a treaty on behalf of the Vatican City.

Under the terms of the Lateran Treaty, the Holy See has extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five Italian sites outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo. The same authority is extended under international law over the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in a foreign country.

The terms "Holy See" and "Apostolic See"

Every episcopal see is considered holy. In Greek, the adjective "holy" or "sacred" (ἱερά) is constantly applied to all such sees as a matter of course. In the West, the adjective is not commonly added, but it does form part of an official title of two sees: as well as Rome, the Bishopric of Mainz (the former Archbishopric of Mainz), which was also of electoral and primatial rank, bears the title of "the Holy See of Mainz" (Latin: Sancta Sedes Moguntina).

The term "see" comes from the Latin word "sedes", meaning "seat", which refers to the Episcopal throne (cathedra). The term "Apostolic See" can refer to any see founded by one of the Apostles, but, when used with the definite article, it is used in the Catholic Church to refer specifically to the see of the Bishop of Rome, whom that Church sees as successor of Saint Peter, the chief of the apostles.

See also

References

  1. ^ The Holy See's sovereignty has been recognized explicitly in many international agreements and is particularly emphasized in article 2 of the Lateran Treaty of 11 February 1929, in which "Italy recognizes the sovereignty of the Holy See in the international field as an inherent attribute of its nature, in conformity with its tradition, and the requirements of its mission in the world."
  2. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 361, Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 48
  3. ^ The criteria for statehood where first authoritatively enunciated at the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States, signed on 26 December 1933.
  4. ^ Robert Araujo and John Lucal, Papal Diplomacy and the Quest for Peace, the Vatican and International Organizations from the early years to the League of Nations, Sapienza Press (2004), ISBN 1-932589-01-5, p. 16. See also James Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law, (1979) p. 154.
  5. ^ "Holy See and Botswana Establish Relations". Zenit News Agency. 2010-01-11. http://www.zenit.org/article-24154?l=english. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  6. ^ Afghanistan, Bhutan, Brunei, Comoros, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mauritania, Myanmar, North Korea, Oman, the People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tuvalu and Vietnam. See: "Mission Impossible: Eject the Holy See from the United Nations". www.chiesa:News, analysis, and documents on the Catholic Church, by Sandro Magister. 2007-08-21. http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/162301?eng=y. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  7. ^ Lecture by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, 16 February 2006
  8. ^ Lecture by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, 22 April 2002
  9. ^ Bilateral and Multilateral Relations of the Holy See

Further reading

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Books

  • La Due, William J. The Chair of Saint Peter: A History of the Papacy. (ISBN 1-57075-249-4)
  • Heribert Franz Koeck, Die völkerrechtliche Stellung des Heiligen Stuhls. Dargestellt an seinen Beziehungen zu Staaten und internationalen Organisationen, Berlin 1975
  • Heribert Franz Koeck, Holy See, in: Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Bd. 2, Oxford etc. 1995

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Rome/Vatican article)

From Wikitravel

Central Italy : Lazio : Rome : Vatican
noframe
Location
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Flag
Image:Vt-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Vatican City
Government Theocracy/ elective monarchy
Currency euro (EUR)
Area 0.44 sq km
Population 821 (July 2007 est.)
Language Latin (official), Italian (official)
Religion Roman Catholic (100% and official)
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European or Italian plug)
Calling Code +39
Internet TLD .va
Time Zone UTC +1

Perhaps the Vatican needs no introduction. The center of Catholicism, and encompassing the Vatican City state, as well as the surrounding Roman neighborhoods of the Vaticano, Prati, and Monte Mario, this small slice of the city is packed with more history and artwork than most cities in the world.

Understand

Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano), also incorrectly known as but popularly synonymous with the Holy See (Santa Sede), is the latest and only current Papal state in existence and the temporal seat of the Pope, head of the worldwide Catholic Church. Situated within the city of Rome in Italy, the Vatican is the world's smallest state. Outside the Vatican City itself, 13 buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence, also enjoy extraterritorial rights. On April 19, 2005, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI.

History

The origin of the Papal States, which over the years have varied considerably in extent, may be traced back to AD 756 with the Donation of Pepin. However the popes were the de facto rulers of Rome and the surrounding province since the fall of the Roman Empire and the retreat of Byzantine power in Italy. Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed.

Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. On 11 February 1929, three treaties were signed with Italy which, among other things, recognized the full sovereignty of the Vatican and established its territorial extent.

