October 16, 2016


0507 Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City (1)

Posted on 11.02.2013, 16.10.2016
Everybody knows that Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population (0.44 km2, and 836 inhabitants). But few know that this walled enclave within the city of Rome was established as an independent state only in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty (signed on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by... Prime Minister Benito Mussolini), which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the Papal States (756-1870). Even fewer know that Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See, the two entities having distinct passports.

2830 Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City (2)

I think that one of the reasons for the existence of these two entities is diplomatic, because in this way the Pope can address to the Catholic prelates as the leader of the Catholic Church, and to the heads of state (regardless of faith) as a head of a state. The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus (Vatican Mount). Separated from the city, on the west bank of the Tiber river, Vatican comprise St. Peter's Basilica (in the foreground of the postcard), the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, museums, and various other buildings.

The territory includes St. Peter's Square, separated from the Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square. It's reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from close to the Tiber River to St. Peter's. Almost all Vatican City's citizens serve in the Holy See's diplomatic service in embassies (called nunciatures), apart from few officials of the state and the Swiss Guard. The workers are citizens of Italy. Basilica of Saint Peter, one of the largest churches in the world and the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture, was designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

On this site has been a church since the 4th century, but the construction of the present basilica began in 1506 and was completed in 1626. In Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, also according to tradition, the first Bishop of Rome. Vatican City is also the single state of the world in entirely a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1984), and this I don't think will ever be equaled.

About the stamp
On the postcard 0507

The stamp (with a face value of 0.75 EUR) is a joint issue of Vatican and France, issued on May 11, 2012 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of St. Joan of Arc’s birth (January 6, 1412 - May 30, 1431). The selected image is taken from an illumination painted twenty years after St. Joan’s death, which is preserved today in the Historical Center of the National Archives of Paris.

On the postcard 2830
The stamp is part of the series Pontificate of Pope Francis MMXVI - IVBILAEVM MISERICORDIAE, issued on February 1st, 2016.

Vatican City - Wikipedia
St. Peter's Basilica - Wikipedia
Vatican City State - Official website
Sixth centenary of the birth of Joan of Arc - Documentation Information Catholiques Internationales website 

Sender 0507: Marius Vasiliu
Sent from Vatican City on 29.01.2013
Sender 2830: Andrea Perrotta
Sent from Vatican City on 21.06.2016

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