THE HOLY SEE





The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes, Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈsaŋkta ˈsedes]; Italian: Santa Sede [ˈsanta ˈsɛːde]), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope (Holy Roman Emperor), which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law, governing the Vatican City.

According to Catholic tradition it was founded in the first century by Saints Peter and Paul and, by virtue of Petrine and papal primacy, is the focal point of full communion for Catholic Christians around the world. As a sovereign entity, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, and exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, of which the pope is sovereign. It is organized into polities of the Latin Church and the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

The Holy See is administered by the Roman Curia (Latin for "Court"), which is the central government of the Catholic Church. The Roman Curia includes various dicasteries, comparable to ministries and executive departments, with the Cardinal Secretary of State as its chief administrator. Papal elections are carried out by the College of Cardinals.





Although the Holy See is sometimes metonymically referred to as the "Vatican", the Vatican City State was distinctively established with the Lateran Treaty of 1929, between the Holy See and Italy, to ensure the temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual independence of the papacy. As such, papal nuncios, who are papal diplomats to states and international organizations, are recognized as representing the Holy See, and not the Vatican City State, as prescribed in the Canon law of the Catholic Church.

The Holy See is thus viewed as the central government of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, in turn, is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. The diplomatic status of the Holy See facilitates the access of its vast international network of charities.

The word "see" comes from the Latin word sedes, meaning 'seat', which refers to the episcopal throne (cathedra). The term "Apostolic See" can refer to any see founded by one of the Twelve Apostles, but, when used with the definite article, it is used in the Catholic Church to refer specifically to the see of the Bishop of Rome, whom that Church sees as the successor of Saint Peter. While Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City is perhaps the church most associated with the papacy, the actual cathedral of the Holy See is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in the city of Rome.

Every see is considered holy. In Greek, the adjective "holy" or "sacred" (ἱερά transliterated as hiera) is constantly applied to all such sees as a matter of course. In the West, the adjective is not commonly added, but it does form part of an official title of two sees: besides the Holy See, the Bishopric of Mainz (the former Archbishopric of Mainz, which was also of electoral and primatial rank) bears the title of "the Holy See of Mainz" (Latin: Sancta Sedes Moguntina).





The Holy See is one of the last remaining seven absolute monarchies in the world, along with Saudi Arabia, Eswatini (Swaziland), United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Brunei and Oman.



Pictured above is The Papal throne (cathedra), in the apse of Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, symbolises the Holy See.