The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes "holy chair") is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome. The primacy of Rome makes its bishop the worldwide leader of the Catholic Church, commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church.
The Catholic Church carries out its mission of announcing the truth of the Gospel for the salvation of all humanity and in the service of peace and justice in favour of all peoples, both through the various specific and local Churches spread throughout the world, as well as through its central government. This is made up of the Pope and the Departments of the Roman Curia that assist him in carrying out his responsibilities towards the universal Church (identified as the Apostolic See or Holy See). The Pope lives in Vatican City where several of the aforementioned Departments are to be found. Vatican City State has the singular characteristic of being an instrument of the independence of the Holy See, and of the Catholic Church, from any earthly power. In a way, it is a sign of the Church’s supernatural character insofar as the structures of Vatican City are reduced to the minimum necessary to guarantee its functions.
Each year, many thousands of people take a role in religious-themed travel. Most non secular schedules include the world's most religious & provoking destinations coupled with history, culture, landscapes & cuisine that makes these regions rich with experiences, providing travelers meaningful & fun holidays. From the Cathedrals & relics of Europe to the sacred sites of the Old Testament, nobody brings you the world's non secular wonders like well established catholic travel agenvies.
On March 7th, Anonymous, a hackers' network, took credit for temporarily bringing down the Vatican's website, calling the Catholic church "corrupt" and "retrograde". But the more dangerous attacks come from within the Holy See. Its police force, the Gendarmerie, is hunting for the source of an unprecedented string of leaks, most of them apparently intended to get Pope Benedict XVI to dismiss Tarcisio Bertone, who as secretary of state is the Vatican's most senior official. The stakes are high. The pope will be 85 next month. And whoever is secretary of state when Benedict dies will play an important, perhaps decisive, role in choosing his successor.
The Holy See is supported financially by a variety of sources, including investments, real estate income, and donations from Catholic individuals, dioceses, and institutions; these help fund the Roman Curia (Vatican bureaucracy), diplomatic missions, and media outlets. The separate Vatican City State budget includes the Vatican museums and post office and is supported financially by the sale of stamps, coins, medals, and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by publications sales. Moreover, an annual collection taken up in dioceses and direct donations go to a non-budgetary fund known as Peter's Pence, which is used directly by the Pope for charity, disaster relief, and aid to churches in developing nations. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.
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. 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. Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, international development, the environment, the Middle East, China, the decline of religion in Europe, terrorism, 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.
Catholics believe that the pope is the universal shepherd of the universal church. We also believe that Jesus Christ established the papacy (see Matthew 16:18-19).
The history of the popes is filled with inspiration and excitement; it also includes periods of scandal and corruption. Christianity is rooted in the past, resounds in the present, and necessarily moves into the future. In others words, Christianity begins in faith and finds its fulfillment in love.
The Pope exercises ultimate legal, executive, and judicial power over the Holy See and the State of the Vatican City. Established in 1929 to administer properties belonging to the Holy See in Rome, the State of the Vatican City is recognised under world law and enters into global agreements. As the "central government" of the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy See has a legal nature that permits it to enter into treaties as the juridical equal of a state and to send and receive diplomatic delegates.
The Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV, from whom it derives its name, in 1475. It was designed to be - and still is - the pope's chapel and the site of papal elections. The Sistine Chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15, 1483.
The Sistine ceiling was originally painted by Piero Matteo d'Amelia, who included a star-spangled sky. But in 1508 Pope Julius II della Rovere commissioned Michelangelo to repaint the ceiling. Michelangelo was asked to paint the Twelve Apostles and a few ornaments on the ceiling of the chapel. But as he began work on the project, Michelangelo conceived grander designs and ended up painting more than 300 figures. The portraits of the popes, beginning with Peter, above the biblical scenes further emphasized the ancestral line of the popes' God-given authority. Originally there were 28 portraits of early popes who had died as martyrs. (Four of them, the portraits of the first four popes on the altar wall, were painted over by The Last Judgment). The two rows of popes do not appear in chronological order, the sequence moves back and forth between the north and south wall to form a zigzag pattern.
Besides being among the oldest international entities engaged in diplomatic activity, the Holy See also exerts a special kind of diplomacy. For what it lacks in the fields of military, economic and financial might, it makes up for in the realm of moral suasion. The Holy See seeks to use its moral force for the good, first of all, of the Church around the world and for the protection and advancement of peace and the human rights of all peoples.
The term Vatican was used in ancient times to identify the marshy area on the right bank of the Tiber River, between the Milvio Bridge and the present Sixtus Bridge. During the monarchy and the republican age, the area was known as Ager Vaticanus. It extended northwards as far as the mouth of the Cremera and southwards at least as far as the Janiculum. In the Imperial age, from the 2nd century A.D., the toponym Vaticanum was applied to an area corresponding roughly to the present Vatican City State.