The Vatican is its own country – and the smallest in the world. This fact is not new to most people, but were you also aware that there are only about 800 residents of this tiny nation with even fewer citizens? Vatican citizenship is not guaranteed by birth, but by appointment, and is terminal, ending when a citizen discontinues residency.
Guy J. Consolmagno, who is the curator of the Vatican’s meteorite collection and one of the Vatican’s own astronomers at Vatican Observatory, has said “Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism – it’s turning God into a nature god.
The Vatican museums contain one of the largest art collections in the world, with over 9 miles of pieces, which could wrap four and half times around the Vatican walls. Its 1400 rooms, chapels, and galleries constitute former wings of the Vatican Palace.
Tourists can often stumble across “Hot Priest Calendar” adorning gift stands close to the Vatican for €10. The calendar features photographs by Photographer Piero Pazzi, who has selectively photographed some of the most handsome Roman Catholic priests from Vatican City, Italy.
Every Wednesday morning the Pope holds a Papal Audience during which he addresses the public in multiple languages and concludes with a final blessing of people and objects held up by members of the crowd. Having trouble thinking of a good Christmas gift or Vatican souvenir? Make time for the Papal Audience during your Roman excursion – it’s hard to beat anything blessed by the Pope!
The Vatican purchased enough carbon offsets for the entire Papal city in 2007. To this day, the promised planting of a “Vatican forest” has not happened
St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest Catholic church in the world. In case anyone wishes to refute this fact, the Church has actually placed the measurements of the largest churches in the world in the marble of the Nave to prove that all other basilicas are able to fit within the Basilica.
When a journalist innocently asked Pope John XXIII, “Your Holiness, how many people work in the Vatican?” He jokingly replied, “About half of them
The art in St. Peter’s itself is mostly mosaics, although they resemble paintings. In order to ensure that the artwork in the church would persevere, most “paintings” are actually mosaics.
According to the EU’s Copenhagen criteria which define what states are eligible to join the EU, a candidate state must be a free market democracy. Given that the Vatican City is a theocracy, it does not meet the criteria. However as it is so small, and surrounded by an EU state, it is intrinsically linked to the EU
The baldacchino, or the center altar of St. Peter’s, lies directly over where St. Peter, the first pope, is buried. It is 96 feet high, made from bronze mostly stripped from ancient Roman monuments such as the Pantheon, and the only person who is permitted to say mass at this altar is the pope.
Pope Benedict XVI was accused of conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse in the United States, but at the Vatican’s request, president George W. Bush Granted him immunity from prosecution
Every nation in the world has divorce laws except Philippines (though Muslims have the right to divorce) and the Vatican City, which has no procedure for divorce. In these two countries, laws only allow annulment of marriages