Tag Archives: pope

How It Came to Be: The Origins of the Vatican City

Ask anyone what they know about the Vatican City, and you’re probably going to get some very familiar answers: “It’s the home of the pope,” “it’s the world’s smallest country,” or “it’s where Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Catholic Church’s mother church, is located.” True enough, the origins of the Vatican City, a walled compound within Rome, is where the pope lives, and it is indeed the world’s smallest sovereign state, being only 44 hectares in size – that’s about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York! But did you know that Saint Peter’s Basilica is not actually the official ecclesiastical seat of the pope, hence it is not the ecumenical mother church of the Catholic hierarchy? This honor belongs to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, which is one of the four major basilicas of the Catholic Church, the others being the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the [...]