Vatikan Staatsgebiet Territorium

Vatican City · Territory · History · The Pontifex

Short Info: The Vatican State – Territory – History – Who is the Pontifex – two thousand years in two minutes!

The area of the Vatican

The Vatican City State consists of the walled area of the Vatican Hill and St. Peter’s square.


More extraterritorial areas are the other three Papal basilicas of Rome St. Paul outside the walls, St. John and Santa Maria Maggiore, the world-famous pediatric hospital Bambino Gesù, the Gregorian university, the summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, a radiostation and some palaces in Rome.

Also the Basilica of the Holy Francis in Assisi, the Basilica of the Holy Anthony in Padua, the Basilica of the Holy House in Loreto and the sanctuary of our Lady of the rosary in Pompei are extraterritorial.


St Petrus
St Peter

The Vatican City State is the remnant of the Papal State, which ceased to exist as a result of the occupation of Rome by the troops of King Emanuel II in 1870. Until this year, the Popes resided as the head of State in the Quirinal Palace, while St. Peter’s Basilica was the headquarter of the Church. Pope Pius IX was forced to move to St. Peter’s and declared himself a political prisoner.

Already in the Roman Empire, there were Popes in Rome and after the decline of the Western Roman Empire, they became town Lords of Rome.


With the coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III, the Holy Roman Empire arose as the successor of the ancient Roman Empire, and in return the Popes was granted a number of ecclesiastical territories, which increased with time.

The French Revolution and the subsequent developments ultimately led to the end of the church state.

The Pontifex

The Pontifex is the bridge builder. In a religious sense, the pontifex builds the bridge to the divine, cultivates the faith and interprets God, the god or the gods, in the course of the millenniums.

The Pontifex Maximus was the Supreme Priest. The title can be backtracked up to the 5th century BC and has been awarded since the 3rd Century BC by election. In the Roman Empire, the Emperor exercised the Office of Pontifex Maximus. The first Pope who claimed the title of Pontifex Maximus, was Pope Leo I Bishop of Rome, since the year 440.

The concept of the Pontifex has been preserved to our days in the component of the title of the popes “Summus Pontifex”.

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