In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion.

The pope is elected for life by the College of Cardinals. When the election was last held (Tuesday, April 19, 2005. Benedict XVI), it attracted large crowds. Pope Benedict XVI's predecessor Pope John Paul II's Inauguration Day (he was never crowned) of 22 October 1978 was also a major event.

Present concerns of the Holy See include interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.

Terrain

The Vatican sits on a low hill between 19 m and 75 m above sea level. With a boundary only 3.2 km around, the enclosed land area is smaller than some shopping malls. However the buildings are far more historic and architecturally interesting.

Population

Although 1000 people live within Vatican City, many dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers live outside the Vatican. Officially, there are about 800 citizens making it the smallest nation in demographic size on the globe. The Vatican even fields a soccer team composed of the Swiss Guard who hold dual citizenship.

Map of Vatican City
Map of Vatican City

It's easy to get to the Vatican by taxi, bus or by foot from Rome—the closest neighborhood on the other side of the Tiber being Navona. Take the Metro line A to Cipro for the Museums, or Ottaviano for St. Peter's, or the tram to Piazza del Risorgimento.

From Central Rome, the #64 bus goes right to the southern end of the Vatican, but it is filled with pickpockets, guard your valuables! :) !

Get around

With a little more than 100 acres (less than half a square kilometer) within its walls, the Vatican is easily traveled by foot; however, most of this area is inaccessible to tourists. The most popular areas open to tourists are the Basilica of St. Peter and the Vatican Museums.

If you're heading up Monte Mario, wear comfortable shoes—it's quite a climb!

Talk

Latin enthusiasts rejoice! There is one country in the world that holds Latin (in addition to Italian) as its official language, and you can indeed get by within the city state only using the "dead" language. Italian, however, remains the more useful of the two. English is widely spoken here, as are most major languages of the world—this is the Vatican, a city for the world's Catholics and all who wish to see St. Peter's Basilica.

  • Monte Mario. The largest hill in Rome, with sweeping views of the Vatican and Rome across the Tiber.  edit
  • Teatro Adriano.  edit
  • Palazzo di Giustizia (Palace of Justice).  edit
  • Castel Sant'Angelo, [1]. 09.00 to 19.00 closed on Mondays. - Perhaps the most fascinating building in Rome. The core of the structure began life as the mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian, built between 135 and 139 AD. Subsequent strongholds built on top of the mausoleum were in turn incorporated into a residence and castle by medieval Popes. The building was used as a prison until 1870, but now houses a museum. Opera buffs will be exhilarated to visit the balcony from which Tosca leaps to her death. Film buffs will recognise as a setting from "Angels and Demons". Euros 5, with reductions.  edit
Swiss Papal Guards
Swiss Papal Guards

Swiss Guards Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera) Swiss Papal Guards are posted at entrances to the Vatican City to provide security and protect the Pope. They wear very colourful clothing, similar to the clothing of court jesters; winter palette of clothing differs from summer palette. Actually, the design is attributed to Michelangelo or Raphael. The Pontifical Swiss Guards is also the smallest and oldest standing army in the world founded in 1506 by the warrior pope Julius II (the same pope who kick started the construction of this 'new' basilica and making Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel). The origins of the Swiss guards, however, go much further. The popes, as well as a lot of European rulers, regularly imported Swiss mercenaries since the 1400's. Swiss mercenaries were a major export of Switzerland before they started making watches.

Dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
Dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

The centre of the Catholic world, this magnificent basilica with its Michelangelo designed dome has an awe-inspiring interior. This place is huge, but everything is in such proportion that the scale escapes you. To give you a comparison, you can fit the Statue of Liberty, statue and pedestal (height from ground of pedestal to torch: 93m), underneath the dome (interior height of 120m from floor to top of dome) with room to spare.

To get in, you will first go through a metal detector (after all,this is an important building). Don't be put off if there is a long line in front of the detectors; the whole thing moves quickly. The line is usually shorter in the morning and during mid week.

Baldacchino and Dome, St. Peter's Basilica
Baldacchino and Dome, St. Peter's Basilica

Aside from going inside, you can take an elevator up to the roof and then make a long climb up 323 steps to the top of the dome for a spectacular view. It costs €7 for the elevator (€5 to climb the stairs) and allow an hour to go up and down. During the climb and before reaching the very top, you will find yourself standing on the inside of the dome, looking down into the Basilica itself. Be warned that there are a lot of stairs so it is not for the faint at heart (literally or figuratively) nor the claustrophobic as the very last section of the ascent is through a little more than shoulder-width spiral staircase. Instead of leaving out the doors you came in, go down into the crypt to see the tomb of Pope John Paul II, the crypt leaves out the front.

