General Information about Vatican City

The official name is the Vatican. Located in the southern part of Europe. The area is 0.44 km2. The population is 0.9 thousand people. (2002 estimate). Official languages are Italian, Latin. The capital is the city of Vatican City (0.9 thousand people). Public holiday – the day of the coronation of Pope John Paul II on October 22 (since 1978). The monetary unit is the euro (since 2002).

Possessions: 13 buildings in Rome and the summer residence of the Pope in Castel Gandolfo, enjoying the right of extraterritoriality.

It has the status of a permanent observer in the UN and many other international organizations.

Geography of the Vatican

The Vatican, the smallest state in the world, is located between 41°54′ north latitude and 10°27′ east longitude, in the western part of Rome on the right bank of the Tiber River. Has no access to the sea. The landscape is hilly, with a height difference of 19 to 75 m. There are no minerals. The climate is temperate (mild rainy winters and hot dry summers).

Vatican population

Population growth rate – 1.15%; data on births, deaths, etc. are not published. According to Countryaah, the ethnic composition is heterogeneous, dominated by Italians and Swiss. Prelates, nuns, guards and 3,000 employees live outside the Vatican. Religion is Roman Catholic.

History of the Vatican

The origin of the Vatican dates back to 756, when the King of the Franks Pepin the Short, in gratitude for political support, presented Pope Stephen II with the Roman region, part of Ravenna and Catania. The resulting state, which was called the Papal States, lasted until 1870 and acquired great political weight due to its active participation in internecine wars on the peninsula, as well as in the affairs of Europe. In 1809 it was liquidated by Napoleon Bonaparte, but in 1815 it was restored by the Congress of Vienna. During the Italian Revolution of 1848, the pope was expelled from his possessions, but returned to power by the troops of Napoleon III. In the process of the national unification of Italy, the papal throne lost its possessions one after another, and in 1870 the troops of King Victor Emmanuel entered Rome. The “Law Concerning the Prerogatives of the Pope and the Holy See” (the “Law of Guarantees”) issued by the Italian state recognized the sovereignty of the pope in the territory of the Vatican. And he granted him property privileges, but Pius IX did not accept these conditions and declared himself a prisoner. The conflict was settled only in 1929 by the conclusion between the Vatican and Mussolini’s government of the Lateran Treaty and the Concordat. According to the agreement, the Vatican was declared “neutral and inviolable territory”, and the pope was paid compensation for the damage suffered. According to the Concordat, the Roman Catholic religion was declared the state religion of Italy. The Democratic Constitution of 1947 confirmed the validity of the Lateran Treaty, but the Concordat, revised in 1984, separated the church from the state and abolished most of the privileges given to it earlier.

State structure and political system of the Vatican

The Vatican is the center of the Catholic world, uniting more than 1 billion people. This is a theocratic state built on the principles of canon law. The Apostolic Constitution, adopted in 1967, is in force. The country does not have an administrative division, like other cities. In 2001, a forthcoming revision of the Constitution, linked to the Lateran Accords, was announced in the direction of a greater separation of powers.

The highest body of legislative and executive power is the Commission, headed and appointed by the pope. The pontiff is the head of state, personifying its sovereignty, and has full power. He is elected for life by a collegium (conclave) of cardinals under the age of 80 by a 2/3 majority vote. The head of government is the secretary of state, appointed by the pope. Under the pontiff there are advisory bodies: the Sacred College of Cardinals, appointed by the pope, and the Synod of Bishops. The latter includes patriarchs and some heads of Eastern-rite Catholic churches, elected representatives of national episcopal conferences and religious orders, cardinals—leaders of Roman congregations (standing committees), and other persons appointed by the pope. The order of the sessions of the Synod is determined by the pontiff. The current affairs of church administration are handled by 9 congregations, each of which includes cardinals and bishops appointed for 5 years, consultants and civil servants. There are no political parties, associations, associations of business circles in the country.

The Vatican has diplomatic relations with 173 countries of the world. Informal diplomacy is carried out through the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace”, which has branches in many countries, as well as through Catholic non-governmental organizations. The traditionally conservative policy of the pre-war and early post-war years changed at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s. the policy of renewal (“agiornamento”), which found expression in the documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Pacem in terris” (1963) called for the participation of Catholics in dialogue with the outside world. The modern social doctrine of the Catholic Church is based on the ideas of strengthening peace as a global value, dialogue of civilizations and cultures, condemnation of all types of violence and religious fanaticism, calls for the creation of a world “cooperative government” and for the expansion of the activities of international governmental and public organizations. In the encyclical “Laborem exercens” (1981) of Pope John Paul II (K. Wojtyla, former Archbishop of Krakow and the first non-Italian pope since 1522), the idea of the value of labor as a way of developing the personality (“theology of labor”) was doctrinalized.

During the period of the present pontificate, the international activity of the Vatican was especially intensified. The Pope made more than 100 trips abroad, contributed to the establishment or resumption of diplomatic relations with the countries of Eastern Europe (in 1989, the head of the Soviet state M. Gorbachev visited the Vatican for the first time), strengthening ties with the Arab world, and attempts to resolve the Middle East crisis. The reform of the Catholic Church also continues: for the first time since 1561, the edition of the catechism was updated, and the size of the conclave of bishops was increased from 120 to 135 people. (moreover, most of them were non-Europeans), the process of “cleansing memory” has begun – repentance for the sins of two thousand years of history (the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc.).

The armed forces of the Vatican consist of a corps of Swiss guards (70 people) who are on guard duty. The military defense of the country’s territory is the responsibility of Italy.

The Vatican has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in March 1990).

Economy of the Vatican

The Vatican lives on contributions from Catholic churches around the world, income from tourism (the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, minting coins, paying for museum tours) and from the sale of extensive printed products. In addition, the capital of the Vatican is invested in the industry of Italy and other countries. One of the sources of income is “tithe” – deductions from the rent for land owned by the church in the countries of the Catholic world. There is no own industry (with the exception of printing), agriculture is not conducted. Statistical data on the structure of the economy are not published. The Central Bank of the Vatican (“Institute for Religious Affairs”), reorganized in 1989, carries out operations of an international nature. The budget is reduced with a small positive balance of approx. $200 million (1997)

The Vatican is connected to the territory of Italy by a railway line (0.86 km) and a helicopter connection. Vatican Radio broadcasts in 34 languages, incl. from Italian territory. There is a TV station. The telephone network is fully included in the Italian one, incl. international.

Science and culture of the Vatican

The Vatican is the spiritual center of Catholicism. Numerous educational institutions, the Catholic press, radio and television, church and secular organizations operate under his leadership and control in many countries of the world. Since 1936, the activity of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which has 70 members, has been resumed. On the territory of the Vatican there are architectural and artistic values ​​of world importance – St. Peter’s Cathedral and the palace ensemble of the 15th-16th centuries, which store the richest collection of works of art from the Renaissance period, a library with a unique collection of books and ancient manuscripts, an art gallery, outstanding examples of garden and park art.

People of Vatican City