“If you hack the Vatican server, have

you tampered in God’s domain?”

–Aaron Alston – 1992

The Vatican City State is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. With an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of 842, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population. It is asacerdotal-monarchicalstate, also a type of theocracy, ruled by the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. The Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity. The independent city-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy. According to the terms of the treaty, the Holy See has full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction over the city-state.

The government of Vatican City has a unique structure. The Pope is the sovereign of the state. Legislative authority is vested in the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, a body of cardinals appointed by the Pope for five-year periods. Executive power is in the hands of the President of that commission, assisted by the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary. The state’s foreign relations are entrusted to the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and diplomatic service. Nevertheless, the pope has absolute power in the executive, legislative and judicial branches over Vatican City. He is currently the only absolute monarch in Europe.

As the Vatican City is an enclave within Italy, its military defence is provided by the Italian armed forces. There is no formal defence treaty with Italy, as the City is a neutral state. The Vatican City has no armed forces of its own, although the Swiss Guard is a military corps of the Holy See and are responsible for the personal security of the Pope, and residents in the state. Soldiers of the Swiss Guard are entitled to hold Vatican City State passports and nationality.

Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites, featuring some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures. The Vatican City is not only one of its kind but also holds historical values for Christians just as Makkah does for Muslims.