What Makes The Vatican City And Holy See So Unique?

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe on April 19 2018 in Society

St. Peter's Square from the top of Michelangelo's dome.

The Vatican City is the smallest city-state in the world occupying 44 ha. The Vatican is the administrative territory of the Holy See. The Holy See refers to the pope as the Roman Pontiff and the Roman Curia. The Vatican and The Holy See are an important cultural, religious and historical center and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city receives a broad range of tourists who attend papal masses as well as to the uniqueness of the roman constructions within the basilicas. The Vatican is also notable for having a theocratic government.

5. History of the Holy See and the Lateran Treaty -

The Holy See was established during the Christian era as the chair of St. Peter. The Holy See was first based in the St. Peter’s Basilica between the 349AD to the 14th century. All the popes, who are successors of Apostle Peter, have occupied the seat. The Holy See has always existed as a sovereign capable of signing treaties and agreements with international bodies mainly to promote peace and humanitarian relief. The most important treaty was signed between the Holy See and Italy the Lateran Treaty of 1929 which led to the recognition of Vatican City as a papal state and Rome as the capital of Italy. The independence of Vatican City State ensured full independence for the pope thus changing the state of the Roman Catholic Church as Italy’s state religion.

4. Organizational Structure -

The Holy See is governed by the Roman Curia which has a complex structure headed by the pope who is the Roman pontiff. The structure includes secretariat of state, congregations, pontifical councils, connected institutions, apostolic tribunals, cardinals’ commissions, supervisory council and the political section composed of the president and members of the pontifical commission, the governorate and tribunals.

3. International Recognition and Foreign Relations -

The Holy See is recognized internationally as sovereignty with an international personality which allows it to relate diplomatically with international organizations including the UN. The Holy See’s diplomatic relations have existed from the earliest times. The Holy See is a member of some universal organs such as the Organisation of American States, Arab League, and the African Union, and is a permanent observer in regional and international bodies. Some of the important treaties it has been part of include the adoption of the Rome Statute by the ICC and the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

2. Art and Architecture -

Vatican City has unique architecture dating back to the late Renaissance period. This architecture has both Renaissance and Baroque features. The design of the St. Peter’s Basilica makes it possible for a large number of people to occupy the Basilica allow a large number of people to occupy the Basilica and see the pope as he conducts masses. The St. Peters Basilica has a square on the outside that allows for public sermons by the pope as well as papal blessings. The basilica was designed by some architects including Michelangelo.

1. Cultural Significance and Outlook for the Future -

The city of Vatican is an important cultural and historical centre for Catholics and pilgrims as well as other tourists from the whole world. The Holy See has been recently engaged in many humanitarian actions including promotion of justice and peace. For this reason, the Holy See has been part of some international peace conventions.

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