Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D


Basic Info about Vatican City

Vatican Flag

National Arms

Benedict XVI's Personal Arms

Flag of the Swiss Guard

Vatican Links
Vatican Website
Vatican News Service
Tour of Holy See
Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel
La Guardia Svizzera Pontificia

Vatican Weather:

Click for Rome, Italy Forecast

The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)
Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)


0.17 sq mi (0.44 sq km) or 108.7 acres


921 (July 2004 est.)


Latin (official -- even bank machines have a Latin option); Italian

Time Zone:

GMT +1 (GMT +2 during the summer)


temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)





Apostolic Constitution of 1967 (effective 1 March 1968)

Executive branch:

Chief of State: the Pope
Cabinet: Pontifical Commission appointed by the Pope
Elections: Pope elected for life by the College of Cardinals; Secretary of State appointed by the Pope

Legislative branch:

Unicameral Pontifical Commission

Judicial branch:

None; normally handled by Italy


The Holy See has formal diplomatic relations with 166 nations

International organization participation:

CE (observer), IAEA, ICFTU, Intelsat, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM (guest), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNHCR, UPU, WHO (observer), WIPO, WToO (observer), WTrO (observer)


Defense is the responsibility of Italy; Swiss Papal Guards are posted at entrances to the Vatican City to provide security and protect the Pope. Click to see a picture of the Swiss Papal Guard uniform.


Labor force:

Dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers who live outside the Vatican.


Revenues: $245.2 million 1
Expenditures: $260.4 million, including capital expenditures (2002)


Vatican City is landlocked and has no arable land; most of the Vatican's expenses are met by "Peter's Pence" (yearly, voluntary donations to the Holy See by the world's Catholics), by printing, and by the making of mosaics.

Economic Aid Recipient:



Italian Lira (ITL); Euro (EUR)


Internet country code:


Radio stations:

AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 2 (1998)

Television Broadcast stations:


Internet Hosts:




Railway Station:

St. Peter's Station connects to Rome's railway network

Emblems and Flags:

The crossed Keys in the emblems and flags of the Holy See represent the Keys to the Kingdom given to Peter by Christ; the tiara represents the authority of the Petrine Ministry.

National Anthem:

"Hymn and Pontifical March"
Click here to hear melody, here for English Lyrics, and here Italian lyrics.


Popes in their secular role ruled large areas of what is now Italy for more than a thousand years until the wars for the unification of Italy between 1869 and 1870, 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, and disputes between Italy and a series of "Prisoner Popes" (the Popes between 17 October 1870 to 9 June 1929) were finally resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent State of Vatican City, a sovereign and independent City State.

The difference between the terms "Holy See" and "Vatican City"

Though these terms are almost always used interchangeably, "Holy See" refers to the composite of the authority, jurisdiction, and sovereignty of the Pope and his advisers to direct the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. As the "central government" of the Church, the Holy See has a "legal personality" that allows it to enter into treaties as the juridicial equal of a state and to send and receive diplomatic representatives. The "State of the Vatican City" was created in 1929 to administer properties belonging to the Holy See and is recognized under international law and enters into international agreements like any other politically sovereign entity.

As always, "Rome" the city, "Rome" the hierarchy, must be differentiated from "Eternal Rome," the home of the Church of Peter. It isn't the city of Rome per se that is the seat of the Church as the papacy having been centered for a while in Avignon demonstrates. Eternal Rome is the spiritual and oh-so-real home whence Peter, the Saints, the great Doctors, and Apostolic Truth come.


U.S. Residents: Visiting Vatican City

To find out the particulars of visiting Vatican City (the dates of papal addresses, Mass times, etc.), contact:

Bishops' Office for United States Visitors to the Vatican
North American College - Casa Santa Maria
Via dell'Umilta, 30 -- 00187 Rome, Italy

TEL 06/690.011
FAX 06/679.1448

To contact the Pope:

His Holiness Pope __________
00120 Vatican City, Italy, Europe

1 Just for a comparison: Coca-Cola's CEO, Douglas N. Daft, takes home $105 million; Enron's CEO, Ken Lay, exercised $123 million in stock options in 2000, prior to the accounting scandal; General Electric's CEO, John Welch Jr., gets a pension of almost $10 million annually for the rest of his life. But it's Vatican City -- a city state all its own, with a labor force of 3,000 and historic buildings and art that require upkeep -- that gets accused of having all this wealth. Silliness!

Information in table adapted, in part, from the CIA's World Factbook

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Swiss Guard

The original uniforms of the Swiss Guard are alleged to have been designed by Michelangelo.