Monday, April 18, 2011

Vatican City in Italy

Situated in the middle of Rome is the smallest official country in the world, Vatican City. Covering a mere 0.44 square kilometres, whilst Vatican City may be known to many because of its size, being home to the Pope and centre of the Catholic religion, it is the buildings that are encompassed within the country that are the reason for its inclusion within this list. Vatican City was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of the Holy See and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy.

The Pope is ex officio head of state of Vatican City, functions dependent on his primordial function as bishop of the diocese of Rome. The term Holy See refers not to the Vatican state but to the Pope's spiritual and pastoral governance, largely exercised through the Roman Curia. His official title with regard to Vatican City is Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City. The government of Vatican City has a unique structure. The Pope is the sovereign of the state. Legislative authority is vested in the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, a body of cardinals appointed by the Pope for five-year periods. Executive power is in the hands of the President of that commission, assisted by the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary.

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