Portal:Vatican City

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Credit: MarcusObal
Five images of Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican stitched up to make this panorama.

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The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes) 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. As such, diplomatically, the Holy See acts and speaks for the whole Catholic Church. It is also recognized by other subjects of international law as a sovereign entity, headed by the Pope, with which diplomatic relations can be maintained."[1][2]

Although it is often referred to as "the Vatican", the Holy See is not the same entity as the Vatican City State, which came into existence only in 1929; the Holy See, the episcopal see of Rome, dates back to early Christian times. Ambassadors are officially accredited not to the Vatican City State but to "the Holy See", and papal representatives to states and international organizations are recognized as representing the Holy See, not the Vatican City State.

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The Vatican Observatory (Specola Vaticana) is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See. Originally based in the Roman College of Rome, it now has headquarters and laboratory at the summer residence of the Pope in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, and an observatory at the Mount Graham International Observatory in the United States.[3]

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  1. Text taken directly from http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/country-profile/europe/holy-see/ (viewed on December 14, 2011), on the website of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
  2. The Holy See's sovereignty has been recognized explicitly in many international agreements and is particularly emphasized in article 2 of the Lateran Treaty of 11 February 1929, in which "Italy recognizes the sovereignty of the Holy See in the international field as an inherent attribute of its nature, in conformity with its tradition, and the requirements of its mission in the world."
  3. Johnson, George (2009-06-22). "Vatican's Celestial Eye, Seeking Not Angels but Data". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>