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The Vatican City State is estimated to have about 1,000 inhabitants (July 2017). Of these, approximately 400 hold Vatican citizenship. The rest are mostly clergy from all countries of the world, who reside temporarily (or permanently) in the Vatican City.


In the Vatican City State, Latin and Italian are the common languages. Due to the many inhabitants from all over the world, it is possible to hear almost every language imaginable.


The inhabitants of the Vatican City are 100% of the Roman Catholic faith. See also the chapter religion on the Italy page.


The sedisvacatio is the period between the Pope's death and the election of a new Pope. During this period, the papal seat is effectively unoccupied. The Pope's electors then jointly rule the church.


The conclave is the meeting of electing cardinals for the election of a new Pope, which traditionally takes place behind closed doors so that the cardinals cannot be influenced by the outside world. The conclave has taken place in the Sistine Chapel since 1878 and starts between the 15th and 20th day after the Pope's death. During the conclave, several rounds of voting take place and usually the new Pope can only be appointed if there is a two-thirds majority. When a cardinal has the required majority, the dean of the College of Cardinals asks the chosen one if he accepts the office. If the answer is "Accepto", there is a new Pope. The Pope is asked to adopt a new name of his own choosing. To the outside world there is a signal of white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and the ringing of the bells.

After this, the Pope appears on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica. His escort then utters the words: Habemus Papam' or, we have a Pope. The Pope then pronounces the apostolic blessing "Urbi et Orbi" for the first time.


Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated April 2024
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