Note: A strict dress code is enforced (as in many other houses of worship), so have shoulders covered, wear trousers or a not-too-short dress, and take your hats off (which is the custom in churches in Europe, women must wear scarves or some thing to cover their heads. You might be required to check bags at the entrance. Photos are allowed to be taken inside, but not with a flash. The lack of light will probably cause your pictures not to turn out very well, so you may want to buy a few postcards to keep as souvenirs.

The basilica is open daily April to September 9AM-7PM and October to March 9AM-6PM; closed Wednesday mornings for papal audiences.

Daily mass at 8:30AM, 10AM, 11AM, 12PM, & 5PM Monday to Saturday, and Sundays & holidays at 8:30AM, 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 12:10AM, 1PM, 4PM, & 5:30PM.

Free 90 minute tours leave daily from the Tourist Information at 2:15PM, many days also at 3PM. Telephone: 06-6988-1662. €5 audio-guides can be rented from the checkroom.

Tours are the only way to see the Vatican Gardens, €12, book at least a day in advance by calling 06-6988-4676, Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday at 10AM, depart from tour desk and finish in St. Peter's Square. To tour the Necropolis and Saint's Tomb, call the excavations office at least a week in advance at 06-6988-5318, €10 for 2 hour tour, office open Monday to Saturday 9AM-5PM.

If you want to see the pope, you can either see a usual blessing from his apartment at noon on Sunday, just show up (but in the summer he gives it from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, 25 miles from Rome) or you can go to the more formal Wednesday appearance. The pope arrives in the popemobile at 10:30AM to bless crowds from a balcony or platform, except in winter, when he speaks in the Aula Paola VI Auditorium next to the square. You can easily watch from a distance, or get a free ticket, which you must get on the Tuesday before. There are a number of ways:

Interior of St. Peter's Basilica
Interior of St. Peter's Basilica
  • Your hotelier may be able to book one for you
  • You could wait in a long line at St. Peter's on Tuesday where the Swiss Guards hand out tickets at their post to the right of the basilica, after 12:00 on Tuesday
  • You could contact the Santa Susanna Church to get you a ticket, which you pick up there on Tuesday between 5PM & 6:45PM, on Via XX Settembre, Metro stop: Reppublica. Call 06-4201-4554, or go to [2]
  • Finally, to book a free spot in the square or auditorium, call 06-6988-4631

The pope may occasionally be away on a state visit, however.

St. Peter's
St. Peter's

The Piazza di San Pietro is actually an ellipse. There are two stones (one on each side of the square) between the obelisk and the fountains. If you step on either of these stones, the four columns on the colonnades merge into one. The fountains were made by two different architects, Maderno and Bernini.

The obelisk in the middle of the square was transported from Egypt to Rome in 37 A.D. by the Emperor Gaius Caligula to mark the spine of a circus eventually completed by the Emperor Nero. The so-called Circus of Nero was parallel to and to the south of the east-west axis of the current Basilica. It was in this circus that St. Peter was killed in the first official persecutions of Christians undertaken by Nero beginning in 64 A.D. and continuing until his death in 67 A.D. The original location of the obelisk is marked with a plaque located near the sacristy on the south side of the Basilica, where it remained until it was moved in 1586 A.D. by Pope Sixtus V to its present location.

During the Middle Ages, the bronze ball on top of the obelisk was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar. When it was relocated, the present reliquary, the Chigi Star in honor of Pope Alexander VII, was added containing pieces of the True Cross. This is the only obelisk in Rome that never toppled since it was placed in ancient Rome and is the second largest Egyptian obelisk after the Lateran obelisk. This celebrated obelisk nearly shattered while it was being moved. Upon orders of the pope, no one was to speak a word otherwise he would be excommunicated. However, a sailor shouted to water the ropes to prevent them from burning. He was forgiven and in gratitude for saving the day, the palms for Palm Sunday still come from the sailor's home town of Bordighera. The moving of this obelisk was celebrated in engravings during its time to commemorate the Renaissance's recovery and mastery of ancient knowledge.

