Photo source: almanar.com
The Vatican is the core of the Catholic world. Located in Italy, the Vatican is an independent country, with its own laws and regulations. The official language is Latin, but it is mostly used by the clergy. Acrross the centuries, the Vatican has been entangled in many stories and conspiracy theories, drawing attention and generating mystery. Theories and stories set aside, the Vatican is still a source of inspiration!
1. Access to the Pope’s mail
The pope’s mail hasn’t been secret since 1881, when pope Leo the XVIII allowed scholars to read them. Outsiders have the permission of reading every letter received by popes going back a thousand years, with one condition: you must know exactly what you want to read. Librarians do not allow browsing! One of the most famous letters is the one sent by Henry VIII when he wanted to divorce Caterina de Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. The pope’s refusal to grant him the divorce led England towards separation from the Vatican and to the creation of the Church of England.
2. The Swiss Guard
Nowadays Switzerland is notorious for its neutral status in conflicts and as a pacifist state with pacifist people. This wasn’t always the case. Back in the 16th century, they were considered an unstoppable military force. Pope Julius the II noticed the ferocity of the Swiss in battle and recruited a few as his personal guards. Ever since, the Swiss have guarded every pope. Today, the members of the Swiss guard are wandering about the Vatican in medieval attire, participate in ceremonies and man the checkpoints in Vatican. When they’re guarding the pope, they wear simple clothing and modern weapons.
3. The ATM’s are in Latin
Pope Benedict the XVI had a keen desire to revive Latin. He enjoyed carrying out conversations in informal Latin – as opposed to his predecessor, pope John Paul II who spoke mostly Polish. Accordingly to the pope’s desire, the Bank of Vatican enabled ATM to offer Latin as a language for financial transactions.
The Vatican is without a doubt a fascinating place. The history, the culture, the art, and the religion give it an aura of mystery. Have you ever visited the Vatican?
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- Michael Angelo