Holy See - Vatican

Holy See

The Holy See (Sancta Sedes): The Holy See is the Episcopal jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome. The primacy of Rome makes its bishop, commonly known as the Pope, the worldwide leader of the church. It contains the central government of the church, including various agencies essential to administration.

Diplomatically, the Holy See acts and speaks for the whole Roman Catholic Church. It is also recognized by other subjects of international law as a sovereign entity, headed by the Pope, with which diplomatic relations can be maintained.

Often incorrectly referred to as "the Vatican", the Holy See is not the same entity as the Vatican City State, which came into existence only in 1929; the Holy See, the Episcopal see of Rome, dates back to early Christian times.

 Ambassadors are officially accredited not to the Vatican City State but to "the Holy See", and papal representatives to states and international organizations are recognized as representing the Holy See, not the Vatican City State.