Double Spiral Staircase, exit of Vatican Museum
Double Spiral Staircase, exit of Vatican Museum

[3] One of the greatest art galleries in the world, the museum is most famous for its spiral staircase, the Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel famous for Michelangelo's frescos. It's organized so you follow a one-way route. Price: €14 for visitors, €8.00 for concessions. Open March to October Monday to Friday 8:45AM-4:45PM, Saturday 8:45AM-1:45PM, November to February Monday to Saturday 8:45AM-1:45PM, closed Sunday except last Sunday of the month, when its free, crowded, and open 8:45AM-1:45PM. Last entry 90 minutes before closing time, Sistine Chapel closes before rest of museum does. The museum is closed for holidays on: January 1 & 6, February 11, March 19, April 8 & 9, May 1 & 17, June 15 & 29, August 15 and either 14 or 16, November 1, and December 8, 25, & 26.

The Museum is usually the most hot & crowded Saturday, Monday, the last Sunday of the month, rainy days, and days before or after a holiday. Dress code: no short shorts or bare shoulders. Telephone: 06-6988-4947. There are often lengthy queues from the entrance that stretch around the block in the early morning. Non-guided visitors should join the queue that is to the left as you are facing the entrance; the queue on the right is intended for guided group visitors. Two hour English tours cost €21.50 and includes museum admission, and leave at 10:30AM, 12PM, & 2PM in summer, 10:30AM & 11:15AM in winter. To reserve, fax 06-6988-4019 up to 15 days in advance, include name, return fax number, names of those in your party, children's ages, language, and several date options. With a booking you skip the queue and enter through the exit, next to entry, to go to the guided tours desk. There are also audio-guides available from the top of the escalator/ramp for €7. Two people to share a single unit plugging in a standard set of earphones.

Accessing the Sistine Chapel requires walking through many other (spectacular) halls and buildings (including the Raphael's Rooms) and it takes about an hour. Note that although the Museum is quite large, no free map is available - you must bring your own, or purchase a guidebook in the shop for €10 or more.

Also, be aware that it is not allowed to take pictures or talk loudly in the Sistine Chapel. While one may agree with this policy or not, the visit would be a much more pleasant one without the guards having to yell out Shh! or No foto e no video!! every two minutes. The bottom line is: respect the rules and let every visitor enjoy the best of the experience. If you try to sneak a picture (like most people do), you'll get a bad photograph and a screaming guard as your reward.

Do

The two main entrances to Vatican City for tourists are A) the Vatican Museums, accessible from Viale Vaticano on the North side of the city state and B) St. Peter's Basilica, on the Southeast side of the city and accessible from Via della Conciliazione. While St. Peter's Basilica is open all day long, the Vatican Museum entrance does close at 3:30PM on weekdays and 12:20PM on Saturdays, so it is a good idea to first visit the museums and then the church.

While guidebooks do their best to provide an aid for viewing the collections inside the Vatican, a guided tour is a far better way to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

Beware of a "sweet & kind" Australian woman advertising tours right at the top of the Vatican metro exit. Her company's tour is over priced (at 45 euro), the guide speaks incomprehensible English, and the audio equipment is very low quality. They do not offer refunds.

Vatican Tours

Guided tours are provided by the Vatican itself for the cost of 30.00 Euro. These may be requested in advance by fax from one month to one week before the requested tour date, or online from two months before the requested tour date. The Vatican is notorious for failing to reply via fax, and repeat requests are often necessary. Full details on booking such tours are available at [4]

Buy

The Vatican has a unique, noncommercial economy that is supported financially by contributions (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world. It also sells postage stamps, tourist mementos, and publications. Fees for admission to museums also go into church coffers.

The Euro is the official currency of the Vatican City. The Vatican Euro is the rarest in circulation among the European countries, so don't spend it! It is worth a lot more than its face value.

The Vatican is the only country in the world where ATM instructions are in Latin.

Eat

The Vatican Museums have a reasonable cafeteria style restaurant, a bar, and a pizzeria, all of which are open during museum opening hours, and until about one hour after closing. See also Rome.

Seasoned travelers will know how to tip, and how to ask for the price at the counter, instead of buying at the over-rated 'sit-down' full-price,. Better to tip, and be wellcome again the next, or the next, day, than rediculing everyone by paying triple or at least double,.

