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St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican is the largest church in the world. The square in front of the facade of St. Peter's is called St. Peter's square.
Vatican City From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vatican City, officially State of the Vatican City (Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae; Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano), is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome. At approximately 44 hectares (108.7 acres), it is the smallest independent state in the world.
The state came into existence by virtue of the Lateran Treaty in 1929, which speaks of it as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756 to 1870) that had previously encompassed central Italy, most of which was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the final part, the city of Rome and a small area close to it, ten years later.
Vatican City is a non-hereditary, elected monarchy that is ruled by the Bishop of Rome — the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all clergymen of the Catholic Church. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Latin:Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Apostolic Palace — the Pope's official residence — and of much of the Roman Curia.
For almost 1000 years (324-1309) the Popes lived at the Lateran Palace on the Caelian Hill in the east of Rome. Only because the Lateran building was out of repair on their return from 68 years in Avignon have they since 1377 lived in the Vatican or, for a while, at the Quirinal, now the residence of the president of Italy. The Lateran Treaty by which the Vatican City State was set up is so called because it was signed in the restored Lateran building, which is now the residence of the Pope's Cardinal Vicar for the City of Rome. There have been two Vatican Councils, but five Lateran Councils. The Basilica of St. John Lateran, not the St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, remains the Pope's cathedral.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Vatican City
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