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Exhibition, Congress And Concert Mark Vatican’s 80 Years
ROME(SAR NEWS) --Under the motto, “A small territory with a great mission”, a number of distinctive celebrations marked the 80th anniversary of the Vatican City State’s founding, February 11.

The Vatican organised a large conference, an exhibition and a concert to reflect on the state’s first eight decades. The Vatican Post Office also celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Vatican City State by issuing seven stamps with the portraits of seven Popes, February 10.

The stamps bear the portraits of popes who served as head of the Vatican City State from 1922 (Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI).

The first initiative is an exhibition held in the Charlemagne Wing – at the end of the left colonnade of St. Peter’s Square from February 11 to May 10, entitled: “1929-2009: Eighty Years of Vatican City State”, said president of the pontifical commission for the Vatican City Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo.

The cardinal went on to explain how the exhibition is divided into five sections. “The first concerns the Vatican prior to 1929; the second is dedicated to Pius XI (Achille Ratti), the architect of conciliation and the great builder of the juridical and architectural structures of the new State; the third focuses on the Lateran Pacts themselves, in other words the Treaty and the Concordat signed in the Lateran Palace on 11 February 1929; the fourth illustrates the construction of the State, its projects and its new buildings; and the fifth is dedicated to the six pontiffs who succeeded Pius XI, each of whom left his own mark.”

Cardinal Lajolo then turned to the second of the three initiatives, taking place from February 12-14 on the theme: “A small territory for a great mission”. The congress is being held at two separate sites: the Conciliation Hall of the Lateran Palace, where the Pacts themselves were signed in 1929, and the New Synod Hall in the Vatican.

The work of the congress was opened by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., and close with a roundtable meeting to be attended by, among others: Franco Frattini, Italian foreign minister; Abdou Diouf, former president of Senegal, and Michel Camdessus, former president of the International Monetary Fund.

The third initiative, concluded the president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, is a 75-minute concert held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall February 12, in the presence of the Holy Father. One hundred member Our Lady’s Choral Society of Dublin Cathedral and 30-member the RTE (Irish Radio-Television) Concert Orchestra of Dublin performed Handel’s “Messiah”. Some 6,000 special invitees attended the event along with some 200 prelates.

Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world in terms of inhabitants and size. It occupies an area of 44 hectares. The borders are represented by its walls and the travertine pavement curve that joins the two wings of the colonnades in St Peter’s Square. Beyond the proper territory of the State, Vatican jurisdiction also covers some extraterritorial areas within and outside Rome.

The term Vatican was used in ancient times to identify the marshy area on the right bank of the Tiber River, between the Milvio Bridge and the present Sixtus Bridge.

Vatican City State is governed as an absolute monarchy. The head of state is the Pope who holds full legislative, executive and judicial powers. The population of Vatican City is about 800 people, of whom over 450 have Vatican citizenship, while the rest have permission to reside there, either temporarily or permanently, without the benefit of citizenship.


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