  • Old Bridge. Located across the street from the Vatican City wall if you're following it from San Pietro to the Vatican Museum. Very cheap and delicious.  edit
  • Siciliainbocca, Via E. Faa di Bruno 26 (Metro line A, Cipro.), 06 373 584 00, [5]. nice Sicilian restaurant in the quiet (and somewhat boring) part of northern Prati. Try the swordfish and the lemon sorbet! reasonable. Fish plate around €15, but do order some antipasti and pasta.  edit
  • Insalata Ricca, Via Fulcieri Paulucci De' Calboli (Near piazza Manzoni), [6]. Part of a Rome-based chain, offers good salads and other food to both tourists and locals. Cheap.  edit

Drink

Coffee in the morning (un caffè, per favore!, grazie!), mineral water for lunch (gassata/non-gassata? or frizzante/fizzante), and try to find rosé wine in the evening: it goes very well with all Italian traditional dishes, and keeps one and one's company fresh and summery. Care and solid experience is advised when arriving from colder climates, to absorb the many new, ever so pleasant, enviroments and tastes, and the delicates of balancing wine and water, with creamy sauces and vinegars.

Sleep

Unless you count the Pope as a good friend (and he concurs), there are no lodging opportunities in the Vatican City itself. However, there are many hotels in the surrounding Vaticano neighborhood of Rome.

  • Colors Hostel, Via Boezio 31, +39 06 6874030 (), [7]. Hotel with brightly painted rooms, a few blocks north of the Vatican, guests can make use of kitchen facilities on each floor. From €15 (low season) €80 in April.  edit
  • Casa Frida, Via Emo, 97, +39 339 2768290 (), [8]. Holiday House next to the Vatican City, a few steps from the Metro Line A. From €70 per room.  edit
  • Hotel Colors, Via Boezio, 31, + 39 06 6874030 (fax: + 39 06 6867947), [9]. Seven dorms and wide selection of bedrooms with private showers, TV and a shared kitchen for this two star accommodation placed next to the Vatican City and the Saint Peter Basilica, able to host any kind of clientele, either family and young travelers.  edit
  • Il Castelletto Hotel, Via (Nearest metro station is Cornelia on Line A), [10]. Il Castelletto is located in a villa of the early 9the century, on the famous Aurelia antica, recently rebuilt. It is a small hotel, situated not so far from the centre and famous tourist attractions. It has a pleasant atmosphere and each rooms has a colour TV, air conditioning, telephone with direct line and internet facilities. Parking is available for guests in the garden of the hotel and there are different parking near by the villa. From €20.  edit
  • Atlante Star Hotel, Via Giovanni Vitelleschi, 34, (+39) 06 6873233, [11]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 11:00. Four star hotel with rooftop terrace restaurant overlooking Saint Peters. from €120.  edit
  • B&B Filomena e Francesca, Via della Giuliana, 72, +39 06 37513625 (), [12]. Bed and Breakfast. Three rooms with private bathrooms and an air-conditioning system. Price from 40€ x person x night.  edit
  • B&B Flaminia House, Via Flaminia Vecchia, 484 (walking distance from the Mlvian Bridge on the Tevere River), (+39) 06 99344539 (), [13]. checkin: 16:00; checkout: 13:00. A family run B&B with all the amenities of a modern Hotel. Next to Ponte Milvio and the Vatican City. from €40 per person.  edit
  • B&B Gli Artisti, Via degli Scipioni 53, (+39) 3382078356, [14]. Three colourful rooms are rented out are rented in this B&B, a little less than a kilometre from the main entrance to the Vatican from €64.  edit
  • B&B Sistine, Via Duilio 6, +393358714840, [15]. New B&B, rooms comes with sat tv, dvd player and free wifi From €120 pp.  edit
  • Best Vatican, Via degli Scipioni 135, +393358714840, [16]. New, modern B&B. Private bathrooms, LCD TV's with DVD player. From €120 pp.  edit
  • Hotel Alimandi Tunisi, Via Tunisi 8, +39 06 39723941, [17]. Nice three star hotel, 35 bedrooms with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, large common area, complimentary breakfast, and terrace with panoramic view of the Roman roofs. From €140.  edit
  • Leone B&B, Via Leone IV, nr. 109, +39 338 6112656 (, fax: +00 39 6 3203663), [18]. Located one block from the entrance to Vatican City, this independent bed and breakfast is clean and cozy. While it doesn't offer the amenities of an expensive hotel, it's a fine choice for an independent traveler, since it is located less than two blocks from the metro station. Free breakfast. €70/90.  edit
  • Mocenigo Vatican Suites, Via Mocenigo, 16 - 00192 Roma, +39 Tel: 0039 3383823606 (), [19]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10 a.m.. Opened in February 2009, this seven room guest house is located only 100 metres from the main entrance to the Vatican Museums. From €75.  edit
  • Papa Vista Relais, Via Tunisi 3, +39 06 65420553, [20]. Recently opened guesthouse fairly close to the Vatican's main entrance, near the Metro station Cipro. From €80.  edit
  • Prati BB, Via degli Scipioni, 135, ph.+39 06 3211329 (), [21]. A small Bed and Breakfast offering two rooms with private bathrooms and air-conditioning. Price from 45€ x person x night.  edit

Contact

Mail a letter - Since Vatican City is a separate country, it also has its own postal system, which is generally considered to be a bit more reliable than that of Italy. Send a postcard to your friends and it will be postmarked from Vatican City.

Respect

Since Vatican City is a Papal state, such respect and reverence to the Roman Catholic Church and its practices and doctrine is encouraged.

Sleeveless shirts and short pants or skirts are not permitted within the border of the Vatican.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Singular
Holy See

Plural
-

Holy See

  1. The episcopal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent see of the Catholic Church. It is also the sovereign entity headed by the Pope which governs the Vatican and represents the Catholic Church in temporal affairs.

Translations


Simple English

The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes, "holy seat") is the office of the Bishop of Rome — the Pope. The term Holy See means also the Pope and the Roman Curia—that means the central government of the Roman Catholic Church.

Every episcopal see is seen as holy and the Eastern Orthodox Church constantly applies the adjective "holy" or "sacred" (ἱερά) to all its sees, but "the Holy See" (in the singular and with the definite article and no other specification) normally means the see of Rome, which is also called "the Apostolic See". While "Apostolic See" can refer to any see founded by any of the Apostles, the term is in this case used to refer to the see of the bishop seen as successor of the chief of the Apostles, Saint Peter.

Aside from Rome, the archiepiscopal See of Mainz, which was also of electoral and primatial rank, is the only other Western see that bears the title of "Holy See", although this usage is less common.

Contents

Organization of the Holy See

The Pope governs the Church through the Roman Curia. The Roman Curia consists of the Secretariat of State, nine Congregations, three Tribunals, 11 Pontifical Councils, and a complex of offices that administer church affairs at the highest level. The Secretariat of State, under the Cardinal Secretary of State, directs and coordinates the Curia. The current incumbent, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, is the Holy See's equivalent of a prime minister. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary of the Section for Relations With States of the Secretariat of State acts as the Holy See's foreign minister. Bertone and Mamberti have been named in their respective roles under by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006.

Among the most active of the major Curial institutions are the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees church doctrine; the Congregation for Bishops, which coordinates the appointment of bishops worldwide; the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which oversees all missionary activities; and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which deals with international peace and social issues.

International organizations

The Holy See is especially active in international organizations and is a member of the following groups:

  • International Grains Council (IGC)
  • International Committee for Military Medicine (ICMM)
  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
  • Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)*
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU), International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • Note: In 1971, the Holy See announced the decision to adhere to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in order to "give its moral support to the principles that form the base of the treaty itself."

The Holy See is also a permanent observer of the following groups:

  • Note: the Holy See is a permanent observer in the United Nations and, in July 2004, gained all the rights of full membership except voting. According to Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See Permanent Observer, "We have no vote because this is our choice." He added that the Holy See considers that its current status "is a fundamental step that does not close any path for the future. The Holy See has the requirements defined by the UN statute to be a member state and, if in the future it wished to be so, this resolution would not impede it from requesting it."

The Holy See is an observer on an informal basis of the following groups:

  • Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC)
  • International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • United Nations Committee of Peaceful Use of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS)
  • World Meteorological Organization in Geneva (WMO)

The Holy See sends a delegate to the Arab League in Cairo. It is also a guest of honour to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.


The Holy See, not the Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with states (such as with the United Kingdom), and participates in international organizations.[1] Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican City, and it is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities. When necessary, the Holy See will enter a treaty on behalf of the Vatican City.

Under the terms of the Lateran Treaty, the Holy See has extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five Italian sites outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo.[2] The same authority is extended under international law over the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in a foreign country.

Other pages

References

Further reading

Other websites


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